Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Odds & Ends

Ben laying down on the job

Here are a few pictures of Ben & Jake helping me plant garlic in the garden yesterday. They mostly chased the kittens around and played in the nice soft straw but it's nice to be able to take them outside and actually be able to get some work done while they are there. My boys are growing up.

Getting ready to plant the garlic, the soil was cold

My favourite trowel

Garlic all ready for planting, over 600 cloves put in the ground yesterday

The strawberries are all mulched and ready for a winter's sleep




My two favourite helpers

The barn is looking great. We just need some doors

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Progress & Public Speeking

It has been very mild the last few days and all our snow is now gone. We have gotten most of our farm clean up finished but there still a few projects still on the go. I still have not gotten the rest of my garlic planted but this mild weather should help to get that completed. I'm hoping to get my soil samples taken today and submitted to the lab by the end of the week. I will be curious to see if the pH levels have increaced since we started in 2007. I have a big round bale of straw waiting to be spread over the strawberries and the garlic whenever it gets finished. Other than that the fall to do list is pretty much completed.

Last Saturday was another great weather day so we made the most of it by working on getting the ends of the new barn closed in. My uncle Ronald and my brother Andrew, along with my Dad and Derek spent the day measuring and cutting steel to complete both ends of the barn as well as the back wall. Now when you drive by it looks like the barn is finished. When you get a bit closer you can see that there are still quite a few odds and ends left but the main work is done. We still do not have doors on the barn but Derek will hopefully get started on those this weekend.

Dad checking on Derek and Andrew's progress, he had the noisy job of cutting the steel

Andrew and Derek fitting the steel

Almost finished

The back wall all finished, just needs the corner piece

The first end wall all completed

The boys were not too happy with all the noise being generated by the saw so we spent most of our time admiring the work for a distance. Here are a few pics from our day while the guys were working.

Ben & Jake enjoying their apples

Ben laughing, who knew I was so funny

Mr Smiley Pants

On another note.....
This past Wednesday evening I was asked to speak to the North River 4H club about our CSA farm. I had not done a public speak in a long time so I was very nervous. The room was packed full of 4H members, leaders and parents. After a few technical difficulties in which my computer decided to not connect to the projector (luckily Kelly Hughes had brought her laptop as a backup) I was able to proceed. I was pleased with the talk but when I was over I realised I forgot a few very important points that I wanted to cover but oh well, maybe next time. The North River 4H club owns their own clubhouse in the community of Kingston, what a lovely building. I can't wait till the boys are old enough to join.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Progress - Told through pictures

How the barn looked before the work crew arrived (ignore the date, I did not get a chance to actually get a picture before the crew started)

The first picture I was able to get after the boys went for a nap. I could not believe how much they had gotten done already

John & Ronnie measuring for the steel along the front wall

John working on the front wall and Allan and Derek are on the roof just finishing up the front side

Cutting steel, now that was a loud experience.

Ben & Jake were very curious about all the noise at the new barn

Ben & Jake supervising Dad & Ronnie's work.

Chris working on the front wall

Team work

Chris & John

Derek installing the soffit & fascia

Derek & Kenny

The last piece of steel for the roof

Ronnie holding the last piece of steel

The roof is finished

Dad - our hard-working foreman. There is no way we would have gotten as much done without his expert organisational skills. Thanks Dad!!

Derek and Jeremy starting the ridge cap

Finishing up the front side

The front side all completed

Still lots of work to do but having the roof completed is such a relief

Taken Monday morning, looks awesome if I do say so myself

We had a great work day on Saturday. We had 7 people show up to help us put steel on the roof and the front wall. It was beautiful weather, sunny and warm and absolutely no wind. We could not have asked for a better day. Thank you to everyone who came out to help including Dad, Ronnie, John, Chris, Allan, Jeremy & Kenny. Thanks also to Mom for the yummy lunch and for watching the boys.

Here's a few pictures of the boys playing

The boys trying to figure out where the kittens were hiding, it was so nice and warm on Saturday we did not even need coats

The boys enjoying playing in the newly covered barn

The kittens basking in the sun

The boys learning that kittens love to chase strings

Hours of fun with the kitties

Ben & Jake exploring the wood shed

Jake, what a little monkey

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rain please go away

It has been raining here for what seems like forever. In reality its only been 5 or 6 days straight but its starting to get depressing. The boys are missing their regular outside play time to chase the kittens and explore. I do manage to get them out every day but it makes for some slippy exploring and the kitty cats don't like to play in the rain. I have a mile long to do list to wrap up the garden for the season but the weather is just not cooperating. Luckily I was able to take advantage of a nice sunny day last Thursday to get my saved garlic seed planted before the rainy weather arrived, although I did not quite save enough so I will have to purchase and plant some more. After all this rain we've had I"m not sure the ground will ever dry up enough to get that done. Garlic was one item on the CSA survey that was requested by pretty much everyone to have "more please"!!!

Our final CSA open farm day had to be cancelled due to the rain which was a bummer. I had hoped to reschedule but this past weekend was wet and I think I'll just have to give up for this year. I miss my weekly drives to Charlottetown and Summerside but I am enjoying having more time playing with the boys and now that I have a bit more time I'm able to focus more time and energy on my consulting business helping processing potato growers get ready for their on farm food safety audits. It may only be a few hours a week but I really enjoy meeting with the growers and helping them sort them selves out to be better prepared for their audit. They put in a lot of work to get ready and I really enjoy being part of that process.

On a different note some progress has finally been happing with the barn. To drive by you would probably wonder what we have been doing as it would appear we haven't done anything for weeks but it always seems with any project the tiny little details that no one notices always take the longest to complete. Thankfully my Dad came out to help Derek two weekends ago and they were able to get the front side of the roof ready for the steel. Last week before the rain came Derek was able to finish strapping the back side of the roof so now just a few hours of work are left before steel can go on the back. We are hoping to have a barn work party this weekend to get the steel on the roof. Lets hope Mother Nature is kinder to us this weekend than last. Here are some pics of the boys and of the barn.

Jake enjoying a slightly frozen tomato from the vine

Yogourt face

Looking for just the right tomato to munch on, they did not seem to care the texture was rather gross from having been frozen 1 too many times

More yoghurt Mommy!!!!!!!!!!

The boys playing in the greenhouse shed

Playing with the kitty cats

Barn progress

View of the empty garden from the barn roof

*** I wrote this post two days ago and am only publishing it now, thankfully Mother Nature heard my cries and the long range looks good for the next 5 days, yippie.