mcgarya's blog

Greenhouse progress

Our greenhouse: It’s been a learning experience, and I’m confident that we’ll need to keep making adjustments, but our greenhouse is up and operational. The modest size of 20’X12’ seems hard to fill with seedlings, but should be easy to fill with tomatoes and some fall greens. For now, it also makes a nice picnic area on cold windy days.
here's some pictures of our serious workers, Irene, Steve, and Nate:

spring planting

Saturday 4/25

We got most of our potatoes in on Good Friday, and the last few on Saturday morning. All in all, with the help of a big Friday crew, and the steadfast work of my mom, Barbara and Nicholas all weekend, we got all the potatoes and onions in the ground.


hello everyone,

The ground is warming up, birds are returning and while we have still only planted things inside, farm life is picking up at the Mustard Seed. I know I have been itching to get into the garden, wondering if I should have planted things already, or if the weather would destroy anything I might plant and I should just be a little more patient. In the meantime, I've thought of something to occupy myself.

Thoughts from the desert

Candles, spinning, and lots of craft fun

The craft retreat was super fun. Thanks everyone for coming and being such fantastic guests. I think we all had a good time, and the folks from Duluth sounded enthused about hosting another craft retreat up there next winter. Here are a few pictures.

2008 Long Summary

The season went well.

Weather: The year started a bit shaky-winter took a long time to end, the spring was cold and wet, and once we got a good amount of the farm plowed and planted, the heavy spring rains came and caused a bit of damage. After that, though, the weather was pretty good for farming. We got rain pretty regularly, even in August, and the soil and plants were usually dry enough when we wanted them to be. Our frost also didn't come until October 15, which was also nice.

craft retreat jan 20-25

Come join us for a CRAFT RETREAT this WINTER!
in the convenient location in the center of the US, AMES, IA. Jan 20-25, 2009
On those chilly short days/long nights, what's better than to hang with a bunch of catholic workers spinning wool and making candles? Come for the whole time, or when you can make it. There will be instruction in pottery (wheel thrown and handbuilt), knitting, candle making, spinning, and possibly more(quilting if requested) . There will be time for rest, prayer, reflection, creativity, and fellowship. Because pottery has so many steps, if you want to take finished pots home with you, plan on coming for the whole time. Housing and food provided, and God willing, all supply expenses will also be covered.

First Year Update

This is our first year and life here is always an adventure. We rent a little acre of farm land. Alice and Colette live on the farm in a 1983 Pace Arrow motorhome that they recently renovated and all our other workers commute out by car or bike when they are able to. Overnight/long term visitors find our accommodations to be a lot (or, rather, exactly like) camping. The farm's kitchen is in an old pig shed, which with the help of our friend Lee we have started to fix up. We have well water as well as a rain collection system, limited electricity (we have dreams of powering the farm by other means, but aren't quite there yet). This winter we will be relocating to town for the coldest months, but our future goal is to be sufficiently winterized to survive a midwestern winter on the farm.

Welcome to Our New Website

Hi everyone! This is my first blog entry. I'm learning how to use our web site and a little secret code. Keep coming back to see our site as it takes shape. - alice

July Update

this is really quick, because we are all in the middle of moving, and cleaning. The ryan family is coming back tomorrow, and we are very thankful for our time in their wonderful house, right next to our farm. Ellen and Willa are moving into town and Alice and Colette will be roughing it out at the farm. Not quite so rough, we just received a nice, used RV this morning and it's parked out at the farm. All of life's modern conveniences on wheels, though we're not able to hook anything up to it yet. We are working on getting some electricity so that we can run the well, and have a refrigerator for our produce.

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