Gena and Foal

Gena had a beautiful Suffolk Punch stud colt on Monday morning. We are all enjoying having a foal around again after a break of a few years.  He seems healthy and strong. In the picture he is less than a day old and already “up and at ’em”!

 

We have had a bumper crop of strawberries. The CSA members have enjoyed picking extra berries on pick-up days. We dug our first carrots today and hope to have broccoli soon. It is nice to have the garden growing well and savor the flavours of the season as they change.

Last week we did manage to get the footings poured for the new greenhouse thanks to the efforts of the apprentices and our son, Grayden, and his friend, Race, who came for the week to jump start the project. Now even if we don’t have time to work on it again until fall the frost sensitive work is done!

Future Greenhouse Construction Begins!

 

 

Plowing Bee
Last Saturday we had a Plowing Bee at the farm. Teamsters showed up from far and wide to help us plow a four acre field. We had ten teams plowing at one time. It was a lot of fun for all concerned. Our apprentices enjoyed the chance to try out the walking plow. Some CSA members made it down to the field to see the fun.

Spring Barn Kitten
A stray cat showed up at the barn this spring. She was very thin and shy. We began feeding her and the thin cat started getting a big tummy! We now have four very cute kittens at the barn. They are timid, but the apprentices are taming them.

Foxglove cut flowers for CSA
Our CSA flowers are coming along. For a number of years I have tried to grow Foxglove for the CSA Cut Flower Garden and this year it finally worked out.

Grow Garden Grow

The warm weather and rain are helping to get the garden growing. We are waiting for the sugar snap peas and are hoping to have some for our Saturday pick-ups. After our cold spring it seems that the garden if finally ready to take off. Our radishes are bigger this week, more like what we have been used to in other years.

Planting Brassicas

All of our early transplants are planted. The second run of brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli) were the last of our major transplants to be planted. It was a happy day for us when we were able to tuck them in. Now everything just needs to grow and we can concentrate on weeding!
Our apprentices are off to a CFAFT Day today where they will visit another CSA farm. It will include a farm tour, a workshop on “Marketing”, pot luck lunch and a work project. It is also a nice opportunity  to socialize with apprentices from other CRAFT farms.

Transplanting head lettuce and Pac Choi into hoop house
Cultivating the garden with four Suffolk Punches

Welcome to Ryan, our fourth apprentice, who arrived at the beginning of the week.  Monday morning we woke to the sound of flapping plastic and realized that our fourth hoop house, that we had just covered with plastic, had come loose in the wind and ripped off during the night!  What a disappointment.   While Ken and Andy were busy getting ground worked up to plant the early seeds in the outside garden and the oat ground ready to plant, the other apprentices retro fitted the hoop house for plastic reassembly. They put a bottom board down and used U-Bolts to attach it to the hoops then moved one of the ends in by one hoop width. Now we can have enough plastic to re-attach it to the ends and use battens to wrap the side plastic and screw them to  the wooden bottom boards.  Our CSA members can think of  all this effort when they eat their first mesclun – grown in the hoop house.

This week we also took one of our big pigs to be butchered and made into sausage to sell to CSA members. The hens are cranking out about 70 eggs a day so if anyone wants to make the pilgrimage to the farm they can stock up on eggs and sausage for Easter.

We also managed to get the early garden planted and covered with row cover and three of our four oat fields worked up and planted. Now all we need is some warm weather!

On Thursday, we started our three day April Draft Horse Workshop. Participants from Ontario and Quebec as well as three of our new apprentices took the course together. To begin they do some line exercises driving “George the Trike”. Caesar takes on a supervisory job during the workshops and especially enjoys accompanying on the wagon rides.  So life continues to be full and busy here at Orchard Hill. As we gear up for the season ahead.

Driving George the trike
Ryan Hanging up the Trace
Shannon Driving Gwen
Richard Driving Gena