Friday, March 27, 2015

Charming Chervil

I always love it when I find a new herb for the farm.  Here's the fennel and chervil.  Chervil is wonderful.  Fennel is one of my favorite things to eat.  But, it has to be put in baskets because it's also the gopher's favorite thing to eat.  I'm going to have to make a whole lot more gopher baskets before we get to zuke, cuke and melon season.  Our baskets from 3 years ago have finally worn out.  To the left are some of the new greens for the season.  Upland cress, and Evenstar Collards...and even a few Ottawa Chinese Cabbage.   Many thanks to Oxbow for the chervil!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Fine Tomato Season

Leo Surveys His Empire

A 'nuther long hard day at the farm.  To the right of Leo's foot is the beginning of the tomato row.  To his back left next to the herbs is another row of tomatoes.  Oh no that is not all that is not all.   There's yet another and another.   Onions, chervil, leeks, fennel all were planted too.


The weather report says it's going to rain.  Here's the fringe tree.  Look at that sky.  Does that look like rain?  Only if it's raining blossoms.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Keep Planting!

As fast as I can!


Leo always says that the day after daylight savings times the pace quickens from 4/4 time to 2/4 time.  Think Punk Rock and you'll know how frenetic things are at the farm.
 Today I started on the hedgerow.  At least one of them.  These are all quinces, courtesy of Steve, hence they are Steve's Hedge.  As you can see, Spatz is assisting, as you never know when I'll turn up a gopher hole.  That trip to Chinatown in The City.  Yes, San Francisco, is there any other? Besides yielding some interesting veges packets, and some very expensive green tea, brought one more bounty, Smoke Bombs.  Now as we all know, Smoke Bombs are nothing more than sulfur.  They don't hurt plants and they don't kill anything.  But while I was planting this row, I turned up a massive gopher hole.  This is a hedge of quinces. 

I promptly went to the barn and got a smoke bomb, lit it, burnt my finger and stuffed it down the gopher hole.  The gopher popped up  at another hole to see what in tar-nation was going on and was nabbed by a feline.  Hah ha ha... Evil laughter.  Go cats, go.  Get those gophers.  Bite off their heads and nibble their tiny feet.               

 The gophers have taken half the peas, so I will replant. Again!  This is the third time.  Gregg has sent us some lovely purple peas from his experiments, so over the weekend, I will put up another trellis, dig in baskets and plant them out.  Note in the above photo, the Fringe Tree is blooming.  So beautiful, so transitory.  Ah, spring.
 The Garlic that Joseph Lofthouse of Lofthouse Gardens sent is really beautiful and disease free.  It's coming right along.  The favas behind them are now more than waist high and we should have those before long too.
Behind the favas, the kale, broc, cauli, chard, beets and carrots are also rearing their heads.  In the background you can see the chicken cook.  That big windstorm on January 1 took the roof and a couple of the windows.   Oh boy, something else to add to the list of what must be done this weekend.

It'll be a frenzy!  Pick up the pace, pick up the pace, there's corn and tomatoes to plant.  Flowers to transplant!  Peppers to pot up.  And I need to get this chicken house scrubbed and repaired because....
it will be time to move these chicks from the little red house on the prairie in two weeks into the big house.  Yes, and I have to make it lion proof as well. 

So get out your tizzy's for me to get in.   And just think, on the East coast, they're still sipping wine in front of the fire and reading paperback novels.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

87 Degrees Farenheit! 30.55 Degrees Celcius!

Folks It's only March!

What happened to March coming in like a Lion and out like a Lamb?  We are way past lamb here.  This is "Lamb Chop!"  The wisteria is blooming.
 The potatoes are not only already planted but we've already hilled them twice!   Note the Pussy willow catkin the right of the photo.  Every tree in our yard is blooming, the oaks, the maples, the achoo.
And the rose that ate San Martin is in her full glory.

So, will there be a spring?
The mulberry is blooming, the roses are blooming.  Yikes!  June in March.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Chicks Come Home to Roost

They're here!

 

I got a call from the post office at o'dark thirty.  My chicks were ready to pick-up.  Well I was still in my p.j.s.  So I threw on my clothes and went to warm up the chicken house.  Oh no, the door won't close.  WELL that won't do.  Seems the rain has swelled it.  The door will have to come off and be trimmed.  It's dark outside, and now I'm running around with a flashlight looking for chick alternatives.  And where do all baby pets go, when they can't go home?  In the kitchen of course.  Once I had 2 baby lambs keeping warm in a roasting pan in my oven, until Leo could get back from the vet with syringes to hydrate them.

I knew right where everything was, as I was prepared for chickens, just not in the kitchen!  So I had to scope a box.  Lucky for me, my brother had just got a brand spanking new smoker and left the box near the recycling.  Home, chickey home, well until Leo comes home and takes a saw to the coop door.

There are 3 cats at the back door, saying why can't we come in and see the birdie num nums?
And what do new hatchlings get fed at at the farm?  Well they get the same thing we do,  fresh ground corn, lentils, quinoa, whole grain rice, and flax seed.  I also ran out and got them a fresh egg, straight from under one of the older hens.

These lovely chicks came to us from Sandhill Perservation.  There are some Dorkings, Ameraucana, Kraienkoppe, Rhode Island Reds, Wellsummer, and Jersey Giants.

Only 2 died en-route.  Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m.  The rest are bouncing around, and Zack, the original Chicken Mommy is currently chick sitting.  I'm guessing of the 25 that are here, there are at least a dozen hens.   It'll be nice to have plenty of eggs again.

"No Mountain Lions need apply".

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Isola de Este

Finally off the cob!


Oh yeah that's a lot of corn.  This is a polenta corn and there is about 20 canning quarts full or about 32 pounds.  It takes a long time to clean corn.  This batch took about 4 hours to remove from the cob, winnow and get into jars.  From here, the jars will go into the freezer for about 5 days.  When the come out,  I'll crack and then grind some every week.


And of course I get a lot of help when I'm taking corn off the cob.  To the right in red is the sheller.  Spying from underneath is Oatis.

When I get done, there's a lot of cobs and husks.  I set them aside and we use them in the BBQ.  They're as dry as paper.  Then the ashes with the charcoal go back in the field.

Of course not every cob gets selected.  These were the ones that did not make it into the seed crop.  I put all the seed from the bowl into jars.  Then I processed this lot.  They went into a separate jar.  I
will probably eat these first.

I did not select these because some were off colored.  See the purple corn kernels?  Highly dubious and all...suspected mild pollen drift from Taos Blue or Kaana Pango.  The cobs with inferior germination (spotty germ) were also not chosen.  They make a lot of chaff that takes a lot of extra time to winnow out.  Finally some of these little corns were tassel ears.  I don't know if by not keeping them it will eventually eliminate tassel ears.  I'll check with my experts.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More Winter Planting

One Month Till Spring

Garlic & Lupinis & Favas

Well here she is in all her glory, the Valley Oak that lives in the creek.  She's putting on her new skirt and the leaves are as big as a squirrel's ear, so that means it's time to get planting.

She's my faithful indicator tree.

The soil is still very cool, so my knees tell me, so way too early to plant anything like corn, but that doesn't mean that I've not been busy with lettuce and other greens.

As you can see, the garlic is looking good.  The bed on the right is newly transplanted garlic which I found hiding in the field when we went to plant the willow hedge.

Behind the favas are another row that I'll be putting cabbages in later today.


I harvested my first asparagus yesterday, and this morning, more have popped up.

Row P here, I planted in Mizuna last November.  To the right of them are early onions.  But we all know the onions take so long that if that was all that was in this bed I'd be weeding every day.  So yesterday I planted 2 kinds of Misticanza.  One with radicchio and other greens, and one with just lettuce.   Today when I pick the Mizuna, the Misticanza will start getting larger.  By the time I harvest the Mizuna again, the Misticanza should be just about full grown and ready to pick.  Each of these should give 2 pickings unless the weather turns abysmally hot.  Please no summer in early spring.








Joseph's turnip greens need thinning!  I also planted these in November, so we should be eating these soon.  In the bed next to them are also raddishes that need to be harvested.

There's also a couple of cabbages lingering about that should be harvested, and the kale is not liking this weather, so out it will come.

The rhubarb is also up, and won't be long till it's ready to harvest.

I lost a few rhubarb plants over the winter.  Was it too dry, too cold, too hot, too many gophers?  I haven't any idea, but they take so long from seed that it's annoying to lose any of them.






Here's the second bed that I've been working on, row 66.  Note at the back of row 66 is part of the chicken coop roof that blew off in that crazy windstorm we had on New Year's Day.  We also lost a couple of trees that day.  Thankfully, no Eucy trees dropped on us.

Row 66 has carrots and onions on the sides.  But down the middle I planted lettuce, Scarlet Ohno, mild mustard and Baby Choi.

Scarlet Ohno is a turnip planted just for it's mild greens.  It did not do well for us last year, this is its last chance, if it fails to perform I'll send these seeds farther North or East.

The soil is too damp for tilling, so I can only plant the beds that Leo prepared many moons ago for me.
The peas I planted last November are limping along.  The birds have eaten them twice!

These are the lovely Wando Alaska X that I crossed.  Which I may call Skado or Doska if they turn out any good this year.  These are English Shelling peas.

I also have some lovely snow peas to plant.  Which I'll put in pretty soon. 

The leeks, onions, cress, collards, spinach, and Chinese cabbage are already to transplant.  Soon as I get them in,  I'll have another tray to start more peppers and onions for later in the season.

So many greens this year!

Chickens!

I received a note from Sandhill Preserve that our new flock of chickens should be here in March.  And a darn good thing too, because with only 4 hens left from the Mountain Lion Attack, I'm only getting 2 eggs a day.  That's barely enough to keep up with the morning ritual.  I have to stash eggs to be able to have enough for weekend pancakes and French toast!  I actually had to buy eggs last week.  Eww.  Store bought eggs!  I think March chickens will give us eggs by June or July.  My Father used to say, "She's no spring chicken" all the time, and by golly I know what he means now.  Spring chickens lay early, late fall chickens start laying at the same time, but you have to feed them all winter.  Now you know why I didn't replace the flock earlier.

Hopefully the farm will get a few more inches of rain before we're done for the season.