Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Farm is Shaping Up Nicely This Spring, Thank You

Here's a quick update on our tiny farm. 
Chicken tractor and annex dismantled for spring cleaning

The bee hives.  Love that honey.
  • The garden is bigger and better than ever this year! 
  • We moved the asparagus out of the vegetable garden to its own permanent beds.  We harvested just enough for one meal and will leave the rest to rebuild strong crowns and roots so we can enjoy them for many years.
  • Hubby directed son in the  installatin of a permanent fence around the enlarged garden area with a cute little garden gate. Previously we had to take the fence down every year so we could maneuver the big Troy Bilt tiller around the edges when we tilled in the fall and spring.  But with the Mantis tiller picked up on Craig's List last year, we can do the edges with it and leave the fence up permanently.
  • This is what is planted in the vegetable garden so far: leeks, onions (two varieties), peas (two varieties), potatoes, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Remember, we are in the mountains, so our season is much later than many other places on the east coast. We had heavy frosts the past two nights.
  • The blueberries are blooming!
  • The kitchen herb garden will be renovated and expanded.  It was a very cold winter and the rosemary suffered some cold damage, but there is enough of several large plants undamaged that I think I can prune them back to look good again.
  • We had several years of drought followed by a year when it never stopped raining, so the pastures are a mess.  We put up temporary electric fencing to divide the front pasture in half and fertilized and reseeded one side.  After that gets established we'll do the other side.
  • Last weekend I scrubbed and disinfected the chicken tractor inside and out. I lined the nesting boxes with a thin flexible plastic mat to make cleaning them easier.  I also put the shade cloth up on one side.  Nice to have that job done.  Now the ladies are all set for the warm weather season.
  • The family has done an amazing job cleaning up the farm this spring.  We gathered up all the limbs that came down during the winter storms, cut back more of the invasives that were slowly taking over the bog side of the farm (e.g., privet and multi-flora rose), moved some big boulders along the dirt lane to prevent it from growing wider at our expense, mowed all the grass areas, weeded along the fence lines, and removed the few last remaining piles of "stuff" that were on the property edges from the prior owners.
  • Plans are being finalized to purchase two very young Angus steers to graze in the bog.  This is an all new venture for us.  It is pretty exciting!
  • The hens are producing eggs like crazy this spring and loving all the luscious new spring weeds.
  • The horse and donkey are also enjoying the fresh spring grass.  There was so much snow this past year they were forced to go weeks eating nothing but dry hay and grain.  They much prefer to graze.
  • Hubby is the beekeeper in the family, and when he is able, he has been working on the bee hives.  We lost several over the winter and intentionally killed out a very aggressive hive.  But he has the remaining ones all set for the season and is trying a bee allure product to try to attract some swarms for the empty hives we have to fill.
  • All in all, the farm looks very beautiful this spring.  Hubby and I were walking around it early this evening and discussing how different it looks from when we purchased it almost eleven years ago.  It is very satisfying.

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