Thursday, December 5, 2013

We are still alive and kicking...

I always know when I have not been blogging enough when friends start letting slip that I have not updated in a while!

So here we go summer, fall and winter all in one post!

The first thing you will notice is that our blog has changed and we have taken down lots of our pages about our farm, this does not mean we have stopped offering these products! The blog was started back in 2009 to share our story and since then we have written over 100 posts (for some bloggers this is a pretty poor)! As our farm has grown so have we and we are finding it harder to keep up to date with our blog.  So over the last few weeks we have been on a steep learning curve and have built our own website! It was a process! Trust me! It still needs some fine tuning, we need to add in our recipe page but we are hoping it will be easier for everyone to use.  We will of course still be blogging but it means we do not have to do it as often as we used to!  So when you have the time please check out our new site! and let us know what you think? 

What have we been up to over the last few months? we hear you asking.

July was dry and August gave us lots of very cold nights which meant some of our heat loving crops were not happy at all! Cold evenings led into cold mornings which meant a lot of toque wearing in the AM to do chores! Seriously I had a toque on pretty much for the month of August! I still wore shorts but I had a toque on! How many times can I say toque in one paragraph?
But in comparison to the 2012 draught our 2013 season went fairly well, it was not without it's challenges and we still have things to improve on but we are proud to say that between the two of us, (we had no family visit this year so no additional help) we fed 41 amazing families, raised 300 chickens, our goats kidded, our three sows farrowed, Michael attended to our bees while his wife continued to get stung by them!  We built fencing, learnt about seeding pastures thanks to our neighbour, did a lot of unloading, stacking and re loading hay wagons, and as of the 23rd of December we will have raised 50 turkeys so all in all we have been pretty busy this year.  

This year we applied for two grants.  One from Trent Conservation to help us fence some of our land into paddocks that border our stream which ultimately runs into the Trent river.  We got a tiny grant from them which allowed us to purchase all the cedar bracing posts.  We then invested into all the other parts of the fencing job which meant hiring Curtis Construction to help dig the posts in, and then over the summer and fall we pounded posts and strung alot of fencing. Finally the job is done and it looks pretty good.  Fencing is an on going challenge and investment for us as we need to fence our stream from all livestock. We also need to build a crossing over the stream to make it easier for us to do chores. Balancing over a twelve inch wide bridge with buckets of water when everything is covered with ice and snow is not fun! We are also hoping to do additional buffer planting to provide more wildlife habitat and also to create some windbreaks.  

The second grant we applied for and received was from the Big Carrot.  They truly are an amazing company.  They run the Big Carrot Supermarket in Toronto and all their profits are used to help farmers who are trying to make a change to the food system. So after lots of writing and then lots of waiting we were gifted a grant from them! We can not thank the Carrot Cache enough and feel rather humble to be on of the recipients this year.  There grant is allowing us to establish a 100ft Hanley hoop house for season extension.  This will go up and come down every year as it does not withstand snow loads but will allow us to start our season earlier and to run it for longer.  We are so excited to see our CSA grow from 18 to 20 weeks and we are hoping with each year to make our Summer CSA a little longer.  New for 2014-2015 will be a Winter CSA, the new hoop tunnel will allows us to grow greens for this.  The grant is also allowing us to purchase some much needed tools to make our lives slightly easier.  One of those tools is a flame weeder (Michael is rather excited about this! Me slightly nervous so I am ordering more carrot seed for next year......just incase).  We are hoping this will keep the weeds down in crops such as carrots and beets and allow us to prep our beds and to kill back the weeds to allow our plants to get established with less competition.  More posts will follow as the equipment arrives and we will blog on how the equipment and tunnel help our 2014 season.

December is here the snow has fallen and melted and we are all ready prepping for the 2014 season! 

Off farm news is that for two days in October Michael entered the acting business! He was cast as an extra for a TV Documentary about Camp X! The production crew did get rather excited when a rather dapper Englishman walked onto set as they had been trying to cast a Canadian for  a  role but were struggling due to the accent! As you all know Michael has spent many a year perfecting his!  Camp X will be aired next Spring on the History channel with or without Michael in a starring role! 

So as we hunker down for winter, get the wood stacked (which we are always chasing our tails to do) and lay out our 2014 garden and farm plans.  We thank all of you for your continued support and we look forward to growing and raising your food again next year.