Farm Update

Life on the farm in NB:

1. things are growing: tomatoes look great in the coldframe, broccoli is producing broccoli and greens are doing well. Still picking potato beetles and now their first instar larvae. Also now picking striped cucumber beetles from everything in the cucurbit family.
2. Weather has been warm with occasional rainfall and I’m still waiting to buy some bales of first cut hay.
3. Wildflowes in bloom: red clover, vetch, daisies, wild roses, smooth bedstraw, buttercup, orange hawkweed – the fields are quite lovely and fragrant!
4. Phenology update: striped cucumber beetle arrived at about the time the swallows fledged ( barn and tree) also when our funny bush that looks like a elderberry burst into white flower.
5. 50 baby chicks arrived and are doing well in their little, warm, indoor home in the goat barn.
6. goats: Gem managed to rip a hole in her shoulder and we’ve moved the plough out of the goat area! Vet had to stitch this one as it was quite deep and large. She was on penicillin for a week but the wound still became infected (it was a deep pocket). I took out the stitches to let it drain, irrigated with hydrogen peroxide once/day and put her back on the drugs. She’s off the drugs now, still irrigating, still a bit of infection but not so deep and seems to be healing. She’s fine otherwise: eating well and active.
7. The three Australorps are doing well and the one with a bad leg seems to have healed. Still not sure which are boys and which are girls. Trying to find some mature laying hens in the neighborhood and there seems to be a shortage.
8. Will really loved his natural beeking course and is excited to start raising bees on the farm. He’s looking for a special queen that has been bred to eliminate varoa mites from the hive. It’s called a “hygiene gene” or something like that and all this queen’s offspring will activelly pick up mites and toss them out of the hive. Perhaps next year we will have our first hive.
9. got a great deal on a solar powered electric fence charger plus lots of posts and insulators. This will be useful for protecting bee hives from bears or pastured poultry from other predators. I do love Kijiji, the East Coast alternative to Craig’s list.
10. My sister and her family are visiting from Ottawa. I have enjoyed spending some time with my two young nephews, Lewis and Findlay. Findlay is very young and entranced with the farm. Lewis is older and quite smart though a real city boy so not so into the farm. Imagine a 5 year old boy not wanting a ride on a tractor – are our future rulers evolving from 5 year olds who are afraid of tractors, dogs and goat poo? Perhaps he is not a typical 5 year old and I’m sure he will make many great contributions to the world.
11. Enjoyed spending time with Rowena and Doni, her number one guy, when they came over for a night last weekend. We feasted on a giant lobster, beer and Will’s famous falafels. Hung out, talked, played music and the next morning, picked off potato beetles! I think Rowena is missing her farm.
12. Caught some more trout from our pond. We need a dock or raft so we can dip parts of our body in that pond on these really hot days. One of many projects.
13. Will is working on starting the steel building. First step is to get an engineer to recommend what sort of foundation to build. Will is planning to do the foundation work himself: build forms, cut rebar and then hire a cement truck. I have total faith in his ability to do this and do it perfectly. He is quite the guy!
14. Weaned the little boy goats just under a week ago and they’re still crying, though not quite as much! Buckley and Nick have been pretty gentle and they all seem to be getting along really well. Lots of milk from the girls and I’m making cheese 2x/week now. We bought a second hand fridge (Kijiji again) and are packing it full of gouda.
15. Will and I celebrated our first anniversary as married people on June 22. We took half a day and went for a walk in the park in Bouctouche, had a picnic lunch and then visited another new farm family in St-Maurice. They have a small baby and are starting an organic CSA on their new farm. They have some good experience and seem pretty smart so I think they’ll do well. We talked about working together on supplying produce for CSAs and farmers markets though we’ll see what happens when we actually have something to sell.
16. Strawberry season is in full swing and I would like to get out and pick some in our neighborhood. Unfortunately there are no organic strawberry growers in this part of the world so we will have to try and find the least sprayed berries in the area. Most of the blueberries around here are wild and we always have some frozen ones in the freezer. There is an organic raspberry grower in Miramichi so we’ll contact him when raspberry season comes around. Eventually we’ll have our own berries, but for now we will get what we can where we can. Our neighbor has two lovely cherry trees just covered in fruit. I’ve offered to help her pick for a share of berries and she is quite keen. She also kept us well supplied with rhubarb from her patch so is a great neighbor indeed!
17. I have a plan to plant hazelnut trees around our farm to act as windbreaks and also, of course, for nuts. There is a nursery in Quebec that raises hazelnuts that are hardy to zone 3 and produce lots of lovely nuts. I have heard rumours of government money available for such things and will look into this. We definitely need some windbreaks around our garden. Though I love the wind, it also has some negative properties such as cooling, desicating and battering our little plants. Just think of all the extra growing a broccoli plant has to do when the wind is pushing it all around: it needs to grow a much stronger stem and this energy is energy not being used to mature nice, early heads. I am quite excited about all the things we can do to extend the growing season and windbreaks will be part of this overall plan.
18. The garlic is putting out its scapes. I guess I’m still on BC time because I was wondering whether this garlic variety actually made scapes, they were so slow in showing up. Well, everything in its time and now the time for scapes has arrived.
19. We’ve been doing lots of rock picking lately in preperation for seeding our buckwheat green manure crop. My Dad drives the tractor and Mom, Will and I pick up rocks and toss them into the bucket. We have picked many bucketsfull and it definitely makes a difference. Of course there will be some frost heaving over the winter which will bring more rocks up from deep down, but we’ll deal with those rocks next year! Rocks are useful for holding down landscape cloth and row cover and now there are piles of useful rocks at the ends of all the fields!
20. I put some buckwheat seed in the ground a week ago and it is starting to show. We still have another 3 acres to seed with buckwheat and chickling vetch and we’re waiting for the weather to be amenable to this. Next year we’ll have just under 4 acres to grow in. According to another farmer, they managed an 80 person CSA plus two big markets on 4 acres where 1/3 of that area was in green manure. We’re thinking of starting with a 30 person CSA and one market next year and growing from there so I think we’ll have the land we need. There are probably another 4 acres of good land that can be ploughed up, but we’ll see what we can do with the land we have cultivated now before turning over any more.

All for now!

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2 Responses to “Farm Update”

  1. Gary Davis Says:

    Many years ago when my children had rabbits, one of the rabbits had a tear in the skin. It was wide open with muscle showing. The muscles were not damaged. Taking this rabbit to a vet was not something I wanted to do although I was concerned. So I did nothing to see what would happen. Days later maybe even the next day, the ‘wound’ was healed and there was no sign of any damage. This happened many years ago so I can’t be sure of the time it took to heal but I do remember it was not a long time. Nature taking care of it’s own…

  2. Laurie Says:

    lovely, Alyson good to note some young ones reaction to farming

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