New Rose Bush

New Rose Bush

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

Wow!  We survived the winds.  It tore more off the chicken coop roof, so David and Joel got up there today and put new roofing on and David even fixed the broken door, so hopefully that won't blow open during the next wind and there won't be chickens scattered everywhere.  I found another egg under the ha
y rack today!

Had a great day outside - beautiful sunny day.  We let Dan out in the barnyard and he had a blasts hopping and skipping around like a little kid.  It was so much fun to watch.  We had put some stumps against the grain room and were able to sit and knit while the lamb played.  Olivia played with him for a time, then hand crocheted a crown from baling twine and looked just lovely.  See the new picture of them both sitting in the sun.

It's the end of February and I thought I wouldn't make it - but I did - I put my snap peas in today.  Also put in a bed of Ashley Lettuce in the little kitchen garden by the back door.  We spent a little time down by the pond and I dub up two tulip poplar trees to plant in the yard.  I have to find the perfect space.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

Alot of work was done today.  The best part was having the orchard cleaned up.  Joel, Liv and I were able to get all the branches out to the woodstove to chop up.  It looks so much better.  All I need to do is prune two more trees, plant 6-7 more new trees and get the dormant oil on the trees.  I found out that it just may be possible after all to have cherry trees in Virginia.  I do need to keep them out of the orchard thought also because they are prone to the black knot disease that the plum trees had.  I'll have to plant them over by the vegetable garden.  I'm making a sort of western block there anyway, to put some late afternoon shade on the garden if possible.

I was able to get a bed of romaine lettuce planted today also before the storm hit.  I had just put in two huge wheelbarrows of llama poo in when I began to get the bed ready and the rain began. 

Olivia and I did a big job today.  We brought some big stumps over as chairs to use in the sheep pasture with a little help from a hand cart - it was tough going, but now we have two seats in the barnyard and one under the pear tree in the field.  Love to sit out there with the sheep nuzzling us!

February 24, 2012

Wind is coming today and I'm not happy.  I do hate the wind.  I'll almost take anything anymore but the rain.  I was hoping to get out today and work alot on the wood.  We need to get moving that real large pile of branches.  I also want to get some of the big stumps that are cut over to places ont he farm for benches.  One is in the shape of a heart and really neat.

This past weekend we took to the orchard.  DJ finally got the two plum trees cut down that had black rot disease and there was nothing we could do about it.  So now there's those branches to haul to the wood pile and cut up.  He also took out an old peach tree that was pretty far gone.  Going today to pick up new trees to fill in the gaps, even though they say it'll take years for the roots of the cut-down trees to decompose.  I'll just have to amend with alot of nitrogen in those areas but I'd really like to keep the orchard we have as an orchard.

I also began to prune the trees remaining.  I took out the succors under the real good peach trees and began to outline the garden with them - hopefully gaining a few more of those dwarf peach trees.  It's not the best way to get new fruit trees, but I thought - what do I have to lose?  We'll just give it a try.

Had knitting friends over for lunch yesterday and served fresh lettuce from the garden.  They enjoyed it so much.  I'm still amazed that most people don't realize you can garden all year round with low tunnels.  I'm so glad we have some lettuce, kale and swiss chard.  I can't wait for all the spinach to be ready.  I have several beds in.

Crimson clover - here it is folks.  The key to our farm's success.  We've been reading alot about the benefits of this clover and then DJ heard all about it at his beekeeper's meeting in Roanoke last week.  Our neighbor tried a field of it last year and had millions of honey bees in it.  It's great to amend the soil also.  So I've decided to till under a large section of land and plant crimson clover for the bees and then till it under next year to have some new great garden soil!  Can't wait!  Will order the seed today.

More chickens needed - I have a need for more eggs for customers - plus I need chickens to do some scratching on some land I want to plant.  I found an ad today for 12 laying hens - older ones but they're cheap and still laying.  I'm going to look into getting them and putting them out in the garden right away in a chicken tractor.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 12, 2012

The coldest days of this winter yet.  Hopefully it will be the only ones.  I'm sure loving the mild weather we've had - especially when we have so much work to do outside.

I've gotten the children moving this past week and it was no different this weekend.  For my birthday on Saturday all I wanted was help in loading and moving the wood piles - branches that are twisted and getting overgrown, cut from the poplar tree out in the pasture.  We loaded and unloaded three more loads on Saturday!  The second pile is finally getting smaller.  The last pile of branches is so large I think we'll just have to burn it where it is instead of moving it, breaking it up and burning it in our woodstove.  It's so much work.

Today we had to get out to the animals after church and give the llamas their worming vaccinations.  We couldn't get Lance into the barnyard today and I ran out of the medicine anyway so we still have one to give some time this week.

Our most important project today was getting the creep made for Dan.  He's getting bigger - and smellier and needs room to run all day.  The wind prohibited him from being outside in the pvc pen we had for him in the courtyard so it was a bad weekend until we made the creep from panels the Ruszickas gave us with the llamas.  We covered them in chicken wire and attached them to the walls of the run-in.  Now Dan has a place to be outside with near the other animals during the day!!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 4, 2012

Finally had time to start my cold frame seed plan.  I received the seed for the brassicas in the mail a few days ago, but never had time to get everything going.  Joel was great in picking up 10 bales of straw in Moneta we found for $3.00 per bale - the cheapest I could find.  We unloaded them in the garden and there they sat until finally this morning I got them in place, loaded up several loads of dry, composted manure found in the old barn, and layered that on the already placed beds of Little Ceasar's carboard boxes, straw, leaves and sheep and llama manure with a good soaking of water.  On top of that went seed for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions.  After our trip to Floyed I layered peat moss on top of the seeds and watered again.  All the seeds are covered by the windows we took out of our family room last spring to remodel. 

In another bed by other artichoke plants, I planted another packe of artichoke seeds and covered them with a good layer of straw for mulch.  I do hope they come up.  I would love to have alot of fresh artichokes.  I need to look into growing Jerusalem artichokes also.  I hear they do pretty well in this area and they would be different.

OK, our trip to Floyd was fun - winding up the mountain on a rainy Saturday.  It was David's first time there and my second.  We went in answer to a craigslist ad for a cart we could hook up to the lawn mower.  We ended up with a cart, but not the one advertised.  When we got there Mr. Floyd (really) who lived on Floyd Highway in Floyd was also selling another cart that was larger and better for our needs.  We purchased it for $75.00 and visited a garden center nearby - getting the peat moss and some more fabric to make more low tunnels for lettuce soon to come, The Bread Basket for some bulk food and grain, the hardware store for a pin and had lunch at the Blue Ridge Restraunt.  It was a fun quick trip and very profitable.  I had fun once we hooked up the cart to the lawn tractor.  I took it right away to the barn and loaded it several times with hay, driving it over to the shed by the pasture for David to unload it and store it closer to the hay rack for this week's rations.  The hay is holding out pretty well I'm happy to say.  I was afraid we wouldn't have enough.  Next year when someone bales our field we need to keep alot more for winter feeding - especially since the sheep will be lambing and need even  more.

So Dan is our newest member of the farm.  He came to us last weekend from Mangham Manor Farm.  He was a four-day old ram from a set of triplets that needed to be taken off the ewe.  We've been bottle feeding him every few hours and having alot of fun.  When it's sunny we take him outside to live in a pen in the courtyard-giving him room to run and be on grass, eating leaves.  During the rest of the time he's in a pen in our breezeway.  He loves to get out and run around the kitchen too - before or after feeding times.   We're looking forward to fattening him up and having him ready to breed our two ramboullet ewes next fall.  I can't wait to have our own lambing season on our farm.  We also are looking forward to having alot more lamb to sell.  Two other farm markets - Four Corner's Farm and Our Father's Farm have already agreed to sell lamb for us.  At the Bread Basket in Floyd they were selling lamb for $10.00 to $15.00 a pound!  We couldnt' believe it.  We'll have to find a market like that for it!