An Ice Day

Greetings to everyone: those of you enduring the ice and snowstorm in NB (and winter weather in other parts of the country), as well as you lucky devils immersed in BC’s early spring weather (what, the asparagus is up already?!) and those of you in sunny southern US locations. Yes, we are indeed still snow-covered with more snow falling from the skies today. I’m hoping we have no more than another month of winter weather and will see the soil soon but I’m told not to get my hopes up too high!

I’ve been passing some of my time enjoying an organic gardening course given by Rowena in nearby Moncton. Rowena, for those of you who don’t know her, visited our farm in BC last summer during her cross-Canada WWOOFing tour. WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or something like that, and is a world-wide network of farms who host workers (of any age and experience) for a stay on their farm, working in exchange for room and board. Rowena kept a blog of her six month adventure and you can get the link to it on our blogroll: Canada Food Roots. She gained her original farming experience here in NB and started teaching an organic gardening course a few years ago through the Moncton branch of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. This is her last year teaching the course and she asked me if I’d take it over next year. How could I refuse? I like teaching, especially something I love and believe in, and what farmer could say no to a bit of extra cash? Plus it’s something to do in February, that oh so long month.

Rowena is a great teacher and the course is very well designed and very well organized. I can’t imagine doing as good a job as she, at least in my first year, but it gives me something to aspire to! I realize, too, that I’ll need this summer’s growing experience before I’ll be able to speak intelligently about organic veggie growing in NB, since the BC experience doesn’t translate quite as well as I thought it would to these conditions! So, as you can imagine, I’ll be making good use of everything I learn sitting in on Rowena’s course. Her material is based on Permaculture, a design system best suited for small-scale subsistence level agriculture, but we larger scale types can always find some elements of it to apply to our farming systems. It is based on some basic, common-sense principles: conservation of energy and resources, recycling of resources, using locally available inputs and these inputs (and outputs) should all have more than one function, to name a few. I first discovered Permaculture in Botswana through a Canadian who worked with the Bushmen of the Kalahari, helping them adapt to agriculture, since their hunter/gatherer life was no longer possible. He was helping them raise food in the desert using many water conservation techniques developed in Australia, and it was a very successful project.

Will took a few pictures at the Moncton Farmer’s Market which you can see below. We are still shopping there though not every week since we have our CSA to supply most of our vegetables. We still get apples, fish, butter and a few other goodies at the market while our CSA also supplies us with pork, beef and eggs. We aren’t suffering for lack of food at all though I look forward to next year when we have more of our own veggies in the freezer and root cellar. Yes, that would be more beans and greens and fewer beets and parsnips! We’ll also have a coldframe next year and will get to experiment with over-wintering kale, parsley, brassicas, leeks and chard.

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5 Responses to “An Ice Day”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Sounds great, Alyson. You will make a great teacher, ya know!
    I was wondering where Rowena was … she hasn’t added anything to her new blog lately – now I know why.
    And yes, fewer parsnips will be a good thing!!
    And I won’t mention our bloomin’ weather!

  2. Kim Says:

    Hi,
    Just found your blog and am looking forward to reading more.
    We moved from Vancouver Island to PEI two years ago, and we’ve met so many like-minded folks!

    • wjpedersen Says:

      Hi Kim,
      It’s nice to hear from you! What brought you to PEI? We are meeting many like-minded people around here as well which is amazing when you consider the smaller population (compared to our community in BC). Thanks for the link to your blog, it is a great read! It’s nice to be connected to other goat people, too.
      Take care,
      Alyson

      • Kim Says:

        Hi Alyson,
        I think we’re having better weather here in PEI, touch wood.
        We moved to PEI so we could have land, and lots of it. Couldn’t afford it back home. I didn’t realize the winters AND the mosquitoes would be so bad, though. But it’s worth it when I sit outside and can’t hear a car, or a voice, or anything but the birds and squirrels!
        How about you guys?

  3. Lisa Says:

    That’s a great photo behind the banner! I saw it on your Flickr page the other day and loved it – it is perfect for this blog!

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