REMINDER THAT WE ARE NOW TAKING MEMBERSHIPS IN THE VEGETABLE COMMUNITY SHARED AGRICULTURE (CSA) PROGRAM FOR THE 2018 SEASON. LOOK AT THIS WEBSITE’S “OUR CSA PROGRAM” PAGE ON THE MENU BANNER FOR MORE INFORMATION AND CONTACT US AS SOON AS YOU CAN OR IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.
The weather this week was a small set back for us as the cold, below freezing nights and the around or slightly over the freezing mark days means a lot of slick with mud surfaces and keeps us from doing much at all in the garden. We would like to finish up a lot of the preparatory work for spring planting and seeding. If the soil is dried out enough we can mark out grooves in which to later sow seeds and place transplants into. We would also like to put in place as much straw mulch as we can.
We did manage to spend more time on preparing our hotbeds but that has moved along a little more slowly than we’d like. There is a lot of work involved. We have brought most of the manure and straw for the beds up from the barn. That was a major effort. The manure should be uniformly wetted, piled and left for three days, replied and wetted were needed and left for another days and the procedure repeated once more. This gets the straw and manure mixed together somewhat evenly, breaks up clumps, brings in air and gets the bacteria really reproducing and eating and thus generating a lot of heat. That is the ideal method and the preferred but we have just done a single re-pile and wetting and will do it only one more time when we have the outer retaining boards in place. Once we have that done we’ll cover the whole with glass and have blankets also on hand to cover up over night to retain heat if we think it needed. The hotbed will eventually be four feet wide and over twenty feet long and we can add to the length anytime it seems necessary.
The animals continue to flourish and the last few lambs were born. No new calf yet. Horses do like the nice warm sunny days and so, of course do all the chickens. The chickens and the ducks continue to lay well and the lay rate continues to increase. So much so that we are considering soon to send the older flock along with the extra roosters, to ENS Poultry Processors near Elora for slaughter. So we will then have a bunch of end of lay hens for soup chicken and some year old roosters as roasters. These will not be the usual young roasters and will best be appreciated by our friends from Nepal and India who prefer this age and size of chicken for meat.
Wednesday is the 21st, the first day of spring, the vernal equinox where we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours when we don’t. From the 22nd onwards then we will have of course gradually increasing day length. More hours, potentially, barring excessive cloud, of sunshine. The migratory birds will soon be here in large numbers. Barn swallows in about another 30 days, Killdeers anytime now, various birds of the northern forest on their way through. Robins have been heard and seen, Trumpeter Swans are mostly passed through. I saw a flock of geese passing over head this morning on a compass heading of about due north. Not sure who they were but think maybe Cackling goose. The local Canada geese have begun flying in pairs over the last week or sow so they will likely be setting on eggs soon. Many signs of eminent spring.