Ponies, ducks, ducklings, a new rooster plus the handful of new felted creatures... this place is brimming with life. Even the daffodils are willing to show their heads. All the seeds and soil amendments are in, the greenhouse is getting tidied-up. Some seedlings are starting in the house. The ponies are in training to get the fields cultivated. It feels good to begin a new season.
With the help of the heat and the rain, our gardens are really growing. If we can only get all the plants in the ground. Transplanting from the greenhouse into the field is a major task. We have decided to mulch both our fields this year in the hopes of increasing fertility. Still trying to locate old hay bails to keep the weeds at bay.
We have a pack of marauding guineas who seem to like to nibble everything we put out and dust bathe in the newly sown beds. Trying to work out a solution... a few guineas are on the market, cheap.
Speaking of markets, we have produce at Wild Oats Coop and The Store at Five Corners. So if you are in the Williamstown area look out for our goods.
Mari & WindRose have started creating woodland-inspired cut flower bouquets. Here are a few to delight your eyes...
As we wait for the Maple sap to flow, I thought i'd include some pictures from last years muddy madness. We've changed quite a few things now so there's no need to churn up the garden.
Mud, Sweat and tears as we got used to the new terrain and equipment
We couldn't have done it without the supervision and gentle guidance of "Lord Tennyson Doodlebug"
We will hope to be in action again the second week of March, Sap and Maple syrup can be picked up from the farm or delivered by arrangement. Totally Free range eggs Eggs should be starting again soon, and firewood will be available for next year's Winter, which will not be so ferocious!
We've have finally made it to the warm part of the year. And yet as life seems to be flourishing some things keep dying. Life and death always side by side.
Our fierce and beloved Snowy (guinea hen, and mother of the clan) passed away this morning. We have no idea what happened. We have also in the last two months lost out other two female guineas, Minnie and her sister. Minnie and her sister may have been egg-bound but I can't find any details about it on any forums.
Jesus el Diablo P Morgan has sat with her body most of the day, returning again and again to be with her. As humans we completely ignore how much animals know and feel. He loved his mate as much as I love mine.
It has felt like a very slow spring. There are a few green things showing their heads in our cold north facing valley, so there might be hope for us yet, if the poultry doesn't polish them off first.
The birds have been out scratching and foraging and our eggs are fantastic! What a difference having greens and bugs makes to the colour and flavour of the yolks.
Mum and I dyed our Easter eggs with natural dyes this year. Lovely. Red onion skin are my favourite, red cabbage and turmeric are good too. The beetroot didn't really give good colour.
Despite it being a frustrating year for Sugaring, we have managed to make 7 gallons. It is dark and smokey, what was being labeled Grade B Dark Amber, but all the maple syrup labeling is changing this year... I think it will just be Dark Amber now. More next year and we have wonderful plans for a round Sugar House with a reciprocal roof.
Dylan has managed to inoculate more logs with Shitake spawn, build a new tool shed, level the area where our High Tunnel is going (this year fingers crossed!), mill all the wood for the tools shed, haul all the sap across the stream, boil the syrup down, plant a whole new batch of fruit trees, plan this year's crops, teach me how to graft apple scions on to our trees and take on a new job. And that is just a bit of what he has done this April. I am knackered just looking at him.
The guinea babies all grown up. we are getting set for Maple Season, lots of sap, lots of syrup, lots of fun :-)
Well we are pretty slack on posting any updates so I thought i'd put up a few pictures at least :-) Here are the Guinea babys before they grew into loud, teenagers..
The Farm on a nice sunny day in November. We are very busy getting ready for winter - Conservatory, Mill house, Sugar Shack etc
Mari using our new sawmill to Make some Birch Boards. We hope to have custom milled, rough lumber in the next few weeks. Birch, Red Oak, Maple etc
This was the Hopi Blue Corn at the beginning of the summer. It has reached over my head by three or four feet. (It isn't hard to be taller than my small five foot stature!). Yesterday I was harvesting the rest of it before Mister Bear got his greedy paws on it. He has been in at the Guineas as well as helping himself to the corn. It took Dylan a long time and much persuasion, with a sling shot, a horn and the flashlight, to get him to move along the other night! The Guineas had a very stressful night, they all scattered into the trees, the north, field up to the house and along the road to get away from the marauding bear. In the morning I heard the father Guinea (Jesus el Diablo P Morgan) calling to everyone. Out from under bushes, and off our roof where the solar panels are, came the poor little ones. All fifteen of the keets and both parents made it. So time to harvest the corn.
We have been having glorious sunny days with cold nights but the days are getting shorter and there is sooo much to be done.
Dylan just came in to say the water, to sterilize the straw for Oyster Mushrooms, has reached temperature... so I'll have to catch up with all our summer activities in another post soon.
We've had a pretty crazy start to this farming venture. Dylan and I have been experimenting with tapping maples as the woods are full of them. Mum and Dad have been cooking up some of the batches. We enjoyed a number of tasty treats with our own maple syrup. I am sure we have a lot to learn yet. But it is a start.
The Next crop from the woods has been the ramps, the wild garlic! Talus woods is full of them. We got in a few harvests and sold some to locals markets. And we ate the excess, ramp soup, like leek and potato, and in quiches and omlettes! Mum even joked about making ramp custard for dessert.
The weather has been changeable and very wet the last few weeks. Although before that we had a dry spell which we thought might last all summer.
Crops are slow, but growing. Corn is really in it's element here. It truly is the grain of the Americas. I think what they say about watching it grow is true. And I think the broad beans/ favas are attempting to race the corn.
We are in the process of applying for a farm loan and also in the running for a grant for a high tunnel... So fingers crossed it all goes smoothly