New Rose Bush

New Rose Bush

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29, 2012

DJ and Joel began putting the fencing on all the posts this weekend!  It looks great.  We see the end in sight.  Can't wait to get the animals in the new pasture for the summer.  I wish we had a run-in though.  We ran out of money for building materials.  We'll see how things go.  We really will need something.

The chickens are growing fast.  One of our broody hens sat on a pile of about 20 eggs for 3 weeks, and only one hatched, but is it ever cute!  We named it "Baby."  It's yellow with gray tipped wings.

The ducks are getting big and Joel promised to help me build some type of outdoor coop for them this Wednesday.  We have to get them outside the garage.  They need grass bad.  They smell!

Had a great fieldtrip here for the Moneta co-op on Friday.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  I took them over more of the farm and added a scavenger hunt.  It was fun.  This coming Sunday we have a couple I met from the Dept. of Agriculture coming to take a tour and then in August we have a tour bus coming from the Parks and Rec. Department.

I planted more onions this weekend, and put in the first tomatoes and peppers since it's going to be warm now.  We also were able to get about 100 more shitake mushroom plugs into some wood.  DJ cut the rest of the oak so in 2 weeks we can finsih the plugs.  I can probably get the first logs outside this week too if there's not going to be any more frost.  I need to find the perfect place.

Harvesting alot of greens and having a few sales almost every day.  This Thursday our market here on the farm opens.  We'll be open Thurs., Fri. and Sat. from 9:00 to 5:00.  We have some baking to do.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012
Wonderful day to be outside.  I hung out the laundry and got to work on cutting a lot of lawn - trimming around all the new garden beds.  Looks so much better.  Everything grew amazingly with the rain - especially the grass.  After a quick trip to Lowes for black plastic we got the plastic down on the beds we didn't plant after tilling and the grass grew up so big.  Trying to burn out all the yuck.  Joel and I double dug a partial bed yesterday and it was alot of work.  I was able to put in another bed of cilantro and added more carrots.  I covered it well so it didn't get washed out by the rain again.

The strawberry bed is doing well.  I can pick a handful soon.  I had to  add alot of straw mulch to it and everywhere else in the garden.  Trying to get all the pathways done with cardboard and straw too.  Everything is growing well in the hoop house.  I'll need to start planting and making room for more flats.  I purchased sweet banana peppers and tomatoe plants but have them in the hoop house until the threat of frost is past. 

We're picking alot of lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale and swiss chard.  The broccoli was totally disappointing.  The heads are small and going to seed.  They needed more cool weather and alot more rain.  I didn't water enough.  Can't wait to get our irrigation set up.

David and I finally hauled away the huge pile of locust trees we cut down for the pasture.  So glad to have that finally removed.  We put it to the other side of the garden behind the new beehive to wait a good bonfire in the fall!  I'll be glad to burn up those nasty things.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 14, 2012

Yes, it is Friday the 13th, but it was a beautiful day and I had a good day at the Rocky Mount Farmer's Market.  It was a little eerie though because last Friday I drove thru town and the tables at the Market were full - today I was the ONLY person selling.  How freaky is that????  I did sell alot of lettuce, spinach, kale and all of the swiss chard (wish I brought more).  The handmade oatmeal and rose soaps sold very well also.  Olivia sold 10 of her beautiful rose cupcakes so we'll save the rest for co-op on Tuesday.

The garden needs rain - BAD.  I can't believe it hasn't rain in about 2 weeks and it is April. I hope this isn't prophetic of the summer to come.  I had to set up the sprinklers and wished we had the pump from the pond and drip irrigation set up.  We're still working on the fencing.  Joel and I finished all the t-posts yesterday.  Joel has to work double shifts tomorrow unfortunately, so he and DJ can't put the wire on.  We'll have to wait another week for that. 

The new chicken tractor is done and the first batch of meat chickens are living happily in it in the new back pasture.  The meat ducks come the middle of this week to go into the now empty brooder.  We have a hen that's been laying on a pile of eggs for about 2 1/2 weeks now so we hope to have little laying chicks soon too.

The lamb we butchered was absolutely delicious on Easter Sunday.  I put a mustard garlic crust on it and slow roasted it for two hours.  It was so tender and juicy.  So happy to have our own lamb to eat.  The other sheep were finally shorn last Friday.  Peter from Floyd came down the mountain to do the job.  It put Lilly and Sweet Pea into a trance afterward, being lifted of such a huge burden.  But they are doing better now - a little more clingy to me when I go into the barnyard though.  The fleeces were pretty dirty, but the stapel length and crimp were incredible!  I am going to LOVE spinning the ramboullet fleeces.  The llamas are getting shorn this week and then I'll send in all the fleeces from last year and this year, including a Jacob sheep fleece I bought at Joyce's farm two weeks ago to StoneHedge Mill in Michigan.  I can't wait to get all the roving back.

Everything is doing amazing in the new hoop house Joel and I built.  I am still soooo happy I have somewhere to start seedlings and encourage new plantings.  The wind did a number on it a few days ago, but we patched it together as best as we could.  Some flowers are almost ready to be planted.  We've had frost the past couple of mornings so I'm trying not to be too anxious. 

The lilacs are blooming so large bouquets are filling the house with their wonderful scent.  My red climbing rose is all blooming and vases of them are on the tables too.  My pink rose bush from Ash Lawn is finally blooming for the first year.  I rooted a cutting under a jar for the first year, replanted it last year in the ground, and now have a beautiful pink rose bush right by the front porch - how fun!

My kiwi bushes are doing amazingly well.  I've given them alot of llama poop and they are growing well.  I've finally weeded my three grape bushes and mulched them also with alot of llama poop.  It will be so wonderful to eventually have my own grapes.

We planted 24 thornless blackberry bushes last week and they are all growing well.  The strawberries are doing fine too. I'm disappointed int he raspberries I put in.  They've done nothing.  I've heard it is very difficult to grow raspberries in the south, but I keep trying because i love them sooooo much.  I planted a special southern type - "Carolina" also.  But they won't grow.  My rhubarb has huge leaves, but not much stalk.  So disappointing.  I really would love a strawberry-rhubarb pie.  I know my friend Lyn is waiting for some too.  I've mulched them well and fed them again - hoping......

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Wow, what a weekend we had.  It was time to start fencing in the 6 acres behind our house for summer pastures.  We decided about 4 of them would do for this year, with temporary fencing separating the part to be done in the future.  We rented an auger from Tiger Rental - that place has been a life saver for the weekend.  The Grove family agreed to come help with fencing on Saturday so we all begun with digging the holes and putting in t-posts between wooden, putting wooden braces for all the corners, etc.  When the Grove family came they also offered to butcher a sheep for us as well, so that was the first thing they did.  Levi cornered the sheep while I got the halter on and Carl shot it between the eyes, giving it a very quick death.  Liv got the tractor and wagon and we  hauled her to the garage where Levi gutted her, then they hung her to skin her and cut her up.  Liv, CJ, Hannah and Hunter worked on the hide and got it prepared for me to send in to get done into a nice lambskin rug. 

After the lamb was cut up Lyn sharpened all our knives and we began work on cleaning up the pieces, setting aside two large bags of fat to render for soap and candles.  We cut up all the other pieces such as chops, flanks, legs, etc. and chopped up the rest for burger.  All was vaccuumed sealed and frozen.  It took until 8:00 at night to do all that, with only a few bloody mishaps on our fingers because the knives were so sharp.

Back to the fence,  the men quickly got hole after hole dug until they got down near the spring and pumphouse and hit the water main!  After plugging it up they had to make a trip to Lowes to get pipe to patch and because of Carl's expertise had it all back together in an hour  or two!  Time for dinner with everyone at 8:30 that night.

Day two of incredible weekend:  We began early, getting the rest of the holes dug.  Liv and I helped David and were able to get many done easily - no rocks hit and had to be dug out like Levi did the day before.  Joel joined and finished the holes just in time for the bees to swarm out of the large hive we have so David had to tend to that - getting them into a new hive box.

The Grove family showed up again for another day of work unbelievably!  They helped get all the wooden posts in the holes, putting rocks in the bottom of some with wetness.  That was a big, big job.  In the meantime, we continued with the t-posts and almost finished - just had one more side to go. 

After cutting some oak branches needed for the shitake mushroom plugs (1,000 of them to put in) and putting them in 3-4 foot pieces on pallets in the barn, it was time for dinner!

What a weekend!