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!

 

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July 11, 2016 FARM NEWS


The usual Monday morning view of the garden. I take a photo from this same spot each week, each Monday morning just to show progress and change.

The usual Monday morning view of the garden. I take a photo from this same spot each week, each Monday morning just to show progress and change.

The horses just standing about in the morning sun. This pasture is burned and eaten up but each morning they go to another area that still has a bit of eating in it.

The horses just standing about in the morning sun. This pasture is burned and eaten up but each morning they go to another area that still has a bit of eating in it.

We did have some rain and it definitely was welcomed and it definitely helped, but we do need a lot more.  The vegetable garden is really suffering in the heat, the dry and the wind.  We simply cannot get enough water to the plants, we do not have a reservoir, our source of water is insufficient to supply enough and our potential source, that we have not tapped into because we do not have it yet set up, is also insufficient.  It is possible that we could tap into the Grand River but we are concerned there with the water quality.  Our first potential source that we have not yet tapped into is the small creek running in the bottom of the valley beside us. We do need a lot of pipes and fittings and reservoirs and pumps and most importantly the time and money to get at it.  A method to store water beginning in the early spring is needed.  A whopping great irrigation pond might do the trick but again the expense of having one dug and then lined so as to retain water is quite a bit. Mulching the garden would go some way to retain what water we do get and improving the amount of organic material in the soil would also help greatly with water retention.  As it is now the sandy nature of our soil means that water retention is not good.  An earlier spring start would also go a long way to improving things but that is not always possible if the weather is not the best.  This is areal dilemma.  Meantime we’ll just water as much as we can.

massive blooms of our Yucca this year and they are very popular with the honey bees which are all around them. But the cannot be seen in the photo even if zoomed in.

Massive blooms on our Yucca this year and they are very popular with the honey bees which are all around them, though they cannot be seen in the photo even if you zoom in.

The garlic is very near ready to be harvested.  The plants are smaller on average than we'd expect because of insufficient water but we should have a good harvest of moderate to large sized bulbs.

The garlic is very near ready to be harvested. The plants are smaller on average than we’d expect because of insufficient water but we should have a good harvest of moderate to large sized bulbs.

Aerron out in the vine area. The little white sticks mark a change in what has been seeded in the row.

Aerron out in the vine area. The little white sticks mark a change in what has been seeded in the row.

Horses still have a bit of pasture left as do the cows, but that is rapidly running out because there is no regrowth on the earlier sections in the grazing rotation.  The pastures will likely need at least 6 weeks before they can be utilized for grazing again.

The chickens and ducks around and in the duck ponds

The chickens and ducks around and in the duck ponds

We will get by.  We always do.  But we should do better. Thanks very much for all the help out in the garden this week but I’ve lost track of everyone that came so I’ll just say thanks with out names.

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July 4, 2016


The usual early morning view with Aerron in the corner far left , doing some watering.

The usual early morning view with Aerron in the corner far left , doing some watering.

A

Leucan

Leucan

nother week without rain.  Not good of course as we have to do all the extra work watering and it is still not the same for the vegetables as a good all day or preferably, two day rain. We need at the very least to have about an inch of rain or near 3 cm to be effective.  Anything less is of course welcomed but it will not be near enough.

Kale

Kale

The Devon acres crew with Angela and Thomas doing the Broad Bean harvest on Tuesday.

The Devon acres crew with Angela and Thomas doing the Broad Bean harvest on Tuesday.

We are still planting out transplants and weeding.  We have had a good lot of help from volunteers and from those with a working share.  Thanks this week to Vanessa, Anca, Angela, Thomas, Jenn and Adam for coming by and spending a long time in the hot sun, and as well to our regular Devon Acre crew, especially on pickup days.  Slowly we are getting there but it is all ongoing until the end of August when we just coast with what is planted and  growing until the winter arrives.

Nell and Marta

Nell and Marta

Pastures are pretty much gone though the horses have about two weeks of munching left available to them and the cows maybe less.  The sheep are done their pasture, all brown and every speck of that and green has been eaten.  They get hay and any weeds that we pull from the garden as well as clippings from spots around and along with the chickens they get veggie kitchen scraps.

Sheep and Chickens and ducks

Sheep and Chickens and ducks

The chickens and ducks have no pasture left though they are still going outside to scrounge what they can  This just means that they find little to supplement their usual poultry ration.

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June 27, 2016 Farm News


The usual Monday morning view of the garden.

The usual Monday morning view of the garden.

The old horse Marie.

The old horse Marie.

We have been working all week doing late transplantings and plenty of watering to keep plants growing.  We have had no rain for too long, the last rain on the 15th was about 12mm and before that the total of three days 4, 5 and 6th of June was about 18 mm with pretty much zero other than that. So the months total has been a rather miniscule amount. Not nearly enough for anything. May was actually worse for precipitation with a total for the month of May of just 22 mm. and though April had a total of about 55 mm, this was far below what was needed.  When the weather is hot and windy as it was on Sunday, then things are much worse.  Another hot one today then a bit cooler but rain not very likely any time soon.

Peas and Beans and Onons

Peas and Beans and Onons

Onions with Broad Beans to the left.

Onions with Broad Beans to the left.

Garlic.

Garlic.

Kale

Kale

But things are still growing and we are to begin the CSA pickups this week starting on Tuesday, tomorrow, and again on Thursday.  We don’t have a lot just yet and this week we’ll have but six or seven items: Garlic Scapes, Lamb’s Quarters, Korean Mint, Parsley, Green Onion, maybe Camomile and Broad Beans. We still have the chicken and the duck eggs too.

A red Silkie Rooster

A red Silkie Rooster

Tomatillo and Viper's Bugloss

Tomatillo and Viper’s Bugloss

The horses, cattle, sheep, chickens and ducks are all doing well but everyone is running out of pasture and we’ll very soon have to start feeding out hay.  This is not good.  Cuts into the winter feed supply increasing our costs and they should all be out on grass this time of year. Even if we get 6 inches of rain tomorrow (which we won’t and we’ll be lucky to get that as a total between now and the end of August), it will take nearly a month, perhaps even longer, for the pastures to recover enough to get animals out there again.  Six inches of rain spread out over July would be perfect weather.  The sixteen chicks are doing just fine. Heat lamp on overnight but off most of most days,  They are still in the small circle but we’ll soon let them have a much larger space.

The chicks, no heat lamp during the day.

The chicks, no heat lamp during the day.

Still a little worried about the camera.

Still a little worried about the camera.

 

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June 20, 2016 Farm News


The usual garden view at noon today, Monday

The usual garden view at noon today, Monday

A real short blog this week and I’m very late at getting it posted.

Transplanted kale and Brussels sprouts now in for two weeks and growing well

Transplanted kale and Brussels sprouts now in for two weeks and growing well

We did a lot of transplanting of various veggies, tomatoes, broccoli among others. We had to do a little work in the barn and a little work fencing which took time out of the garden. I had to visit with our neighbour for a while too, so again, time out of the garden.  We also had to do a considerable amount of watering as we are getting very dry once more,  We have set up the sprinkler and it is moved along watering about 6 beds of veggies at once.  We will eventually have some 80 plus beds of veggies planted and to water just 6 of them takes a day and a half.  Watering is done from about 6 or 7 in the morning until about 10 or 11 at night, the single sprinkler head being moved along every one and a half to two hours or so.

The garlic is looking pretty good now but is still a ways off from harvest

The garlic is looking pretty good now but is still a ways off from harvest

The egg hatch day came and a few eggs hatched, day 21 came and went as did day 22 and we had the last two chicks hatch out near the end of day 23,  far too long and those two barely survived and may not be much good really.  From the 48 eggs set only 16 were hatched.  At least two eggs were infertile but I still have not done the post mortem on all the eggs.  Once having done that we should have a better idea of what went wrong.  I suspect the temperature was reading high, such that the incubator temperature was actually somewhat low, too low for a healthy hatch.  The 16 chicks are in the brood house now and are under a heat lamp to keep the temperature at 95F, decreasing 5F each week..  They seem to be alright for now, even the last two.  I’ll be happier after a week has past and they still seem ok.

The chicks hiding around their feeder

The chicks hiding around their feeder

A closer upper of the chick, not so huddled.

A closer upper of the chick, not so huddled.

The chickens are still laying well and eggs are now for sale at the road from our roadside stand which right now is our dark green horse drawn wooden wheeled buggy.  They are also for sale at the usual pick up spot along our laneway near the garden.  Duck eggs and chicken eggs, all free ranged on pasture, let out between 7 and 9 each morning and shut up again around dusk. Racoons are around and looking hungry so we have to put the birds away overnight.

A pretty good looking Rhode Island Red hen. A fine example as it is put.

A pretty good looking Rhode Island Red hen. A fine example as it is put.

Trays of vggies awaiting transplant. Lots of lettuce there.

Trays of vggies awaiting transplant. Lots of lettuce there.

So: Much transplanting needs doing.  Lots of weeding to be done. Have to keep up the watering. I must do a bit of work for our neighbour. We have to get hay in for the coming wintertime.  All the usual chores for the various animals have to be done at least twice each day.  I have to fix the driver’s side window in our car and replace the back window in the truck.   The pole for the single row cultivator needs replacement and the new pole needs holes drilled and to be trimmed to fit.   There are probably a dozen other little chores that are needing to be done too.

Marta and Nell

Marta and Nell

Thank you to those who have been coming out to work in the garden.  Your efforts are much needed and very much appreciated too. If there is anyone out there that would just like to get their hands a bit dirty and learn a little about organic gardening, then we would welcome your help. Send us an e-mail.

The Broad Beans (Fava Beans) are very close to being ready. The large beans are in the large inedible pod.

The Broad Beans (Fava Beans) are very close to being ready. The large beans are in the large inedible pod.

The CSA pickups here at the farm will begin probably week after next , the last week of June.  Not much for the first two or three weeks or maybe even 4 weeks, but, by July for sure, we will have good quantities of many things.

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June 13, 2016 Farm News


The usual Monday morning garden view

The usual Monday morning garden view

011The weather is now back to being too dry but luckily,  except for the one day, temperatures have not been excessively hot.  The garden plants are coping but we really did needed an inch of rain this past week.  We have been doing a lot of watering and have had our single sprinkler busy, moving it along every half hour or so.

William and his Aunt Angela weeding the onions, though William appears to have gone for the supervisory role.

William and his Aunt Angela weeding the onions, though William appears to have gone for the supervisory role.

William and his Aunt Angela weeding the onions, though William appears to have gone for the supervisory role.

William and his Aunt Angela weeding the onions, though William appears to have gone for the supervisory role.

We have been steadily transplanting this week and have had quite a bit of help from those with working shares, so much has been done.  But there is so much more to be done and we are falling behind where we would like to be and where we should be.

Heather and Kevin moving the buggy, the roadside stand, at the end of the day.

Heather and Kevin moving the buggy, the roadside stand, at the end of the day.

Our roadside stand is now set up at our daughter Heather’s front lawn, right next door to us, near the end of our laneway.  We have had eggs for sale there for a few weeks now.   For now the roadside stand is our dark green, horse drawn buggy which Emma and Olivia help Mom, and Dad Kevin, pull to the end of their laneway every morning.  There are more details at the page in this website titled “Roadside Stand”.  The hours are from 8 until 8 every day, seven days a week.

Nell and Marta and Leucan in the morning sun.

Nell and Marta and Leucan in the morning sun.

All the animals, chickens, ducks, sheep, cows and horses are well.  Their pastures could certainly use a real good rainfall as recovery had only just started after the rain nearly two weeks ago. The weekly follow up that was needed did not come.  We have to get hay in real soon too, it is that time of the year.  We are no longer, after more than 20 years, able to get hay from our neighbour, and we have not yet secured another supplier.  Hay is out there but it will be expensive. The chicken eggs are in the incubator at day 17 with 4 more days until hatching.

The ducks are doing their best to empty the water from the old swimmin' hole.

The ducks are doing their best to empty the water from the old swimmin’ hole.

These two carried on like this for more than five minutes.

These two carried on like this for more than five minutes.

A shorter blog this week.  I must try to keep brief notes on what is happening through the week as trying to remember, at the end of the week, what happened over the previous 7 days, is difficult. We expect that we will get a start to out CSA in about two or maybe three weeks from now.

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June 6, 2016 Farm News


The usual Monday morning garden view

The usual Monday morning garden view

Much of this past week continued very dry, though the temperatures were mostly not so high as the week before.  Still, mid afternoon on a couple of days found the sun to be quite intense.  We did get a small rain shower towards the end of the week and that was very useful as we were getting quite a bit behind on the watering of the veggies and it was getting noticeable.  Rain was badly needed. The first rain was adequate but it really was not enough and there were still bits of ground under mulch that was dry, the rain did not penetrate down too far.  But yesterday we got a pretty good soaking that will keep the ground moist for a good while and more rain is predicted for today.  Then, if we can continue warm with the occasional rain and no more dry, things will be pretty much perfect.

And we have a new addition here.  Maggies baby boy, as yet unnamed, was born at 8 pm on June 3.  Lots of excitement.  No picture just yet.

 

The old horse Marie

The old horse Marie

The incubator keeps incubating and we are now coming up to day 11 of 21 when our eggs should hatch.  There are 48 eggs in there and we are hoping for a good hatch as the eggs should all be fertile.  This is our first run with this machine so we may have to make some adjustments before the next run.  We also have a little Silkie hen brooding on a clutch of eggs.  She will need to be fixed up with a separate place for her nest that is safe, secure and quiet and away from the other hens, just so as she is not disturbed or has the clutch stolen from her when she gets off for food and drink.

Silkie chickens, a Barred Rock hen and a pair of Marans

Silkie chickens, a Barred Rock hen and a pair of Marans

A red Silkie rooster and a Black Copper Marans hen

A red Silkie rooster and a Black Copper Marans hen

The chickens and ducks continue to lay quite well though the numbers have been down just a little from what we had earlier in May.  Not sure why that should be.  Still a good lay rate though. Our eggs are now also being sold at the roadside.  We have them and the occasional other item out for sale in our horse drawn, dark green buggy which is parked near the road on our daughter and family’s front lawn right next door to us, right by the intersection of Robinson  and Green’s Roads.  We’ll later move it a little closer to our lane way and the garden, and have our veggies for sale there too.

Looking across to the corner of the garden at Robinson and Greens Roads intersection, the buggy with eggs for sale can be seen there in the middle just below the horizon.

Looking across to the corner of the garden at Robinson and Greens Roads intersection, the buggy with eggs for sale can be seen there in the middle just below the horizon.

Leucan, Nell and Marta.

Leucan, Nell and Marta.

The horses and sheep were starting to run a little short on pasture so the sheep are getting a little supplement of hay before they go out each day. The rains will start grasses and other plants growing once more, but that will take a few days to be noticeable, and even longer to get the pasture back in eating order.  The cows are still cycling through their pasture rotation and should have perhaps gone through a bit faster so the horses could have followed on sooner.  The horses still have a couple of spots that are growing still and which they have not been on yet this spring so they will be alright.

Spindly little strawberry plants

Spindly little strawberry plants

We are still busy getting veggies in.  We did get bogged down a bit with the planting of over 1000 strawberry root crowns.  That took longer than anticipated as we spent extra time doing preparation.  We needed the rain for them especially.  Other things are being planted and seeded and we have had help from volunteers and from working shares and that is so valuable and so much appreciated. Thanks Wayne and Helen, Dawn, Anca, Jim and Deb and Jen and Adam and earlier to Dawn’s Mom and Daughter.  And I’m pretty sure that I’m missing some one.  Apologies if I have.  Still a lot more to be done and we are a little behind where we would like to be and where we should be.

looking across the garlic planting

looking across the garlic planting

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