August 29, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual Monday morning garden view.

The usual Monday morning garden view.

This broccoli is doing well.  It is an unusual variety that forms a smaller more open head. Said to have an asparagus like flavour.

This broccoli is doing well. It is an unusual variety that forms a smaller more open head. Said to have an asparagus like flavour.

Things are progressing well now that we have had several recent rains.  The ground has not really dried out that much and not any where near to cause any wilting even with the 30°C temperatures that we’ve had.  For the month of August we had about 101 mm of rain. July was 45 mm, June 31 and May only 21.  Since late May we had 29 days over 30C.  A huge and much welcomed improvement this month.

The team and Lucan are now closer so that I can get photos without walking a long distance.

The team and Lucan are now closer so that I can get photos without walking a long distance.

Horses, cows, sheep and chickens all have much better pasture now, grass has grown rapidly.  No one likes to eat hay during the summer.  Some of the chickens are not laying so well.  The Barred Plymouth Rock and the Rhode Island Red that we have are two older breeds that are not laying anything like they should be.  We have gotten new pullets in and will likely replace the Barred Rock and RIR with new ISA pullets to get a better lay .

A Rhode Island Red hen.  She looks healthy, nice red comb and wattle, she is bright, should be a good layer.

A Rhode Island Red hen. She looks healthy, nice red comb and wattle, she is bright, should be a good layer.

The vegetables are doing well though some did not recover well from the drought.  The tomatoes have both early and late blight and are doing poorly as a result of that, even though otherwise the plants are growing well and their is plenty of fruit.  The tomatoes were very slow to develop this year…

Sweet corn and Zucchini

Sweet corn and Zucchini

More summer squash to the left with cucumber down the centre and zucchini and sweet corn to the right.

More summer squash to the left with cucumber down the centre and zucchini and sweet corn to the right.

Sweet corn is developing well but we’ll really be concerned about raccoons getting in and ruining cobs.  It is unlikely that we’ll be able to set up the electric fence deterrent but we” try. The reseeded veggies are doing well except for the lettuce for which again we had poor germination.

Some of the newly seeded area.

Some of the newly seeded area.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AUGUST 22, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual garden view

The usual garden view

The compost pile Morning Glory plants look great but they also did well when it was dry. Just behind them is the next lot of lettuce which will be ready in another two or three weeks.

The compost pile Morning Glory plants look great but they also did well when it was dry. Just behind them is the next lot of lettuce which will be ready in another two or three weeks.

A good week for us because of the rain and just because it was a nice week.  On Friday, August 12, in the previous week we had that drought breaker rain of about 31 mm.  Then on Monday the 15th about 8 mm of rain came, followed by 9 mm on Tuesday and a further 1 mm on the Wednesday.  On Sunday morning early we had less than 1 mm of rain but it was still useful.  This makes things a lot easier for us but the workload is the same.  Vegetables and weeds are now growing and looking a lot better.  The pastures quickly changed from brown to a green haze to substantial growth by the grasses and other plants.

the newly seeded Arugula has been up and growing well for a while now.  On the right the three rows of lettuce are very slow to germinate.  lettuce seems to be the most sensitive to the high temperatures.

the newly seeded Arugula has been up and growing well for a while now. On the right the three rows of lettuce are very slow to germinate. lettuce seems to be the most sensitive to the high temperatures.

Not sure if the ducks and chicken were much affected by the very hot weather.

Not sure if the ducks and chicken were much affected by the very hot weather.

The chicken pasture is also growing back

The chicken pasture is also growing back

We have been able to do more seeding and transplants.  Until now it has been too hot and too dry to get things to germinate and to grow.  We are hoping that the somewhat cooler temperatures will prevail now and that all the seeding that we have done will be successful.  Already some of what we have seeded has come up and is growing well.  We have chosen the veggies to seed keeping in mind their days to maturity, the dwindling daylight length and the likely temperatures when the vegetable will be reaching maturity.

the newly seeded Arugula has been up and growing well for a while now.  On the right the three rows of lettuce are very slow to germinate.  lettuce seems to be the most sensitive to the high temperatures.

the newly seeded Arugula has been up and growing well for a while now. On the right the three rows of lettuce are very slow to germinate. lettuce seems to be the most sensitive to the high temperatures.

Broccoli, Tomatillo, Kale,. All doing so much better now.

Broccoli, Tomatillo, Kale,. All doing so much better now.

So this week it is a very short blog.  But I do have several photos.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

August 15, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual garden view

The usual garden view

We had a very good rain on Friday and Saturday.  The total was about 9 mm on Friday and about 31 mm on Saturday, as measured by the Environment Canada weather station not  a quarter mile from us.  It rained very hard at times so there was some runoff but the rain lasted long and steady enough that the ground was well soaked. By Sunday pasture grasses and sundried and burnt grass everywhere had started growing once again and suddenly things are looking quite green.  It was of course a huge boost for the weeds but just as much a boost for all the vegetables.  We are also taking advantage of the damp soil and the somewhat cooler weather to do some transplanting and some seeding that we could not do while it continued very hot and dry.

003007We got 50 of the 4 X 5 foot big round bales delivered from the Edgar farm and parked at the west end of our garden.  These will mostly be used for mulch on the garden this fall and next year from the spring onwards.  Some of it will be used as litter for chickens and ducks and bedding for sheep but more so for cows.  Some of it will even provide a bit of food. All of it will provide a good spot for kids to play. We also took delivery of 22 large round bales of hay.  This is older hay and the bales have been outside uncovered since 2014 and 2015.  The two year old lot are very poor but the year old lot are not so bad. We still must get quite a bit more hay in for the winter. We’ll likely get more of this older hay, at least the 2015 stuff.

The skid steer loader used to un load the bales

The skid steer loader used to un load the bales

The new playground?

The new playground?

Hold on Briar  !!

Hold on Briar !!

The chickens are laying well though we lost one last week in the middle of the night.  Probably carried off by a coyote.  This is a problem with free ranging them.  The missing hen was from the flock at that has access to pretty much anywhere they want to go and sometimes one or two hens will start laying eggs in hiding spots around.  Raccoons and skunks are pretty good at sniffing these out.  Not so much us. And once in a while when night comes a hen will be comfortably ensconced somewhere and will not bother to get off and go to the coop for the night with the others.  A target for weasel, skunk, oppossum, raccoon, coyote and owls and probably something else. It is too hard to do a count when I shut them up and anyway, if one were missing I would not know where to look.

The corn showing the effects of the drought.

The corn showing the effects of the drought.

Horses and cows will be much happier out on pasture now as there will be at least a little and increasingly more, grass to eat.  Another rain, even a small amount would be very useful within the next 5 to 7 days.  Beyond that we’ll start, especially if the temperatures get into the 30’s, to get too dry once more.

The compost pile morning glory pictured ... in the morning

The compost pile morning glory pictured … in the morning

We must thank our volunteers and working shares for valuable work this week.  Weeding is ongoing and seeding and transplanting are critical in this small window of opportunity that we are in now.  Thanks Anca and Vanessa and to Helen and Wayne this morning for cleaning up beds for planting. All jobs well done.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 8, 2016 Farm News


The usual garden view this morning

The usual garden view this morning

This week, as most weeks, we have to thank those who came out to work in the garden. A lot of weeds were pulled in the corn and the squashes and the west end of the broccolis.  So big Thank You from us to Anca, who actually came twice, for helping weed the squashes, tomatoes and broccoli and to Helen and Wayne, thank you both for a morning of hard work finally getting the whole of the six broccoli rows cleared right to the end.  The veggies certainly look so much better with the weeds cleared and of course it is so helpful as weeds take moisture, nutrients and sunshine and can damage plants when the wind sometimes whips them around.

Tomato, 6 rows of broccoli, tomatillo, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley in flower.

Tomato, 6 rows of broccoli, tomatillo, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley in flower.

We went to our neighbours orchard on Monday but the apples are really small this year and there are not many at all.  Last year there was a huge crop of pretty good apples.  This is an orchard that has been neglected for about 12 years.  It is unlikely that there will be any improvement even though it is still early for some of the varieties. But, maybe.

the cattle herd

the cattle herd

We have been running the sprinkler a lot. We tried an impulse type but its topped turning after a day or two, perhaps our pressure is too low for it as it wears or gets a little clogged with hardness.  So back to using the other continuous full circle type. We were trying to compare so as to know which type would be best for us as we plan for a better system for irrigating.

Briar keeping a peachick firmly in hand.

Briar keeping a peachick firmly in hand.

A couple of exciting happenings.  On Monday a milk snake appeared under the kitchen cabinets spotted by Marie while she was on the ‘phone.  Aerron came in and removed it.  Likely it came in through a small hole looking for mice.  We have trapped a couple of mice the past week or so. Gotta stop up all any small holes.  The second exciting thing was that on Saturday morning we went to pick up two Peafowl chicks from a breeder near St. Williams.  This was Marie’s birthday gift.  A nine week old thought to be male and a 4 week old which is likely a female.  They stayed in an opened top cardboard box in the backseat of the car, between Briar and Lauren, on the way home.  The chicks are in the house for a day or two until we build a good house for them.

Devon eyeing up the young male with the hen chick sitting quite peacefully on Aerron's leg.

Devon eyeing up the young male with the hen chick sitting quite peacefully on Aerron’s leg.

A lone, lowly duck with a Silkie rooster friend and a few of those ordinary everyday common sort of chicken.

A lone, lowly duck with a Silkie rooster friend and a few of those ordinary everyday common sort of chicken.

tomatillo and other rthings

tomatillo and other rthings

We do need more rain again now, but that is what we have been saying all summer .  We have had some good rains, maybe 4 times but we needed rain again within days as it was never quite enough.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 1, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual garden view at about the late noon hour today. The pile just off centre is the garlic,  still there as in last week's photo of this same spot.

The usual garden view at about the late noon hour today. The pile just off centre is the garlic, still there as in last week’s photo of this same spot.

It has been keeping mostly hot the last while with a few cooler days and nights giving us some relief.  The rains were welcome though as usual we complain that there has not been enough. Weeds continue to grow however and we have kept very busy pulling those and feeding to the sheep and sometimes to the horses and the cows.  The garden veggies are looking a little better now from the rain but we’ll have to start watering again as soon as today.  We had but a very light sprinkling on Sunday, essentially nothing.  The ground is still dry in such places as under thick mulch where the rain did not last long enough to penetrate through layers of stems but was shed just as it is on a thatched roof.

On the left two rows of tomato and to their right six rows of Broccoli.

On the left two rows of tomato and to their right six rows of Broccoli.

The summer squash and to the right the sweet corn.

The summer squash and to the right the sweet corn.

Our laying hens are faring well though they do not have nice pasture because it has been so dry and it is  the same for the horses, cows and sheep.  The pastures are starting to grow back again and if we can get another rain it would keep them growing faster, but it will be a while.

The old horse Marie is looking a bit thin but she is in pretty good condition for a 28 year old Belgian

The old horse Marie is looking a bit thin but she is in pretty good condition for a 28 year old Belgian

We finished pulling the garlic from the ground this past week, and a thank you to Marc for very kindly helping us with that and with picking up mature broad beans from which most pods had opened, dumping the beans on to the ground. We cleared of weeds, the three beds where the garlic had been growing in preparation for replanting there.  That took a full three days to accomplish spread over the entire week.  Mostly just Aerron though occasionally two or three of us would be at it.  We have been going over the Tomatoes and Broccoli rows clearing them of weeds.  The broccolis are doing well and some, though they are smaller than we’d like, are now ready for harvest.  We should eventually get a good harvest of broccoli.  Some of the tomato varieties have a lot of fruit on them but except for two of those fruits they are all still green. Some varieties and these a will be later ones, have no fruits at all. Plenty of flowers though.  The sweet corn is now in need of thinning and cultivating and some needs a bit of compost worked in. The same for all the vines.

This is the ple of garlic, about 3oo heads, set aside for replanting for next season's harvest.  We'll have to get the beds prepared, and compost spread on then plant the garlic in September. Five to six inches apart in rows about a foot apart.

This is the ple of garlic, about 3oo heads, set aside for replanting for next season’s harvest. We’ll have to get the beds prepared, and compost spread on then plant the garlic in September. Five to six inches apart in rows about a foot apart.

The bed of lettuce, three rows, each about 200 feet long have failed to germinate much lettuce. Some is coming but they have been slow because of the heat and the lack of moisture.  They have enough moisture now and temperatures are a bit better being cooler so we may have some germinate yet.

The new planted 200 foot garlic bed. It was a poor catch though there are plants still germinating.  Too small to see in the photo but zooming in several tiny plants can be seen on the left.

The new planted 200 foot garlic bed. It was a poor catch though there are plants still germinating. Too small to see in the photo but zooming in several tiny plants can be seen on the left.

Much work to be done yet and lots of growing season left.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

July 25, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual garden view after this mornings rain. The pile in the foreground is a plastic sheet covering the recently pulled garlic.

The usual garden view after this mornings rain. The pile in the foreground is a plastic sheet covering the recently pulled garlic.

The corn was knocked over by the wind but it will straighten itself up in a few days.  A bit of washout visible in the foreground.

The corn was knocked over by the wind but it will straighten itself up in a few days. A bit of washout visible in the foreground.

We did do a lot of watering as we have been doing the past long while.  The pump runs 12 to 15 hours per day some days, most days. We have planted 3 rows, each nearly 3/4 of the garden length, inlettuce but are pessimistic of this actually germinating.  Too hot, too dry, but we did water well so it was just too hot. We have now had a bit of a reprieve as around 6 this morning a thunderstorm went through and we had a very heavy rain for a brief while.  It seemed to be just under an inch of rain, maybe about 2 cm.  The rain was certainly welcomed and needed and it will help.  We now have the entire garden watered in less than an hour.  It came down to hard and there was a bit of washout.  Several large limbs from Manitoba Maple trees came down in the very brief but very strong wind.  A few things were picked up and scattered about but no damage done.

The chickens quickly took advantage of the downed Manitoba maple tree branches.

The chickens quickly took advantage of the downed Manitoba maple tree branches.

We have had help in the garden again this week.  Thank you to Jenn and Adam for clearing more of the broccoli from weeds.  On Wednesday we had a group of 16 and 17 year olds come out and help o pull up the garlic.  we gave them a bit of a garden tour and they spent nearly 3/4 of an hour with the horses.  This was good for the horses too, especially three year old Leucan.  They were 8 girls and boys and their co-ordinator from the YMCA SUMMER WORK STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM.  Here is the link for more info on this program:         http://my.ymcagta.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=541

This is supported financially by the Department of Canadian Heritage through Exchanges Canada.      This is paid summer employment, 6 weeks, for youth 16 and 17 years old.  The jobs are with non-profit public sector and community organizations.  These students came here from the Montreal area and are staying with families  who sent their families to their homes in Quebec.  They worked good they probably learned a little s this was new to them and it was fun and a good experience for us too.

The tomatoes are developing nicely too. should be a good year for them.

The tomatoes are developing nicely too. should be a good year for them.

The garden still grows sort of.  Some things have been doing well and other thing not so well due to the heat and not being able to get enough water to them.  If we can get more rain before the week is out we’ll be on our way to recovery from the drought.

A small but developing Broccoli

A small but developing Broccoli

Most of the heads of broccoli that are developing are not even quite so far a long as this one.  they do develop very quickly though.

Most of the heads of broccoli that are developing are not even quite so far a long as this one. they do develop very quickly though.

Broccoli is looking good, lots of kale growing very well, new seeding of lettuce mainly failed to catch and most of the seeds will have been lost. We’ll have to start again.  We are really delayed on so many things now.

The young chicks are growing really well. There is a Buff Brahma,  a Marans and the rest are Barred Rock.

The young chicks are growing really well. There is a Buff Brahma, a Marans and the rest are Barred Rock.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 18, 2016 Farm News


The usual Monday morning view of the garden.  Looking distinctly more weedy these days.

The usual Monday morning view of the garden. Looking distinctly more weedy these days.

Though we have had some rain and we are quite a bit better off than before, we still could do with a lot more.  We are back to trying to get a lot of water on as much as we can.

The potatoes fairly well cleaned of weeds but looking very small and dry.

The potatoes fairly well cleaned of weeds but looking very small and dry.

We are about a month behind where we should be in the vegetable garden and we have not gotten a lot of things planted that we wanted to.  The potatoes though late and suffering quite a bit from lack of watering by us or from rain, are still growing and have a lot of growing still to be done but are reasonably well weeded and were cleared on Saturday of the few potato beetles found.  There are gaps where potatoes failed to sprout and though the gaps are significant we still have a sufficient number of plants to give us a good and adequate harvest, but with a  quantity that is going to be smaller than we’d have liked.  The melons, winter squash, summer squash and cucumbers are mostly up and well sprouted with mostly a good catch through very careful attention to seeding into wet soil and watering before emergence.  We have used a black plastic fabric on the ground around the cukes and some melons so as to help reduce weeds and to warm the soil though mostly ’til now the soil has not needed extra heat. The sweet corn was also seeded very carefully and in this instance the seed was pre-sprouted.  The extra care takes a lot of extra time but gives a greater assurance that the plants will emerge quickly, strong and more evenly.  We next have to erect something that will keep the raccoons away from our sweet corn cobs.  We have a while to get that figured out and we have a pretty good idea what to do.

Cucumbers and melons along the plastic fabric mulch

Cucumbers and melons along the plastic fabric mulch

The sweet corn is still small but is growing well and needs to be weeded.

The sweet corn is still small but is growing well and needs to be weeded.

We have also this week seeded nearly a full bed, three rows (about 280 feet per row), of lettuce. This should have been a second planting but the first planting germinated poorly and was mostly done in by the excessive heat.  Again we took extra care in this planting and have covered the seeds with boards and mulched with grass clippings leaves and old rotted hay and of course watered it well after seeding and before covering with the boards.  We will pull the boards off on Wednesday so as to allow the emerging seedlings to grow without hindrance.

Boards carefully laid on the newly seeded lettuce with a very small amount of the first planting and transplants about midway down.

Boards carefully laid on the newly seeded lettuce with a very small amount of the first planting and transplants about midway down.

We also lost our most of our initial plantings of spinach, mesclun mix and the purple and especially the green beans are not doing well at all.  There will be second plantings of these as well as quite a few other things.  We still have a good lot of space in the garden to fill.

the garlic is almost ready to be harvested, pulled up and hung to dry.

the garlic is almost ready to be harvested, pulled up and hung to dry.

It certainly will be nice to get more rain.  It makes it easier to get things done and of course all the vegetables do so much better.  We  need it too so as to have pasture for the horses, cows, sheep, chicken and ducks.  It will take at least 4 weeks of growth, after a good rain, for the pasture to recover and will need frequent rains along the way too.

There are fruits on the tomatoes but they are still a number of weeks away from being ripe.

There are fruits on the tomatoes but they are still a number of weeks away from being ripe.

The Broccoli is also doing well though should be weeded and watered again.  It is a few weeks off from forming heads.

The Broccoli is also doing well though should be weeded and watered again. It is a few weeks off from forming heads.

Thanks again to those who came out to help.  Anca, Jenn and Adam, your help was great, we got a lot accomplished!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment