Sunday, October 17, 2010

And the Rye is in...

As the farming year seems to have unfolded for me (always a few weeks behind) I got the plot rototilled and the fall rye seeded last night. Fortunately I had help from Sprinkle and my bestest friend with her new little punkaroonie [a.k.a. baby] 'O'.

It was hard work as half the plot was thick with weeds and the other half had to be 'stripped' of the remains of some of the plants that would clog the tiller. Then the rows that I worked so hard to build to plant in at the beginning of the season needed to be flattened so all the 'good stuff' would get tilled in. A never-ending circle of beginnings and endings.

Here are some pictures of the last 'big' event at Farm A (tilling the weeds under, flattening the rows and scattering the rye):














The last food to be pulled from the farm were these adorable little carrots (literally no longer than an inch!):



Hopefully the fall rye will germinate with the few days of sun we are expecting. This ground cover will help break up the soil and add nutrients for next spring's planting. In saying goodbye to the season, we are working in anticipation of the next one. This feels hopeful, exciting and responsible.

The next task is to 'take down' the garden at home; although it won't be completely. I have a 3' x 6' window that I am going to make into a cold frame. I am very excited by this new venture! I am intending to grow greens in this throughout the winter and will keep you posted.

For now, it's back to work I go. May this lovely fall day find you well and enjoying the roots of the garden (mmmm beets, potatoes, squash)!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Long Lost Farmer

When I went to the farm last week, look what I found...

video

The woman who leases me "the farm" (a.k.a. 'plot') has two new piglets. Look at how easy it is for them to turn up the soil. They are not on the plot with the veggies....yet. We are considering turning them loose on the farm and then planting winter rye to prep the soil for next year's planting. These piglets are such fun to watch! (Can you hear Sprinkle in the background talking 'turkey' with the turkey...so funny!)

A couple of weeks before, this is what the farm looked like:

I must say when I arrived I felt quite downtrodden (and soggy). There had been so much rain and the timed irrigation system was also still working like a charm...which made for extremely wet conditions. Lots of the plants suffered with too much rain and not enough sun (for the second time this season). The peppers just gave in and there were none healthy enough to harvest. I can't bear to show you a picture of them.

Although it doesn't look lush, I did harvest a lot more than I expected...all the red potatoes were beautiful and delicious (probably 30-40 altogether); about 10-12 lemon cucumbers, which when fully yellow definitely taste like lemon; and tomatillos--yesssss--this crop is exciting!! All the crops I recently planted don't look like they will amount to much as the rain is trampling them...altho' possibly the winter squash might give a good fight to come to fruition (fingers crossed).

At home a couple of weeks ago I could not keep this little one from eating the gorgeous tomatoes on this thriving plant...it produced literally hundreds of sweet, rich tasting tomatoes. Now after all the rain the last two weeks there are sadly none left (and with my pup eating as many as she could sneak).



We managed to have some luck with peppers going red (although tiny, they are delightful)



And look how nicely the quinoa was coming along...turning fall colours as expected, just waiting for the seed to be big and strong enough to harvest and dry.

The problem was that the seeds were not developed enough to harvest; by my amateur estimation they needed a couple of weeks of sun to finish their growing. Instead, we got days and days of rain. I came home one night after work to find the tall stalks of autumn-coloured quinoa toppled over. My heart sank. I was so looking forward to harvesting this special crop. What a bummer.

This weekend began the garden clean up. Getting rid of the rotting tomatoes, and clearing the beds of overgrown or undergrown veggies. Trying to bring some order to what was once beautiful and is now a bit chaotic and messy.

Soon will be time to reflect on all the learning and make notes so that it can be used for next year rather than lost. A little melancholy is seeping in...sad to see the major growing season end; feeling disappointed that I didn't have more success in the growing; feeling soggy from all the rain (literally and emotionally). Yet, when I think that it will only be 4 more months before I begin seedlings again, I feel giddy and hopeful. Year two for Ripple Farm will be abundant...I just know it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today I spent an hour and a half at the farm...the first time I have been there for more than 10 minutes in two and a half weeks. I was away last week for work, and the week before that was a pretty hectic one. I feel frustrated when life competes with farming...such as when I have too much on the go and I put the farm on the back burner or I am just plain too wiped out to get there.

Sometimes my feelings compete with farming. For example, feeling sad or angry can lead me to the farm, resulting in a lift of the heavy emotions (so nice when this happens, yet it's rare). More likely when I feel sad or angry, I cannot drag my butt to the farm (no matter what), resulting in increased crappy feelings. Sigh. I know I have to get better at this and "go to the farm". It needs to be: "I'm tired...go to the farm"; "I feel angry...go to the farm"; "I feel happy with life...go to the farm." Go to the farm, go to the farm, GO TO THE FARM. Farmers farm.

So, today I farmed. I weeded, planted cauliflower and spinach, relocated some squash plants growing too close together. Today was the biggest harvest ever from the farm...lots of sunburst squash, very tiny (yet adorable) carrots, 3 cucumbers, 2 green peppers and 3 tomatillos (which were eaten by Sprinkle and I in a flash!) Tomatillos have such a bright, fresh taste and crisp texture. Yummmm. It looks like I might get a good harvest of these in a few weeks (fingers crossed).

Other lessons specific to veggies:

>broccoli was planted about two weeks too early and so all of it bolted
>carrots and beets just don't like heavier, clay soil...radishes do
>quinoa prefers sandy soil also (the plants at home are 5 feet tall, the plants at the farm are one inch high :( )
>heat, heat, heat for squash, melons and cucumbers (I knew this but somehow it escaped me for a bit at the farm); once I put the row cover over these plants for a couple of weeks, they began to produce.

And just to reiterate today's life lesson from farming: farmers farm. So get to it.

Friday, July 30, 2010








Potatoes are flowering beautifully, and this lone pepper is daring the rest to show up at the farm. There have been a few sunburst squash come home from the farm, too. Now that the mini irrigation system is 90% set up at the farm along with a digital timer, it has saved me having to show up every day before work (phew) and it has ensured that the veggies are getting the slow drip of water they need in clay-based soil. I was pretty sure that the plants were not getting enough water as it was running off the beds quickly. Thankfully this system seems to be working. The second challenge is that the plants are not growing...I say they're stunted...they are starting to produce a little, but I would like them to get to their full potential and I am not certain this will happen. This will result in a small harvest. The third challenge is that the lower leaves of some of the plants are yellowing...I think it is that they are not able to suck up the nutrients from the soil (which is likely partly the cause to the second challenge above). Their little roots are likely struggling in the chunky, clay soil. I put some fish fertilizer on last week and I noticed that helped. Looks like I might need to do that more often (weekly?)

The yellow onions in the picture above came out of the home garden. They are a bit early but their greens fell over and they were pushing their way out, so it was time! They are in the house on what was once the seedling shelves, curing. Some will be for storage for winter (if they are not all eaten by then). And the quinoa...look at that beautiful little cluster growing. I cannot wait to harvest the quinoa...it looks like this little crop is going to work out. Delightful! As you can see the peas are starting to poke out of the flowers. I love noticing this kind of detail with the veggies and then capturing it on film. Perhaps most people don't care where their peas come from, but I find it amazing that the pod grows out of the flower like this...(click on the picture to make it larger to get a good look at it...come on it only takes 5 seconds!) And tomatoes, glorious tomatoes. Albeit they are small, but their taste is huge! I love the changing colours, the fattening up they do, the fine little hairs on their branches, and the smell of the vine. Makes my tummy gurgle writing about them.

Recently I was talking to "the guy" who has been helpful in getting the farm up and running this year (he helped me secure the land and he is like my personal cheerleader--thank goodness for him) and he said it would be good to put the lessons learned here in my blog. So, keep an eye out for that post, likely multiple posts, as the lessons have been coming fast and furious. It's interesting how much the process of farming has taught me--and reminded me--about life in general. I look forward to sharing these little insights with you real soon. Once again, if you have happened upon this space today, welcome, and if you are returning, thank you for doing so. Your interest and support are much needed and appreciated.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

And the food is hitting the tummy....finally

These past two weeks have found me up every weekday morning (except one) watering at home and the farm before work. Wow! The sunny weather that I was singing for also brought a lot of HEAT! This created an opportunity for me to practice discipline, something I knew I needed to work on. And so far, so good.


And two nights ago I got to eat my first sunburst squash of the season...oh my goodness this is like eating sunshine (if this were possible). I LOVE these adorable little yellow bursts of goodness. They are perfectly named.

Also devoured this week was one beet--small but earthy and such a beautiful deep red colour; a variety of lettuces, greens, and green onions, too. Yumm yumm....

Look what I will be eating tomorrow night...

I am delighted that I have been able to grow brocolli this year. This is the first time and I am so excited! This one is from the home garden. I have a whole row of brocolli at the farm and fingers crossed it will produce as beautifully! Did you know that if you left brocolli to keep growing, each of the green buds we eat would flower? You're eating flower buds...many of them! I think I will leave one plant to flower so I can show you. Who knew? Certainly not me.

And right around the corner come the bell peppers that are growing well in the greenhouse (the ones in the ground are struggling a bit more).


So all in all, food is growing and food is getting eaten. I am becoming more disciplined. I am appreciative of the goodness growing. Delightful and yummy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Here Comes the Sun!

Today was day one of sunshine, glorious sunshine. Apparently all my singing worked because the sun is supposed to stick around all week! I swear the jerusalem artichokes shot up a foot from when I left for work this morning and returned home this evening. WOW!

A visit out to the farm last night found some plants chugging along (cukes and squash), and some proudly displaying new leaves and beautiful colour (potatoes, broccoli, summer squash). I was also able to harvest these beautiful easter egg and cherry belle radishes (the first harvest from the farm!):



I was looking at my pics and I think it's neat to compare where we've come from since actually getting the plants in the ground in May. Here is what the home garden looked like in May (left) and this past weekend (right):












And here is the farm plot in May (left) and this past weekend (right):




It's starting to look very lush around here!


Tonight I went out and volunteered a couple of hours at a neighbour farm. These two women who are working as part of a group of four are incredibly inspiring. It was because of meeting them back in January that I decided to start farming this year. It was much fun to join them in the throngs of mosquitos (I must have a 100 bites all over my body) helping them save their melons from a pesky critter and weeding their carrot beds. They are helpful, insightful, strong, tenacious--inspiring women! Makes me want to head out and plant more food right now...but alas, it is getting dark and time to sleep, so that more farming can happen bright and early tomorrow. I will need to wake myself early to water at home and water at the farm (hopefully) before work begins and the heat descends. This getting up early thing is still a challenge...I am not much of a morning person so it is going to require me stepping up in the discipline department!

Until next time...thanks for visiting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When Everyone Wants in, It's a Good Sign!

Today Sprinkle and I headed out to the 'farm'. Between getting three new beds ready for seeds and planting some, time was spent chasing the animals out of the plot. It started with this persistent chicken and her three chicks...

Then, these rascals were very interested and chased out by Sprinkle; who fed the brave one a piece of lettuce from the home garden which the ewe happily chewed. It even looked like the horse was going to try and sneek between the truck and the gate to the plot, had Sprinkle not intercepted with a chat.

It also seems that some other curious creature has been visiting. The last two times I have gone to the plot, all the name signs for the plants have been pulled out of their spots. It appears this pesky one is also snapping off perfectly beautiful flower heads of my dahlias...harumph! Today, I found a pepper plant, a melon plant and a cucumber plant pulled out, roots and all, uneaten but dead. In their place were small red petals from my dahlias! Curious. There were also two egg shells, freshly empty. I would love to have one of those cameras there that take photos every few seconds so I could see what delightful things happen when I cannot be there.

The radishes are coming along splendily, as are the potatoes and tiny pumpkin plants. The cucumber and melon seedlings are struggling. They just didn't take well. I have some cucumber sown directly into the beds and they seem to be doing well so hopefully this will make up for it. Today we planted two kinds of turnip, kale and leeks.

From the home garden small amounts are being harvested. Sprinkle asked today, "So what have you got out of it so far?" I proudly said: 15 radishes (white icicle, black spanish and cherry belle); 4 harvests of black seeded simpson, buttercrunch and red salad bowl; two huge green onions; and two picolino cucumbers. Big grin. I know it's not enough to be sustainable or feed others...but the magical word is 'YET'. I am on my way. With all the rain and very little sun, I think it's terrific that anything is surviving. With sun right around the corner (can you hear me big golden sun?), there'll be lots of food in the coming weeks!

Oh yes, and one beautiful, ripe red strawberry...
as you can see in the picture, my dog got a bite out of it before I could pick it!! She is now banned from doing rounds of the garden with me for the time being. It's been a day of protecting the plants from the animals (with me running for my camera to capture the fun!).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Uplifting Video

If you are anything like me, the music, the message and the marvelous people in this video will make you smile and lift your spirits. Then, it will hopefully drive you to buy your next veggies and fruit from a farmers' market or someone you know. Thank you to FarmFolk/CityFolk for working with sponsors and friends to create this video that pays homage to 27 farm and city sustainable growers. (One day that will be me!) Take the time to watch it...it is all of six minutes short. Enjoy and be well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ramblings...

Argghhhh, rain again, and again, and again. My garden and farm need sun! Food is growing, but ever so slowly...stunted by the continual rain with only a day or an afternoon of sun. I am calling the sun...can it hear me? Hellooooooo...

An update on the bee situation. I happened to be looking out my front window the other day and noticed a truck pull up at the neighbours' house. In ten minutes bee hives were loaded on the truck and driven away...hmmmmm. I dashed out to my garden and lo and behold, only four bees were to be found...FOUR! My neighbour had 'hired' bees to pollinate his blueberries, and they were visiting my cedar mulch. Bye bye bees.

Cosmos, lillies, dahlias and marigolds were planted all around the garden at home this past week. I cannot stand the smell or look of marigolds, but they are supposed to help the pest population, so they're here working for me (hopefully). It's looking prettier and prettier by the day and I hope to entice at least a few bees back (not the thousand that were here before!)

A visit out to the farm to water and check on things last weekend resulted in me being distracted by this beautiful butterfly which I thought was a Monarch until I was corrected. An internet search leads me to think it is a Painted Lady Butterfly or West Lady Butterfly...what do you think?
It was enjoying the dahlias that I planted to attract bees and sunning it's wings for at least the twenty minutes I spent taking pictures. Beautiful. What a wonderful opportunity to be mindful.

Also, I put a row cover over the broccoli to try and deter the white moths from laying their eggs on my tiny plants. You can see I underestimated the length of the row; guess the ones not covered will serve as an experiment to see which grow better, stronger, and if pests actually appear. The radishes, cucumbers, beets and quinoa planted from seed are all up at the farm. Waiting on the second row of potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots to make their arrival--perhaps this week.














Then I was distracted by this intricate pattern of water droplets on a web overtop of weeds. The second picture is a close up of the water droplets in the first picture, with my camera on the macro setting and I having stepped out of the way of the sun so that it could illuminate these little glowing balls of beauty.

You see, I know I go to the farm to grow food; however, there are so many interesting and pleasing things to look at enjoy. This was one of those days. Needless to say my beans and peas did not get planted and so I will need to trek back out there this weekend to get this important task done.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tomato Thrills!



The first tomatoes of the season have appeared. There are three plants with these adorable, tiny, green, fuzzy circles of up-and-coming goodness. I can't tell you how excited I was to see them and I squeaked out in my raspy (sick) voice "the first tomatoes are here!!" It seems even my neighbours heard me. (A little embarrassing, given they have a long way to go to be successful and last year's tomatoes ended up with blight). Anyhooo...I am delighted that even though Sprinkle didn't pamper the plants, they are fruiting. YES!! Maybe on one of my next few posts I will share pictures with you of the tenacious tomato plant that I inherited (Sprinkle was throwing it out because it had broken at the base of the plant...I scooped it up because I couldn't bear to not try and save it). For now, the little bundles of potential yumminess are being encouraged to swelll, even though the sun isn't being all that helpful.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And Then There Were A Thousand...

Take the next thirty seconds to watch the home video I took yesterday afternoon:
videoThese are the honey bees that have congregated on mass to my adorable home garden. About 30 or so arrived the day after the cedar mulch got placed around the garden beds. Then there were 50, 100, 200....now it feels like a 1000, at least! You cannot walk through the garden anywhere without stepping on the bees sitting on the mulch, or having them fly all around you. Not one has landed on me, and no human or animal has been stung as of yet. Phew.

I checked with a google group that I am a member of and someone suggested that there is a hive within two miles and that the bees are attracted to the moistness of the mulch (their water source) and that likely they are gathering cedar oils to disinfect their hives after gathering propolis (a substance bees take from flowers to fill small gaps in their hive!). Hmmmm, although that sounds lovely and I am happy to be helping them out, given they will hopefully pollinate my veggie plants and make my harvest abundant...I am NERVOUS! When there were only some (30ish...how do you really count??), I thought I could manage. But now there are just so many...and I am not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 4, 2010

In everything there is balance...

Although most things are growing steadily here at the home gardens, I was dismayed to find many of the leaves being eaten by some pesky pest; particularly the variety of lettuces and greens, although the pest enjoys the leaves of beets and radishes, too. I have some helpful people problem-solving it with me...the trick is to actually SEE what is eating my plant. I have noticed a tiny green worm (looks like a mini inch worm)--could something that tiny and cute do that much damage?? I have also noticed a microscopic looks-like-a-mosquito type of insect...when I saw two of them on the back of the lettuce leaf they looked harmless and almost as though they were enjoying the shelter out of the continual rain we seem to be having. Sigh. Once I figure out what the pest is, then I have to take care of it, pronto. I have a whole bunch of new mixed lettuce plants growing outside from seed and I want to protect them if at all possible. Disappointing in one way...but I have that tiny voice in my head that is saying, "think of all you are learning this year..."

On a happier note, the first cucumbers are peeking into the world...The flower at it's tip looks almost like a crown. Sweet and beautiful. I loved that my camera caught such detail...whoever takes the time to look this closely at a cucumber growing...for that matter, how many people have even seen a cucumber while it is this small (that was me three years ago!) I am delighted by the tenacity of these little plants. Look how strong it is already!

This is the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) that sprouted after only four days. Amazing really! I love this food. Although many refer to it as a grain (and an ancient one at that), it is actually a seed. It is one of the few foods on this earth that is a complete protein (sooo terrific for us vegetarians). I have eaten it warm for breakfast, in place of oatmeal; cold in a salad with fresh spring veggies and a light olive oil and lemon dressing; hot in place of rice with curry. I just heard that you can also put it in chocolate cake!! Here is a great blog of info (not so much pictures) I found: http://blog.quinoacookbook.org/.

While I was busy cleaning out my greenhouse yesterday, my 10 year old pup decided, for the first time in a year, to play with the rat trap. ARGHHH! Now, I am not one to want to kill animals; however, last year the rats multiplied and multiplied and multiplied. So there is one trap, and since population management was achieved last year, there has been no more bait put in it. However, yesterday found my little dog with her nose stuck as far in the hole as possible and she was clearly very wound up lifting it off the ground. We managed to tear her away and turn a heavy wheelbarrow over it. All seemed well.

Then, about two hours later, she had her stubby tail tucked (if it was full length it would have been between her legs), tremors in her back end and legs and she was trembling all over. She barely moved and kept her head down...oh-oh. We thought maybe, just maybe, there was a small bit of poison she ingested. An emergency trip to the vet, $300 later to make her vomit and give her Vitamin K (what rat poison depletes), and she was spunky and good as new. What this means of course is that when she came home and went back out into the yard she headed right back over to the same spot. I followed her and low and behold, there was a small sized rat...perished! Chaos ensued. I had to hoist my little dog on my hip, grab my big dog by the tail and drag him out of there...then I had to go back, with Sprinkle, to take care of the rat. It took some time to get myself ready and not be too squeamish. As I lifted it gently on the shovel, I acknowledged it's little life.

Remember, the title of my blog is "I WANNA be a farmer"...not that I AM a farmer...yet. However, I think with the lettuces being eaten by pests and my impending pest-hunt this weekend, my dog tracking and possibly killing a rat (and maybe being poisoned herself), an invasion of honey bees that make me very nervous (perhaps a story for next post?), dealing with clay-based and soggy soil, and some lovely food beginning to grow...maybe, just maybe, I'm a little further along the path to BECOMING a farmer.

And so, this week some plants flourished while others are beginning to perish. My intention was to feed people; looks like other beings have got a head start! Wish me luck on my pest patrol this weekend and if you have any ideas or suggestions, I welcome your offerings in the comments section below. Remember, only organic options are needed. Be well and thanks for visiting.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Home, Beautiful Home

While I was away, Sprinkle made me a deck for outside my greenhouse (out of recycled fir flooring I found earlier this year on Craigslist) as well as planted beans and peas. I am so delighted!! It's simply beautiful. The finishing touches are happening around here and it is almost complete, after about six months of revamping what was a dreary eye-sore in the backyard (pictures on the left are before; pictures on the right are now).









Upon my return this week the following were planted in the remaining garden beds at home: quinoa (which sprouted after four days!), turnips, beets, kale, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, eggplant, sunburst squash and cucumbers. That makes for a very full garden and much excitement to come.

Headed out to garden A, which we call "the farm", and I was so happy to see this:






potatoes......................................broccoli

The potatoes and broccoli are all sprouting - YES! We worked five more rows and put all the seedlings in the ground including: cucumbers, sunburst squash, cantalope, four or five different kinds of peppers (some were labelled and some [sheepishly] were not), and tomatillos. It looks pretty green right now and like something is happening, which is starting to feel good. I am bit concerned because I haven't seen any bees around, so I am going to take out some flowers to plant to lure them over. Within a few weeks I'll have a picture up of the development, which I am certain will be lush, green, flowering veggie plants! Grow little plants grow...we're counting on you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Headquarters" almost complete!







I haven't been writing much about garden "C"...look at the lovely food we have growing here...Cimmaron and Buttercrunch lettuces, scallions and White radishes! Tonight was the first mini-harvest of the season and these were delicious in the salad! Today marked the addition of three new garden beds, a total of 70 square feet to plant many of my seedlings in! Garden "C" is shaping up to be the picturesque "headquarters" of the up-and-coming farm.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Think of all you're learning..."





Two steps forward, ten steps back. The key is to keep moving, and not give up. We went to garden A today to install the soaker hoses, which work great! Plus I got a sprinkler that is pretty effective. However, once the extremely parched land began to soak up the water, it was thick and heavy. Very very clay-based...which means the roots of my plants will either suffocate and/or drown. Hmmmmmph!!

It looks like the best option is to get a dump truck of topsoil delivered, then lay it out over the rows I have already made, turn it in with some compost, and re-establish the rows. Then, planting can happen...ugh. What a huge amount of labour this will be. Not to mention I am not around the next couple of weeks, so this puts me behind again. Sprinkle and I had a conversation about just giving it up this year. That felt way too sad and somehow like I am missing the point. Then a kind and dear person in my life said "think of how much you're learning this year!" That's the point. So, I will regroup, figure out a plan, and move forward.

We managed to put 18 seed potatoes in the ground (see pic above), because as Sprinkle says, "Potatoes grow anywhere!" To lighten the heavy mood, more food got planted in garden C at home. There are now white, red and black radishes, garlic, shallots, green onion, various lettuces, beets, tomatoes, tomatillos, various peppers, broccoli, and carrots in the gardens at home. Another step forward...

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Two Rows


Went out to garden "A" after work for a second time this week; this time to begin creating the rows to plant food in! Here is a picture of the first two rows. Trying to be a frugal farmer, I went to the dollar store in search of stakes and twine. What I came away with was 8 red carpenter pencils (stakes) and twine and an exacto knife to cut the twine. I also remembered to stop and get a bottle of water and a Kitsilano cookie from Starbucks. One might think Starbucks was a bit extravagant for a frugal farmer but for $2.50, I got a huge cookie chock full of nuts, seeds and a little bit of chocolate...all great for the energy I needed to rake all that dry dirt into the rows. After two hours and four rows, I headed home. I will do a few more rows and then the plan is to plant as I go; make rows, plant, make rows, plant. Hopefully the first seeds will go in the ground this weekend; keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweat, Rocks and Kickbacks...

I went directly from work to garden A yesterday. It was our first sunny, dry and relatively warm day. I cleared two wheelbarrows of rocks--that's about 1000 rocks I guesstimate. And every time I turned my back to pick rocks at another section, I am certain they began multiplying! Rocks are everywhere...sigh. I decided to use it as an opportunity to relax (with the exception of my burning quads from squatting so long), listen to the wind, say hi to the horse, listen to the turkey warbling, and enjoy the task. When I felt done, I began rototilling.

The second time over the plot and MUCH harder. I was also tired when I began, forgot to bring water and hadn't had enough power food to give me energy. Lesson learned for next time. It was hard work. My forearms were burning and there were some substantial size rocks (as big as my head!!) that when the rototiller found them, it kicked back pretty hard....yooowwwoouch!!!

Perseverance was the key yesterday. Heading back this weekend to do more rock picking and some deeper tilling. There is one soggy area of the plot that I need to problem-solve, but other than that the earth looks rich and beautiful. I also saw my first earthworms yesterday..."welcome and bring your friends to our up-and-coming garden".

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Push through the hard spots...













Last night after work we went to garden "A" and began the tilling...what an adventure! You can see me restarting the rototiller after stalling it (I learned to push through the hard spots...good analogy for life). If you look carefully in the second picture you will see the compacted earth on the far left of the photo, the earth being tilled in the center and a sliver of the rototiller on the right. It was incredible to see rich brown loamy earth appear (along with many rocks). After a couple of days I will rototill a little deeper, add some compost and fish fertilizer, measure and create approximately 62 beds (!) and then planting will occur. Every now and then the tiller would hit a hard patch or lots of rocks and it would kick back into my belly (ouch!). I soon learned to use my arms to guide the tiller, not by body...altho' now my forearms are quite sore.

This weekend has also been very busy with getting garden "C" in order. Painting posts, measuring and cutting fence boards, digging up dandelions, going to drop off yard waste and pick up earth for the garden beds, filling the beds (while puppy tried to unfill them at the same time), asking for the rain to stop and the sun to shine so the paint would dry (this actually worked!!) It's starting to look like an intentioned space that is loved and where great things will come (yummy food actually). Keep an eye out for the photos.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

here a post, there a post...




When we arrived at plot A today, there was a kind neighbour scraping the land. Then, thanks to two extremely generous helpers, Sprinkle and our friend, the fence went up at the farm and the beginnings of a fence were started at the home garden. It was a day of digging, placing, backfilling posts and putting up wire fencing; plus enjoyable chit chat, coffee and donuts care of another friend who joined us later in the day. We were lucky to have sunshine, given it's been raining buckets for weeks now. Phew.

It's pretty impressive. I am very fortunate to have lovely, skilled, and might I say strong helpers. Unfortunately this up-and-coming-farmer does not (yet) have the pipes to be able to hold and/or work an auger. Perhaps next year...Now on to tilling and planting...