One Week in the Sun at SNF

I meant to post this on Sunday as a “week in review” blog post, but the day ended up consumed by a massive wild leek pickling turned leek pesto making mission. As the days get warmer the weeks are starting to blend together anyways, so we’ll use the idea of a “week” loosely. Going forward, you can expect less wordy blog posts, and more posts filled with pictures as we struggle to keep up with needs of the farm and form proper sentences (oh and don’t even expect us to grammar/spell check our posts during farm season…just putting that out there now for all you grammar police:). If you’re not a Facebooker, but still want to keep up with the farm on a more regular basis than our sporadic blog posts allow, you can view our Facebook page without having an account (www.facebook.com/sideroadnaturalfarm). Without further ado, here’s whats been up at the farm:

The week started off with a bang with some of the nicest darn weather we’ve seen yet. What a turn around from April eh?

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The piggies sure were happy about the sun and started spending copious amounts of time in their mud bath.

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The chickens were a little jealous and were like…”Hey! What gives. It’s sunny, let us out!” With time little chickens, with time….(They’ll get out in the next week or so once they’re a little older and we get our electric fencing set up).

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Our first task of the week was to tackle the hoophouse that has been sitting the farm’s driveway in pieces for the last month. We would have liked to have it set up sooner, but couldn’t bear to touch so much cold metal in sub zero temperatures. Step one was to transport all of the greenhouse parts out to the field. Holy dina! What a chore!

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The transport took a day….a whole day! Our progress wasn’t helped by getting the tractor seriously stuck in the still mucky fields.

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In between transporting the hoophouse and actually setting it up, we had a visit from one of our neighbours in Clarksburg who is skilled at finding water with a divining rod (in this case an apple branch). We all took a walk on the farm and tried our hand at finding ground water using, in addition to the branch, a saw, two coat hangers and a pocket watch. Both Pat and I could pick up on the water with the coat hangers, but couldn’t get the branch to work for us.

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Layla and Yarrow thought we were all crazy and pointed out where the water was using their own spidey sense.

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Buuuuut we all agreed that the pups’ creek would dry up once the spring melt ended, and Debbie ended up finding us two good sources of ground water, one at 20 ft, one at 30 ft, both potable. We were happy for the insight and were pretty amazed by her skills.
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We then moved on to setting up the hoophouse which involved setting up the anchor posts first (the most time consuming and physical part in our experience). After that we put the hoops together and set them on the anchor posts. Here I am with Yarrow, modelling the inaugural hoop.

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After a few sporadic periods of work, we managed to get the whole frame up this week. There are just a few more supports to add onto the structure to make it snow/wind proof, then the plastic on, and it will all be ready for our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers around the middle of the month.

Near the end of the week we worked on clearing parts of the field of Hawthorns (a terrible, prickly, scraggly tree) with the help of Pat’s dad Bob (thanks Bob!). We also mowed and got ready to start working the soil.

Before we got to working the soil, we took a nice walk in the forest with some of the 25th Sideroad neighbours and Mel. The forest is so beautiful right now and we were happy to learn some of the local flowers from our neighbours Bill and Elaine.

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The flowers sure were pretty, but the primary purpose of our walk was to harvest some of these bad boys (wild leeks).

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Yarrow was a great leek scout

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And the rest of the team brought their A-game as well.

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After leek harvest, I hurried home to start a massive wild leek pickling mission.

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However, after 6 hours of leek cleaning, and only 12 jars of pickled leeks, I decided to switch gears and turn their delicious garlicky leaves into pesto. The pesto making went much smoother and I am happy to report we’ll have many jars for sale at the upcoming Clarksburg and Collingwood Farmer’s Markets.

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While I made pesto, Pat started on something that we’re very very excited about…working the field!! We bought a little PTO driven plow to attach to our BCS rototiller which has allowed us to work up a half acre of land which we’ll start planting in tomorrow.

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The plowing sure is tough work though and it’s super slow going…we were happy to hear today that our farm neighbour is able to help us get the rest of the field plowed early next week! We are very appreciative of this as we know he is a very busy farmer, especially right now as he tries to get his planting done for the season.

And with that, one awesome, sunny, productive week comes to an end.

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– Amy

p.s. as I read back through the post I noticed a common theme…we have such awesome neighbours!!! Thanks everyone (including family) for being so supportive as we get this farm off the ground.