Farm Life Update – Growing Fruits and Vegetables from Seeds, New Business Partners and Non-Stop Road Trips

Hey, hey, hey! How’s everyone doing? I’ve been away from this blog for exactly two months and it’s all for good reasons. How I wished I was sleeping and resting the whole time but it was actually the opposite! After I did that 30-day blog post challenge, my life has been on hyperdrive  — I got busier than ever which I never thought could be possible with the hectic life I’ve always lived! I wasn’t just checking things off my to-do list… I was actually busy “being” the person I always wanted to be — a mother, a traveler, an entrepreneur. And it’s all great! Let me itemize what I mean. I am OC that way… lol!

 

1. BEING A MOM TO TUZ IN HIS TERRIBLE TWO’S

Tuz at two

Tuz is now 2 years and 8 months old. But it’s just this past month that he has started being terrible! Before that, he was just his usual hyperactive self but never this terrible. Now, he is very demanding more than ever. He throws tantrums like there’s no tomorrow! I am literally going crazy deep inside! I’ve had all these thoughts of going away and going back to my old life of being childless and carefree! Have you ever felt that way too, dear mommies? But who am I kidding? I couldn’t survive a day without my baby! Talk about living in irony, LOL. Thank God for Mahal for always being the more patient of us. He not only calms Tuz down. He calms me down as well. Right now, Tuz is his most behaved self (a.k.a sleeping) which is why I am able to finish this blog post which I’ve started drafting a month ago! A month ago! Arrrgh. Lol!

 

2. PLANTING, GROWING, HARVESTING MUSHROOMS AND VEGETABLES

During the day, when we’re at the farm, Mahal is either busy overseeing the mushroom harvest for sale or planting seeds and harvesting vegetables like Arugula which we also sell online and ship nationwide…

harvesting arugula

… or culturing mushrooms so we can slowly fill our mushroom growing house that can house 10,000 mushroom fruiting bags.

mushroom culture

It’s a slow process since we don’t have a lot of people to help us and there are other crops, harvests and errands to take care of. So, “slowly but surely we’ll get there” is our motto.

While Mahal is busy doing his thing, and Tuz is taking his nap or busy playing safely at the farm, I am also busy growing seeds, rooting cuttings, taking care of plants…

growing seeds

These are seeds of the Cherries and Plums Mahal’s eldest sister brought to the Philippines from Belgium. I also have Mango seeds. I put them in my magic wet tissue and microwavable container to help them grow. It’s the way I’ve growm my other seeds before. The husks I just put on the herb beds as fertilizers. 😁😁😁

growing seeds

Remember the lemon seeds I kept in a wet tissue and sealed in small plastic bags last May 30? They’ve now sprouted! I’ve transferred them to seedling bags to let them grow some more before transplanting them directly to the soil.

growing seeds

These are Mango and Marang seeds I almost forgot I’ve left in wet tissue in microwavable containers. After a month, they’ve already sprouted and grown! I’ve already transplanted them to seedling bags.

Herb Cuttings for Rooting

One of my favorite things each week is harvesting my favorite herbs (basil, mint, choco mint, stevia, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, dill, parsley, celery), arugula, camote tops, pomelo, starfruit, jackfruit and mushrooms for our personal consumption and for rooting purposes so the herbs can propagate some more. Thank you, God!!!

 

3. MARKETING OUR MUSHROOM CHILI PASTE

I’ve also been spending time marketing and distributing our product (Mushroom Chili Paste) and fresh produce. Last June, we’ve partnered with two companies to help us market our product …

Bittersweet Cafe

Our Mushroom Chili Paste is now available at Bittersweet Cafe at Gingoog City and Uptown CDO. The owners, Rorich R. Baguio and wife Shyra, are the same makers of Kapeng Lumad, a brand of coffee that is locally produced.

The Trading Post

Our Mushroom Chili Paste is now available at The Trading Post inside Watergate Boutique Hotel in Butuan City. It is owned by a couple, Jimbo and Shayla Sanchez, who sell carefully curated products locally produced in Mindanao. 

 

4. PLANNING FOR OUR 8-HECTARE FARMLANDS

Mahal’s farmlands total to 8 hectares. The whole thing is located in separate locations in the same municipality as opposed to just being this one huge land. We only got to think about our plan for it when we met with Carmelo Tugas, a fellow agripreneur and proponent of organic vegetable farming here in Northern Mindanao. He owns Gat’s Garden Trading Post in Initao and will soon be opening a branch in Ayala Mall Centrio in downtown Cagayan de oro City (target date: Aug. 10, 2018). He asked us to be one of their vegetable suppliers should we be able to fulfill certain requirements for his business. And one of those requirements is to plot the land where we are currently planting and other areas we’re planning to plant soon. So we sent him this drawing which is just half a hectare of land we’re currently developing:

Vegetable garden plot

It does not yet include the land where the old farmhouse is with my working shed and mountain office:

Nakakatuwa naman, nag take ng initiative yung isang caretaker namin na gawan ako ng munting opisina dito sa farm. Dito kasi malakas ang signal ng data. Goodbye big umbrella! Hello little bamboo hut! Hindi na ko mababasa ng ulan at maarawan. Thank you, Nic-Nic!

One of our caretakers took the initiative to make a simple hut made from a bamboo tree planted by Mahal’s mom 20 years ago. This is where the wifi signal usually is so now at least I can work online even while raining. ^_^

farm lab

Our caretakers built me a mini farm shed/lab out of bebe Jae Haerys’ mom’s bamboo tree. This is where I’ll be doing my rooting and replanting experiments from now on. Yey!!!

It also does not include the other half hectare of land which we turned into a corn and bean field. After a month since the seeds have been planted, our corn and beans are growing beautifully. Thank you, God!

For those who are asking why we chose corn and beans, they’re practically very hassle-free crops. You just plant them and sort of forget about them. After a few months, they’re ready to harvest! So until we can figure out what to do with this piece of land, we’re planting it with corn and beans first. Less hassle for us, and more money coming in later on.

corn and bean field

This was a month ago after the field was sown with corn and bean seeds.

corn and bean field

This was 3 weeks ago after the corn and bean seeds were sown.

farm life

This was 2 weeks ago when we last checked our corn and bean field. They’re now growing beautifully. I bet they’re taller now!

So that’s just about 1 hectare of land in total that we are currently developing. There are 7 more hectares we are plotting and will be plowing starting this month.

So, hopefully, Carmelo finds our farm suitable to join his business. We’re excited and can’t wait to do what’s next. Praying we get included. (Update: we’ll be supplying his shop in Centrio with white oyster mushrooms soon! So excited!!!)

 

5. EXPERIMENTING WITH POSSIBLE DISHES FOR OUR FUTURE FARM CAFE

I’ve also been experimenting with healthy and colorful dishes we can offer at our future farm cafe. It’s always good to nurture your dreams so they can come true sooner. ❤

Tuscany Highlands Farm Dishes

Most of the food you see on the plates are from our farm which we’ve grown and produced organically like Arugula, basil, string beans, rose apple, starfruit, mango, jackfruit, mushrooms, mint, and other herbs.

 

6. DOING A MINDANAO ROAD TRIP

Then there were the two weeks when we went on a road trip (Cagayan de Oro – Bukidnon – Davao – Camiguin – Cagayan de Oro) because Mahal’s eldest sister came home from Belgium and we toured her around together with her partner and daughter.

Eden Nature Park

Ate Eden Nature Park in Davao

Stargate Resort

At Stargate Resort in Cagayan de Oro

Camiguin Old Church Ruins

At the old Church Ruins in Camiguin

 

7. BEING HAPPY DOING WHAT I LOVE

When we came back from the trip, we had to attend to several pending errands and business meetings and of course the whole time, my being a full-time mom, partner and online entrepreneur never took a break, albeit, more clients got onboard for special projects. My business was always blending with pleasure and my family life in general.

What literally took a break was my blogging because all my time and energy were spent on those more important priorities. And boy, was I exhausted every day from everything (like I would literally crawl to bed and pass out because of utter exhaustion)! But exhausted in a good way because our labor are now paying us small dividends. Instead of money always coming out of our pockets to pay for stuff for the farm or to pay for our rent in the city, we now have some money coming in paying for things and trickling into our savings. To wit:

– We no longer grocery shop as much because most of our food now comes from the fruit and vegetable produce here at the farm.

Fresh Farm Produce
– We only go back to our tiny pad in the city 2-3 nights a week which means less electrical consumption, therefore, less cost of elecricity bill. We also don’t have any appliances at the farm… no air conditioning since the air is naturally cool and even freezing especially at night; we don’t have TV, only a small radio; we don’t have a fridge since all fresh harvests are consumed daily, and we do our laundry in the pad once a week.

– Mushroom harvests, though still in its initial stages, are now giving us small daily income. We consign some of our fresh white oyster mushrooms to local farm folks who come to the farm early every morning who resell them at the local market in Claveria or Cagayan de Oro.Fresh White Oyster Mushrooms For Sale

– The other packed mushroom harvests, our caretaker brings to vegetable stalls and stands along the highway in Lanise. Every afternoon, our caretaker gathers the revenue and it has been enough lately to pay for bills and salaries at the farm. Once a week, we bring some packed white oyster mushrooms to the city for local delivery and nationwide shipping to online customers.

White Oyster Mushrooms

– The Mushroom Chili Paste has been giving us extra revenue through online orders and consignments from our business partners. You can read about what our customers say about our product here: TUSCANY HIGHLANDS ORGANIC FARM MUSHROOM CHILI PASTE CUSTOMER REVIEWS (UPDATED AUG. 6, 2018)

Mushroom Chili Paste Review

– We’ve recently set up a water pump system for the farm so we can have running water and no longer rely on the rain 100% to water the crops, to take a bath, to wash the dishes, to clean whatever needs cleaning.water system

– My virtual assistant biz has always been steady with clients plus new clients coming in so despite the sleepless nights sometimes, it’s all good.

– We’re having so much fun at the farm growing plants and taking care of everything that we haven’t been going out to dine or shop in the city because we’re in the mountains after all and it’s a hassle to frequent the city just to eat out which means more money saved for Tuz’s future.

– My foreign house tenants in Alabang extended for 6 more months so that’s additional personal savings for myself as well (yey!)

– It’s like when I was just a kid… I play and enjoy myself with the numerous things I’m doing BUT this time around, my piggy bank gets slowly filled up. It’s a good feeling!

Hopefully, our finances continue to get better so we can further improve the farm. Our next projects, should God provide us with the resources, would involve the following:

  • setting up a real bathroom and toilet facility at the farm
  • building a proper kitchen and dining area (a.k.a. mini cafe)
  • building a  small concrete home so we don’t have to rent anymore in the city or live in the very old farmhouse of Mahal’s parents.

But for now, it’s all about cutting costs, saving tons, and increasing our income. All this has been very timely because my newest goal this year is to save, save, save. I may have had more money before, but I’ve also been spending a lot. And after I’ve listened to this Marie Forleo video about owning one’s finances, I’m all the more resolved to make my assets a lot bigger than my liabilities.

And now that I’ve adjusted and I’m back to my normal routine of farm life during the day and taking care of my virtual assistant biz at night, I can once again make time for blogging. Yey!!!

I’m excited to share with you how I’ve been growing my seeds, our latest business partners for the Mushroom Chili Paste and our travels! But because of my hectic life as it is, plus I’m considering taking agricultural and management training courses from TESDA and DTI and even starting my MBA this October, I can only blog once a week. And I’ve chosen Monday to be that official blogging day for Momtraneur. It gives the rest of my working week a good, healthy start. I hope it helps inspire your week as well. So tune back in next Monday. Glad to be here again!

How about you? What have you been up to lately?

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