May 25, 2015 Farm News


The usual garden view early on a May 25 morning. Things here are growing fairly well.

The usual garden view early on a May 25 morning. Things here are growing fairly well.

We certainly need rain and a good lot of it too.  If we were to get 2 to 3 cm over a 24 to 48 hour period that would be perfect.  Perfection will likely elude us for some time yet and we will have to do much irrigating in the garden.  The pastures however must wait for rains and while they are alright just now, they will soon rapidly begin to wilt and brown.  This has already happened on some small areas throughout the pastures, spots where it is sandier and on tops of knolls. The hay crop may be down too.  The volume of hay is likely to be somewhat less.

The cows still sleeping.  Quite happy these days being finally out on the grass.  We were delaying until the pasture got a good rain but the rain didn't come and the cows had to go to pasture.

The cows still sleeping. Quite happy these days being finally out on the grass. We were delaying until the pasture got a good rain but the rain didn’t come and the cows had to go to pasture.

The cow, horse, sheep, donkey, and feathered animal department is all well.

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The other half of the work gang putting the compost on the potatoes.  There were more young workers but they went for a drink.

The other half of the work gang putting the compost on the potatoes. There were more young workers but they went for a drink.

he garden planting continues,  the frost on Saturday morning was quite severe though with great good fortune we had no damage at all in the garden.  A few leaves on a single Rhubarb clump seem to have suffered a bit but that was all and that was outside the garden.  Leaves on many trees and shrubs, Catalpa, Walnut, Hackberry, the wild Grape  were among the most effected with some of the trees and the Grape having all their leaves destroyed by the frost.  They will likely all recover though this will stress them no doubt and may  with another stressor later in the season cause some of these plants to die over next winter.

A row ogf garlic in the centre, spinach and carrots doing well in the mulched rows to the left and broad beans and onions to the right.

A row ogf garlic in the centre, spinach and carrots doing well in the mulched rows to the left and broad beans and onions to the right.

Shorter blogs these days as I don’t have as much time to sit and think of what to write, but I’ll try to get out the most important events here.

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May 18, 2015 Farm News


The usual garden view.

The usual garden view.

The new two week calf, Rosie.

The new two week calf, Rosie.

A really nice hot summers day in late spring mid-May. Much planting has been finished but much more needs to be done.  More work than ever just now.  The horses have been working well, both teams.  We use the older team on some of the lighter work were more precision is needed.  The new team is, being much younger, capable of doing more and heavier work than the old team, but they are not nearly as well trained.  They are not so good at walking straight and are not experienced enough to get all the commands right and to figure out what we are asking of them.  They just need to do more things, more often in order to gain experience and we’ll get to know them and they will get to know us as well.

The Cockshutt No. 1 Transplanter whaich we use to make the plowed groove in the ground to plant the potatoes in.  This is pulled by the older team so that the rows will be reasonably straight.

The Cockshutt No. 1 Transplanter whaich we use to make the plowed groove in the ground to plant the potatoes in. This is pulled by the older team so that the rows will be reasonably straight.

Chickens are doing quite well and the lay rate from the ducks as well as the chickens is quite high.  We need to get them moving around again on their pasture rotations.  The ducks really do like to splash around in their little swimming pool.  The pool will be filled, it takes maybe 60 or 70 litre of water to fill it to the brim, and within a half hour or so the ducks will have splashed nearly three quarters of it out on to the ground.  They have great fun and the chickens tolerate their antics with dignity.

Our white lilac just full of blooms this year. It gets better each year.

Our white lilac just full of blooms this year. It gets better each year.

The large bloom lilac coloured lilac.

The large bloom lilac coloured lilac.

The horses, cows and the sheep are still not yet on the new pasture as ours has ben somewhat slow to get established.  We probably badly overgrazed it last fall so it is still slow to recover. Soon though.

The pile of hay mulch, a very valuable commodity for the garden.

The pile of hay mulch, a very valuable commodity for the garden.

Lots of nice flowers, sweet smelling  lilacs in various colours, dandelions, apple trees, mulberries, and much more.

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May 11, 2015 Farm News


The usual garden view, lots of planting done, lots more to go.

The usual garden view, lots of planting done, lots more to go.

The Rhode Island Red pullets

The Rhode Island Red pullets

We still need to get a good rain.  The several rains we have had this past week have each ben only enough to wet the ground and while welcome they are not really enough yet.  We need to have about an inch or about 3 centimetres of rain over the whole day.  That will really fix things up.  The grass will spurt ahead in growth, veggies seeds just now struggling to sprout will sprout quickly and grow rapidly in the days after the rain.  So we’ll just watch and wait and see and provide a little irrigation here and there.

The green onions.

The green onions.

Over the weekend, with much appreciated help from Anca and Jennie on Saturday, we were able to mulch the newly seeded carrot, spinach and lettuce beds.  In the photos can be seen the boards that were laid down on the seeded rows.  This will protect these seeds of which the carrot and lettuce are very small, near the surface and very prone to drying, and help to keep them moist.  We will lift the boards when the seeds germinate.  The mulch is extremely valuable to have down.  It maintains moisture, suppresses much weed growth and adds food to the soil via microbes, fungi and various small critters such as earthworms.

Our little Blue (or is it grey?) Silkie hen setting on a clutch of Marans and Barnevelder eggs.  She seldom moves.

Our little Blue (or is it grey?) Silkie hen setting on a clutch of Marans and Barnevelder eggs. She seldom moves.

The mulched beds of Carrots, lettuce and spinach.

The mulched beds of Carrots, lettuce and spinach.

The sheep, cows, horses and donkey are still not yet on pasture.  We would like to keep them off the grass until after that really good rainfall that we have not yet got.  But they will go out in a few days anyway.  It is pretty much time.

Garlic, with two rows of vary small Fava (Broad Bean) plants to the right.

Garlic, with two rows of vary small Fava (Broad Bean) plants to the right.

We bought 10 little three day old chickens.  These chicks are the breed Buff Brahmas.  A breed apparently originating in India, they are a rare breed and the buff coloured version that we got is a very pretty bird.  But then every chicken is a most wonderful blend of feathers and colours and patterns.

The new Buff Brahma chicks, seven pure bred, three crossed with Chantecler.

The new Buff Brahma chicks, seven pure bred, three crossed with Chantecler.

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May 4, 2015 Farm Newsletter


The usual garden scene looking not to different from last week as all the changes, veggies seeded, are in the ground out of sight.

The usual garden scene looking not to different from last week as all the changes, veggies seeded, are in the ground out of sight.

We have been very busy all week trying to get as much in the ground as we can.  Most everything can now be planted though we should still be careful since we can still get cold weather and even a frost so things like tomatoes and peppers should not be going out yet even though the predictions are for very hot weather towards the end of the week.

This short garlic row is doing quite well.  There is more garlic elsewhere in the garden.

This short garlic row is doing quite well. There is more garlic elsewhere in the garden.

The pastures are looking good though the grass still has a little more growing before we can turn horses, cows and sheep out to graze.  We might start grazing in about a week.  It might be two weeks.  We are going to get some hot weather this week but what we really need is a good rain to get things growing quickly.  We are getting quite dry now.

Breakfast time for the hens, swimming pool time for the ducks.

Breakfast time for the hens, swimming pool time for the ducks.

Marta, Leucan and Nell

Marta, Leucan and Nell

If anyone reading this has been thinking of getting a share in our CSA for the coming 2015 season, it is time to contact us, to get us a payment or a down payment, as soon as you can.  We are able to take on a very few more shares, small or large, working or none working but we need to know very soon.

Marta, Leucan and Nell

Marta, Leucan and Nell

We have been getting some hay from our neighbours as we ran out of ours a week or so back.  It is good hay, better than much of what we fed out over the winter, but it is costly, so we are real anxious to get everyone out on grass quickly so we no loner have to feed out hay.  We should be into haying in about a month’s time.  We have to be real careful to get better quality hay this season.  Haying is going to be a lot of work this year and if anyone would like to come and see what haying is all about we would be very grateful for the help.  Each year we get our hay from a neighbours field down Robinson Road.  They cut the hay, rake if needed and either they or us have someone come to bale it and we will draw the hay back to our barn with the horses if they are working well.

Two large square bales from our neighbours before being unloaded into the barn.

Two large square bales from our neighbours before being unloaded into the barn.

 

 

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April 27, 2015 Farm News


the usual garden view looking not to different from last week.

the usual garden view looking not to different from last week.

The big news this week at the farm has been the birth of a very nice little heifer calf from our Milking Shorthorn cow,’Tippy’.  This really nice cow had been looking very due to birth for about a month and finally had the calf around 11 a.m. on Thursday         morning out on the pasture.  The calf is doing really well, it was up on it’s feet after about 5 minutes and was taking milk within about 20 minutes.  Aerron took cow and calf into the barn after about a half hour.  The weather was not too bad but it was cold, though dry and there was little sunshine and a light wind.  So inside the barn was more comfortable until the calf could dry.  Now, four days later the calf is doing real well, no problems at all and the mother the same.

The white drops on her nose are milk.

The white drops on her nose are milk.

Lunch time which is of course pretty much any time.

Lunch time which is of course pretty much any time.

The calf's sire, our young bull "Max".

The calf’s sire, our young bull “Max”.

We have a good lot of veggies planted in the green house in flats and we had to do extra work to protect them when the temperature was below freezing for those three nights.  Trays were stacked and covered with an electric space heater providing enough warmth to keep them well above freezing.  Hopefully we will not see any more of that cold weather again this spring.

Another close up of the onions, a bird-on -the-ground's eye view.

Another close up of the onions, a bird-on -the-ground’s eye view.

A carpet of Camomile.

A carpet of Camomile.

We have not done much planting as the weather has not been so good for that.  Potatoes, onion sets and peas are the veggies that we will be trying real hard to get into the ground this week.  There are many more things to go into the ground now too.  The Broad Beans planted two weeks ago have not yet sprouted, have not germinated.  Has been too cold.  The onions and the garlic growing in the garden from last season are doing quite well.

Leucan coming up on 11 months old.  Likes to "horse" around a lot. After a bit he flops down in the hay pile.

Leucan coming up on 11 months old. Likes to “horse” around a lot. After a bit he flops down in the hay pile.

All the animals are getting very anxious to get out on grass but they will have to wait for at least another two weeks, longer if we don’t get some much warmer weather, especially overnight.  So for now they are in the holding pastures except for the sheep who are still in the barn.

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April 20, 2015 Farm News


Our Shrub willow, flowers just about finished and leaves rapidly unfurling.

Our Shrub willow, flowers just about finished and leaves rapidly unfurling.

The garden view on a soggy Monday morning looking very different from last week.

The garden view on a soggy Monday morning looking very different from last week.

The garden is finally being worked and we have some seeds in the ground.  We have prepared an area of about 150 by 300 feet which needs just final bed preparation to be ready for planting.  One bed of two full rows has been seeded with Broad Beans (Fava Beans).  Todays rain, and the rain and cooler temperatures predicted for the rest of the week will slow down the garden work if not bring it to a complete stop until it warms and the garden dries out.  It will only take less than 24 hours for the garden to dry enough for us to work.  The benefits of having sandy subsoil.

Onions growing nicely for greens.

Onions growing nicely for greens.

There are a lot of things growing already that we should be able to use; onion, garlic, mint, camomile and more.  Some of this will have to be replanted into different spots while it is still small and that which we will leave in place needs to be cleaned up and tilled.

Garlic up and growing.

Garlic up and growing.

We have seeded a lot of trays of onions and leeks and many of these trays are growing quite well already in our greenhouse.

The disc Harrows.

The disc Harrows.

We used the new team on the disc harrows to prepare the garden.  It was set at a shallow angle so that the pull would not be too hard.  The horses worked well for the most part and we only worked them for a short time and gave then a rest every round, so that it was not to difficult for them.  When we get back into the garden we will have to use the horse drawn cultivator to make up seed beds.

The horse drawn single row cultivator

The horse drawn single row cultivator

We have 6 X 75 pound bags of seed potatoes which will go into the ground fairly quickly once we can disc the potato area and make the furrows in the rows to drop the potatoes into. We will be planting Yukon Gold as an early as well as a main season potato, and for reds we will plant Norlands, red skins with yellow flesh. For a white potato we will have Kennebecs and maybe Superior, and we will be planting Russets as well.

Our Shrub willow, flowers just about finished and leaves rapidly unfurling.

Our Shrub willow, flowers just about finished and leaves rapidly unfurling.

As we plant we are also spreading compost so there is another thing to slow us down but of course a sprinkling of compost will make a big difference to how the veggies grow.  Gotta go, lots to do.

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April 14, 2015 Farm News


022Spring is now full sprung it seems.  We have stopped collecting Maple sap and Aerron has pulled most of the taps.  We still have 300 t0 400 litres to boil down which will amount to 7 to 10 litres of syrup. Our syrup this season came mostly from the Manitoba Maple.  The Sugar Maples were not producing nearly as much and the taps were mostly on Manitoba Maple trees.  We did not get far with the Walnut syrup trial.  What little we got there got mixed with the Maple syrup during boil down.  It is now getting too warm outside to have a wood stove running full tilt in the kitchen.  Windows and doors need to be opened.

The best bird picture I could get, needed more time.

The best bird picture I could get, needed more time.

We have seen butterflies, house flies, several other kinds of flies, moths, lady bugs and honey bees flying about , not many but they have been seen now for over a week. Our one hive of honey bees appears to have survived the winter, neglected as they were.  They have been quite active the past few real nice days and some had been seen flying about almost two weeks ago. Lots of different birds have now returned and in another week the last of the migrants, the Barn Swallow, will be here.

The Duck herd and a chicken or to at the old watering hole first thing in the morning

The Duck herd and a chicken or to at the old watering hole first thing in the morning

Not been able to get into the garden yet but all set to get a start today.  A lot of onions are up and growing in trays already and many more veggies will be seeded into trays to be grown out in our greenhouse for transplanting into the garden in May and June.

Tippy Shorthorn looking imminent. She has a firm udder but it is not bursting.

Tippy Shorthorn looking imminent. She has a firm udder but it is not bursting.

All the animals are doing well. The one cow that has looked as if she has been going to have a calf for the past month is still looking quite imminent, have not looked yet, hope she has it soon, weather is perfect for calving now. Frost is finally out of the ground so we can now get posts dug in and fencing put up and repaired.  Chickens are really looking forward to a new area to scratch up.  The new flock of Barred Rocks is still not laying, quite disappointing there and the ISA Browns, the main flock of older birds has dropped off their lay rate quite a bit. Most of the new spring lambs have been born.

Nell in the morning

Nell in the morning

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