Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

This has been a great week.  My husband and I went on the beginning farmer tour and got inspired by Perrywinkle Farm, Granite Springs Farm and Cozi Farm.  It always amazes me that farmers are stereotyped as not so smart, when they seem to be amazingly intelligent.  It takes it to make it as a farmer.  On our farm, we hope to have a turning point this year.  Everything is coming up well.  17 out of 17 thornless blackberries are in leaf.  The new raspberries are coming up.  Looks like 100% of the new blueberries are doing well.  We have frogs, tadpoles and at least one turtle in the pond.  The garden looks fabulous with all the potatoes, onions, kale, broccoli, cabbage, beans, pumpkins, etc. coming up.  We managed to get in all the tomato transplants last night just in time for the rain this week.  Last night we had our first asparagus of the season in ham and asparagus soup.  Tonight we will have a salad from the new lettuce.  Yumm!  I love the vegetable season.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

Tuition fees.  Most people have paid them and they are very expensive.  When I am learning new things on the farm and make a mistake that will cost money, I try to look at it as a tuition fee.  Most likely, it ends up being much less expensive than my college tuition and I am learning very useful things.  Today, for example, I decided it was high time I learned how to run the tractor with the tiller attachment.  We have one final field to till, it's getting late, and my husband has had to work many hours as a teacher.  So I asked him for some pointers last night and thought I would try it.  I had given it a test run by myself yesterday on a very short area, so I definitely knew the questions to ask.  Today, I started down my first row.  With the pointers I had gotten from my spouse, it was working so much better.  It was tilling much deeper with the right settings.  I was so proud of myself and happy.  Until I got down to the end of the row and saw that I had found the hose with the tiller.  Of course, I shut the tractor down to assess the damage.  Two of our hoses were not fixable and were wound tight around the tiller.  Determined to fix my mistake, I went and got the pruning shears to get the hose off of the tiller.  Much prodding and pulling later, the hoses were off and I went on the plow the garden spot three times over.  Now the short crew with feathers is working on the spot so it will be ready to plant this evening when my spouse gets home.  All for the price of two hoses, but many plowed rows in the future with the new found knowledge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

We have been so busy getting things done that it has been hard to find time to write.  My husband was on Spring break last week and was busy working on our solar water heater.  It's almost finished.

Every day is a new adventure.  One morning we looked outside and there were two miniature horses in our backyard.  We also worked on plowing the rest of the garden and getting all of our seeds planted that were supposed to be planted after the last frost date.

Additionally, we did some extra finishing on the Produce Stand.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Wow. With the advent of the good weather, we have been so busy we are having trouble finding time to blog. We are trying to finish up the produce stand. 16 new raspberry plants arrived and we planted them in a spot with some shade (due to this being North Carolina) to try to get them to do well. It has been our experience that they did not do well in full sunlight here. We are finishing the deer fence and have two extra layers of wire on the outside three sides so far, bringing the height up to six feet so far. We are trying to clear up some brush that has been left since late December's pond building. My husband has spring break this week, so the solar hot water heater is on the agenda for this week as well as finishing all the planting. My project of trying to hatch eggs has not gone well. I read the directions, turned them daily, adjusted the humidity per the directions and the results were that we had one chick hatched a day early that did not absorb his egg sack (and doesn't look healthy), one egg that looked liked it was pipped but didn't reault in a chick coming out of the shell, and none of the other eggs hatched out of 30 eggs. I have no idea what went wrong. Although, these were eggs from our chickens, so we have no idea which ones were actually fertile. We did not candle them at 7 - 10 days to get rid of the ones not developing, we have one rooster (about 2 years old) per 14 hens which may be a little low, we didn't hatch the eggs that we think are from the two Rhode Island Reds (lighter in color than the others), even though they are clearly a favorite target of the rooster due to the way their feathers look (or lack thereof). Still, it is rather heartbreaking as we do try to be careful with all life. Yesterday was day 21, so we will give it a couple more days since black Australorps are a large breed. Our bees seem to have absconded from the hive. We were feeding them sugar water intermittently, even though we thought they should have had a good supply of honey due to the fact that we did not harvest any last year and it was heavy in the fall. So disappointing. Farming is sure about learning. . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

Today, I went up to the produce stand to take pictures to add to the blog. I heard something running, looked up, and a coyote ran in front of me, between me and the produce stand. Right at noon! I thought they were nocturnal? It looked just like this:
That was exciting! Anyway, when I looked at the produce stand with the tarp over it, I did notice that yesterday's rain did not help the floor. It is plywood and the top looked a little wavy. I hope today's dry weather will help it out. Must get that siding up!

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

I have been busy working on the egg-mobile, but came to a stand still while I am waiting for the metal roof to get done. I ordered the pieces for the metal roof for both the egg-mobile and the produce stand. Spent $61, but hopefully they will last forever (or at least until someone else has to do the maintenance - LOL). I am going to make a new tab for the Egg-mobile and post pictures. While I was waiting for the roof, I started the produce stand and so far have cut the birdmouth roof rafter pieces (using the pattern from the egg-mobile roof rafters). It is very easy to make a template - so don't let this intimidate you. Just lay your first rafter board on the top of the walls, use a straight edge to draw a straight line up from the top of the wall on the front wall and back one at the side towards the lowest wall. When you take the board down, I marked the square at one inch and laid it against the line I drew on the rafter and traced the angle from the square. Then I cut it out with the jig saw. For the front and back overhang, just figure out how much overhang you want and draw the line on the rafter parallel to the first line you drew for the birdmouth. Oila! Try the first rafter on the roof, and if you like it, use it for a pattern for all the rest of them. As a matter of fact, as this is a design I intend to use again, I plan to trace an extra rafter to keep for my next storage shed out at the garden. It was so much easier to work out this template on the four foot tall egg-mobile! Yesterday I also planted the paperwhites I grew in the house this year from a Christmas present down at the pond. The greenhouse automated vent is working like a charm. The kale, onions, potatoes, lettuces, cabbages and broccoli are coming up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1, 2014

This week the school I do finances for is out for Spring Break. Time to work on projects. I am currently working on a mini eggmobile for the eggs that I am incubating and should hatch on Sunday, April 13th. Yesterday I built the framework for the coop and today I hope to finish. I am trying to use stuff that we already have on hand for the most part. This weekend we ripped some rough cut oak a friend gave us into 3 1/2" wide pieces. This eggmobile is 4 x 4 and I will probably be making a new tab for it. I will include pictures of progress. After the eggmobile, we have the produce stand to do.