New Rose Bush

New Rose Bush

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012

Wonderful work day yesterday.  We had the Lawsons and Hendries here to finish clearing out those nasty, nasty locust trees and then haul wood.  With Joel in charge and driving the pick-up we picked up about 6-7 loads of wood from the last piles.  The rest of the wood is too big to pick up and too wet to chop yet so it'll have to wait another year and just hang out in the pasture.

Fencing comes next.  We'll be working for the next few Saturdays fencing in 5-6 acres in the back.  Can't wait to get the animals in the shade. 

Dan is now big enough to be out with the rest of the sheep during the day.  We had to put on some wire fencing on the white board fencing so he doesn't go underneath, but that's done now and he should be fine.

My seeds are starting to sprout in the new greenhouse we built.  I keep planting more seeds every day.  Going to order the herbs for dyeing today from Richters and hopefully get those very soon.  As soon as the rain stops I'm going to put in a few more beds of greens - spinach, lettuce and mustard greens.  Plus it's time for cilantro.  I'm going to plant alot of that because it attracts beneficial insects and I love it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012

Today is the first day of spring so I'm going to give my blog a new look because everything outside sure has a new look.  What a month it has been!

The weather is way too warm, but everything is blooming and exploding.  It seems every time I go into my garden everything grew an inch or so.  I was able to put in alot of broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts this past week.  A man came and cultivated our new garden plots - 10 of them which are 25 feet long and 4 feet wide.  Even though it was my husband's big 50th birthday this weekend and our house was full of family who traveled in from NJ, he still rented a rototiller from Tiger Rental and went over the beds again to break up the big clumps and get the rocks out - with alot of help from Joel.  On Sunday he made a whole new bed where the old wild blackberry canes were and another stretching from the cemetery in the front all the way down to the perennial bed for the new U-Pick Blackberry patch.  I ordered 24 thornless bushes to go in there yesterday.

I started one of the new beds with 125 strawberry plants already and got that mulched with straw.  My 10 new blueberry bushes also came in the mail last Friday and Joel graciously planted those for me - lining the front of the garden.  He likes digging holes for some reason, so he dug and planted another honey crisp apple tree too - they're my favorite.

We finished picking up all the wood where the dyer's garden is going to go yesterday and moved the old chicken tractor that was damaged by the tornado over to the garden, covered it in white plastic and now I have a greenhouse!  I started flats of seeds for flowers, rhubarb, gourds, cilantro and borage and have them on old pallets in the greenhouse ready to grow!  I'm so glad I finally have someplace to start seeds.  I've been thinking how I can maybe have Joel pound in some rebar and tie the greenhouse down.  I'm sure with the first of our "great" winds we have here it's going to go flying down the hill into the pond.

Speaking about the pond, we're looking forward to getting our pump and drip irrigation system going,, using the pond.  We need to go visit Janet and her husband down in Martinsville who I met at my VA Tech class.  They just installed that for their gardens this year.

Looking forward to a great work day here on Friday.  We're going to finish clearing the locust trees for pasture, move the rest of the wood to the woodstove, and chop up one of the last fallen trees near the barn so I can have access from the garden to the barn.  Hope we can get it all done.  We really need to get the back pasture fenced.  It is way too hot for the llamas up in the front with no shade.  I'm worried about Francesca.  She is the largest and did not look well yesterday.  I really need to get the sheep sheared also and I've been trying to get a hold of the shearer for 3 weeks with no response - not good at all!  Please weather, cool off a bit and give us some time!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 14, 2012

Continued to expand the orchard today by putting in a Winesap Apple tree where the two plum trees  had to be taken out.  I'll need to give extra nitrogen because it's near the roots of the old trees.

Also put in two small Dwarf cherry trees.  I love fresh cherries and it's been so long since I've been able to get them.  I do hope these trees produce well.  I hear it's not supposed to be easy to grow cherries in the south so we'll see.

Meat chicks supposedly are coming soon.  I prepared the brooder and just need to pick up some start and grow feed.  David is almost done with the new chicken tractor but it'll probably be 2 to 3 weeks before we can get them in it.

Took a look at the old chicken tractor and hope to make it into a small greenhouse to start seeds in.  All I need is a big role of clear plastic to cover it.  I'm really excited about my little mini hoophouse.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012

Alot, alot, alot was done on Rose Lane Farm this weekend.  I have to thank my incredible husband and daughter for actually picking up the remainder of the largest, most horrid of wood piles ever.  For the first time in 10 months I see the land and back pasture again!  I am so very, very thankful.  I wasn't even home to help out because I had a fieldtrip with my Grower's Academy Class to Catawba Sustainable Farm and Jamison's Orchard.  I learned alot.

Today I rushed to get in some root crops according to the moon planting dates.  I planted turnips, beets and annual onion sets.  I put in alot of perennial onions last fall, but it seems I never have enough onions and want some to sell also so I put in a couple of pounds of onions I bought at the PitStop Mini Market.  They were all out at Mitchell's Store so Larry sent me over there.  What luck because they had the most beautiful broccoli and cabbage plants to put in - so I bought 48 of them and got them planted today too.  I'm almost out of prepared beds right now so I'll be renting a tiller and getting Joel out there on Wednesday and Thursday to till up some huge beds.  I just ordered 100 asparagus plants and 100 strawberry plants.  I need more beds!!!!

Picked a big bunch of fresh kale for Saturday's dinner - baked kale chips, homemade Italian bread and honey marinated tilapia.  Yum yum!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4 2012

It has been a rough three days, but yet good.  I refuse to abuse my body any more and therefore am working on the computer instead today - in doors - putting together a business plan, marketing plan, business cards,  and farm brochures all for my VA Tech class that is due in one more week!

We did manage to get alot done these past three days.  On Thursday we had two boys come out and they worked hard.  We were able to take a couple large loads of brush out of the pasture and put it by the woodstove, begin clearing out the wild blackberry patch where the garden is going, and chopped down alot of those nasty, nasty locust trees that are overtaking so much pasture.  Nathanial even found a fox's den in the midst of cleared pasture so hopefully we can obliterate whoever is eating our kittens!

On Friday it was great weather and work again as we attempted to start chopping up all the wood moved so we can burn it.  I had Joel attempt the wild blackberries again, but no success chopping.  I had to eventually go in there with the riding mower and just mow it all down.  One branch snapped back and cut me in the face pretty bad, but otherwise it was doable.  There are some rose of sharon bushes that need to be removed and then I can get to all the other blackberry bushes and take care of that.  I'll have to do lasagna gardening there because of all the roots and runners, but I think it'll eventually be a great place to grow summer greens.

We also were able to continute clearing behind the house, removing small piles of wood and going through with the mower to start clearing the large grass where the fencing is going to go.  The whole back yard looks alot different.

After hours of chopping wood in the morning on Saturday I needed a break and went to work on the garden.  I'm disappointed at the outcome of the cold frames, but some plants are coming up.  I opened it all up and watered it good.  Hope something else will come up.  I did get into the established beds and planted arugala, endive and romaine lettuce.  Plus there was a lot of clean-up of weeks that are overtaking the beds and pathways.  It all went into the compost pile.  I really need to do better in the fall with cover crops.

David purchased supplies to try a new lower chicken tractor to use this year.  The large hoop ones are a lot to move and can get picked up too easily by this crazy wind around here.  We're going with the Joel Salatin model from Polyface farms that are only 2 feet high with hanging waterers and feeders.  I hope they work out well.   Chicks are coming in another week and I need to order the ducks soon.  I hope we can get three chicken tractors going this summer.  I'll be great for the garden areas and pasture.  I'm looking forward to a friend's son coming and doing some hunting here so everyone will hopefully be a little more safe.