AUGUST 14, 2020

Wow! what a difference a few days can make to change your whole plans and  outlook. We had been in need of a good soaking rain and it was promised on Friday night, then Saturday night, then Sunday night and well when I watched the news at 4:30 am Monday morning it showed a small cluster of storms near Yankton, South Dakota. The weatherman indicated it would die out before it reached us and being a long time weather observer  I agreed.  I also told my student help when they arrived at 8 that we would probably have to make plans to fix and start up the irrigation system on Tuesday as our rain chances were slim. I had a chance to explain  how when a front goes through in the mid morning it doesn't have enough power to deliver much rain and the prime time is about 2-3 pm after a sunny morning. We worked awhile  and it was unbelievably humid and very hot and sunny.  I checked the radar on my cellphone about 9:30 am was surprised to see the small storms that were in South Dakota at 4 AM had expanded and slowed down. Instead of coming through around 11 am like it was predicted it looked more favorable for rain now. When I checked again about 11:30 I told the workers to go home and not get too far from home as the storm was expanding and developing a distinct bow with the arch of the bow headed straight for us. I told them it could get ugly. I did not know at the time how ugly it could get.  About 1:30 it got  very dark and the wind went from calm to over 50 mph in a few seconds and then well over 70 mph and trees started crashing everywhere.  We ran to the basement and things started shaking and I know we had to have gusts in excess of over 90 mph. The storm lasted for over an hour and when it slowed down some and I surfaced I could see trees in our yard in a mess.  The garden areas near the house looked like a flat pancake. I was fearful to walk to the farm building end of the farm where our old home (now seed storage and office area) were as there are 3 huge  soft maple trees to the west and north of the office. I feared they would be on top of the office and also feared the barn would be down and also all of our new poultry buildings.  We had no power as I could see our neighbors down the road (who were building a new house ) and the house was wrapped around the power poles. A quick survey revealed all livestock: poultry, sheep, cow and pigs were fine and then I took a walk over the hill to see the backfield with the 5 one acre isolation plots. We have a driveway from the backfield to the top of the hill to get hay to the hay shed and it had multiple large trees across it. It will be days before that is cleared.  After crawling over trees and such I reached the back field to see the best looking corn crop we ever had flat to the ground. It didn't even look like corn. Highest plants looked about 5 inches and some of the varieties were over 12 feet tall the day prior. Bush bean plants were nearly pulled out of the ground and squash and melons were in some cases nearly twisted out of the ground. The vine crops were in better shape as they were to the east of the corn rows and the storm came from the west so  it gave some protection as the rows run south to north. It looked like there would be nothing on many things. I had several long rows of sorghum that in some cases the plants were already 8 feet tall and they were pounded to the ground.  That was Monday about 5 pm.  Austin ( my student helper) and I walked back there this morning only to discover that 90 % of the corn had resurrected itself with some bending  and was looking decent. What appeared to be a total loss will be a reasonable crop. We hand pick each ear anyhow so  the only problem now is we can not till between the rows and the weeds will take over some. Melons, squash, zinnias and okra all will recover. Bush beans will be a challenge but have some potential. In our front 10 acres  it appears the strongest winds came diagonal across the property from the northwest corner over the hill skipping over the top of our house and diagonal across the front garden areas. We will be missing some sweet potatoes( ironically the most popular varieties ) for 2021 as they were ripped out of the ground and thrown everywhere. Many peppers and tomatoes were also ripped out and destroyed. The corn patches in the front  field in many cases were not planted  until July 4, 15 and 25 so they were small and as of today look great and will make a good crop if the season is long enough.


We will not have an August 25 hatch as we did not get power back until Wednesday at 3 pm so we were off for about 49 hours. It was a challenge to get enough water for the animals. In winter I need about 70 5 gallon buckets each day in summers heat with all of the young stock it was far in excess of 90 . The Calamus Volunteer Fire Department graciously brought out a tanker truck twice to let us fill containers to get things cared for.   We are  praising God for the protection we had and minimal damage and inconvenience.  We are praying for so many in the area that lost so much. Many lost buildings, silos, and entire crops.  Our hatch Tuesday was challenge first the chicks had to be packed by flashlight Monday night and then we had to pack the computer and printer  up and we found a friend from church about 5 miles away that still had power and went there to  print postage and paper work and then find a post office that had power and was open. It was an eventful day.   

We will be filling seed orders on Monday as the post office should have power by then. We are working as fast as possible to get refunds to those who did not get poultry.  I hope to get 2 to 3 blogs posted this week before I go back to teaching on August 18. I cannot imagine those who live in hurricane prone areas how they deal with storms like that. I hope this is a once in a lifetime experience for me. 

AUGUST 11, 2020

An unprecedented, very large-scale storm moved through Iowa on Monday August 10th. Winds were probably in excess of 100 miles per hour and a great deal of damage was done. We were fortunate that none of our buildings were destroyed or damaged but we have many trees down and much of our corn seed crop will be lost. We are still hopeful for the beans and sweet potatoes and other crops. We will however be without power for an extended length of time which means we will have no phone or email service for some time. We will also not have an August 25th hatch as those eggs were lost to the storm. Once power is restored, a new update will be posted as to what we will be able to do and when things will reoccur on a normal basis. We cannot even process seed orders at this point in time because we cannot get postage on them. Please be patient during this very trying time. We are fortunate that Sue is able to post this for us as we have no access to the website phone or email at this time.


JUNE 14, 2020


We had a very productive first week sending out sweet potatoe slips and got through almost half of the orders. There are still some problem varieties that do not respond well to cool soil and conditions and are either not sprouting or just taking off. We had some nice weather for slip production last week followed by the last 3 days being on the rather chilly side which slows down growth considerably.  We will try to push through as many as we can the first part of this week  and those of you who indicated subs are  okay we may have to do that  as it appears some like Delaware Purple may not come back after the mid May cold spell with the 24 degree low temperature.  It has always been very susceptible to cool soils and this was  perhaps unfortunately a final test . Surprisingly many orders are getting to their destination rather quickly so we will also ship on Wednesday this week as well. For those who can take them late it appears we will have an abundance during season closeout time.

June 3, 2020

The many cloudy and cold days in May slowed the sweet potato sprouting considerably, with no sun for so many days even those under plastic were slow to start. We have now reached the point where they are exploding with the growth after the past few days of sun and heat. We will start shipments with force  on Monday June 8. We are sorry as this is later than expected but when you are dealing with living material and nature you have to deal with  what happens. Again, I remind people it is not too late. We plant ours here around June 25 and harvest around September 25. Our normal trend is to ship on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday  each week to allow for the quickest arrival of plants to people. This year the USPS is  taking much longer with package delivery so we will only ship on Monday, Tuesday and Friday to allow for the shortest time in transit. 

As for poultry shipments, with the lack of many flights it is taking many shipments longer than expected. We are trying to send many extras to allow for these longer than usual shipment times and the hope you will end up with at least as many  as you ordered and hopeful all will go well and you will get a bonus. The sending of many extras has put us a bit behind on some items, so please be patient we hope to get caught up soon. 

MAY 25, 2020

 Record cold on May 9 dropped to 24 , was below freezing from about 8 pm until 9 the next morning. Mulberry trees froze all buds and flowers and we had dead looking twigs until a few days ago.  I was fearful even though we covered up the sweet potato beds we may have lost them but a few  are just now starting to peak above the soil line. We had about 10 days of cold temperatures with highs in the fifties and low sixties and no sun which wasn't great  so we don't anticipate start shipping slips until at least June 1. We will try to keep you posted and are hopeful the weather stays nice and warm. Most of May  I had to wear a sweatshirt all day long  and still was cold at times.

MAY 2, 2020


April 29, 2020

I would love to say I am getting a ton of things done since I do not have to go to my teaching job away from the  farm each day.  However, it seems to take more time doing education online. Big reason is typing is my weakest link, so I spend much more time  than with the face to face education that I dearly miss. We have accomplished getting another poultry building done and  have been working very hard to keep up with the seed orders as fast they come in so we are on about a 2-3 day turn around from receipt of order to it being sent out.  I apologize for some of the brown unmarked packets as with the surge in interest we went through our pre printed packets with the logo rather fast and even though we ordered in plenty of time the  printer  was way behind because of the  virus situation. We are back in stock now so things are progressing.  You know the year is goofy when the first thing I planted in the garden was the cannas. They are usually the last thing that I end up forgetting until mid July. The hummingbirds will be thrilled  to have more than a few weeks of blooms to visit.  I successfully moved all of the garlic and winter onions to a hopefully better location and will update the website for those categories as summer goes and bulblet supply becomes a reality. 

It was 15 a week a go Thursday and the next day we had 3.5 inches of snow. I try to wait until the fruit trees are blooming to  bed the sweet potatoes and the apricots are in full bloom peaches started yesterday and pears today so this weekend we will start the beds. Being home everyday this year I will cover with plastic ( so I can take it off if we get a 90 degree day) and the season will start soon. 

We are sold out now of the tomato special. 

April 1, 2020

We have an experienced an increase in seed and poultry orders and are doing very well at keeping up with processing seed orders and are currently having about a 3 day turn around from receipt of order to mailing the order out.  The seed listings have been updated as of today for any item that we are sold out of. Poultry will be  updated this weekend after we see how the fertility on this hatch is going. The super cold spell in mid February, though very short lived  trashed the fertility on several breeds.

March 22, 2020

We are hopeful all are well and surviving the Covid-19  experience. It has definitely changed things. With school  closed  I hope to devote sometime to get things caught up around the farm. I was excited today to find that garlic varieties I thought had been destroyed by varmints had survivors so I plan on moving them to a new bed in a few weeks when it warms a bit . As I write this it snowing and reminds me how much I love Spring when it finally gets here.  2019 Year in Review is finally published. We are running at about a 3 day turn around on seed orders.  The  following is our current book sale.



To make sure we still have a copy of  these email prior to ordering and we will save the book for one week until we receive payment.  


All book orders must include $7.00 postage and handling as the minimum shipping will be $7.75 . You can order as many as you want for one shipping charge. 


Storey’s Guide to Raising  Turkeys  by Mercia ( old edition ) sold for $18.95 now $5.00 ( 1 copy)

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Damerow ( 3rd edition) sold for $19..95 now $10.00 ( 3 copies)

Compleat Squash by Goldman. Sold for $40.00 now $35.00 ( 1 copy)

Heirloom Tomato by Goldman. Sold for $35.00 now $30.00 ( 2 copies)

Chicken Encyclopedia   Sold for $19.95.  now $11.00 (4 copies)

Chicken Health Handbook ( 1st edition) sold for $19.95. Now $12.00. ( 3 copies)

Garden Project for Kids.  Sold for $19.95. Now $10.00 ( 1 copy)

Peaches and other Fruits Sold for $10.95 . Now $6.00 ( 1 copy)

Practical Guide to Container Gardens  Sold for $19.95. Now $12.00 ( 1 copy)

Catch the wind  Harvest the Sun. Sold for $16.95. Now $10.00 ( 1 copy)

Veggie Gardeners Answer Book. Sold for $14.95. Now  $8.00 ( 1 copy)

Gourd Crafts Sold for $14.95. . Now $10.00 ( 1 copy)

Clean Plate Club Sold for $16.95. Now   $8.50. ( 1 copy)

Chick Days Sold for $14.95    Now $8.00 ( 1 copy)

Free Range Chicken Gardens. Sold for $19.95. Now $12.00 ( 1 copy)

We still have the 2019 tomato special

February 9, 2020

It has been crazy to say the least and trying to get the website updated and learn all the technology to go with it, keep up with seed orders and poultry chores has been a challenge. My Christmas break was such nice weather I didn't get my usual seed cleaning and processing done as I spent the time constructing a new poultry building. We are replacing all of our poultry buildings as time  and cash allow. When the poultry crisis occurred in the late 1980's and many breeds were slipping into extinction funds were very short but desire to save was great so I put up structures as simply and  cheaply as I could. I figured at the time some sort off house and a saved breed was better than a nice house with  a lost breed.  I also did not know the first thing about building and made lots of mistakes.  I used landscape timbers for supports and old lumber from  late 1800 age built buildings I was able to tear down for free and lots of old used metal. Well I can say I got  almost 30 years out of  the material but the time has come to make something a tad better and easier for my aging body to care for, as well as make things more predator proof. The winter of 2018/2019 was brutal and I spent more time chopping ice trying to get into the more than 150 pen doors that opened outside than I care to realize. I knew I  would not be able to do that 20 years from now so had to come up with a plan . The plan now is to  have 10-16 pens within 1 building and have 10-12 buildings and reduce the outside door openings to less than 15 . Less chance for predators and less ice for my aging body to deal with. The building constructed over break has been a blessing. 16 pens inside one structure and only fitting the Dorkings and some others took up residence there.  I can  now stand up doing chores and may regain my height. When you stoop to do chores 4 hours a day( old buildings were 6 feet at the front 4.5 feet at the back ) it takes its toll. Reality set in in January I still had a mountain of seed to clean and  a building  of squash to seed out. Seed is now all processed  and life is slowly creeping back into  schedule. 

Blog returns next week and I am offering a $5 order credit to  anyone submitting a suggestion for a topic that I choose to write on. $10  if I choose it and you can supply a photo for the blog of the topic. Send suggestions to sandhillglenn@fbcomnet.




January 12, 2020

We are nearly done updating for 2020, just a few sections to go, mainly tomatoes. Progress will be slow  but steady as we eventually get every variety pictured.  We will also be adding as much historical data as we can. Always remember our pictures are not designed to woo and coo you into  buying something with photo shopping and enhanced color etc. They will be actual photos untouched taken by a non professional photographer. As time is available weekly changes and such will occur to the website. Check this page for sales and specials.  We will soon be announcing a book sale on some older editions of some books we have.

Currently while  supplies last we have a special on leftover 2019 packaged bean and corn seed.  There is no variety choice here, we put the varieties in groups   and bagged them  in to groups of 20. 

20 packets of different varieties of beans for $5.00. While supply lasts. An inexpensive way to sample unique stuff. SOLD OUT AS OF JANUARY  21

20 packets of different varieties of corn for $7.50. While  supply lasts.  SOLD OUT AS OF FEBRUARY 5

December 5, 2019

 Sweet potato section is now updated for 2020. Poultry will hopefully be updated by December 15 and seeds by December 30. We are currently doing germination tests so from now until the end of the month as we transition to 2020 there will be delays in seed orders.

August 25, 2019

As I begin another school year tomorrow it seemed  like a good time to get back into a routine and keep a weekly news and updates again. It was a rough summer and plans to get things done seemed to evaporate. I erased all of the last years notes so to give a new reader a chance to catchup. The following is a brief summary. 

We switched to a Wix site in January of 2018 and  I started the news and updates in March. Linda was fighting  gall bladder issues and getting sicker each day. The day after her birthday on April 19 she had emergency gall bladder surgery and it was a failure and had a repair job the next day also a failure and slipped into a coma and was transferred to U of Iowa hospital where she remained in intensive care until May 15 in a coma most of the time. She was then transferred to Davenport Select hospital to try and recover but remained in intensive care there until mid June and made slow steps to recovery before the internal abscesses from the intestinal pokes that were made in April  caused reoccurring  abscesses and back to U of I for 2 weeks in July . She then returned to Davenport Select until August 14 when she got to go to Wheatland Manor( 7 miles from home)  for skilled care to learn how to walk  and eat again. She had no food or water by mouth from April 19 until August 5. She got home November 23 . We are very thankful for the staff at both Davenport Select and Wheatland Manor for all of the time and care they took to get her better. All  of the issues and such and many hours on the road to hospitals meant the garden season  in 2018 was not the greatest. I was very fortunate to have Ethan be able to do chores and gather eggs when I was stuck in the hospital so we got through 2018 . We had  a mink problem and also a raccoon problem as well so poultry suffered and finally we got the family of raccoons and the mink ironically disappeared with us chasing him down the ditch the day Linda got home. I hope to never see him again. Linda has had several reoccurring bouts with the internal abscesses and the latest was in July then she had a 3 day hospital stay in August so we had some tense moments again  and lots of lost garden time.  

We had a long rough winter and long cold spring that ended very wet  so the sweet potatoes were late to sprout  and some never broke dormancy until early July and missed the entire shipping season.  We gave up on greenhouse started sweet potato slips a few years ago as they were too weak and spindly and did not survive shipping or transplant well. Our long very wet time ended on July 2 and  we finally got a bunch of stuff planted on July 4, 5 and 6 . Late but it is growing and we hope to get some decent return on many items. We then entered a very dry spell until August 18. It was either feast or famine with rain this year.

Much of the reason we have had no News and Updates and blog this  summer as since  June 25 we have been dealing with daily  issues with a man who has set a goal of saying as many false things and awful things as he can in as many places as he can to try to end our operation. He has indicated he will not quit until we are done. It has taken much of our time and resources to deal with the daily threats and ugliness. I do not have time to scan the internet but know of places where he has posted bad and non truthful stuff. We hope  our regular customers and friends know this is false information and we hope any new potential supporters will give us a chance to show he is wrong.  Our operation is not set up to make money as all is returned to  further genetic preservation. We are deeply grateful for all our friends and supporters and hope we are able to continue on with our work here for as many years as we are physically able.

We will have many assorted chicks  available  in September and October. We are not planning on hatching any ducks in October. Blog returns tomorrow.

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