Victory Seed Company News

What's Happening Around the Farm as well as a Soapbox for Victory Seed Co. founder, Mike Dunton

Remembering Carole . . . 1940 to 2014

One thing I love about working at the Victory Seed Company is that we have made so many friends over the decades.  So many folks have been supporting the work that we do here since our beginning and many of you probably remember the little notes that my Mom would write on your orders.  Some of you probably even got an opportunity to talk to her on the phone.

Although it may seem a little odd to some people to see an obituary on a company’s blog, hopefully you know us well enough to know that we are not a typical company.  We consider you all to be our gardening friends, our supporters, and our extended family.  So it is with sadness that I am reporting the passing of one of our family members, my Mom.

If it was not for my mother, there would be no Victory Seed Company.  Plain and simple.  Like mothers should be, she was instrumental in developing my character and encouraging my interests.  Mom was a hands-on, teach by example, kind of mother.  I give her credit for sparking my passion for gardening and the natural world.  She was an example of kindness, compassion, charity and humility.  Mom lit an entrepreneurial spirit in me and supported all of my life decisions.  She will be sorely missed.

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Carole B. Dunton, 73, of Liberal, Oregon passed away at home on March 24, 2014 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was surrounded by loved ones as she drifted off to be with the Lord.

Carole was born on December 14, 1940 in Colton, Oregon to Walter A. Axmaker and Mildred Freeman Axmaker.  She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Lawrence Dunton; two children: Mike (Denise) Dunton of Liberal; Deborah (Charles) Sang of Bloomington, Illinois; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two brothers, two sisters and the many relatives of her large extended family.

When she was a young mother and homemaker in the early 1960s, she used her entrepreneurial spirit to help subsidize the family’s income by providing daycare services and custom seamstress work. As her children grew older she reentered the workforce and held various office, banking and bookkeeping positions.  After “retiring” in the late 1990s, she used her skills and talents to help at the Victory Seed Company that her son founded on the family’s farm.

Throughout her life, Carole loved to garden and to create beautiful landscapes.  She said that she felt closest to Jesus while working in her flower gardens. After her illness progressed to the point where gardening became too difficult, her creative talents were redirected towards making beautiful quilts which she shared with the special people in her life. Her memory lives on through these quilts.

Carole touched the lives of many people over the years; sharing her love of God and her passion for life. She loved being with her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also loved her animals, singing, sewing, needlework, crafts, cooking and baking. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend.

A service celebrating Carole’s life was held on May 3rd at the Evangelical Community Chapel of which Carole was an active member.  Private entombment in the family’s mausoleum on the farm was held with immediate family members in attendance.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Carole’s memory to the Evangelical Community Chapel (29079 S Highway 213, Molalla, OR 97038) or to Oregon City Providence Hospice.

posted by Mike in Company News and have No Comments

Let Them Stand . . . Seedheads Feed Birds

This is the time of year that we are all busy cleaning up our yards and gardens and getting them ready for winter.  But if you can tolerate a little disorder in your landscape, I would ask you to consider letting some of your old flower stalks stand.

Beautifful Sunflowers in the Summer

Beautiful Sunflowers in the Summer

Although they may not be very attractive, your flower seed heads will attract and provide an important food source for overwintering and migratory birds.

Not as attractive in October, the seedheads are still beautiful in the function.

Not as attractive in October as they were in the summer, flower seed heads serve an important function of feeding overwintering and migratory birds.

 

A close up showing proof that the seeds are appreciated.

A close up showing proof that the seeds are appreciated.

So even if you look out the window and gaze out on your spent flowers, you probably will get a chance to watch flocks of birds enjoying your generosity.

posted by Mike in Gardening Tips and have No Comments
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Harvest in a Hurry

As nearly everyone around the United States will attest, it has been a very odd year weatherwise.  The week before last I was lamenting the early arrival of cool, wet, Fall weather and then this week we were setting record high temperatures.  But judging from the forecasts, it looks like our hot days are now behind us and wet weather is returning.

This creates many challenges when attempting to harvest the seeds that you all are counting on for your gardens next spring (and that we count on to support our continued seed variety preservation work).  The optimist in me is thankful that we are looking at impending periods of showers and not freezing temps.  We can put on rain and mud gear and continue our work . . . it is just not very fun.

All of this aside, we have all hands busily doing the harvest dance.  John is out in the field picking and documenting, the main part of the crew is squeezing tomatoes into containers to ferment, and I am trying to keep up with the washing, drying, and preparing the seeds for storage in preparation of germination testing and getting them ready for packaging.  And that is jut the tomato seed harvest.  Everything else is being picked and hauled into buildings and put on screens to finish drying.  It is always an exciting time bustling with activity.

A group of my immediate family members and cousins working on harvesting tomato seeds.

A group of my immediate family members and cousins working on harvesting tomato seeds.

I have posted several more harvest related photos on our Facebook page - Click Here. Folks at most other seed companies probably will find it funny how we do everything by hand.  Yes it is expensive and laborious.  But it is the only way that I can come up with to maintain our quality standards and maintain so many diverse varieties.  If folks think it is silly that we toil manually, I look at it this way, I do not have to pay for a health club membership and I think of the product we produce as something akin to a craft beer or a limited edition,, reserve or boutique wine. :)   Small batches, all by hand.

My break is over, the sun is finally breaking through the clouds, and it is time to get back out and wash tomato seeds for several more hours!

~Mike

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News and have No Comments

What Happened to July!

Time is flying around here these days.  And probably where you are too.  But what else is new, right?

The gardens are growing nicely and looking healthy.  The main crops are nearly at their peak and starting to mature.  Our Fall / Winter garden plantings are up and taking off.  With most of the hard work in the gardens all caught up (installing supports and trellises, drip irrigation lines, planting, etc.), we have been able to start working on annual maintenance and construction projects.

If you have been with us for some time, you know that our seedhouse project has been progressing over the years, in stages, as we can afford it.  This past week, another little piece was completed.  We finished work on pouring a concrete slab in front of the receiving doors. This will make unloading trucks so much easier.  Since the job required some excavation, I used that gravel to form up a little, but much needed, parking area.  Little things like this make it more efficient and tidier around here.

The hay crew showed up this morning and started mowing.  With the very odd start to the season this year (wet then hot then wet then hot . . .), this is only the second time in the 25 years that I have been operating the farm that we got a second cutting of hay off of the fields!

This is just a quick update to let you know what has been going on around the farm.  From all of us at the Victory Seed Company, we hope that you are having a great summer.

~Mike

 

 

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News and have No Comments

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