Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"The Real" A lowdown upon my whereabouts in the summer of the year of our lord, 2012.

Anyone who knows me well knows I like to be cryptic and sometimes morose, allow me to be both for a moment if you will.

The internet is no longer (and hasn't been for a while) a safe place to be for those who are aware like us.

For that matter neither is the above ground economy, workplace, public, or schools but you work with what you have.

Right now extreme drought is laying a heavy weight upon an unstable US economy and more than ever those previous asleep to their plight are being awakened to a startling reality, one we have been aware of and preparing for for sometime, for those people let my phone number and e-mail provide access to the questions you need answered, perhaps ocassionally also the uber dark void that is facebook might be just as efficient a tool.

Currently I am in the midst of helping build a local food and trade shed in my community which takes up most of my time, what is left is filled with farm work and the learning of and then perfection of other survival skills and building infrastructure.  I will be back here sometime soon to share photos, seed, and ideas with all, at least so long as the framework still exists.

Until then I will mostly be in the "stix" studying Bachannalia and other forms of herasy which will hopefully insure the survival of my friends and family in the coming years.  Between all of that I'll be working to build my community into something respectable and regenerative.

I can't be sure of the return of the public seed list to those who aren't CSA members but I can assure the return of a trade list to those experimenting with plant breeding (though it's getting late in the game for that) and specifically to those in the regional area who may be able to fill spots in my seed list, this is of high importance to me, moreso than monetary gain in fact.

Please take the time to leave the internet as you have the chance and learn something of value, while doing so take a moment to look around and thank whatever god or chain of consequences you believe in for the very breath you draw.  Don't forget that no one makes it alone and most certainly no one ever gets out alive as Jim Morrison once stated.

For those who wish to speak of seed, trades, poultry, pigs, rgenerative growth, and in general preparing for shit to hit the fan please feel free to call me: 812-967-2073 or e-mail

As well allow to forever be a resource to all.  You may find me there more often.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The "White Blackberry" rabbit hole goes deeper still!

Hey guys, back after a break due to the tornado which ravaged my small town and a week of upper respiratory sickness. I'll be making frequent updates to the blog in coming weeks regarding farm work, animals, fruit stock, and distilling as time allows.

Anyhow, recently my good friend Mark Walmsey who I've been doing a bit of trading with passed some new White Blackberry information my way which completely opened up a whole new field of research for me. As he says in the e-mail; Viva Orange!

I've recently done some reading on white blackberries. Regarding 'Nettletons'/'Iceberg', let me propose another theory:
From what I have read, the 'Nettletons' white blackberry was collected in Albion, IL. This is the same location that John Orange - one of the early collector/breeders of white blackberries - lived and sold his plants. Albion is 30 miles from where one of the Nettletons lived/lives, so I would take a guess that they went down to Orange's or someones old homestead and found some crazy-old clones. Chances are that this is Orange's 'Orange's Crystal' aka 'Crystal White', 'Colonel Wilder' or a seedling of one of them. I know Burbank's photo of 'Crystal White' shows it to be a muddy color, but I really question his photos and chain of events regarding his work with white blackberries. Burbank states "that the berry with the aid of which I developed the new fruit was called a white blackberry. It was a berry found growing wild in New Jersey, and introduced as a garden novelty, with no pretense to value as a table fruit, by Mr. T. J. Lovett. He called the berry "Crystal White...". Is this the same as 'Orange's Crystal'? Orange's 'Crystal White' came out in the 1850's. More than likely Burbank got most of his white blackberry breeding material from the chain of plants John B. Orange collected and distributed. Burbank was twelve when Orange was advertising his "choice blackberry plants" that included white blackberries in the 1861 version of American Agriculturist. Regardless, I believe very strongly that 'Nettletons' owes it's genes to John B. Orange. Viva Orange! To me, this find is extremely rare. How could they have survived 160 years? These are John B. Orange's releases per The Small Fruits of New York: Albion [flesh color]-Rural N. Y. 11: in. i860. 2. Downing Fr. Trees Am. 443. 1869.A white sort found in the wild prior to 1860 by John B. Orange, Albion, Illinois.Although introduced as having productive plants and large fruit, Downing found the plantsunproductive, the fruit only fair in size, imperfect and without flavor. Colonel Wilder [white]-Mag. 30:360. 1864.Originated prior to 1864 by John B. Orange, Albion, Illinois. Fruit of medium size,oblong, slightly pointed, light cream color, moderately firm, does not develop well ; very good. Crystal White [white]-Elliott Fr. Book. ig6. 1859.Orange's Crystal. 2. Mag. Hort. 30:359. 1864.Raised from seed by John B. Orange, Albion, Illinois, prior to 1859. Plants vigorous,not hardy, suckering freely, very productive when grown with other sorts; prickles few,weak; fruit of medium size, oblong-oval, light creamy white, translucent, sweet; good. Dr. Warder [pink]-Mag. Hort. 30:360. 1864.Raised by John B. Orange, Albion, Illinois, prior to 1864. Fruit large, dark rosyred; good.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Even Great markets have slow days....

Even great markets have slow days.....
This past Saturday Washington County Artisans and Farmers once again set up shop at the Pierce Polk Vol. Fire Dept in Pekin Indiana for our Valentines weekend offering of local handmade goods and homegrown products. The day started off with a low temperature of 19 degrees F. and a bit of snow but the hot breakfast, good coffe, and friendship amongst vendors and customers definitely made the event worthwhile!
Given the weather we figured the crowd would be quite slow and that we may indeed have a few vendors cancel their appearance at the market and certainly that was the case but it didn't seem to dampen the mood too awful much as it provided the opporotunity to see the market at the opposite extreme of the spectrum compared to the success that we have had at our previous three events. Even with a small crowd and a shortened vendor list I believe all managed to have a good time and some commerce was completed on behalf of market vendors and the fire dept. As well we welcomed with open arms our new dual market masters Anne and Kevin Mutschler who brought along plenty of sunshine on a cold/gray day in the form of their ever optimistic daughter Bonnie.

We even had some fresh produce from our newest vendors R and D Aquaphonics!
As always there was a sense of comraderie and a feeling that we are building towards truly great things for our market and the wider community both within and outside of Washington County. Around 9:00 we were entertained by the strains of music coming from a music circle that we hope to see at market for the forseable future. The nice thing about a slow day at market as well is that the few customers who do come through take a bit more time to peruse items and get to know their vendors and for the vendors who attended this will pay off in spades in coming months as those customers will recall that even during the slow times we are there to provide our goods and services.

All in all a slow market day is just a small piece of the larger puzzle that makes up a successful market and is a growing experience which we can learn from. Sometimes weather and sickness will hinder our market days a bit but brings us closer to the realization that we are a family working to better not just our own business but the market as a whole. This my friends is the "value" in the experience.

We look forward greatly to our two upcoming winter market events in March. The first will once again be at The Pierce, Polk, Vol. Fire Dept with a benefit breakfast on St. Patricks Day (March 17'th) and looks to be a crowd pleaser with a longer vendor list and music circle while the second will be at The American Legion Bingo Hall in Salem Indiana on March 31'st (look forward to more info on special events for this market in the coming weeks).
-Alan Reed Bishop

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Great Glass Elevator

"....a reminder that I am not alone here..." Nothing better than that beautiful blue Febuary sky and daytime moon to remind us just how close to spring we are.
Worm Compost!

So, I teased you guys with my Great Glass Elevator plans the other day and thought I'd take a moment to snap a couple pics and share with you. One of the things that has always stuck out as a possible problem in my sustainability plan for the farm should shit ever get "that bad" was that my greenhouse set up's rely on a petroleum based economy to remain viable due to the plastic covering that needs to be replaced every four or so years. Sure it's nice having a greenhouse, but let's face it, if things are that bad and that plastic goes there's not a lot those frames are potentially good for unless you can find some sheet metal and self taping screws somewhere.

I've been contemplating building a glass house for some time but never had the materials until this past season when I helped a neighbor repair a fence in exchange for some really nice sliding glass storm doors which I put to use for this project. I've still got quite a few out in the supply pile that I'm holding onto in anticipation of Kim and I moving to the backside of the property and building a passive solar greenhouse on our home.

Until then though I've been in need of a bit more space and some higher humidity conditions to help in propigating/rooting small nursery stock so I set out to find a small area of ground to house my new "Elevator" The berry patch just so happened to be just about right.

All that was needed were a few cedar posts and some nails. I recently cut some cedar posts for a friend as a custom order and went ahead and droped the needed posts for this project at the same time, so technically I actually got paid to cut my own posts...... :) I love it when plans work out like that.

Anyhow, one of the other varied needs on the farm was that of a solar dehydrator, I can, in a pinch dry things on racks in the greenhouse and cure turkish tobacco on a specially made tobacco lath rack out there but air control and humidity control are a real pain even with electricity in what amounts to a glorified cold tunnel and without electricity (SHTF) how can I be expected to dry bulk amounts of food?

This project has completely solved that issue. As you can see from the photos below the new greenhouse is in no way air tight, in fact theres lots of fairly large sized cracks and crevices currently filled in with old greenhouse plastic and feed sacks as well the backside of the greenhouse has one window on the outside bottom and one on the inside top leaving a six inch gap with a 12-14 inch differential, the door is also removable on the front and the house is positioned in a north east/south west direction for air flow! This should make for a nice, naturally regulated dehydration house!

While building the house I knew that it wouldn't be heated and that I would need to make up for the lack of heat early in the year with heat sinks if possible thusly the tables you see (soon there will be a set of three shelves around the two side walls and back wall) are set atop of 50 gallon blue poly barrels filled with water (3 to be exact) this is probably actually a bit overkill in a house this small but time and experience will be the true judge.

Also included below are some pics of the nursery stock I started propigating today. Anyhow, enjoy.

Propigation materials from left to right: Blackberry rootstock, Bishop's Dewberry cuttings, Jewel Black Raspberry cuttings, Burbank "Snowbank" blackberry root cuttings.
And thusly spring 2012 begins!
The Great Glass Elevator (or variously The Cosmic Cube!)

Monday, January 30, 2012

An idea to bring something special back to pekin....

Some of you may not know but my hometown Pekin Indiana is well known for one thing; hosting the longest consecutive running 4'th of July celebration! It's something I am immensley proud of (along with much of the other local history of the area) and something that anyone else in Pekin or Washington County should be proud of. Unfortunately for the entirity of my lifetime the celebration has been on a downhill slide (minus the awesome Guiness world record breaking spoon playing of Pekin native Steve Tankersly at this past years celebration) and has moved away from anything which for the most part represents the town, the culture and least of all the history.

In the past several years short of a prince and princess and king and queen contest the celebration has failed to celebrate what makes this town unique, sinking down to having a small midway, cheap Chineese made crap trinkets, and a flea market. To me this is unacceptable. As well far too much money has been spent on far little.

Fortunately this year I decided to get involved and contribute some ideas. I don't expect all of my ideas to necessarily be well accepted and nor do I believe my ideas will change the festival in a single year, but you have to start somewhere. The biggest hurdle likely will be getting others in my age group involved in the festival (well that and the fact that the deed to the park includes a covenant against alcohol on the premises).

Ultimately, it all seems to be working out for the better as the Pekin Betterment (this is the organization, independent of the town, responsible for the festival) welcomed me in with open arms and they seem to be aware that new blood is needed and things need to change. Part of this is likely due to the deep deficit they have ran in recent years hiring in outside musical acts and over priced midway equipment.

Some of the valid points I have tried to bring to the table include:
-Why do we pay musicians and entertainment from out of town that are not related to our culture or history in any way and serve only to cheapen the event. Moreover, why do we pay at all, if this festival was where it needed to be it would be a privelage for these folks to play at the event.
-Why do we not have historical re-enactments including demonstrators as well as revolutionary and union and confederate troops on hand
-Why do we need a midway when we could instead bring the community together and make it a more memorable event for all involved by having childrens games such as sack races, cornhole, watermelon eating contests, exct as well as sports based contests with community teams.
-Why do we have a flea market that is litterally on the leading edge of the festival where it can be seen by all who pull up. It looks bad on the town and the culture.
-Why is it reffered to as "Pekin Park" when it was deeded as "Gills Grove" to the betterment/town and should be billed as such in honor of the family who donated it.

Luckily, for the most part these folks have been highly receptive to my thoughts and ideas. Part of this I believe is due to the fact that I am part of the new Washington County Artisans and Farmers project that is bringing a new market and commerce into the town and particularly the park. In fact, they have gone way out of their way to offer the new market a spot on the Saturday of the celebration for a way discounted price in order to allow the market to set up during the busiest time in the town. This is something that prior to my joining we were told was off limits and I've been told that we are given this chance so that eventually with can replace the flea market with something totally new, unique, and authentic! I am beyond excited about this

When I brought up the games, they were very interested in my ideas as well. I will follow up on that soon enough.

But most excitingly of all, when I pointed out to them how far the festival had fallen in terms of most of the town avoiding it up until last year when the local spoon player broke a world record and brought the community together again, they agreed and realize they need that "feeling" consistently from year to year and gave me permission to move forward with an idea for the mainstage for this year, so here I present it to you, my faithfull blogger and homegrown audience for review and commentary.

Before reading, here is a bit of history about a subject mentioned. The Pekin Panther is a local legend that has been bandied about for well over 100 years. Cougars are native to Indiana and were once common here although common knowledge dictates that they are all gone from the area (despite constant sightings in neighboring Illinois and recently Indiana). From time to time you will hear folks bring up this living legend as well as sightings therof. Buster Crockett was the town barber at one point, this automatically makes him the center of many past "liars circles" likely many that included Panther stories. Think of him as a modern day Floyd the Barber.

At the moment this is simply a rough concept of an event that will be held at the 2012 Pekin Indiana 4'th of July Celebration. To better cater the event to the town and community at large this page will stand as a way to solicit ideas for this contest as well as to form ...a committee who will help see this event to fruition. If you would like to serve on the committe which will entail helping work out details as well as judging and signing up participants or if you would be interested in participating please e-mail Alan Bishop at or call 812-967-2073.

The Ol' Liars Club
2012 Pekin Indiana 4'th Of July Celebration
A celebration of the long held small town tradition of stretching the truth to it's breaking point without cracking a smile!
By : Alan Reed Bishop

Every small town business establishment has one. It's not even discrete, in fact, if you walk into a locally owned resteraunt, caffee, gas station, barber shop, local tavern, or any other institution which actively fosters socialization, you are likely to wonder what all that ruckus over in the corner is about. It's the local Liars club, usually a group of older fellows sharing stories of bygone eras and conquests which may or may not be grounded in some amount of truth.

Often these clubs turn into events of their own, a reminder of our culture, a reminder of what having "character" is all about. Local legends are born this way. Pekin Panthers, 500 lb watermelons and fourty foot Tall mushrooms notwithstanding, it is through these stories that any local "everyman" can become something of a local institution. The best examples are the stories from which you can't seperate the milk from the cream or the lie from the truth, even better are those instances where one mans bending of the truth becomes a full on group effort with each of the participants taking their turn greasing the axels of what constitutes "truth".

We would like to see this local institution celebrated. Particularly in the year when Buster Crockett is being celebrated. Mr. Crockett surely participated and or overheard more than his far share of these circles in his days cutting the hair of some of the best lia...storytellers in the town.

Some may wonder why one would want to celebrate something as devious as a lie, it's quite simple really, it's entertaining and it keeps one on their toes, oftent the lie is told in front of a newcomer to see just how quick on his toes he/she truly is, this is often a sign of being invited into the community and an assurance that next time the joke won't be on you.

The idea:

Part one:

Do you have a story to tell, can you stretch the truth in a believable way? Can you do so without cracking a smile? If you can and you can do so in 15 minuites or less come and visit us at the festival. Tell the town your story and make whatever embelishments (family friendly) you can. The more mundane the story begins and the more exuberently it is skewed the better. At the end of the day we will pick ten "storytellers" to put on stage the next day. Props and audience participation will be encouraged!

Part two:
The next day we will put the ten winners on stage in a circle with Buster Crockett presiding as he would have in the days of his barber shop. The ten contestants will be encouraged to begin a dialoge, based on the local legend of the Pekin Panther, from there they will collaboratively craft a story for the audience based on local townsfolk and should be encouraged to use the names of townsfolk as they craft the story. Our special invited guest on stage at this time will be Steve Tankersly, in honor of his gift to our town via his world record breaking spoon playing at last years celebration.

The Rest:

We will actively seek the help of Traditional Arts Indiana or any other interested parties in recording the event for posterity.


I'm still not sure how to handle this part, perhaps a "key that opens any door in the town" would be a nice sybolic prize as it could be used in future contests as part of a story. I could possibly also work with Washington County Artisans and Farmers on a gift certificate.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New tobacco lath display racks available.

Soap Drying Dish of Tobacco Lath. 4.50 each.

Soap Racks 25.00 each

Chapstick Rack 40.00 Each

We've been making a lot of new tobacco lath items lately, mostly in the form of various display racks including seed racks, soap racks, and chapstick display racks. I thought I would include a few photos here. If your interested in purchasing some let us know.

As well, we also have some new Face Of The Earth 9 Variety seed racks (five packs each) avalable for sale for 150.00. Seed rack included (you can see one of these on the very end of the market table below)

Above you can see our table from our recent farmers market event. Upfront is the four rail chapstick rack. It's made completely of tobacco lath and has a full back. There is also an area that's empty in the front for displaying either salves/creams/soap exct. These are 40.00 each. Directly behind this and to each side are our soap racks, these are 15 inches by 15 inches and fold down flat, they also have legs bolted on with wingnuts to tighten down. 25.00 each.

Another picture of the previously mentioned. ON the far end of the table you can (barely) see the seed rack. The seed rack is 10 x 10 inches with 9 seed compartments. 100% made of tobacco lath and all seeds are Face Of The Earth produced and grown. Seed includes: Paradigm Red Tomato Landrace, Prometheus Yellow Tomato Landrace, Phoenix Pink Tomato Landrace, Landrace Cucumber, Landrace Moschata Squash, El Diablo Tobacco, Aunt Nellies Mushroom Bean, Rattlesnake Bean, Astronomy Domine Sweet Corn, GNR Okra Grex.

We can and do also make other custom display Racks, just let us know what you want and we will quote you a price. E-mail: or call 812-967-2073

Your Friendly Neighborhood Artisans and Farmers Market.......

A couple pictures of the Bishop's Homegrown/Uncle Penn's/Face Of The Earth Seed Co stand prior to opening of the market!

This past Saturday our new Washington County and Artisans Market had the privelage of hosting our third ever winter market (with the much appreciated assistance of The Salem Indiana American Legion) in Salem Indiana at the American Legion Bingo Hall in Salem Indiana. This was a big, actually huge, step for our organization as it was the largest event we have yet put together as well as our first independent event and the first yet in neighboring Salem Indiana.

We had about 21 vendors turn out for the event which was held in what had previously been a town grocery store. Everyone was in good spirits and there was a general feeling of excitement in the air as what is slowly becoming a community event unfolded in front of everyone . The melding of music with the exchange of money for locally produced and grown goods and the smell and taste of soup and sandwhiches (provided as a benefit to the market by board members) created a wonderful atmosphere which really brought forth what a market is all about.

Despite the event being held in late January there was some produce at this market as our new vendors R and D Aquaphonics were kind enough to bring along some hydrophonically grown greens and Joanne Jackson reminded us spring was around the corner with her beuatiful and flowering perrinial plants. .

If this is anything representative of what this new market is capable of I would say Washington County is in for a big treat this coming summer at our main market location at the Pekin Park in Pekin Indiana (also known as Gill's Grove). Big things are on the horizon and I for one am beyond proud to have been a part of it both as a board member and as a vendor!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sustainability awareness in Washington County...perhaps it's getting through.

The past seven months have been fairly busy for me between working on the farm and adding a lot of new projects to the business as well as working on community projects. All of these things have definitely contributed to my lack of presence here on the blog and at Homegrown Goodness but those sacrifices have been well worthwhile considering the payoffs.

I've heard more locally in common everday conversations and political conversations about sustainability in the "status quo" as well as in TEOTWAWKI situations that I ever have in the past. Conversations which might lead to bigger projects for the local community in the future but which are leading to fairly paradigm shifting moments in the present. Hell, I even spoke in front of the Washington County Chamber Of Commerce about plant breeding and sustainability this year and ran head first into folks more than willing to concede that we need a council to discuss and implement agricultural, cultural, and local economy based sustainability in this county. Something I will soon persue.

In the meantime I've been working towards agricultural history with my place at Old Settlers Days and hopefully the same will be said for my position in the Pekin Betterment.

The biggest and thus far most fulfilling (simply because it's further along) is the new Washington County Artisans and Farmers Market. Washington county has needed an alternative market for a long time, particularly one that was inclusive of local artisans and crafters so that they too have a venue through which to move their handmade and hopefully culturally signifigant work. The board is a nice mix of at large and producer members and we all share the same goal of both making the new market sucessful in terms of a farmers market but also in terms of economic development and agritourism opporotunities.

Me, I see it a little deeper than the other probably just because my awareness and knowledge of the shifting paradigm of government, economy, and agriculture and just how fucked were about to be by the system crash that's bound to come, so it's my hope (on top of those mentioned above) to also create barter and trade systems amongst vendors and community so that in the course of things going south we have some system which is still managable within the community of holding onto some level of sanity and comfort.

The one downside of the farmers market is our inability to have alcoholic beverages on the premises of the farmers market since it is on town property that was deeded over with the provision that no alcohol be allowed on the property. This is something that comes up over and over again in discussions with the board and in other areas of improvement and awareness of Washington County and it's unique wears. Since the Pekin Betterment also operates out of the park there too can be no alcohol via the Fourth of July Celebration. When it comes to Old Settlers Days in Salem, I'm still not sure of the opporotunities (probably if I joined the chamber I would have a better idea). This really is something that from an economic and tourism perspective we are missing out on as there are some fantastic beer brewers and wine vinters around and if anything draws a crowd it's good alcohol. This is the point of view by which most of my contemporaries also view the situation, purely from an economical and tourism view along with an express interest in seeing community members business flourish and artisan wares take off, but there is another side to it that relates just as much to TEOTWAWKI as well; alcohol and tobacco (also perfectly legal to sale uncut and in hands) will very well be a big part of the sustainability of Washington County should things get, shall I say, "That bad.". Nay, even in my opinion should be included some of the finest "likker" to ever roll off a still in the state of Indiana should be included (for the sake of either the Artisan status quo reasons or the other aforementioned) but would require an act of god to make happen given the start up costs of going "legit", none the less, we all know it exists and will be there when needed.

The third and newest part of this whole Washington County waking up paradigm is an article that one of my farmers market board members shared with the group today about a school on the other side of the county (West Washington) and some children there interested in growing a larger proportion of the cafeteria food in a hydrophonic, on site greenhouse (I'll hold my tounge and content about hydrophonic and sustainability but it's a step in the right direction). This gives me much hope that perhaps Salem and my own Alma Matter Eastern will begin to promote such ideas and begin the ball rolling on their own food growing enterprises. In fact, when I was in high school we had a fantastic and deep agriculture program which taught even quite advanced plant propigation, landscaping, botany, animal science, and horticulture at a college level (to those students like me who actually paid attention) so theres no reason that this could not be furthered. In fact, it's my opinion that not only should all schools have a greenhouse for production of food but they should include at least some number of chickens for producing eggs as well as a small research garden and a small orchard. Seed saving and gardening should be prerequisite courses for graduation as both can be applied to any situation in which you might be living your future life as there are now so many balcony, rooftop, and urban gardens.

None the less, if you appreciate such things, please take a moment to check out the link to the West Washington project that I am about to leave and donate a few dollars to further the cause of sustainability in Washington County. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evaluating Waxy Maize Germplasm

This past winter my good friend Castanea at Homegrown Goodness was kind enough to send me some bulk packages of Waxy Maize seed from Lion Seed. Three varieties in total which I posted pictures of on the blog back when. Two of these were hybrids and a third was OP all being white and 90 days to maturity (he also sent a yellow flint which was high oil and ended up in a backcross to Amanda Palmer this season).

I set out to test the germplasm this summer past. Due to cross pollination concerns with the wide range of DTM in my Amanda Palmer and flint corn populations I didn't bother to plant the Waxy corn until late June/Early July. I knew this would have a major effect on it's productivity. As well it was planted on unamended soil which had not been treated with lime in several years.

The corn germinated quickly and seemed to grow well. It had a a bit of a nitrogen deficiency but continued on quite well regardless. By mid-October some of the corn was drying down and ready for harvest. As expected the harvest was a bit nill due to the late planting and fertility factors, none the less, I was rewarded with plenty of good seed for replanting this coming season.

A few observations about the corns growth that I made. It seemed to me the stalks were a bit fragile and pithy but this could be due once again to lack of nitrogen. The cob formation seems quite squat and the way the husk develops and connects to the handle is a bit odd with the husk itself having almost a vegetable quaility to it with a texture like that of the inside of a cabbage at the base of the cob. I did sample some of the corn in the milk stage and the flavor was similar to that of an SU sweet corn. Once I had dried ears in hand I took some of those that I rejected for seed and fed them out in an animal preference test to the pigs as well as the turkeys. 3 to 1 the animals seemed to prefer the waxy maize to Amanda Palmer, likely even they know they are able to process more of the starch than in a dent line.

This coming year I hope to grow a quarter acre and take a better look at the corn in more ideal conditions. One of the other major issues I experienced with the waxy corn was the preference deer and raccons and squirrels also showed for the corn so it's going to have to be planted somewhere a bit closer to the house and human activity that I am accustomed to planting Amanda Palmer for instance. This season I will also add a sample of colored waxy maize I recieved from my good friend Joseph Lofthouse as well.

New Peace Seeds Blog and 2012 seed list

Check it out at lots of great stuff!

Also gotta love anybody who uses the term "OG since 73"

And I got a shout out in there too, that's kind of tantamount to Geddy Lee giving me a shout out at a Rush show.

Tobacco Lath Display Racks

One thing that I've always been at a loss for at the farmers markets I've done is good display racks for handmade stuff and seeds. Recently I started building a few out of tobacco lath. I've had some luck selling some of these and thought I'd share with my blog readers as some of you might be interested.
These ladder racks are fantastic for displaying handmade washrags exct. Or if you screw some i-hooks into them are great for displaying earrings. 20.00 plus shipping.

Next up are these custom made soap racks, they fold flat with the addition of a bolt and wing nut. These are 15 x 15 inches. I can make them like this or vertical racking as well. 25.00 each plus shipping.

Next up are seed racks we did for Fresh Start Growers supply in louisville KY. We can make these of any size you might want or need and make custom signs for them if needed as well. We also currently have three Face Of The Earth 10 variety seed racks for sale at 225.00 (the seeds alone would normally be 300.00) with your choice of seeds from Face Of The Earth (Amanda Palmer is completely sold out however). We can make you a custom seed rack for your needs. Just shoot as an e-mail or phone call (812-967-2073) for particulars

Monday, January 9, 2012

Uncle Penns Circle W Old Fashioned Lye Soap shipping prices and cataloug.

Left to right/top to bottom: Working Man, Grit Getter, Aunt Hazel, Honey Wine, American Castille, Mull Digger, Dumb Ass Country Boy.

Grit Getter and Polenta from our newest recipie; much better lather with a balance of cleansing and conditioning properties. We haven't yet designed a wrapper for Polenta so allow me to introduce it: Polenta is a spin off of grit getter, this time without honey and with the addition of chamomille, lots of corn notes in a fresh clean scent. Great lathering properties and fantastic for getting the dirt off at the end of the day. The corn is well ground and close to corn meal in consistency so is suitable for a body bar. 5 ounce bars.

Uncle Penn's "Workin' Man": That he was! And of course theres that song ("I get up, seven yeah, go to work at nine" so what if the lyrics were a bit of a late starter!). This ones a straight up coffee scrub with a bit of honey for some "smellum good". Lot's of coffee grounds (home roasted from Sweet Maria's fair trade) for that extra grit you need to scrub out those deep workin man stains and as always some honey to help moisturize. 5% superfated too with the light scent of honey

American Castille! This ones made from Sunflower Oil as opposed to Olive Oil. Sunflower and Olive oil share many similar properties with sunflower giving a bit of vitamin E to the mix. We use an Elderberry Wine base and add some homegrown honey to the mix with 5% superfat. A great skin conditioning soap for those with dry skin! 5 ounce bar.

HomeBrew/Honeywine/Yeah Buddy: A blend of homebrewed wine and beer meets up with old fashioned lard and lye (along with coconut and sunflower oil) and some Avena Nuda oats (farm grown) with a bit of honey and chamomille to give you that kick in the pants you've been looking for. 5% superfat and honey keeps you moisturized while the slight natural scent of honey and chamomille make you presentable for the speakeasy crowd.

Uncle Penns "Mull Digger": For those who don't know what a "Mull Digger" is down in the hills of Kentucky it's a term used to refer to a lazy or otherwise useless dog (or lazy person/a cheat) who digs for moles but never catches them, instead leaving only distruction and subsequent work in it's path. Here we use it to refer to our pine tar soap which harkens back to the days of "patent medicines...". Pine tar has been used for centuries to ward off bugs, deal with skin conditions, and mask the smell of hunters from prey. 3% superfat, coconut oil, sunflower oil, lard, rain water, and bees wax makes this superior to others. 5 ounce bars.

Uncle Penn's "Manda": Great grandma 'Manda Burns spent a lot of time rendering lard from homegrown hogs and screening potash for lye to make her families yearly supply of soap. This here is nearly as authentic and "real" as it gets. Straight up lye and lard by popular request. Pure as the driven snow and white enough to prove it. This one is 3% superfat but we can make it 0% by request. Old timers claimed it good for drying out poison ivy, washing stains from clothes, and dealing with other skin issues as well as washing out some "dirty" mouths when needed. 5 ounce bars.

Uncle Penn's Castille: Straight up olive oil with 5% superfat, a great conditioning soap with a long and strong heritage. 5 ounce bars.

Brand new and improved soap recipie and brand new shipping prices for the new year! All soaps are now 3.00 each and shipping is 3.00 a bar for single bars. Bulk prices: 6 bars for 30.00 (shipping paid) and 12 for 40.00 (shipping paid)

If you live local don't forget to check out our stands at Addison's Graphics in Salem Indiana and McCarty's Sunoco in Pekin Indiana.

Questions, inquiries, or thoughts about a custom soap order can be directed to or 812-967-2073

Send orders with either postal money order, check made out to Alan Bishop or well concealed cash to:

Alan Bishop

5604 S. State Rd. 60

Pekin IN 47165

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A few (not anywhere near...) spring (wishful thinking) updates!

I've used the past couple days of warmer weather to get a jump start on farm activities before the spring thaw (doesn't it have to freeze first?) sets in. Mostly I've focused on getting the greenhouse cleaned up after letting it go to weeds last summer and prepping the old goat pen for a new garden this year.

Here is the goat pen as it was after I moved the goats. The goats have been in this enclosure for about 3 years so there is a great layer of cold composted organic matter accross the ground. I added several five gallon buckets of wood ash and worm compost to the top of the soil by hand.

I then proceeded to turn with a soil fork. All that's left now is to add a thin layer of nitrogen (since goat manure is low in nitrogen) which is accomplished easy with a minimum of physical effort by simply luring the turkey and duck flocks into the enclosure and feeding them scratch grains accross the surface of the pen and then enclosing them for the day for a period of a couple of weeks. By the time planting time comes along the pathogen issue should be well taken care of and the usable nitrogen level should be acceptable. I always ask myself this; Why bust ass if you don't have to?

I did fire up the hotbed we built last year to make sure the heating element was still working ok and to prepare for starting onions and long season hot peppers in the coming days. All was good to go so I went ahead and built a box fram accross the top to help hold up the plastic this year as the condensation on that sheet of plastic last year was more than enough that a few mornings I came out and the plants were laid out flat due to the water collecting on the plastic. Somewhere around here I have some grow tunnel hoops that I need to affix to the box to help support the plastic and get some more light penetration, if I can dig them out in the coming days I may go ahead and do that.

I've still got to get the rest of the propigation equipment sterilized and the floor swept and ready to go but at least all the tables and equipment is in place and still functional for yet another year. As you can tell the greenhouse isn't much of a "commercial" destination, just one for utilitarian commerce and production of good plants. Nothing fancy here, just usable and functional.

Being the scavenger of materials that I am I long ago canibalized the cinder blocks and the hog pannels that I bought with the greenhouse and used for tables for years in order to make trellis systems for blackberries and raspberries and beans exct. Instead these days, as with most other things I build that don't have to be permenant, used pallets do the trick.

Finally, just for fun a pic of the turkey and duck flocks respectively.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Uncle Penns Circle W Old Fashioned Lye Soap

Uncle Penns Circle W Lye Soap inventory.

We've been refining our products the past couple of weeks, changing up the recipie a bit and finding what shoes fit us best. It's our goal to provide a useful, healthful, and well rounded American product that is utiliterian in nature (no need to pretend to be Bath and Body supply for us!) and speaks to those folks who like life like us, simple. What we've come up with fits our personality here Bishop's Homegrown: The Southern Indiana source for Eco-Logical produce! well and matches our needs (cleaning and conditioning of the skin) and we believe our customers would agree! In this spirit we have decided on a number of utiliterian soap types including Grit Getter (corn and honey), Polenta (corn and chamomille), Home Brew/Yeah Buddy (Elderberry Wine, Honey, Chamomille, and oats)Workin Man (coffe scrub), Manda (old fashioned lye soap with well water), Mull Digger (pine tar), Castille (Olive Oil and well water), American Castille (Sunflower oil, Elderberry Wine, Honey) to make up the bulk of our year round offerings. Other soaps will be seasonal in nature. All of these soaps use the same formula consisting of coconut oil, lard, sunflower oil, and beeswax (except of course Manda, Castille, and American Castille which are lard, olive oil, and sunflower oil respectively) and all (except "Manda" which is 3%) are 5% superfated for their moisturizing properties

honey to the mixAnother new one we came up with; American Castille. This one is made from Sunflower oil which has much in common with Olive Oil just with the addition of naturally occuring vitamin E. We throw in some homegrown honey and beeswax and superfat to 5% with an Elderberry Wine base.

For those with retail locations we do have soap racks available complete with retail racks for our other future products including kisser fixer. Get with us at or 812-967-2073 about getting a rack in your location!

All of our soaps are now 4.00 each. Were still working on some new bulk shipping prices and options. Individual bars are 3.00 each shipped. All soaps are at least 4.5-5.0 ounces.

Send order inquiries to or call Alan Bishop 812-967-2073

Now Accepting 2012 Farmstand Credit customers

Tell me this isn't an awesome deal? More bang for your buck and more choices! Please pass it on!

Bishop's Homegrown Farm Stand Credit Program! A new local/regional CSA program alternative. Providing more convenience and better value to our community. For 2012 Season.Bishop's Homegrown is a small Eco-Logical and self sustainable farm in the town of Pekin Indiana. We are family owned and a fourth generation farm focused on providing quality produce from yesteryear as well as the new food and flower crops of the future to our valued friends and community members.

We use the strictest possible sustainable guidelines for on farm food production and make no exceptions. We feel that it is of utmost importance that locavores, members of the slow food movement, and community members, know who and from where their food comes from and how it is grown. We produce 90% of our own seed crops as well as 100% of our own organic fertilizer and we never ever opt for chemical options to control pests or disease issues on farm, feeling that growing food “eco-logically” is the only alternative to our failing food system in the United States.

We have searched the world over to bring you the most unique, exciting, and rare food crops from diverse cultures the world over with an emphasis on nutrition and taste! Our doors are always open to our community and customers who we encourage to visit the farm in order to see and know where and how their food was grown. Food security begins when a relationship is formed between the community and its farmers, this essential connection is what allowed civilization to flourish 10,000 years ago.This year we would like to introduce you to our newest program which we feel you will find immense value in!

The Farm Stand Credit Program: The concept of Community Supported Agriculture (AKA. CSA) is generally defined as a mutually beneficial arrangement between a farmer and his customer wherein the customer agrees to share in the risks and rewards of local farming for the benefit of their food production and the farmers well being. The CSA consumers become by proxy shareholders in the farm and it's well being by paying an upfront membership due which covers the production of food in a “Share” system. Generally a traditional CSA allows for the consumer to pay for up front costs of the farmers start up cost with the farmer reciprocating by preparing a predetermined amount of produce every week through the growing season which the shareholders pick up once a week. The farmer generally picks the produce that the customer will receive. Bishop's Homegrown is looking to create a viable alternative to the traditional CSA program by creating a farm stand coupon program which will allow customers to still share in helping us get our business going during the part of the season in which seed and implements and other essentials are being purchased while also making the relationship more convenient for the farmer and the shareholders. In this arrangement, instead of the farmer putting together a box of produce weekly he has selected for you you will instead receive credit from our farm which will allow you to visit our farm stand or farm where you can make your selection of produce that we have available including also a selection of seedlings, nursery stock, seeds, compost, poultry and other items from our farm.

This program gives you the opportunity to decide what you want instead of us deciding what you want. Every $100 you invest will also get you a 10% discount which means that you will actually get 10% more produce for your food dollars.

Our produce will be available to you via Washington County Artisans and Farmers market held at Pekin Park in Pekin Indiana on Saturday Mornings from 8 AM to 12 PM as well as at all subsequent “winter markets” held at the Pierce Polk Vol Fire Dept. in Pekin Indiana (as well as any additional events) For convineince you can also schedule a time to pick up things or peruse the fields here at the farm!. It is important to note that we don't usually deal in custom ordered bulk produce on a normal basis (i.e., a bushel beans, or a bushel of corn) but that when these items are available at market, as they often are, your credit can be used to purchase them as well.

How much does it cost? The investment levels start at 50.00. An investment at the 100 dollar or above level will earn you a 10% discount which means that an investment at the $100 level only costs you $90! Thats right; $100 dollars of credit only costs $90! That's essentially the same as getting $10 of produce free just for paying ahead of time! Your credit is good for two years which means that whatever is not spent this season can be carried over to next season! The maximum investment is $500.

Here is the layout:
$50 credit for $50
$100 credit for $90
$200 credit for $180
$300 credit for $270
$400 credit for $360
$500 credit for $450

How will we keep track of your credit?
Good old fashioned pen and paper, anytime you make a purchase we will deduct that price from our ledger. You will receive a receipt after each transaction so you too can keep track of the amount of produce purchased.What if I make it to market late and you are out of what I want? Unfortunately this may happen from time to time which is why we are keeping the investment level low to start with. Sometimes we just flat out run out of an item due to popularity. The best bet is to show up to market early, the best of the best goes quickly!

There are occasions when we may not be able to make it to market from time to time due to emergencies or just the need to take a break here and there but we will inform you a few days ahead of time via e-mail (unless it's a last minute emergency) that we will not be at market in the coming week.

What can I purchase with Bishops homegrown credit? Does this offer only include produce? No, any item we bring to market is eligible for purchase via this credit, including seeds, plants, seedlings, poultry (chicks), occasionally rabbits, compost, fishing worms, handcrafts including soap and wood working or any other product we have at market or our farm stand. We also occasionally have winter produce available. This also covers poultry butchered here on the farm including a Thanksgivning turkey. This also includes nursery stock and our new Face Of The Earth Seed company seeds!

Payment is due by the February 2012 in order that we know what we have in the bank and can plan accordingly. Payment can be made by check, money order, or well concealed cash. Credit takes effect immediately and rolls over for a two year period.

Make checks or money orders payable to: Alan Bishop 5604 S. State Rd. 60 Pekin IN include a note with your full name, address, e-mail address, phone number and a list of people who you will allow to purchase items with your credit if you need to send someone to the farm stand in your place! If you have any questions feel free to e-mail or give me a call at 812-967-2073