Thursday, November 19, 2009

Work finally begins

Getting started

Checking the level

Pushing back the top soil

Jen & Jake by the dozer checking on progress

Working away

The bulldozer arrived this morning to start our pole barn project. Since moving to the farm in 2006 we knew we would need to build a barn for livestock & equipment storage but its taken awhile for us to actually get it all planned out. We finally agreed on a location and a size and so we booked the dozer and it's out there now pushing back top soil to make the pad for the barn. Derek has gotten a quote for the building so hopefully work will begin soon. I believe it will be 60X40 which hopefully will be big enough.

Derek & Ben checking on the progress

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well, brrrr, the chilly weather has returned. This morning Derek brought me a big slab of ice from a bucket that had been left outside last night. I guess its official, summer clothes out, winter parka, long johns and wool socks are in.

This is our last CSA pick-up week of the season, its hard to believe that 16 weeks have come and gone, it was a great season and we are looking forward to expanding the program next season. We will still be going to the Summerside Market for awhile as we still have lots of farm fresh veggies in the fields.

This week at the market we will have lettuce mix, garlic, onions, spinach, tatsoi, mizuna, komatsuna, carrots, radish and parsnips. We started digging a new patch of carrots and they are so yummy. The variety is called Sweetness III and they sure stand up to their name. We will have samples at the market this weekend so make sure you try them out. So Sweet!!! And back this week due to popular demand we will be bringing creamed honey. Our friends Daniel and Beatrice Ficza who own Honeydew Apiary in Canoe Cove are bee keepers and make excellent creamed and liquid honey. Now that the temperatures have lowered they are able to once again make their creamed honey. Yummy.

Coming up at the Summerside Farmers Market on Saturday October 24th is a fall celebration featuring an amateur pumpkin weigh off and pumpkin decorating contest for kids and adults. So if you have a big pumpkin growing in your garden bring it down October 24th for a chance to be crowned king or queen of the pumpkin patch. Also bring your decorated or carved pumpkins for a chance to win prizes in both children and adult categories.

An exciting new beef CSA opportunity is about to start here on the Island. Our friend Tim Dixon from Tryon who raises Angus Beef on his family farm is starting up a beef CSA and I have attached a PDF flyer that gives more information. If you are unable to open the file his phone number is 432-4771 and e-mail is

I've attached a few pictures including a giant turnip we found in the onion patch and some new pics of the boys. They were three months this week.

Take care of each other,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What we're up to.

Things are going well here on the farm. The weather has cooled off and the bugs have bugged off. Gone are the bug coats to be replaced with sweaters and light jackets. Ben & Jake are growing like bad weeds and are taking naps at the same time which is allowing me to be able to help Derek and John with the harvest by bagging and weighing out greens and other veggies. It feels good to be involved again. Derek and John are in the works of setting up a hoop house for a bed of Tatsoi as an experiment to see how long in the season we can grow greens for. First they built a frame where they bent metal pipe, next they measured along the vegetable bed five feet apart and hammered rebar into the ground. The metal pipes were then put over the rebar. The next step will be to find a row cover wide enough to cover the hoops. Hopefully it'll be a success.

Our cat nugget had her kittens in the last few weeks and we finally found them behind scrap wood in the storage room. Three little orange kittens, too cute!

Our fall greens are coming along nicely. We are currently harvesting arugula, mizuna, komatsuna and lettuce mix. We have spinach, radish, tatsoi, more arugula and mizuna, swiss chard and beet greens coming along nicely and hopefully the fall weather is agreeable so we can have greens into the fall. We just finished harvesting our purple and coloured carrots and only have orange ones left. The leeks, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and beans are all still producing but as the cooler weather sets in the heat loving crops like tomatoes, beans and peppers will slow down and we'll be left with the hardy veggies like onions, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and leeks.

A few photos to show whats going on. enjoy!!

Ben and Jake

Jen and Ben

Setting up the hoops

Onions drying in the sun

New kittens

New greens

Derek & John setting up hoop house

Work horse rototiller & sunflowers

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Boys

A few updated photos of our farm boys!! Hard to believe they are almost 2 months old, weighing in at over 10lbs each.



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Twins = No time to blog

So the boys are now almost 7 weeks old and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I have hardly had time to eat and drink let alone blog. Things on the farm are going well. The CSA is now half done and we are now into the fall crops like carrots, beets, beans, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

My internet time has been limited and even checking e-mail has been difficult. Now that the boys are having some sleep time during the afternoon I'm hoping to be able to start blogging again. Time will tell!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CSA Pick-up Week #3

Unfortunately I was unable to get a picture of the shares this week before the truck headed to Charlottetown. This weeks share included:
Lettuce mix
Snow Peas
Swiss Chard
Snap Peas
Beet Greens
Garlic Scapes
Green Onions

I'll try and get the guys to snap a picture before the truck leaves on Saturday morning to get a photo uploaded then. Until then if anyone needs more info about what the veggies are or what to do with them check out the paper newsletter included in the share or send us an e-mail. Thanks

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We're home

We made it home and out of the hospital finally Sunday afternoon after spending a full week getting prepared for the real world at home. I was not ready to leave the hospital until Sunday as I felt really unprepared for what was ahead but I am feeling much better now. The boys are settling in quite well although the lack of sleep at night is tough. Luckily they slept a full four hours last night so we did manage to get some shut eye. The days are busy for Derek with farm work, and me with e-mails, feedings, poopy diapers, cuddles, the odd nap and trying to remember to eat and drink. So far so good but it sure is a lot of work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Help in the field

Today we had a wonderful family come to the farm to help us weed some of our more desperate sections. In about an hour we were able to weed three beds of broccoli and cabbage. The pig weed was completely over taking the actual crop and I knew for ages that it needed to be done but there just seemed to be so many other areas first. Those beds were also covered with row covers to protect against the flea beetles so it was rather easy to ignore them. Today the row cover was pulled back and the weeds were eliminated!! Thanks so much Chris and family for taking time to come and help us!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Second CSA Pick-up Tuesday July 7

We had another very successful CSA pick-up at the Charlottetown location today. Thanks to all our wonderful members for their great feedback and commitment to the program. I was impressed that most members had gotten through most of last weeks veggies which is impressive because there were ALOT of greens last week. Check out the photo below for this weeks share basket.

The second week of veggie goodness

1= Joi Choi (a large bok choi)
2= Garlic Scapes, the flowering part of the garlic plant. Excellent chopped and used as you would garlic cloves.
3= Beet Greens, yes those are beet greens even though they are red. So yummy just steamed with salt & pepper and a little bit of butter, yummy. Derek's favorite.
4= Mizuna, simply chop and add to salad or throw into a stir-fry
5= Daikon radish. Similar to regular radishes but a bit more on the spicy side. This is a very popular vegetable in the Japanese culture.
6= Radish, probably the last week for round red radishes, or at least until the fall when the temperatures turn cool again
7= Lettuce mix, baby lettuce greens great on their own!!
8= Strawberries, need I say more. We picked these at 2:30 this afternoon and CSA pick up started at 4. It doesn't get much fresher than that!!!
9= Spinach

This will probably be my last week at the Tuesday pick-up for awhile as these babies are probably not going to wait much longer. I"m still feeling great and am still harvesting, weeding but am not that fond of the copious amounts of black flies that enjoy munching on me. My full term due date is this Friday so we'll see what happens, maybe I'll be able to get one more week in there.

We also had a great CSA pick-up on Saturday at the Summerside Farmers Market. It was fun to see old and new members and have a chat about the veggies included in the basket that week. The market celebrated its first birthday last weekend and what a crowd!! The place was packed. There was children's entertainment, buskers, free pleasant pork hotdogs, free ice cream and strawberries and hourly draws for market money. We were sold out of everything except for one Chinese cabbage by the end of the day. It was a great day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Tuesday CSA Pickup

Today was our first CSA Tuesday pick up and it was a success. I am always so nervous before the first pick up because you wonder, will people be happy with the selection? Will there be enough produce to fill the baskets? Will every one show up? Below is what was included in the first weeks share of the CSA. We'll see you all again next Tuesday, enjoy your veggies.

1 = Komatsuna
2 = Mizuna
3 = Spinach
4 = Strawberries
5 = Summer Turnip
6 = Arugula
7 = Tatsoi
8 = Chinese Cabbage
9 = Radish
10 = Lettuce Mix

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Potato Bugs!!

The potato bugs are full steam ahead. John and I have been walking the patch and picking every morning before it gets too hot. We pick them into ice cream containers and then put them in water to drown. Sounds rather harsh but if we did nothing they would completely eat the plants down to the ground and no tasty taters for the CSA or market. The beetles get really active later on in the day so its best to try and nab them while they are still rather sleepy. We are looking at purchasing a back pack vacuum that would suck the beetles off the plants. It sure would beat bending over and picking them off the plants by hand. Another glamorous job here on the farm.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CBC Summer Series

Today was the kick off story to CBC Island Morning's summer series where our farm will be featured. It is always interesting and nerve wracking to hear your voice on the radio. Karen Mair came to the farm last week to do the initial interview and throughout the summer there will be more stories as they follow the ups and downs of our growing season. I'm assuming that Derek will be doing the next interview as I'll probably have my hands full with our new little farm babies. Countdown to baby time, less than 20 days now, yikes!!!

We had a great Saturday at the farmers market in Summerside. We had several unknown greens including Komatsuna, Mizuna and Tatsoi and that involved a lot of explaining to people what they are and what to do with them, what a great conversation starter.

The long range weather forecast for this week is looking much better than it did yesterday. We do need rain and my fingers are crossed for a nice soft steady 20mils but we also need warm calm sunny days to help the strawberries ripen, to help set in the transplants and to germinate some of the late planted carrot, bean and beet seeds.

The peas are growing very well

A look at the peas and turnip growing under row cover

Stay tuned into CBC radio Island Morning for more stories from the farm.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another week of progress

Finished pea trellis

Well another week has pretty much flown by. John and I got quite a bit accomplished this week including trellising the peas, transplanting over 450 tomato plants, transplanting the peppers, celeriac, leaf celery, fennel and turnip and direct seeding beans, seeding more broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce in cell trays and we made new labels for the growing veggies out of cedar shingles. I'm sure I"m forgetting something in there but its been a good week.

Newly made signs - cedar shingles

More signs

John trellising the peas

I had a doctors appointment this week and all is well with the babies. Baby B or "righty" has taken over the lead position and will likely the first to make an appearance. I'm happy to report that I did not make the scale rise anymore this week which is great because the last time I went I had gained 8lb in 2 weeks. The babies are growing between each visit so that's the important thing, or at least that is what the doctor is telling me. 35 weeks gone, only 3 or 4 left according to the doctors predictions. Now to get those squash and cucumber transplants in the ground and get ahold of the weeds that will be abundant after tomorrows rain.

Looking down at my huge belly

Squash transplants soon to be planted, next week I hope. We now just need some heat

Monday, June 1, 2009

Too relaxed??

I have this feeling that I am way too relaxed so far this season. I usually have several panic attack moments as I realize that I"m behind on planting, the weeds are over taking the plants, not enough moisture, too much moisture, too windy, too buggy, transplants are too small or the transplants are too big, oh i could go on and on. But this year for some reason I'm just taking one day at a time and working with what nature throws at me and not freaking out if I planned to plant lettuce mix and the weather said it was supposed to be fine and it turns out that it rained all day. Derek has taken the last few Friday's off which has helped immensely and our neighbor John has been working with us here and there and that has also been super.

Derek and John planting potatoes, I am hardly able to bend so I just dropped the sets on the top of the hill and the guys did the rest.

Last Monday the Summerside Katimavik group came to the farm for the day and helped to tackle the weedy strawberry patch and they also helped to plant several trays of greens and broccoli that were really needing to get planted. That was awesome!!!

The Summerside Katimavik Work Team!!! Life savers!!!
So maybe that is why I am feeling so relaxed, help really is a wonderful thing.

Now if only I could feel as ready about having these babies as I do about the status of the planting. A friend asked me lately if I was ready for the twins arrival. Well, I thought to myself, I have two cribs, two car seats, a bath tub, little sleepers, diapers and a whole lot of other stuff that I'm not even sure what to do with. Of course I'm ready I thought, then I actually started to think about it and mentally I am really not quite in the baby zone. I've been so focused on getting seedlings in the ground and plans made for the summer for Derek and John to take over that I haven't left much time for thinking about the realities of bringing home two babies and what that will look like. But, for now I"m happy to live in the world of denial and keep focusing on the farm.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Action Shots

Good old tiller

My workhorse!!!

Another windy day today but it was warm and the soil dried up nicely. I could not get the rototiller to work so I had to wait for Derek to get home. Of course he just pulled the cord and it started, I blame it on the babies. Don't want to pull too hard of course. I always had a hard time getting it started so I really should not use them as an excuse. We got another 6 beds planted this evening after supper. Speaking of supper it was really yummy. Salad and hamburgers. Ground beef mixed with ground pork both from farmers at the Summerside Market. But I digress. Back to the planting. We planted two beds of parsnips, a bed of dill and cilantro, and three beds of beets. Tomorrow we are going to finish planting the potatoes and start transplanting leeks, onions and Brassica greens. I'm excited!!! Yippie for progress. Here are a few action shots from my work this evening.

Off I go with the tiller to work up some soil

Notice all the safety gear, ear protectors and steel toed boots

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Public Speaking = Scarry

Last night I spoke about our CSA farm at the farm centre in Charlottetown. I had all kinds of time to prepare and of course I left it to the last minute. Well not the last minute exactly but I did find myself in front of the computer all day yesterday making a slide presentation and trying to remember back to college days for proper words/page and proper fonts etc. I'm just glad its over!!! But it went really well. There was around 20 people there and lots of questions were asked. Becky Townsend from Fortune Organics also spoke about her CSA farm which was really interesting.

Public speaking = scarry!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Progress

Lettuce mix seeds in the hopper ready to be direct seeded

Green onion transplants, almost ready to be planted, notice the big belly in the way

Organic compost finally arrives

Healthy broccoli transplant

The last two weeks have been quite good in terms of planting seeds and getting things done. Our compost we purchased arrived last Wednesday evening from New Brunswick and Derek spent the next few evenings spreading it with our tiny manure spreader and on Friday he was able to work it all in and the ground is now ready for planting!!! All I have to do now is use the rototiller to make finished beds before I plant. All the beds have been made.

Beds all made, now ready to be planted

Last week I seeded 5 beds of carrots, 5 beds of peas, 1 bed of radish, 1 bed of spinach, 1 bed of lettuce mix and Derek and I planted 12 rows of potatoes after the market on Saturday.

Early carrot variety, Nelson
There are still 18 rows of potatoes left to put in but its been raining steady since Sunday afternoon so it looks like the end of the week will be when we're able to get back at the planting. Our early varieties, Red Norland and Superiors, have been planted now to get the Kennebeck, Penta and Gold Rush in.

Potato sets ready to be planted, Red Norland

When the soil dries up I will be transplanting turnip, broccoli, leeks, bulb onions, mizuna, swiss chard, kale and green onions.

Mixture of seedlings reaching for the sun

All of the tomatoes have been potted on now to either a 3" pot or a tray size of 36 cells or 50 cells. I started tomatoes a lot later this year and I'm afraid they are pretty small and it may not have been a very good decision. Time will tell. I put the transplants out in the shed a lot earlier this year and I think some benefited and some not so much. The peppers are quite on the small side this year but the Asian greens and Brassicas look really healthy.

Soon to be transplanted, when the soil finally dries up