It has been such a very nice week. We had the horses out working the garden on three consecutive days but gave them a break on the fourth. They cannot be expected to do long and heavy work just yet since they have been little worked all winter. They were very well behaved when worked and were worked for two or three hours at a time. They were harnessed to the large disc harrows that we have. This set of discs is so large that in order to be able to work them continuously for two or three hours we should need at least 8 horses. We use our team, two horses and since they are two and not eight we have to give them frequent and long breaks. The routine was to pull the discs down from one side of the garden to the next, a distance of just over 300 feet and give the horses a long rest, then back down to the other end and another rest. The round trip including the rests took about 10 to 15 minutes so the work was slow to get done. The harrowing was sometimes done twice over if there was a lot of plant material needing to be worked in. Later the single row cultivator pulled by the horses will go over the ground at least two and sometimes three times to form a seed bed. We sometimes go over it again with various cobbled together tools to break up clumps and make a much smoother, finer seed bed; suitable for smaller seeded vegetables which need to be more shallowly planted and will not emerge through large heavy clods of earth. We need a better horse drawn device to do bed preparation but have not found a really suitable one as yet.
We were able to plant the last bed (two rows) of broad beans and also get planted two and two thirds beds of Yellow Spanish onions sets, little bulbs, not seeds. Our seeded onions are still in the house in the seed trays. The garlic has been partially hoed to get rid of the newly sprouted weeds of various sorts and the perennial Korean Mint, which is growing very nicely, has had the dead stems from last season taken away. So work has begun slowly. not quite as much accomplished as we would have hoped for, and not quite ready to put out a call for help from those with a working share.
Today, Monday, Aerron will have the horses on the discs again, and later on the cultivator, to get some beds ready for more onions and other veggies and for the potatoes. We made a trip to William Dam Seeds again, on Wednesday this past week, second trip this year to Dam’s, to get more seeds, the onion sets and potatoes. One more trip to in a few weeks to get corn, squashes and other of the vining crops as well as anything that we may have missed.
The chickens are continuing to lay very well and our ducks are doing a good job too as their lay rate is steadily increasing and has just today reached 50 per cent. That is to say that 10 of the 20 hen ducks laid an egg. So we now have plenty of eggs to sell. If you would like to get eggs just send an e-mail with your request. Eggs are $4.00 per dozen. These are brown eggs, mostly large to extra large and the ducks eggs, except for the odd black or grey egg from the Cayuga breed, are quite large and white.