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Open Farm Nov. 12, 2017 Noon-4:00

October 8, 2017

Our next open farm event is scheduled for this coming Sunday, Nov. 12. We usually do these on the third Sunday, but I will be leaving for Thanksgiving the next Sunday.

Noon until 4:00.

Laughing Frog Farm is a small, diversified, family farm that raises fruits and vegetables, Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Freedom Ranger meat chickens, and heritage laying hens, using permaculture methods and organic principles.

We use the animals to prepare and fertilize the soil and, without tilling, we can preserve the microbiological integrity of the soil. Each growing season we dedicate one garden to raising livestock, fertilizing the soil and clearing the weeds. We have a small aquaponics system, a few geese, and occasionally have a pig around.

We use permaculture methods to move the water and huglekulture mounds to rise above the floods, while holding water in the soil.

You are welcome to bring a lunch and drinks.

You can also but some frozen or on-ice chickens.

We ask that you not bring pets and wear closed toed shoes. Hats are great, and remember that mosquitoes, snakes, spiders, etc are all part of the farm.

We accept donation to the farm, but we will not charge an admission fee so everyone, regardless of their financial situation, can attend.

This event will be canceled if it rains.

There is a good map on the contacts page of this website.

We are located in northern Waller County, Tx., 60 miles from Houston, 40 miles from Bryan, and 100 miles from Austin.

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Forty years after “Ladderman”

September 20, 2017

Forty years ago on Tuesday, Sept. 20 my company, Houston Stage Equipment, loaded the Houston Ballet’s “Swan Lake” scenery into a trailer headed for Jones Hall.
The entire crew then got together at Larry, my business partner’s house, for some refreshments and fajitas catered by this little local Mexican restaurant named Ninfas. About 2:00 a.m. I got on my bike and motored home. I pulled into the garage and headed to my second floor home in the little fourplex.
The phone rang. I don’t think my phone had ever rung before. When I picked up the receiver I heard my landlady, who lived in the apartment below me, alarmed that the light in the garage had just gone out. I assured Ms. Brown that I would check on it, and halfway down the outdoor staircase I saw a young man on a ladder climbing toward the window of the apartment over the garage. I yelled. He ran. All the neighbors came out, and down from the garage apartment came a women, barefoot and in a red nightshirt. I had never met her.
Ms. Brown had called the police, so we had to wait. Everyone went inside but the young woman and me. We sat on the steps and talked. It took two hours for the police to arrive but it didn’t seem long. We relayed our stories to the police and sat back down on the steps and talked. And then, suddenly, the sun came up. “I’ve gotta go to work”, so I quickly changed from my clean jeans and shirt to my work jeans and shirt and headed to the shop.
We had lots of change orders and additions to do, so I worked long hours for the next three days, but took Saturday off, ostensibly to sleep, but I also thought I might try and get the attention of the woman I had met.
Early, before I felt comfortable knocking on her door, Ms. Brown called me with another emergency. Her cat had died and she wanted to know if I would bury it for her. So, as my grandmother would have said, “I braved up” and knocked on the garage apartment’s door and asked if she would like to go for a walk.
Our first date was a walk down the railroad tracks in Houston’s east end to bury a cat.
The next date was more romantic.
And that is how I met Kenan.
Happy 40th Kenan!

Restarting Local Business Begins With Us

September 3, 2017

The Sunday morning after hurricane Ike struck the gulf coast in 2008, there was minimal flooding here in Hempstead, and no electricity, so I went into town to see if I could find the source of the electrical outage. We had a full freezer and I needed to know if I should crank up the generator. It was about 5:00 am when I drove by the Snowflake Donuts shop operated by an immigrant family, and a young man was standing out front, in the dark, with a sign that said “Open Today, Cash Only”. They were not going to let a little hurricane and no power stop them from cranking up the propane in order to pay the bills. I didn’t stop and feel guilty about that.
Houston has a young population, a large energetic immigrant community and hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. Often those assets are all rolled into one person.
If you want to jumpstart this recovery, continue to donate what you can, time and/or money, but the thing that really makes the economy come back is supporting local business. If you buy lunch from a food truck or a mattress from Gallery Furniture, you know that much of that money will be recirculated into the local economy.
It will take government money to get the roads and schools back and rebuilding the homes is a long term project, but each of us has the power to help the local hardware store, the small restaurant, and, of course, the local farms. We can help rebuild lives purchasing the things we need to rebuild our own.
So before you head off to the big box store, or click “add to cart” at Amazon, look around our home turf for it. That money just might come back to you and your friends.

Donations to help feed Houston

August 30, 2017

OK people we are going to pack up bags of groceries for delivery to Houston. Normally these bags would cost $25-$30 and we are donating them to a possible popup market or some organizations that can prepare them. We are asking for donations to help cover our costs.  If we could get $10.00 per bag, we could recover some of the losses we have had this week with no markets. If we get more money than we have produce we will make more deliveries later in the week.  We have fresh produce that needs a home.
https://squareup.com/store/laughing-frog-farm/item/donations-for-harvey-victims

 

With or without the donations we are delivering the bags.
Pics will follow when we have packed a few bags.

After the storm

August 29, 2017

The last four days were unbelievable, but we fared well. We had over 40” of rain and finished with no dead livestock and practically no dead plants.
We had just planted a few hundred seedlings of pac choy and broccoli raab and they seem to be happy. We have extremely healthy soils, very permeable, due to years of not tilling and not exposing the microbes to the elements. That, combined with rotational livestock use, means we can absorb more water and hold it for drier days. We also have the advantage of being 270’ above sea level, meaning the water has somewhere to go, but we would rather keep it in the soil.
All our beds are built high with swales on the sides holding the excess water. None of the newer beds are straight, but are curving to maneuver the water and hold it until it can be absorbed.
Straight beds up and down the elevation lead to runoff. Straight beds across the elevation lead to flooding those very same plots.
Also, we leave grass between the beds. Most times you will see soil or mulch in these areas that would become mud under these circumstances. The grass keeps roots in the ground. Those roots stimulate the growth of fungi, bacteria and the rest of the soil microbes as well as prevent erosion. You can walk in the gardens at any time, no matter how wet.
The healthier soils and better root systems also provide more nutrients to the plants.
So a combination of location, lots of luck, reconsidered farming practices, and planning have helped us survive this catastrophe.
We hope our customers will come out and support farmers at the markets and patronize the restaurants that support us. We will not miss a beat and will be back at the market this week and ready to supply our CSA starting Sept. 6. Please consider joining our CSA.

The five rules of the soil

July 13, 2017

1. Armor the soil. Never expose the soil directly to the elements. Soil should be covered with plants, mulch or even weeds to enhance the microbial action.
2. Living roots in the ground as much as possible. We leave the roots of plants that we have harvested because michorrizal fungi only grows on roots. Removing the roots would destroy that fungi and the relationships that exist in the soil. Luckily we can have plants growing all year here in the gulf coast.
3. Do not disturb the soil. The relationships in the soil are complex and we want to allow them to grow without destroying them with plowing. We move the soil as little as possible with a hoe.
4. Provide plant diversity. Different root structures and leaf shapes attract a diverse group of microbes and beneficial insects.
5. Integrate livestock. We raise chickens and rotate sheep into the gardens to provide fertility and aerate the soil. After animals and their fresh manure leave, we will not eat vegetables from that garden for 90 days.

Fruit and Vegetable Prescriptions – Just What the Doctor Ordered

June 18, 2017

In 2010 Wholesome Wave.org launched FVRx, a prescription fruit and vegetable pilot program to make fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available to communities, helping patients who are at risk of diet-related illness and cannot afford, or access, healthy food.
The program is now available in Houston and Laughing Frog Farm, along with other local farms at the Eastside Farmers Market and the East End Street Market, are now participating in the program.
We are your “farmacy”.
If you are someone who might qualify for the program, see your doctor or clinic and find out. And pass the information on to someone who needs it. Everyone deserves nutrient dense food.
http://www.wholesomewave.org/how-we-work/produce-prescriptions