January came and went and February is almost over! We have had a busy snowy winter filled with all the usual winter activities: hiring interns; farmer meetings and conferences; reading and stoking the fire as well as CSA seed ordering and garden planning. Ken has been busy sawing lumber and getting the horse tread mill /flour mill set up. It is almost ready to try out. We will have to have a special post just for that! I have been perfecting a sourdough bread recipe that uses 100% Orchard Hill Farm sifted whole wheat flour. A u-tube video is coming soon…
Ken continues to study soil plant nutrition and as always he is striving to find ways to improve the nutritional quality of the food we produce on our farm for our CSA. This week we got out the refractometer and measured some of our stored vegetables with a Birx test (measure of sugar and minerals in the juice of the fruit or vegetable or the sap of the plant). One carrot was 6.5 (a little better than average) and the Sweet Dumpling Squash 12.5 ( between good and excellent).
Our Suffolk Punch horses are wintering well. The frozen ground and snow pack make for a good winter paddock. It is much better than a muddy wet winter. Eli, our young Suffolk Stallion, is coming three this year and is proving to be a very well mannered sensible horse. He is running with the herd and they are all getting along. We installed wooden floors in all the standing stalls with ash from our woods, that Ken was able to saw himself. It made mucking out today easier and should be better for the horses legs when they are in their stalls.
Our son, Grayden, has moved back home and plans to work on the farm part time this season. It is great to have him around and we look forward an upswing in the quality of the photo record of the farm as he adds his professional skills in that area. (He took the photos for this entry and formatted them.) We also anticipate a good season with an able team of interns we expect the first three to arrive the last week of March. The fourth is coming in May, after her schooling is finished.
Our big news on the Suffolk front is that we are going to host the American Suffolk Horse Association Annual Meeting here September 12-14. Ken has been dreaming up lots of fun activities for the horses. We will be inviting Suffolk owners to bring horses here to show off and participate in events. Suffolk horses are a rare bred and it is exciting to have and event in Ontario to celebrate the breed.