Archive for April, 2016

April 10, 2016
Jennifer has been preparing the coldframe for early spring planting

Jennifer has been preparing the coldframe for early spring planting

Trays of ginger starting to sprout

Trays of ginger starting to sprout

Peppers and eggplant in the indoor start area

Peppers and eggplant in the indoor start area

Onions, leeks and shallots ready to leave the heated area

Onions, leeks and shallots ready to leave the heated area

Fields are still brown but drying and warming quickly

Fields are still brown but drying and warming quickly

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Happy Spring

April 10, 2016

It is early April and a very different April from last year. The snow is almost all gone and the ground is beginning to thaw. Rhubarb shoots are poking out of the earth and daffodils are also starting to appear. The goats are loving getting outside and spend a big part of their day walking around seeking out precious green blades of grass. The babies are less focused on grazing and more interested in chasing each other, fighting, bouncing around and just generally acting like kids. A mild spring is perfect when you’re a goat!

I am back on the farm after my hip replacement surgery and I feel like things are healing well. I get around the house with one crutch, have no trouble climbing up and down stairs and can do pretty much everything for myself except put on socks and shoes. Will helps with this job as well as a few other small things: retrieving heavy pots from the bottom shelf of the fridge and fruit and veg from the bottom fridge drawers. I can’t bend beyond 90 degrees, twist or cross my legs so this limits me a tiny bit but not much. I am walking quite well now, even on uneven ground in the field, and can also kick the ball for Cory though try not to do too much of this. I have a feeling this would also be on my “do not do” list if anyone thought a person would be crazy enough to do it! I also have exercises given me by the physio which I do twice daily. This Friday I get my staples out and sitting down will feel much better.

Will was minding the farm during my three day absence and continues to take care of daily jobs: goat chores, plant care, pet care while I check up on him and give advice. He’s handling all this really well, even the advice! We are also lucky enough to have Jennifer, our worker for the season, and her husband Graham, staying on the farm while they wait to get access to their new piece of land. They bought 7 acres in Renaud’s Mills (part of St-Antoine and about 10 minute’s drive from here) and have a lot of work ahead: get permission for siting a driveway, clear trees and build a driveway, clear a building space and build a shed then a house. They plan to be off-grid and as self-sustainable as possible and we look forward to watching their dream life develop. It was great luck that Jennifer saw our job ad in FoodWorks.ca and after interviewing 6 people, she was definitely the candidate. She has a lot of experience with plants, having worked in nurseries, on farms and run her own landscape business for a while. She is very keen, smart and hard working and we consider ourselves very lucky to have her. Graham will be more focused on the construction on their property this season though is helping out now in exchange for Tiny House rent. He has construction experience and is also a great help. We don’t usually have workers on the farm until May so it worked out quite well this year to have them here early, plus have this great early spring weather.

The goat babies are all born and doing well. Snowball unfortunately lost her kids and required help from the vet to birth the dead fetuses. The vet gave her lots of good pain drugs plus steroids for swelling and she was on an antibiotic for 5 days afterwards to combat any infection. She pulled through just fine and is now milking at her usual high level. All other births were normal and even Ruby, old girl that she is, had two fine kids. Goddess had triplets and I’ve sold her and her three kids to a couple from near Sackville. I’d been thinking about selling Goddess because she is so hard to milk. It’s not a big deal when you’re milking only her but when she’s one of five, it can be enough to push a person to the point of exhaustion, or tendinitis over time! The new owners seem very happy with her and her babies so I think they’ll do well together. I’m very happy that the whole family went together as moving is stressful enough on it’s own, it would be very sad if she had to leave everyone here behind.

Our peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, early brassicas and alliums are all started and doing well. Unfortunately while I was at the hospital, we had a night of low temperatures and high winds which caused the covers on the heated tables to blow off. Almost all the trays lost two rows of seedlings along the table edge, about 60 broccoli plants and some kale and tomato plants. Hopefully nothing else comes along to challenge our broccoli as we need a certain number of heads for the CSA. Hopefully the heads will grow nice and big so we don’t run short though I’m pretty sure we won’t have any extra for the markets. I thought of replanting however I don’t think I have any extra seed of the early season varieties. I will plant another tray of kale, there was one variety that shipped late from High Mowing Seeds and I’d like to have it for my first planting.

We’re doing ginger again this year and bought 30 lbs of organic ginger to start. They are all in bulb crates in the semi-cooler (now the warm start area) and are starting to sprout. They’ll go into the coldframe in mid-June or so and hopefully will give us enough ginger for the baskets and maybe some to sell. Other than that there aren’t any other strange new crops, just a few new techniques: training eggplant up strings in the coldframe and growing sweet potatoes on clear plastic instead of black plastic. We may try corn on the clear plastic, too, planted in a bed of clover – why not? The new and improved Bouctouche Farmer’s Market is coming along well and looks like it will be have an impressive number of farmers this year. I’ve joined three other lady farmers to form a small co-op and we’ll sell our products in two stalls. We have yet to come up with a name for ourselves and I will appreciate any ideas you may like to send my way! It is going to be a good season and I am looking forward to farming with my new hip!