Thursday, 15 August 2013

An absolutely wonderful summer so far

Well, back to business now, we went to the first Farmers' Market of the season basically to tell people we hope to expand our customer base and probably wouldn't be at the Farmers' Market much, even if just to sell any extra produce on occasion.  It turns out there is no produce left by the weekend, our wonderful Weekly Customers are enjoying it to the fullest.  We now deliver to The Crusty Baker Mondays and Thursdays.  We deliver to some customers' homes Wednesdays and to some customers in their offices Thursday mornings.  Sometimes people will call to see if they can stop by to pick up an Order and we try to oblige.  The rest of the week is quite busy with weeding, more planting, harvesting the usual suspects that need to be picked almost daily like beans, snow peas, zucchini, beets, onions, broccoli and others that will go to seed when you're not paying attention to them.
Someone at a delivery today thanked me for sharing with them.  It is so what I want to do more than anything.  It is truly about the food and the quality of the food.  I love packing up a basket knowing it's going to be appreciated and the person receiving is going to cook everything to perfection and make yummy sounds while eating.  It is absolutely gratifying to have kids reach for the basket and get excited about what's in it and ask their mom or dad if they can eat the tomatoes or the celery right away.  A little girl's face lit up when she saw a cabbage I was delivering and asked "Did you grow that?  By yourself?"  I told her, I did grow it but not by myself, there were a lot of others involved like the seed that started it, the soil, the worms in the soil, the rain, the sun, everything in the garden helping in any way they could.  
I'm not sure who's more excited about the deliveries, the deliverer or the receivers.  
It's also a delight to have our weekends free, it's been years and we've really missed the things we used to do, we can get some farming done in the morning and maybe shop or entertain and cook up a storm with and for friends.  We are enjoying the summer tremendously.  
This year is the best and the biggest of produce we've had yet.  Every time I'm in a garden bed, I'm thinking of what will be planted in that particular spot next Spring.  One thing we did is plant some heritage oats, it's hard to find clean straw for the Chicken Coop so we thought we'd plant our own.  Tom now has a scythe so will be harvesting lovely golden straw in the fall.  Last year the potatoes were  a fail, not so this year, they are the loveliest of all potatoes we've ever grown.  
I'd never seen a squash bug before but since we have so many varieties of squash this year we've been battling the dear little things at all their stages for the last month.  They are gross as well as really really annoying.  
Winter salad greens were successful in the Greenhouse last year so I'm going to perfect that project this fall and see if we can keep up a good supply for the entire winter this year.
Oh, and Phoebe and Rachel are now both laying eggs again, one each per day.  
So that's what's going on here, never a dull moment.  
I hope you are enjoying your summer with the wonderful weather.  

so much done since last post

Well, Rachel was the first to lay eggs, then Phoebe, so we were getting two eggs a day.  We ended up with a few dozen by the end of May.  Rachel was also the first to start brooding.  I thought she was sick (have I mentioned I grew up downtown, I mean right downtown, Ottawa so what do I know about chickens right?) so I was bringing her treats like tomatoes and sorrel which she loves.  Phoebe must have thought Rachel was sick too, she would take some of the tomato and drop it right in front of Rachel so she would eat.  She tried to get behind her and push her out of the coop so they could go outside together.  Several days later I was really worried so asked someone who claims to be an expert on chickens what I should do.  He said she's just broody so put a couple of eggs under her, she'll sit on them and once they've hatched she'll be back to normal.  So a friend, Tim Aubin, gave me three duck eggs for Rachel to sit upon.  She did.  She sat upon them for FOUR WEEKS.  We were going away the long July weekend so I candled the eggs to see if I should remove them before they started to smell or something (it's amazing what you can learn Online).  Well just as I was turning my head away from two of the eggs, I thought I saw something slightly moving.  Assuming it was my imagination I put the eggs back under Rachel and figured I'd remove them and deal with her broodiness when we got back.  The day after we got back, I went to fill up the water and food containers in the Coop and I saw two little yellow heads peeking out from behind Rachel!!!!  Ducklings!!  I can't imagine anything cuter than ducklings.
Rachel ignored the third egg completely so I followed suit and disposed of it.
Next are pictures of the chickens and the "chucklings" as we call them.  I really want to make them in order and present them nicely but get so frustrated by the blog setup I could scream.  They are out of order and I don't know how to get them in order, but please enjoy them anyway.
Thomas has been enjoying the tractor and helping so much to keep the property tidy.  We got a new sign for the van, wave if you see us in town delivering.

Let's take a closer look, anything
wrong with this picture?

Rachel and her kids

It is astonishing how fast
these guys grow

Phoebe is not impressed with
all of this nonsense

This guy doesn't care about anything but
digging in the planters and sowing seeds.

We actually have other things
growing besides duck
my favourite basil mini-garden

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Still Some Plants for You

Today promises to be SUNNY - yes!  We're still pushing plants into the garden beds.  What a beautiful rain the last few days but the cold doesn't work for my joints.  Yesterday I removed (if you can every really remove) goutweed from a garden and exposed some lovely astilbe, bellflower and sundrops.  Long live the astilbe, bellflower and sundrops!
Everything planted is now showing itself.  The potatoes have doubled in height and need to be hilled today.  The beans and snow peas are starting to flower.  I stopped at Greta's yesterday to pick up . . . yes . . .more seeds.  Must start a new batch of Greens, the present ones are going fast with Weekly Deliveries and New Weekly Deliveries - very exciting.  The Crusty Baker is now serving up Day Brighteners Greens with her sandwiches - check it out.
The new (old) Herb Garden is starting to take shape, not sure what shape that is exactly, but it's looking more like an herb garden than an ant and mulch farm.
I trust everyone will enjoy today no matter what you're up to.
If you're up to planting, come out to see what we have for your garden.  No need to call first today, we'll be here 9-4.  We have herb pots, edible flower pots and several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. . .
Oh, and we're not at the Kemptville Kinsmen Farmers' Market much these days, we find the new hours too long, getting up two hours earlier on our Sundays and sitting for four hours at the Market when there is so much to be done here strikes us as not very efficient use of our time, keeping in mind that we also work long hours all week and really do need SOME rest.  So if you need anything, give us a call, we'd be happy to open our Farm Gate for you anytime or deliver to you Wednesday if you are on our route.  Our route is expanding so don't be afraid to ask.
If I'm holding on to plants for you, please come to pick them up today or call me because they won't do well much longer in their current pots.  Then they will be useless to anyone.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Plant Sale Prices listed

If anyone can email me and tell me how to get the prices to look better, I'd appreciate it.  Otherwise, I apologize for the format but let's just go with it for now.  We still have many many plants.  We're plowing another garden to put in the peppers and tomatoes so will keep selling until that's done, later this week.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Shoppers have been coming to the Greenhouse for the last couple of weeks, after calling first to place their Special Orders.  We still have LOTS of Plants for Sale.  We have:
Green Zebra, Black Cherry, Green Cherry, Yellow Pear, Black Plum Cherry, Red Boar, Purple Russian, Heirloom, Gardener’s Delight, Chadwick’s Cherry, Anna Russian, Black Plum, Pink Plum, Pink Beefsteak, Paste
Jalapeno, Thai, Sweet Bell, Marconi Sweet, D’Espelette, Alma Paprika,
Hungarian Paprika Sweet, Tangerine Pimento
Asian, Italian, Black
Pickling, English, Marketmore, Lemon
Green Acorn, Zucchini, Mini-pumpkin
Musk Melon, Watermelon
Red Velvet Okra
Dill, Cilantro, Thyme, Greek Basil, Sweet Basil, Three-Curl Parsley, Italian Parsley, Sage
Edible Flowers
Nasturtium, Edible Chrysanthemum. Zinnia, Johnny-Jump-Ups                                                            

We're here most of the time but might be out for a short bit running errands, etc.  Please call first.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Girls and Plant Sale

So we're getting one egg a day, between the two chickens.  I take the egg, they create a fussy noise and I bring them back lovely greens from the garden that I'm thinning out anyway like carrots (they Love carrots) and sorrell and anything that's going to seed.  Tom gave them a couple of worms that were under the area where he was setting up the new rain barrels, apparently that was a hit.
They went outside today!  They found out how good the grass is, and scratched the dirt around their house and rolled in it for hours, then had a little rest in it, then pecked at some more grass and went home for the night.  How cute is that?

I'm holding on to your plants for you, middle of May is too soon to plant any tender veggies and herbs.  So you can come by anytime this week or next if you call first and let me know OR come out to the Plant Sale Saturday May 25 starting at 9 until whenever and Saturday June 1 starting at 9 until whenever.
Tom and I are looking forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Winter, Summer - what about Spring?

So, we now have a facebook page, like I knew how to set this up? No.  My son did this for me and I really appreciate it.  It links in with this blog which my daughter set up for me and I am very grateful for this.  Kids - aren't they smart?
What have we been up to?  Read so many books for the entire month of February, books on GMOs, CAFOs, watched films on our water depletion and sugar, salt and fat issues, went to seminars and conferences about Organic Farming. - learned A LOT OF STUFF.  Ask me, I'm willing to share.
We are now members of the National Farmers' Union.
The Sustainability Fair at the North Grenville Municipal Centre was wonderful, it's very encouraging to see so many young people moving to the area and starting organic farms and looking for resources.
When the time was right we planted seeds (several of which we save ourselves), tended to seedlings - up-potted, transferred to the ground in the Greenhouse and continue to do all of this every day from dawn to the beginning of the office day.
The weekly deliveries have grown and we really want to expand on that.  The Kemptville Kinsmen Farmers' Market will now have longer hours (12 to 4 on Sundays) and we're not keen on that.  We'd rather have all of our hard work saving seeds, starting the seeds, nurturing the seedlings, growing the food and maintaining the gardens going to a good home rather than wilting at the Market stand hoping someone will not buy from two stands over where a vegetable is 10 cents less.  No, we've decided the best way for our vegetables to be eaten is freshly picked and delivered to you weekly or picked up by you on special order.  We figure we can be occasional vendors at the Market if and when we have a surplus.
We're also pleased to be re-opening the Farm Gate Stand for passers-by on weekends.

Exciting News Today
The potatoes are in from Homestead Organics, we got the call and Tom picked them up on his way home from Cornwall this afternoon, they'll be going in to the newly roto-vated (sp.) garden on Saturday.

We now have two silkies, Phoebe is white with grey and black markings and Rachel is black (see pic below).  They are pricelessly full of character, but no eggs yet.  They were given to us with their names, I don't watch TV so didn't know where the names came from, everyone else seems to know this.  We'd been thinking of having chickens but missed the mark at ordering them, figured we'd try next year, but we're trying it out right now, this year.  If it goes well, we'll get more next year, should be fun in the meantime.  Oh, and they're also afraid of coming out of the coop ?? I dunno.

Plant Sale
We've been growing like crazy people and have so much of everything, best to come out and visit, check out what's available.  We have trays of seedlings downstairs in the craft room, in the spare office, upstairs in the sitting area, in the little greenhouse we moved over to near the Big Greenhouse, in the Greenhouse on the floor, on tables, on stands, on buckets, everywhere one can squeeze a tray of seedlings, and outside sitting in the Herb Garden getting used to the weather and waiting to go into the ground this weekend.  It's really hard to clean the house with trays all over so I'll clean in June - ya.
I'll post a price list of plants for sale once I can stop planting seeds, up-potting, transferring, weeding, watering (the soaker systems are almost all in place but not quite yet).  The official Day Brighteners Plant Sale will be May 25 and June 1 (I've been telling people the last two Saturdays in May but May 18 is too soon to plant outside, it's going to be ONE DEGREE this coming Saturday- jeesh).

Weekly Orders
To let you know how it works.  Presently deliveries are each Wednesday between 5:30 and 6:30 (give or take 1/2 hour depending on how my office day has gone).  I email you Monday to let you know what lovely colourful foods are available to eat.  You email me back on Tuesday with what you'd love to have in your repertoire of good eating for the week and weekend.  I pick and deliver Wednesday.  Everything comes to you in your basket freshly washed and ready to eat.  How do you like that?.
You only order what you'd like and we are tickled to provide you with it.
Otherwise, or maybe as well as, you can call me anytime and place a special order.  I'd like more than a few hours' notice as I do see clients in the office, especially around real estate closing days.

The cats were interested in our daily guests
at the feeder this winter

Got some new pictures for you: - if I knew how to move them around better, I would, very frustrating.
We love to eat and Moe took this picture
of our dessert

It's the girls - cute eh?

Almost ready for the Greens Garden


Friday, 11 January 2013

What I learned in 2012

I learned that it is REALLY hard to keep posting when you're working at what you're working at.  It is fun and exciting but hard to keep on top of.  So that said, let's recap the latter quarter of 2012 since my last entry.
The Farmers' Market Marketplates was fabulous!  Jamie (The Crusty Baker) did magic with scones and sandwiches using all the produce I provided to her - people were coming back to our booth for seconds and thirds.  Unfortunately this system will have to change because anyone arriving later with their ticket in hand wasn't able to taste from each booth and that's not right, but not in my hands, it's in the suggestion box.
Back on the Farm, the herbs were not affected by the drought, in fact they thrived on it.
Potatoes - Big Loss - we'll try again this year but only two kinds: Kennebec and Red which are the absolute best.  And we'll plant a little closer to the house/water source, the hoses did not reach to the potatoes last year and we all suffered for it. Or maybe we'll get a well installed in the east field.  We'll see in a couple of months - who would have thought when we planted in the sloshy mud that we'd have no water at all the entire summer.
The heat provided wonderfulness to the tomatoes and peppers, what a year for them - wow.
I learned that broccoli and celery like to grow in our gardens.  The new Greens Garden was a huge success. When the nights began to frost up, we moved most of the salad green plants into the Greenhouse after evicting the limp frost-bitten tomato plants and after removing the unripened peppers from their stems.  Again, Greens were a huge success, not bad for the first try.  Just wait, there's no stopping us now.  
I must mention that in late Summer/early Fall we began Weekly Basket Deliveries - what fun!  We kept going until the week before Christmas, at which time the daylight hours were skimpy and greens were resisting growth.  In the meantime for the Christmas season customers bought some of my dried Herbs, Baking and Tomato Sauce - that kept me out of trouble for a couple of weeks.  Then we were trampled with about 2 feet of heavy snow in less than a week which stuck on the top of the Greenhouse over the Christmas and New Year's weeks.  On January 5 we were able to remove most of the snow to let some light in and things seem to be growing and glowing again, ready to be delivered most likely in a week or two, very exciting.
I have said and will say again "It's all an experiment".
The Tractor now has new front tires and needed some parts replaced and these parts are not easy to find for the old 1952 Pony.  I drove by a guy with a tractor that resembled ours yesterday and stopped to ask him where he gets the parts for his, but his is a 1944 Ford and he has no problems with finding parts - go figure.
Oh and Hurricane Sandy moved our Tractor Shelter high into the branches of a nearby tree.  I wondered why the traffic on the road was slowing down as they passed our place - rubberneckers.  I didn't see it until I came back toward the house from the mailbox.  Oh my.
Planning for 2013 growing season:  More broccoli, more Salad Greens, more Celery, more Herbs, more Roma and Heirloom Tomatoes, fewer hot peppers, more Sweet Peppers, more Squash and their families, more Cucumber varieties, more Root Vegetable varieties like parsnip, carrots, beets, onions.  Less Eggplant.  
So, in all, 2012 was a great year on the Farm.
2013 should be Fantastic.  We are looking forward to every day of it starting right now.
Happy New Year everyone.