The fine weather continues and we are now getting a good bit done. This week past was the last week for CSA vegetable pickups for 2016 and this is a big change for us. On the one hand we are very happy that it has ended and we can turn our attention more fully to getting a lot of very pressing work started and finished. But on the other hand it is a sadder time as we will miss our weekly conversations with everyone coming to pick up their veggies and we will miss the rush getting everything ready in time for the four o’clock start of pick ups each Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday we did not need the cover on our shelter at the pick up area but it seemed that it would be better to have it up for Thursday and though we had no rain it did break a cool north-west wind and make things just a bit more comfortable. When we finally do get our structure completed it will provide shelter on pick up days from sun, wind and rain and though it is a fairly large structure there will be many weeks of pickups when all the space will be filled with vegetables. It is about 20 by 14 feet in size, likely tables down all sides and in the centre.
The work of getting the garlic planted is going along slowly but it requires a lot of work. Compost is brought up from the barn, where it has been ripening for a year or more, and spread thinly on a three row bed. The three rows are marked with a planting groove made with two or three passes with the wheel hoe. A hand hoe is then used to loosen the bottom of the groove which is about 2 to three inches deep. The garlic cloves are planted at about a 5 to 6 inch spacing by just pushing them into the soil in the groove. A wide spaced two pronged hand cultivator is dragged along to throw dirt on the cloves, a thin layer of tree leaves is put down on the bed and another thin layer of compost is applied. Then it is finished with a layer of straw. One and a half beds of garlic are now done, except for the straw layer. with another 1 1/2 beds to go before being finished. The straw goes down on the whole three beds at the same time.
We had an unusual visitor this past Saturday. A medium to large sized bird, a western cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis, in the heron family Ardeidae. It is relatively uncommon here though there are perhaps 400 to 500 breeding pairs in Ontario. They do not over winter in Ontario but will fly south close to the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico. These birds follow large mammals such as cattle and horses feeding on insects disturbed by the grazing animals. They are a very common bird in the US and points south and in their native Africa. Our bird stayed with the horses all day but the next day was gone, presumably having stopped here for the day to rest and feed, resuming the migratory flight at night.
All our grazers and poultry are finding this to be very favourable weather, just like their human keepers. A bit of snow forecast for Saturday coming so we’ll also have to do a bit of work preparing for that too.