Was that summer? 07/21/2011
Crazy weather we're having huh? I'm really ambivalent about the rain these days. On one hand, it really doesn't feel like summer but on the other hand, I have no irrigation down at our plot in Steveston so a good rain saves me from hauling 1000 litres of water out to the field in buckets. That said, I do have pretty awesome looking arms. I'm thinking of starting a "Farm Bootcamp." Nothing like hauling water and shoveling soil to whip your arms into shape!
In spite of the weather, stuff is growing. Looks like we'll have squash at the markets now. The sugar peas are almost done but the beans are starting up. I've eaten my first tomatoes of the season and the blueberries are coming along nicely. Leeks and celery are looking good. The beets are absolutely delicious..... it's nice to have something other than lettuce, kale and chard to choose from!
We've been down at KJM Country Gardens the last couple of Tuesdays for a small market but the 'big' market down there starts up on August 2nd. We have also been invited to the new "West Side Pocket Market" at Kits Neighbourhood house on Thursdays so we're going to start doing that too. I'm super excited about a meeting I have today with Saltspring Island Coffee Company. They would like us to come once a week to do a "mobile market" for their employees. I think this is an excellent idea so I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes... if all goes well, I think we'll do it on a larger scale next year, or maybe in the fall/winter.
The west side beds at 41st and Blenheim are almost finished now and work starts on Saturday on the east side so keep an eye out for more big changes there! I still need another 32 tires to finish the potatoes and have a bit more space to plant but it has really come together nicely. Everything has been growing really well there except for the beans but even they have perked up recently.
Ok... better get my ass in gear
Ok, this is a little embarassing 07/13/2011
I guess this is a monthly blog. I had such good intentions but I've just been SO busy. I often go days without even touching my computer and by the time I do come in at night, I'm not fit for even more basic forms of communication.
So... quick update! We've been having a great time at the Southlands Heritage Farm Market on Sundays. I just love the intimate feeling of such a small, local market. The KJM Market has received a trial permit for 2 markets in August (about bloody time!) so we're looking forward to that starting up soon. In the meantime, we're doing a small stand there on Tuesdays from 2:00 so you now have 2 options for stocking up on fresh, locally grown goodies. We're also doing the market at Oak and 49th once a month.
Our walk behind tractor was FINALLY delivered a couple of weeks ago so we have been frantically trying to get the plot in Steveston planted in time to salvage some of the season. Unfortunately I don't think we're going to have time to plant quinoa this year but we have tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, parsley and strawberries in so far.
41st and Blenheim is coming along nicely. We still need to get some more tires as the potatoes are growing faster than I can pick up tires. Everything is doing really well there except for the beans which is a complete mystery. We have so many people stopping by when we work there... it is really cool to see the neighbourhood so excited about what we're doing there.
39th and Collingwood is almost finished. We have some nice beds out on the boulevard, 2 large raised beds in the front yard and potato tires. Harvested our first radishes and some salad greens from there for this week's markets.
Our back yard is starting to look like a kale, squash and broccoli jungle. The garlic is almost ready. The bees have been very busy making honey and the worms have been busy making soil. Sadly, we lost my favorite chicken, Cricket, to a predator a couple of weeks ago. She had been sick so we had isolated her in a temporary shelter which obviously wasn't secure enough. :( Hunter, our Brahma hen hatched her second batch of babies about a month ago and has already grown tired of motherhood so the babies have moved down to Southlands where they'll get a lot more love and attention from the summer camp kids than they've been getting from their mom lately! The front yard has really blossomed. We have people stopping by daily to see how it is coming along. Unfortunately, not everyone in the neighbourhood is as enthusiastic about our exploits however. I had another visit from our friendly (seriously) neighbourhood bylaw enforcement officer the other day. They can't tell me who it is who is doing all the complaining but apparently they don't like the burlap sack planters full of veggies out in front of the house, and they don't like it when I put the sign for the market out, and they don't like it when I sell the market leftovers in front of the house after the market for an hour. Fortunately, none of this is a problem for the city and, in fact, they are extremely supportive of what we're doing. I just think it must be horrible to be the kind of person who would be bothered by this sort of thing!
And another week gone... 06/09/2011
So much for updating my blog regularly. I'm sure you can forgive me under the circumstances. It has been a very long time since we had this much sun so I've been really busy.
A new batch of baby chicks hatched on Tuesday. 7 adorable little fluff balls. They hatched from eggs from the coop in Richmond. One of my hens here had gone broody last month so I gave her some eggs to sit on.
I've been working at the new plot at 41st and Blenheim a lot this week but still have SO much work to do. Put brussel sprouts, beans, lettuce, swiss chard, dill, rosemary, beets, carrots and radishes in. Mostly I've been hand sifting soil to get the rocks out that range from pebbles to watermelon size. It is a very cool location though. Someone almost always stops to ask what I'm doing when I'm working there so it is a good opportunity to spread the local food gospel and to talk about the markets.
Hoping to get the beds at 39th and Collingwood finished today. We've had some soil issues. Went out to Langley to pick up soil last weekend but all we ended up coming home with was a broken starter. Very discouraging since that starter is brand new and we really did have better things to do than drive out to Langley for nothing that day. But soil is coming today...woohoo!
We built an addition on to the coop in Richmond for the new girls to live in. They are 2 1/2 months old now and do pretty much nothing but eat and shit. Will be very nice when they start paying rent in another 3 months or so.
Everything is really enjoying the sunshine.... there are actually peas on the peas... tomatoes on the tomatoes and plums on the plum trees. Very exciting! We'll have radishes ready to harvest for the market on Sunday.
Well I'm off to a farmer
Go Canucks Go! 06/01/2011
Sitting here watching the 3rd period of the first game of the final series. Missed the first 2 periods because I just couldn't bring myself to come inside when the sun was still shining and there was farm work to do.
Today was the opening day of the Oak Street Farmers Market so we dropped by to check it out. Great location! Can't wait till we have enough to stock a booth with so we join in the fun. We're planning to be there the last Wednesday of June.
Picked up a rototiller today so I could get started at our new plot at 41st and Blenheim. This property has been completely decimated by chafer beetle so we're excited to transform it into a beautiful food garden. Unfortunately, 5 minutes into the job, we ran over a buried wire and snapped the belt. Still managed to get a nice long row of beans in though.
I drove by the most beautiful garden today at 29th and Collingwood. You should check it out. Beautiful hanging baskets over a well stocked food garden!
If you know of any other properties I should check out, please let me know! I love to see people getting creative
Scored two giant bags of coconut coir mats from a local mattress recycling facility yesterday. I'm using it to keep the weeds down in the beds. I think it looks pretty nice too. The peas are flowering... I think they like it too!
Just another winter day on the farm... 05/27/2011
This is getting a little ridiculous. Is spring every going to come? Sure hope we'll have a little bit of sun for the market this weekend. Had a good meeting with Yummy Yards and Fresh Roots yesterday. We're going to collaborate at the Oak St. Market and just generally work together to support each other.
While I was cozy and warm indoors, Rosy was busy back at the farm transplanting my beloved purslane seedlings and taking care of the critters. Thank god, because the meeting ran WAY long and I wouldn't have gotten anything done without her.
The compost boys from Urban Dirt built a cool looking contraption for drying coffee grounds. They're working on a fertilizer recipe. Will be watching their progress closely!
I'm the unofficial chicken rescue lady so had to go pick up a "stray" bantam rooster at the SPCA. Someone probably got him as a chick, hoping for a hen but when he started crowing, he had to go. Fortunately, I knew of a perfect home for him. Lori, at KJM Country Gardens lost her bantam rooster to a coyote earlier this year so I took him down there and Lori was happy to take him. He's just the sweetest thing. He sounds like a toy when he crows and is very friendly.
A little humour for a cold winter day 05/26/2011
Sod Off 05/23/2011
I tore up a front lawn on Wednesday and had to go pick up all the sod today. Boy am I ever sick of grass! We took it down to Steveston to compost
Started work on a new plot today at 39th and Collingwood. Clare and James own this property and are thrilled to have their lawn being transformed into a food garden. They are so cool. I know we're really going to enjoy working there. We built two large raised beds and started some delicious organic potatoes in tires.
Did a lot of work down at the coop today too. Put up some new roosting rails. Everyone is really happy out in the orchard.
Stopped at Safeway on the way home. They had a huge box full of watermelons and one of them was split open so I asked if we could have it to feed to our worms. They said no because they do their own composting then proceeded to put the watermelon in question into a bag. I told them they'd just canceled out the benefits of composting by putting it into a plastic bag.
Rain Rain Go Away! 05/22/2011
Well I had a fairly productive day in spite of Mother Nature's plans to the contrary. Worked on the web site and went down to Richmond to take care of the chickens this morning then hosted a very interesting Native Pollinator workshop with Brian Campbell of Blessed Bee Farm. I'm very stoked about my next trip to the thrift store to buy out their stock of tea pots in order to provide bumble bee friendly habitat! Planted out a bunch of peas and direct seeded 3 types of lettuce after the workshop, then it was time to go put the chickens to bed. Shovel (one of the roosters who looks like he got hit in the head with a shovel because of his smushed comb) is making entirely too much racket. I hope I can find him a home as he is really quite a lovely boy... quite friendly. If not.... it'll be time for Shovel stew.
First Post! 05/21/2011
This blog is brought to you today by an unexpected rainy day. I got up at 6:30 this morning expecting to squeeze a quick horseback ride in down in Southlands with Kate before getting down to some serious work only to find MORE RAIN falling out of the sky. I'm SO disappointed! Kate and I took a day off yesterday and went to the Island to visit some cool organic farms so I was super motivated to get to work today. I thought it was supposed to be beautiful and sunny all weekend!!! AARRGGHH!
Well I REALLY needed to get the web site up so I guess the universe is giving me a kick in the pants. I promise to try to keep this site up to date so you can all follow along with our many adventures.