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July 28, 2011
So This is Summer...

 

So this is summer. So far anyways. The weather is a little confusing but by and large it is hot and sunny so summer it must be. And as is often the case the time is racing right along.

So far we are still making our first cut of hay but that should change in a week or two. we haven't done the Stephen's Marsh yet and I believe that's the prettiest place on earth. I may have to drive the tractor that day.

Since all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy last Monday we decided to go to the Small farm Celebration. It was held out at the Northville Farm Heritage Centre.  There were lots of interesting workshops including the one on compost tea that I made Hannah go to so I could check out the women's panel and another great one on marketing. Danny and Eben really enjoyed the animal power demonstration.

JulyDannyEbenSmallFarmer.jpg

Here the 2 men talk and discuss all the things they've seen so far.

JulyHorsePlowing.jpg

ONe of the highlights of the day for Danny and Eben.

It was kinda a sad day because we lost Carlos, a wwoofer who had been with us for a few weeks but who has said he'll return in a month or so. I tried to entice him with the thought of harvesting my garlic but apparently that's a bigger deal for me.

JulyCarlosFarrierSmallFarmer.jpg

There was a blacksmithing demonstration at the Small Farms Celebration. I had hoped Eben would get involved with it but he was too shy. Here's Carlos looking on and asking intelligent questions.

But I digress; let me get back to my garlic. It's interesting because now it's dying back and I think it's time to harvest it. What I really notice is not just that the plantsare dying back but that the colour gren has changed. Here's what I mean:

JulyGarlic.jpg

Notice that the bluey green is gone and now thw plants are more a greeny green (yes that is the technical term).

With the garlic planted just above the leeks and the onions which are still that onion blkuey green this is easily noticeable:

JulyOnionBlue.jpg

See what I mean?

However as you can see the garden is starting to look pretty good and we are eating peas, beans, beets. lettuce, kale and all sorts of yummy things out of it. I won't let Danny pick the onions because I keep hoping they'll grow bigger. While we haven't had any hodge podge yet I know that coming just as soon as the potatoes are ready. Thanks again to Andrea and Katie at Hope Seeds for the fabulous kitchen garden they've planted me. I was thrilled last night to find a few zuchinnis; zuchinnis reek of summer, almost as much as tomatoes do.

JulyZuchinni.jpg

Life is full of unexpected treats these days.

Tuesday was our 4H aceivement day. I was really proud of all the kids in our club for all the hard work they've done but one thing that has made me especially proud this year is the way Eben will jump in and help with the jobs that come up at these events that you need someone to take on:

JulyAcheivementEbenAndIanBBQ.jpg

Here are Eben and Ian barbequing hotdogs for everyone to enjoy with the potluck.Good work guys!

Another thing that I have been enjoying lately is my echinacea or coneflower. It's a perennial that's in blossom right now.

JulyEchinaceaGreenFlower.jpg          JulyEchinacea1.jpg

JulyEchinacea2.jpg        JulyEchinacea3.jpg   

I like the way the petals start off tall, spiky and green, standing straight up in the air. As the flower matures and opens up more the petals gradually turn pink and turn down in a  gracefull gesture. As well the centre of the flower gradually gathers itself up and turns orange.Yes my echinacea is definitely making my heart sing these days.

 Finally there is the winter wheat. It's definitely past the milk stage but it's still drying. This is from thesmall field that we planted in front of Louise's house. With good luck we shall be combining it soon (but not before we harvest the garlic. As I have a flour mill I anticipate grinding some up and making bread or something with it. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime be kind toeach other. and wish me luck harvesting and curing my garlic.

 

 

 

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July 7, 2011
Another Hot One Eh

Who would've thought we'd be having all this hot weather!

And just so you don't think that we've been sitting on our butts working on our tans let me assure you that we have been working HARD.

First off there's the barn roof that has needed some steel replaced; we were lucky and were able to find a big crew to help the day that Dick first cam to work on that for us.

barnboys.jpg

I'm told that Eben dimpled a lot of the steel he nailed on but that's what I did sinking the nails when we put wood down in the hallway.One improves over time right.

And of course with all this hot weather  we've been making hay. Round bales, square bales, silage; whatever we can get made. Hannah has been pressed into service wrapping the silage and is doing a great job. In the meantime as the round bales come home they need to be stacked and piled:

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That's Gary helping Eben and Danny cover the pile of round bales with a hay tarp. It's quite an effort because the tarp weighs a ton and has to be properly tied down soit won't blow away when the wind picks up.

The weeds are growing to beat the band: the burdock and thistles are everywhere!

barnFreshWeeds.jpg

But Danny knew what to do to put them in check. He pastured the sheep there for the day.By evening the sheep had pretty much chomped every living weed there was. Sosince they had eaten most of the food we had to move them to a fresh pasture:

barnSheepmove.jpg

They were happy to move onto a field that was full of fresh grass (and weeds).

With all this frenzy of activity I found it neccessary to visit with my garlic. The seed scapes needed to be removed. With all this fresh garlic I couldn't bear to throw them out . If I make them into pesto I'm the only one who eats it. Which means I still have to make something for everyone else. So I decided given the great antiparasitical qualities of garlic I would feed it out to the sheep and the cows.

barnCow1GarlicScapes.jpg

The cows had a look but they weren't touching it. Oh well I thought, the sheep  will eat it-they love raspberry leaves when I'm prunung.

barnSheepResting.jpg

I found them at rest under a nice shady tree but they were definitely interested to see what I was bringing them.

barnSheep1GarlicScapes.jpg

A good look, a taste and maybe a chew

barnSheep2GarlicScapes.jpg

Don't waste your time on this guys!

barnSheep3GarlicScapes.jpg

And so much for that idea. I guess I'm still the only one in this family that like garlic scapes. I made myself a great batch of garlic pesto with some roasted sesame oil. The family doesn't know what it's missing.

barnGardenAndGarlic.jpg

In the meantime I just go out and see how everything's doing. The garlic still needs a few more weeks but everythings growing and that's great.

barnGaryand_Eben.jpg

This was Gary and Eben yesterday. It was hot but everyone did there best to have a good time and cope with all the work. Thanks Team!

 Be kind to each other!

 

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