Friday, April 22, 2016

Strattons Farm Spring Update.....

We thought is was about time to do a farm update!
Winter seemed at the time rather short and sweet and then it rolled around again in late March and early April and then the last week or so has seen us all basking in summer temperatures.  But as I type this the weather network has predicted a few days of cold and even some snow flurries on Tuesday.

What have we been up to?
We learned how to harvest willow at The Branch Ranch and Workworth Willow Works It was really nice to do something different and a nice way to ease back into farm work after the winter break, all the bending and cutting did give our glutes and hamstrings a good work out.

Iris, Angus and Hamish.
This year we have also had our largest kidding season (We know that four goats is not as much as some but for us it is!).  Fleur and Tilly who where born here at the farm two years ago kidded this year.  Tilly has had two lovely doelings Iris and Gracie and Fleur has had two rather handsome bucklings Hamish and Angus.
Eva's Triplets

Then we had a seven week break and then it was Eva's turn, she blessed us with triplets again!  Two bucklings Atticus and Finch and a lovely little doeling called Scout.   
Last but not least was our lovely old girl Elly.  She kept us on our toes this year, she has been looking larger than normal, she is also our very prompt girl when it comes to kidding but she took her time this year I think she was holding on to kid on the Queen's birthday! So yesterday morning she finally decided to push, first one out no trouble and then she started work on the second all we could see was one foot for a rather long time which got us all a little worried!  As I went to get the phone to call our vet one of our customers who is a nurse turned up on the drive for her eggs and thankfully she was more than willing to go from a human nurse to an animal nurse in a blink of an eye. Thankfully without any assistance and with a lot of encouragement from three humans George came out back legs first then before we knew it Elly was back laying down again and one last big push and out popped number three. Mum and kids are all doing well.
George, Bertie and Lilibet

We felt that Elly's triplets should have a Royal theme for being born on the Queen's birthday so the boys have been named Bertie and George and the doeling has been named Lilibet.

In between goats kidding, chicks arriving, pigs leaving for the abattoir, remembering to do the farm accounts, keeping a close eye on our two bee hives that so far have made it through winter, the epic chore of cleaning out animal housing after winter, rolling down the hoop house plastic we have been busy seeding up a storm for this year's CSA.  
The greenhouse is packed full of seedlings ready to be transplanted along with seedlings being moved outside on a regular basis to harden off.  This week we have been prepping beds ready for the new seedlings  to be transplanted along with some direct seeding.
We have been keeping a close eye on the garlic patch as well and we are rather excited to see all the garlic growing.  This garlic bed is a huge achievement for us. When we first started growing garlic in the Fall on 2009 we started with 200 cloves, last Fall thanks to several of our CSA members we planted 6000 cloves.
We are excited to announce that we submitted a grant application to  the John Della Bosca Memorial Fund.  The Memorial was set up by the NFU Local 334  and Slow Food | The County in remembrance of John, he was an amazing man who contributed to sustainable farming, willing to share the highs and lows of what he had learnt, he was also the President of the Local National Farmers Union and passionate about the Slow food movement. Sadly he passed away far before his time but he will live on in so many peoples memories and we are so grateful to be one of the two recipients this year.  The grant is going to contribute towards the purchase of our third Hanley hoop house.  This tunnel will purely be used for winter and early spring greens production.  After this years winter bulk vegetable boxes every ones request was for greens so we sat down to figure out what we needed to do to meet this challenge.  We needed a third hoop house that would allow us to spend the summer building and feeding the soil and then would only be in production for the winter and early spring months while our other two hoop houses are rested over winter with cover crops and the plastic rolled up to allow the snow to protect and add extra moisture back into the soil. A huge thank you to the NFU and Slow Food for helping us with our next project.