Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lots going on.

So much has been going on since the last update that I just wanted to stop in and let you all know that I am still out here.
We have been working on expanding the garden. So far the sod has been cut, rolled and stacked. The soil has been worked a bit by fork at the north end and all of it has had two passes with the tiller. I have started adding some composted chicken litter and old leaf mold to the garden and working that in. I also added a bit of lime and some ground oyster shells that the chickens didn't seem interested in.
We have also been keeping a close eye on the new ducklings. It is amazing how fast they are growing and also how cute they are.
We also transplanted a bunch of tomato seedlings to larger pots. I am excited because they are doing better than most of my seedlings have done in the past. If I can keep from killing them until they are big enough to plant out we will be awash in Brandywines and Romas.
We have also been eating up as much as we can from our freezer and pantry in order to make space for our summer produce.
We have been also eating our eggs and have started to eat our spring onions and asparagus regularly.

So I just need to get some pictures and share them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today was just ducky!

The new ducks arrived today. We got them all tucked in to their nice new brooder and they are doing great. One of our plans this year is to raise a flock of ducks in the orchard. The idea is to start integrating some of our systems. In the past our orchard, livestock and vegetable setups were all disconnected with hte exception of us. The plan is to start knitting those areas together again.

But enough of all that. Time for some cute ducky pictures!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

So much has gone on the last few days that I hardly know where to begin.
First the county was out to look at separating the waterline that ran to the pasture across the street that is no longer part of our property.

We also have had a week of above average temps again so all the perennials are going like gangbusters. The rhubarb has already needing to be pulled. So Jess made a rhubarb compote that we had over some English pouring custard she made with some of our eggs.
The asparagus is starting to show itself as well.

We also rented a sod cutter and started our expansion of the garden. Turns out cutting sod is pretty easy with a sod cutter but lifting, rolling and finding a place to put the sod is less simple.
So far I have found places to stash some of the sod. Low places in the yard that needed to be filled. I also put some on the hill where previous tenants had buried something along with all of the topsoil. I still have enough sod to build one or two sob cabins like the old timers did. So far the plan is to use up what I can and then make a berm or two with the rest and let it rot down to a nice even loam.

All this and we rented a truck this afternoon to pick up supplies for the new duck enclosure and fencing for the garden expansion. We also picked up a tiller to start converting all the new garden to usable land. I don't actually intend to till the soil much after we get the soil worked up and compost and organic mater worked into it. No till would be good but with our garden and time available we will have to settle for minimal till.
We also laid out our plan for the ducks. The plan is to build the enclosure around the orchard so that the ducks can patrol for pest insects and fertilize the trees. We also plan to direct run off from the pole barn into a small pond form for the ducks to splash in.

All this and we got a great bloom on the apricots and few decent bee flying days so fingers crossed for apricots this season.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Picture post.

In the following picture you can see the new expanded chicken garden. I still need to plant this up but so far it has a row of peas that we will probably eat but the chickens will get the shells and trimmings.

Here is the strawberry bed after a bit of weeding. If you look close you can see that the strawberries have escaped and are colonizing the grass. I plan to pot them up and try and grow them on the deck.

Jess and I planted up a number of the garden beds with spring plants last weekend. We also added another compost bin.

The apricots decided to wait until the good weather was over and bloom in today's high winds and rain.

Kind of an over all shot of the garden to give you an idea of the progress. It is amazing that we have all of this and it is still early April.

Even the hops are practically shooting out of the ground.

Well maybe more pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First planting and more.

I got the chance to plant a quick line of peas late last week that I am still waiting to see poke their little heads up. But other than that I have not planted any seeds outside yet but this evening I was finaly able to get one of the beds I had prepared earlier planted up. This evening I planted a 10 foot row of mixed radishes, a row of older spinach seed, a row of daikon radishes, a row of mache and a row of mesclun lettuce mix. I also planted a small bed of coriander.
I have also been weeding the garden beds and giving the dandelions and grass roots to the chickens. The girls love them and convert my weed problem into eggs and lovely chicken litter for the compost pile.
We also picked up some wonderful couches and a great chair second hand from Jess's folks over the Easter weekend. Our old couch pillows have already been added to the dogs bed and the old couches have been moved to the garage until I have a rainy day to start breaking them down to constituents for possible future use.
We have been seeing a warmer and drier spring so far this year so I have put out the first rain barrel to catch the pole barn run off. I have big dreams of completely re-roofing the pole barn and adding a 500 gal sump but for now a 100 gal watering trough is a good start.

All this and I still need to get ready for the ducks to arrive on the 19th.

So much to do. So much to do!