Mid Summer on the Farm

July 20, 2015

This is pretty good for me, adding more than one blog posting per summer! I find that I often look back on previous year’s postings to see where we were at on this date last year. It is helpful to gauge how good a year we’re having and, if it’s not that great, what to prepare for in months to come. I have a feeling that this will not be a great year for the heat loving crops especially corn and sweet potatoes. We planted lots of squash so even if they don’t produce hugely, we’ll have enough. Cucumbers and eggplant are growing inside the coldframe so they’ll be okay in a cool season, and tomatoes will probably be a bit happier in these low 20 degree Celcius temperatures. Potatoes, brassicas and lettuce are loving the cool, wet weather of recent days and beets and carrots are really growing, too. So if the cool weather continues and we have an early frost, we’ll probably only suffer reduced yields in a few areas.

We are having an amazing growing year, despite the slow start and crazy weather. I think our soil has reached a point where the nutrient balance, pH and level of biological acrivity are perfectly suited to vegetable growth. I think we have also come a long way in our vegetable-growing knowledge and that makes all the difference, too. We have a lot of help on the farm this season so are a bit more on top of weeds, though they are still growing like mad. July is weed month and all we can do is keep on weeding and try to keep them under control.

Sasso chicks are almost two months old and have grown a lot

Sasso chicks are almost two months old and have grown a lot

Mobile chicken pen with Sassos works its way through next year's vegetable field

Mobile chicken pen with Sassos works its way through next year’s vegetable field

The Sasso chicks are doing really well and, other than one fatality during an early attempt at moving the pen, we haven’t lost one. The mobile pen works beautifully, too. It has wheels at the far end that can be lowered into place to make moving the pen a job easily done by a 100 lb woman. Now this is appropriate technology on the farm! We move the pen twice a day to give them lots of grass and a clean place to live, as well as to give us a good, even spread of manure over the field. The chickens are all pretty much sold at this point and I’m sure they’ll be tasty.

Cucumbers in the coldframe are doing well

Cucumbers in the coldframe are doing well

We are still finding cucumber beetles in our carefully screened coldframe, but there are much fewer of them and the damage is a lot less. By this time last year we’d lost more than half of the first planting to bacterial wilt whereas this year we’ve only lost 2 of the 65 plants. They are producing well and we had our first pick last Friday. We also have yellow sticky traps placed among the plants and they help catch the beetles as well. The unpleasant job of cleaning and re-stickying them is coming up and I guess we’ll draw straws to see who gets to do it!

Tomatoes and peppers in the high tunnels

Tomatoes and peppers in the high tunnels

We are starting to see our first ripe cherry tomatoes, which seems earlier than usual to me. Perhaps the cold stress during June triggered an early ripening? We aren’t complaining at all! The plants are doing well though the job of pruning and training has become quite onerous with the higher density of plants.

The fields in mid July

The fields in mid July

I took a picture of the least weedy area, just so everything looks good! We seem to have fewer of many different pests this year. We had no root maggot in the radishes and very little in the salad turnips. We are seeing very few cabbage worm moths and the potato beetles arrived very late, though they are here in full force now! Though we have cucumber beetle in the coldframe, we are seeing next to none in the fields on the zucchini, melons and squash. The long cold winter and late spring may have brought some blessings as well as problems!

One of this year's jobs, re-siding the barn, turned up some structural issues that must be dealt with

One of this year’s jobs, re-siding the barn, turned up some structural issues that must be dealt with

Unfortunately an already big and expensive job has gotten even bigger and more expensive: the corner post helpng support the barn is completely rotten and must be replaced. It is a big job because many things are connected to this post and everything must be held in place while the post is removed and replaced. As well, the original structure was built using wooden pegs to hold large posts and beams together and we’ll have to saw through those to remove the rotten bits. We can’t put in new pegs so will need to reattach things a bit differently. We’ve been referred to a local “barn doctor” who is hopefully coming out to see it tonight and may be able to do the work for us. We love our old barn and want to do everything we can to preserve it and keep it functional!

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And of course there are the goats! They are all doing well and producing lots of milk and I’m still making lots of cheese. My last brie was amazing and I plan to try some more soon. Right now we have lots of feta, chevre, gouda aging in the cheese fridge and some crottins. I have a lead on a buck, a nubian x boer that looks pretty nice, so it will be great to have something lined up for this breeding season.

WHOF Bird Report

June 22, 2015

Something I missed in the last blog posting: a Windy Hill Organic Farm bird update. I would like to do this regularly in my (not so regular!) postings and will try to keep bird sighting info up to date.

We have a robin’s nest on our wood pile with one baby hatched and one sterile egg. Unfortunately the baby disappeared one day and we think it was eaten by crows. We have our barn swallows nesting in the same place as last year though no babies yet. We also have a killdeer nesting in the sunchoke bed in field #4. She is faithfully guarding her three eggs with lots of noise and displays of damaged wings. Fortunately that is not a high traffic area this time of the year (at least not since we’ve planted squash and sweet potatoes) so she should be left well alone. We have a family of mergansers on the pond and I counted 11 tiny babies yesterday. It’s good she started out with a large clutch because many dangers exist for baby mergansers, especially now with this cold wet weather.

I saw a male yellow warbler a few days ago, the first I’ve ever seen here. They are a very striking bird and it would be nice to see it again. We had our bobolinks visit in the spring as usual and enjoyed their cheerful song for a few weeks. We have more red-winged blackbirds than I’ve seen in ages and I’m sure some are nesting by the pond as I see them chasing off larger birds (ducks, geese) from their territory. Hummingbirds are in high numbers again this year and I go through three cups of sugar water a day these days. They’ll be nesting around the house, probably in the honeysuckle bush, fairly soon. We are seeing goldfinches, sparrows, robins, crows and I saw a small flock of cedar waxwings last week but they didn’t linger. There are the usual ducks and geese that come and go on the pond and lots of tree swallows that flit above the water, catching insects. We will try and put up some tree swallow houses, though if we’re too late this year, we’ll build some for next.

And that’s the WHOF bird report for Monday, June 22/15.

June 19, 2015
Happy goat giving lots of milk

Happy goat giving lots of milk

Sasso chicks are very vigorous and will be great foragers inour mobile pen

Sasso chicks are very vigorous and will be great foragers inour mobile pen

the broken apple tree seems to be still alive so we put it in a cast to heal

the broken apple tree seems to be still alive so we put it in a cast to heal

Lots of trays of healthy plants waiting to go into the ground

Lots of trays of healthy plants waiting to go into the ground

the surreal space of a screened coldframe

the surreal space of a screened coldframe

black plastic on the soil to kill weeds before planting

black plastic on the soil to kill weeds before planting

Start of the Season

June 19, 2015

It’s been a long time since my last posting and it feels like a good day to do some writing. Our annual spring Open Farm Day was yesterday so today is Recover from Open Farm Day day. We had a smaller turnout than usual, though the weather was lovely. I think we’ve reached a point in our CSA career where a high renewal rate (over 80%) means that everyone’s been to Open Farm Day at least once and now the numbers each year are declining. Though OFD is mainly for CSA members I also invite local farmers, neighbours and my organic gardening class. I think next year we’ll open it to the general public, too, so that we get more people coming to see our beautiful farm. We also participate in the province-wide open farm day in September but when you put as much work into the spring OFD as we do, we really want to get an audience!

We still had about 50 people attend and a lot of them stayed for most of the day. There were lots of young kids enjoying playing with Cory (we had to take him away and hide him a few times so he could catch his breath!) and watching the baby chicks run around in their enclosure. Quite a few gardening class people came out and it was nice to hear about their gardening adventures and show them some of our stuff. The food was amazing, as always, though we had a new cook this year – Bernadette of Goguen Orchards took on the converting of our seasonal ingredients (chard, kale, shallots from last year, eggs, feta cheese and rhubarb) into some amazing baked goods. Will and I have lots of leftovers and will eat very well for at least a few days! We had the usual compliment of highly skilled volunteers: my mom, Cathy, aunt and uncle, Peter and Bert, Carla, Sarah, Kathy, Diane, Nicole and Lise. It is so nice to be able to go off and give farm tours and know that everything is being taken care of in the main building. We had Pierre and J-F, our favourite Acadian folk band playing again this year and if they don’t become too famous and start touring the world, we hope to have them every year! So all in all it was a great day and everyone had lots of fun. We got to meet some of our new CSA members and also see a few of the old ones again and marvel over how their kids have grown, obviously on a diet of high quality organic produce!

Farm-wise things are going well and we’re hoping to start delivering veggies in a couple of weeks. We’ve been going to the market for 5 weeks now, thanks mainly to Alva Farm’s early plantings though we’ve been able to send rhubarb, spinach, kale, chard and also leeks from last year (overwintered under row cover and straw) as well as lots of tomato plants. We’re organizing ourselves a bit differently this year, having incorporated as a co-op (La Coopérative Coin Bio Ltée./Organic Corner Cooperative Ltd.) and are now retaining 20% of all market sales and paying labour, mileage, stall fees and supplies from this income. We are four farms for now and we will see how things work and how we grow in the future. A lot of this will depend on the potential for developing other markets as well as the variety of local organic products available: we’re be interested in farms that compliment rather than compete with what the current member farms produce.

The growing season started late and we’ve had a few weeks of good weather to get caught up but also lots of continuing cool nights and late frosts. We’ve also had a lot of wind lately, more than even Windy Hill Farm is used to getting! It took a fair amount of planning to get a day calm enough to cover the high tunnels but thanks to The Weather Network’s hourly reports, we were able to schedule a 6:00 a.m. tunnel-covering party and got both tunnels covered by 8:30. We’ve had some pest challenges, too, with flea beetle being one of the big ones. All brassicas are covered right after planting but the flea beetles were in the soil and hatched under the cover, feasting on our turnips and broccoli. The turnips actually seem to have recovered and are growing now but our first broccoli planting doesn’t look great. We’ll probably get some broccoli but they won’t be very big heads. However on the pests vs. farmers front, we actually seem to have won a small victory over cucumber beetles: the ones living in our coldframe hatched early (April) as the soil started to warm and then died due to lack of food. Will and Stéphan managed to do a great job of screening the coldframe and after leaving some indicator cucumber plants in there for two weeks, we realized that we were truly beetle-free! So we’ve planted the first row of Corinto cucumbers, a parthenocarpic variety (needs no pollination) that should have us swimming in cukes in no time. This is quite exciting because our cucumber production potential has just leaped into the realms of trying out long English cukes and other pricey but popular varieties. However, we’re also still learning a lot about nature: it abhors a vacuum, especially a pest vacuum and we now have a thriving population of grasshoppers living in the screened coldframe! We’ll soon need to take some measures to get a handle on them before they eat everything – sticky traps? Introduce some birds?

Our fall planted strawberries are doing beautifully and are loaded with fruit with no sign of clipper weevils. We were a bit worried about them after our hard winter (and only a double cover of Agribon 19 to protect them) but they all recovered beautifully and are large, healthy, well leafed plants with lots of berry-producing crowns. It is a more expensive way of producing the berries but if it helps us better manage pests and disease and gives us higher yields in their single season of production, it just may pay for itself. Of course there is also the benefit of having beds that fit better into our rotations, along with better weed management and less labour (weeding, trimming runners, renovating after harvest). So far I think the annual berries are winning us over!

We are in the midst of our annual sweet potato saga again. We basically repeated our mistakes of last year and, yes, surprise surprise, we are getting the same results! We had had trouble getting slips from a farm in Ontario that buys them from North Carolina and ships them around the country to other, smaller growers. The problem last year was the delivery process: UPS destroyed the first package and then lost the second one. Well, this year we planned to try and buy slips from the same people again but delivered by Canada Post. Somehow, over a number of conversations, we were convinced to try UPS again (delivering to a store rather than our farm) and, once again, UPS destroyed the package. Except this time they put it back together again, delivered it to us a day late and very smelly (with brown liquid oozing out of the box) and we decided, for some strange reason, to plant the smelly slips. After two days in the trays the slips started dying off, one by one. I decided then to order another batch of plants from a different place in Ontario: much more expensive but the slips are rooted and last year arrived in excellent condition (thank you, Canada Post!). Well no sooner were the new batch on their way when I realized that the planted slips that didn’t die immediately were actually coming to life and putting out roots! So now we have a very large number of sweet potato plants though Sarah is growing them as well as us and I think we may be able to sell the excess. I also like the idea of trying two different varieties and I am truly hooked on sweet potatoes!

We have an amazing farm team this year: a group of experienced and highly motivated people who cruise through their jobs like a whale devouring plankton. Sarah is working for us again as well as growing her own stuff. She is planning a winter CSA, an extended farmer’s market presence and has also made plans to sell greens to a cafe in Moncton. Carla is here once again and looking forward to taking on the training and pruning of cucumbers in the screened coldframe as well as other field tasks. Stéphan is working until lobster season starts and is doing field work as well as construction. We have quite a few repair and maintenance projects planned for this summer and realized that the only way to get things done (like outdoors painting that can’t be done in winter) is to get some help. We have another volunteer joining us for July and August: Theresa is on leave from her regular job coordinating ACORN to spend some months connecting with the farming community. We’ll have her here for 30 hours/week working on some special projects as well as helping with field work. One of the projects we’ve signed onto is the collecting and identifying of cabbage maggot in brassicas. We grow a lot of brassicas and when I heard the call for farms to help with the study, I couldn’t help but volunteer Windy Hill. The goal of the project isn’t very organic (studying pesticide resistance in cabbage maggot) but I’m interested in learning the collection and identification process as well as some other information on pest life cycles and which species of the Delia genus actually causes damage. I also like to think that the provincial agricultural experts need to be exposed to more organic farms and see how we deal with pests, weeds and diseases without toxic using chemicals.

I need to wrap this up now if I’m ever going to get it posted on the blog but one final piece of interesting information: we learned a few months ago that we aren’t the only Windy Hill Farm in New Brunswick! Now what are the chances of that happening? We had a call from the original WHF owners a few months ago and we reached an agreement that we slightly change our name so there aren’t two of us out there. The other WHFarmers are beef farmers so it’s not like we’ll be selling the same things at the same markets, however since they’d been WHF longer than us, we were fine with changing. So, we are now Windy Hill Organic Farm – a good description and a very mild change. Changing our name slightly also made us think about our logo – which doesn’t exist – and how it would be nice to have one. So we now have a graphic designing friend of Sarah’s attempting to create a logo that we’d like to show the world. It will appear on our website and blog site so stay tuned …

April 26 on the Farm

April 26, 2015
Fields still partially snow covered

Fields still partially snow covered

Strawberries half in and half out of snow

Strawberries half in and half out of snow

Garlic is starting to come up under the straw where not under snow

Garlic is starting to come up under the straw where not under snow

One apple tree that made it and one that didn't

One apple tree that made it and one that didn’t

Heavy snow is hard on fences

Heavy snow is hard on fences

Goats love having their pictures taken!

Goats love having their pictures taken!

Goats are happy to finally be getting some outside time

Goats are happy to finally be getting some outside time

What do farmers do while waiting for fields to thaw and dry? Play ball with the puppy!

What do farmers do while waiting for fields to thaw and dry? Play ball with the puppy!

... and refinish their floors!

… and refinish their floors!

Scenes from the Farm April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015

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Still lots of snow!

Still lots of snow!

Bouncing babies

Bouncing babies

Goats who really want to go outside but snow is still too deep

Goats who really want to go outside but snow is still too deep

Spring is Coming

April 7, 2015

It is the end of the first week of April, as well as Easter weekend, and it is cold outside! We hit an all-time record for low temperatures last night at -14 degrees Celsius, not a distinction I care to experience again this season! There is still a lot of snow on the ground, between 2-4 feet, though it is melting very slowly. The long range forecast is for more seasonal temperatures 6 days from now and I can only hope their predictions are correct! We have seedlings started in the lean-to coldframe and usually at this time of the year I would send all the alliums (onions, shallots and leeks) to a protected outdoors area to make room for the next round of plantings. Well, with the temperatures predicted to hit highs of only 2 degrees this week, I think I’ll keep them indoors a bit longer. We fortunately have our indoor start area, too – not huge but it will hold about 16 trays – to keep me on schedule. Though having said that, I actually bumped the planting of a few of the faster growing veggies forward a week because I find it hard to picture the ground being ready to plant in just 4 weeks from now! I do know from experience that when the melt starts, it goes quickly so it’s possible we could lose all this snow in the next two weeks and then get some serious warming to thaw and dry the soil and be ready for an early May outdoors start. We shall see!

It being Easter Monday, my food of choice for the day is chocolate. I am trying to be a bit disciplined and, fortunately, we also have some lovely fresh spinach that over-wintered in the coldframe. It is crispy and sweet and I eat it every day. The coldframe is a bit wet and will get wetter as the snow melts so I’m holding off preparing beds for the early plantings of carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce and green onions. This means I can keep eating the fall-planted spinach a bit longer and this isn’t a bad thing! I made a big batch of caramel squares as Easter treats to share (yes, we feasted on a few of them ourselves!) and traded that recipe for one for an old Acadien favourite, Pet de Soeur, which translates beautifully as “Nun’s Farts”. I guess the name arose because they are light and sweet (!). I’ll see if I can do them justice.

The goat kidding season has come and gone and everything went really well. We had 4 sets of twins and one set of triplets. I had been expecting the triplets based on the size of the mother and the fact she’d had triplets before. She is a great mother and never seems to have any trouble feeding all three. I think this is because she breeds devious kids who are very good at stealing milk from the other mothers whenever opportunity presents itself. This mother of triplets always produces two normal sized kids plus one miniature. The mini is always very friendly, probably because it is showered with affection throughout its life, being forever smaller and cuter than the others. This works better with females than males and I’m happy to say that this year’s tiny kid is a girl. The overall ratio is 7 girls to 4 boys and we’re quite happy with those numbers. Last year we had 10 boys which necessitated some changes to the area they are raised in post-weaning and made for lots of extra work at the end of the season. We weren’t able to sell that much goat meat and ended up turning two of them into ground goat to keep Will supplied with hamburgers. We have two people who’ve already requested some female kids (buyers from previous years) so I’m hoping we get the girls sold off pretty quickly. With smaller kid numbers and fewer does to milk, I’m hoping that this year won’t be as busy on the goat front as last.

I’ve also finished my teaching for the season and it was a really busy few weeks. I ended up doing a make-up class for students in my organic gardening course (quite a few missed one day due to the March break) so had to squeeze an extra day into an already over-flowing week. I made it through, though, and the classes all went really well. I had record numbers in Organic Gardening plus a list of 11 names for next year’s class. I always meet great people in these classes and a few of them are in contact years later. There are also usually some aspiring farmers and Will and I have helped them with more detailed information through their early growing seasons, following the course. We are also mentoring two new farmers this year from nearby Ste-Marie de Kent and Cocagne. I’ve mentored new farmers before but this year I’m actually creating some structure for the process: a training plan with goals and indicators of success. One of our mentees is applying for funding for the process so I need to step up my game a bit and make sure we have measurable goals. This is a good thing and I think it will help Will and I become better mentors in the long term.

Will has been working on a cover crop plan for this season on the farm. We always cover crop half our land while growing vegetables on the other half, then switch the following year. The idea is to use cover crops to improve the soil and manage weeds. Well, we started out really well but our cover cropping in the last few years had become rather formulaic and was not as successful at meeting those goals as we’d like. So we now have an actual plan with different crops planned for different fields, depending on their particular needs (build soil organic matter, break up hardpan, manage weeds, add nitrogen, provide grazing for poultry). We met with Claude, our provincial organic specialist who also happens to have a love affair with cover crops, and with his help, managed to fine-tune the plan. We’re quite excited to be trying some new crops (yellow sweet clover for nitrogen, bee food and deep soil conditioning; Japanese millet for building organic matter in the soil and choking out weeds) and to better manage our cover crops all-round. I feel that putting some effort in here will help us in the long run with our weeding costs as well as improve crop yields – we will see how it all works out.

So we wait for the weather to improve and the snow to melt and meanwhile, juggle trays of seedlings in our sheltered spaces. The goat kids have discovered they can walk over and through the fence in a few places so I try not to encourage them to visit these areas. They’ll be happy to have more field to explore and to eat something other than hay and grain. Will and I still have lots of projects to work on in preparation for the season ahead so we’re not going too stir-crazy yet, though we’ll be very happy to get some sunshine and to see the soil when the time comes.

Goat Babies!

April 6, 2015
Content mother and big pile of babies

Content mother and big pile of babies

Lots of great colours this year in the kids

Lots of great colours this year in the kids

Can't resist the cute faces!

Can’t resist the cute faces!

Yet another cute face!

Yet another cute face!

This little guy broke a leg but the PVC pipe and duct tape cast works really well

This little guy broke a leg but the PVC pipe and duct tape cast works really well

Winter Wonderland

March 2, 2015

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Our trail through the woods

Our trail through the woods

The river, covered in snow

The river, covered in snow

Our trail through the meadow

Our trail through the meadow

Pregnant goats: Callie on the right had triplets last year and we're guessing them again this year!

Pregnant goats: Callie on the right had triplets last year and we’re guessing them again this year!

One hen finds a pool of sunshine

One hen finds a pool of sunshine

The girls doing what they do all day: eat hay

The girls doing what they do all day: eat hay

Will clears the driveway once again!

Will clears the driveway once again!

Snow accumulated in front of the barn

Snow accumulated in front of the barn

Snow in front of the steel building

Snow in front of the steel building

Out on skis with the puppy

Out on skis with the puppy

Will in motion

Will in motion

View out the kitchen window

View out the kitchen window

Will shovels out the door to the lean-to coldframe

Will shovels out the door to the lean-to coldframe

Preparing to start our onions, leeks and shallots this week

Preparing to start our onions, leeks and shallots this week

Marching On

March 1, 2015

It is the first day of March and the sun feels warm on my skin. It is till getting quite cold at night but daytime temperatures are up to the high minuses, thanks to the beautiful sunshine. There’s lots of snow on the ground still but the level is dropping steadily with the warm days. Will and I are getting in as much skiing in as we can before the snow starts to get mushy. We’ve been really lucky this winter and have had great snow cover on the trail behind our house. The occasional passing of a snowmobile keeps it packed down and relatively flat and the ski surface is just about perfect most of the time. After a heavy snowfall (and we’ve had a few of those this last month!) we’ll usually put on snowshoes as the skis just sink down too far. We haven’t gone to the groomed trails in Grande Digue at all this winter – no need when we can literally ski off our porch (the 5 steps have long since been covered by snow) and enjoy 8 km of trails through the neighborhood. We took a day off a few weeks ago and went to Kouchibouguac Park to try out some different trails. It was a really cold day (-30 with wind chill) but we bundled up and stayed comfortable the whole time. There are over 12 km of trails with cabins every 4 km or so in the park. We stopped at one for lunch but it being a weekday (and cold!) we were the only ones there and had to build a fire ourselves. The cabin was just starting to warm up by the time we were ready to head out on the trails again; we were fine having consumed lots of fatty goodies for lunch plus a whole thermos of hot tea!

February was definitely a month for snow and keeping it all cleared away was a big job. Will was on his own one week while I recovered from flu and tried not to miss any teaching days. There is a huge drift outside the big barn doors and Will did some major digging to get access to the lean-to coldframe, our seed starting area. After yet another snowfall, I dug out the fresh snow and we’re now able to get into that space. It is time to start planting alliums so we need our heated tables. Will checked out all the electrical parts and everything seems to be working just fine. I plan to disinfect the allium trays this year to better manage pythium. We always get quite a bit of this disease in our seedlings but it doesn’t seem to transfer to the plants in the field. I assume the soil microbiology out-competes it once the plants leave the trays, though I could be wrong and pythium could be causing some of our other problems like our onions’ poor storage qualities. I plan to disinfect the trays with bleach before planting and we’ll see how the onions, leeks and shallots do this year.

The planting plan is complete and the record books are ready to go for the season. We don’t have any exciting new crops planned, just some different methods here and there. The big excitement for the season will be field #5, our new field. We ploughed, limed and cover cropped it last year with fall rye. This year we plan to grow vegetables in half and cover crop the other half. We’ll put potatoes, beans, peas and corn in about 25% of the field and the other 25% will be for Sarah and her array of winter veg. She is planning a winter CSA for this year (Nov. – Jan.) as well as extending the farmer’s market sales till around the end of December. Sarah and Carla will be working for us again this year and we’ll also get some help from Stephan and a few different people who want to volunteer a few hours a week. We considered taking apprentices but it looks like we won’t have accommodation for them and our labour needs are pretty much all filled.

We are planning a longer rotation on field #4, though we have some crops planned for this year. Garlic and sunchokes were planted there last year and we plan winter squash, peas, popcorn and sweet potatoes there this year. The rest of the field will be put into a perennial grass/legume mix and eventually the whole field will get a 2-3 year rest from annual cropping. We’d like to put grazing animals on the field, possibly chickens (broilers and layers) but we’ll see what other possibilities exist. We are still planning to put a few broilers on cover crop land in field #3 and Will is doing lots of research to figure out the best forage mix for an annual poultry grazing system. It looks like a couple of clovers plus annual rye should work well. Our next adventure will be trying to figure out a design for the mobile structure and how to move it.

The goats are all doing well and we are now officially into kidding season, though no babies have been born yet. Gem was due two days ago and two more goats are due this week. Yes, in typical goat fashion they’ll probably all decide to give birth on the same day! Everything is ready for them and the goat cam is in place, giving me the opportunity to spy on them throughout the day in the comfort of my own home! The goat cam was a Christmas gift a few years ago from Laura and Derek and it has proven to be a very useful tool. We’d need to keep the lights on in the barn if we were to use it at night, however we’ve been lucky these past few years and haven’t had many nighttime goat births.

I’ve already finished teaching the night class at CSNN and will start my organic gardening course this Saturday. I’ve had lots of interest this year and the class is very full. The following Monday is the start of the day class at CSNN so it will be a busy couple of weeks. Of course this is also the season for AGMs and all the preparations that go into them, too. March is a very busy month and I hope the weather won’t be too challenging. We’ve enjoyed the snow we received in February but March is when we start getting our season started and I hope we see less snow on the ground at the end of the month than at the beginning!


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