Friday, April 26, 2013

It's nearly May......

Straw bales beds in the greenhouse
I think I have come to the conclusion that April is that blur blar month that you are willing it to warm up, dry out and green up so you really feel like Spring is actually here.  This April has been  colder than last year but when I compare it to two years ago it is pretty much on a par, well apart from the ice storm we had!  

We were thankful for the rain this month as our cistern had run dry in the house and we had to start using the well again for water.  We have spent all winter bucketing water from the stream to keep as much pressure off the well as possible.  Michael is installing our solar pump this weekend onto the capped spring we have so this will help with the watering of the animals and greenhouse and will reduce the pressure on our dug well.

Napa cabbage and beets
Seeding started in March in the greenhouse, thanks to straw bales and horse manure everything has germinated and is growing really well.  With the colder weather we have used vapour barrier over the beds with floating row covers to keep the heat in overnight. Some of the crops are so ready to go into the ground but overnight temperatures and a water logged field (who thought I would be saying that after last years lack of rain!) This has meant that we have not been able to get out and cultivate yet or start transplanting some of our crops. With  tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers being potted up the greenhouse is starting to get a little crowded! 

Our new egg layers
Even though April is that dreary month it always seems to fly by. We have been busy with the arrival of new chicks, meat and eggs layers, milking our goats Eva and Elly.  I should say I have been milking Eva rather successfully and after a week of milking her in the mornings we are starting to get a quart of milk from her which is rather exciting.  Once we are up to twice a day let the cheese making commence.  We are also freezing her milk for our soap making that we will start again in the fall.  Elly Belly is a whole different story!  Trying to milk a goat who is five and never been milked is a rather steep learning curve! So no milk for us from her but we are now at the stage she will get into the stanchion on her own, will eat her grain here, and we are able to wash her udders. As of this morning I think I managed to get ten squirts of milk out of her before she started kicking and trust me for such a small goat she can really kick! Each day that passes she is getting better.

We are also going to be farrowing shortly.  Nigella one of our gilts is pregnant, we were planning on covering both our gilts this year but it seems that Bertie had been ahead of the game and Nigella is getting larger by the day.  Both Michael and I are feeling rather sorry for her, she is huge! She waddles around the paddock has a root up or a drink and then lays down for a rather long nap! Ina has just come back into heat so we are hoping that Bertie covers her this time and then it will be another 3 months 3 weeks 3 days before the next litter arrives.

The farm is also taking part in the Healthy Soils Project that is ran through OMAFRA.  As we grow into our farm we are slowly taking back more land. With this new project that is running it has allowed us to have a technician come out and take soil samples from our growing area and also from another field we are looking at putting into vegetable production.  This project will allow us to see what cover crops we can use at the end or the beginning of the season to increase soil fertility and health. We will  participate in this next year as some of our fields leave grain production and go into pasture.

We have now sold all our CSA Vegetable shares for this season.  We feel rather humbled by the support we have been given and are excited to see all our returning members and meet our new members over the coming months.  We always plant more than we need and if mother nature works with us this year we will be looking at adding a Saturday pick up from the farm.  Our aim is to develop the CSA and to get a big enough membership so we do not have to attend a farmers market.  I will miss the hustle and bustle of a market, chatting with customers and other vendors but with all we have to do on the farm just between Michael and I something has to give.  We have found, out of everything we do the market is one of the most time consuming things to get ready for.  We are able to attend markets as an occasional vendor,  so we might do this for long weekends or special events but our aim is to have the CSA large enough that we can still manage everything between the two of us.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just a reminder about the Belleville Rally

April 9th is the day to bring your voices and your banners to the office of Daryl Kramp MP, 1 Millennium Parkway, Belleville from 12-1pm.