I struggle with this question every January and February!! In the spring (January, February and March) there is a mad dash to accomplish lots of different tasks in order to get the growing season up and running on a positive note. This creates this dilemma of having spring feelings of despair or enjoying the feelings about spring.
I love spring (which you probably guessed since this is my 2nd blog about it....). It is by far my favorite time of the year. One of the most exciting things is to watch the perennials start to burst bud and show a new year of activity. The asparagus comes first (and we are anxiously awaiting its arrival) then the strawberries start growing from their dormant crowns, then the miniature leaves start appearing from the blackberries and apples, the grass starts to green up and the temperature starts to warm. These are the feelings I revel in. Of course there is the backlog of winter projects that are only half finished, but that doesn't stop the feeling of excitement and awe every time spring arrives again like clockwork!!!!
On the flip side, spring creates a feeling of despair in that there is always work to be done..........that just cant seem to get done. Currently the beds are in need of tilling (which if done in continuum would take about two weeks). Plants in the seed room are approaching time to be transplanted out. However, plants cant be transplanted out until beds are worked. It seems to rain just at the right frequency to make the beds nearly ALWAYS too wet to till. Then there is the endless seeding of crops that will begin in about two weeks.
Nevertheless, I can't help but watch the new season progress with Joy and anxiously await the arrival of warmer temperatures, fresh new spring growth and the start of a new season!!! I am definitely feeling spring!!
There are some arguments out there that spring will come early this year to the deep south. I welcome this early spring as long as we continue to get rain.
In the north country, fields are ready to be worked (and subsequently planted) when the spring peepers are heard for the first time. I was taking the dog out yesterday evening, standing in the back yard and low and behold I heard the din of the peepers rolling up the back hill!! Interestingly this coincided with the first tilling of the beds for spring preparation. Cover crops need to be tilled under and this takes a long time.......as they need to decompose prior to planting or you are asking for problems. We had very pleasant weather this past weekend and I took the opportunity to drop "big blue" (my BCS tiller) into the soil for the first time. The conditions were perfect.....about a week since the last rain we had received and the beds were moist enough but not too wet. Most of the cover crops got their first tilling and some of the leftover fall crops were tilled under as well.
In addition to the spring peepers, the robins have made their return!! Gallivanting around the yard in search of something to eat. The paperwhites are blooming as well (which is a bit early for them).
After getting the beds tilled lightly, the first of the 2012 crops went into the ground. Celery and celeriac were planted in the lower bed alongside the overwintered fava beans. I also managed to get the artichoke crowns and 500 bareroot strawberry plants planted. Overall it was a good start to the heavy workload of the spring season!!
Enjoy the seemingly early spring!!
We are SO EXCITED to announce that we'll have a "farm room" (hopefully!!) in time for the start of this year's regular season CSA!! We are currently in the process of having our carport retrofitted to be a room used for packing tubs, and CSA pickups, as well as a few other things.
The photo above is the first phase of many. So far, the contractor (Michael Dufour) has moved the dryer vent to the roof and cleaned/painted the floor. Next steps are building a wall on the front and adding a door to the existing doorway in the rear/left of the carport. The wall on the front will have double french doors and a window, as well as cedar siding. We'll also be adding a ceiling fan and window unit to (hopefully) control the temperature of the room.
Although we very much enjoyed everyone in our living room every week, this option will be more comfortable for everyone. We will have room to move around (which did not really happen in the living room) and tables to use for CSA pick ups so you don't have to repack from the floor!! :)
With this room, we would also like to encourage you to hang out and have a cup of coffee with us, or just chat, during CSA pickups. It's definitely not required, but we love getting to know all of you!!
If all goes as planned, this project will be completed in the next month or so. Keep your fingers crossed!! And we'll keep you posted on the progress.
It took a lot of convincing before my bread making husband would agree to having a bread machine in the house. He makes bread "the right way" and said I should just learn how to make it if I wanted homemade bread all the time. He rarely has time to bake with all the farm work these days. My argument was that with three kids..and the farm...there was NO WAY I could fit making bread into my schedule. I got a bread machine for Mother's Day last year and have used it practically every day since.
I started out making whole wheat sandwich bread and finally got it to where we liked it. Then I started making a lot of breakfast bread, like blueberry and cinnamon breads. Those are delicious! And they smell so good. In addition to those, I started making french bread for dinner. And lately I have been making pizza dough in the bread machine. It's amazing!! I've actually had days where I've had trouble getting everything made that I needed to make in any given day.
Last week I found a recipe on Pinterest that is AMAZING!! It would be worth it to get a bread machine just to make this bread. It's an italian bread recipe that makes 2 loaves. You just do the dough cycle in the bread machine..and then just shape the loaves, let it rise one more time, brush on an egg wash and bake!! So easy! Even for someone who has no time for this bread making stuff. :) Here's the link to the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Italian-Bread-Using-a-Bread-Machine/Detail.aspx
After making this bread, I started looking around and I think I will try dinner rolls this week. :) Exciting stuff going on around here!!!! :)
The start of a new year always signifies the official start of the new growing season here at 47 Daisies. The beginning of January signifies the time to get the cold weather transplants started in the seed room. January 2nd and 3rd, Harmony and I fired up the seed room lights and heater and planted 3600 seedlings. That's a lot of plantss!! We did it in about 8 hours...and lived to talk about it.
What's on the early list?......Pac choi, broccoli, cabbage, yellow onions, green romaine, red romaine, fennel, many other types of lettuce heads, raddichio, chinese cabbage, celery and celeriac (and I am sure I am forgetting a few).
These baby plants will live in the seed room for the next 4-6 weeks and then be transplanted out to the beds sometime in mid-February.
The next round of seedlings will get started in the seed room sometime around Feb. 1st. These will be the warm weather transplants......tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs and flowers.
The final total number of transplants for the year remains to be seen, but I am guessing it will be some where around 7000 transplants going into the beds this spring!!
Those of you that follow our blog know that mushrooms were added to the lineup last January. We inoculated around 100 logs with various types of shiitake spawn. We then proceeded to nurture them through the spring and early summer....patiently and diligently soaking the logs every two weeks or so to keep them moist in order for the mycelium to colonize the log. Due to the extreme conditions we experienced this past summer (excessive heat and absolutely NO rain) we stopped nursing them along in mid July. We had to concentrate on fulfilling our obligations and something had to give so the mushroom logs were left to their own vices and we didn't hold out much hope that they would survive the rest of the ridiculous summer.
I would wander down occasionally and prop the logs that had fallen back up and tell them that I was sorry for abandoning them but other than that they were left alone to fend for themselves. It continued to be miserable into September and October and then FINALLY we started to get rain in November. With the new found moisture I began checking the logs more often and was extremely surprised to see white streaks of mycelium still present and seemingly thriving.........
Since then we have had plenty of rain and we are technically almost clear of the miserable drought we had. This rain has been great for the mushroom logs, keeping them moist. We have also had a relatively mild winter and with those mild conditions we have had a few random fruits pop out of the logs (see picture above of the mushroom harvested yesterday evening). We are hoping that we will get a good flush of mushrooms this spring and can resume the nurturing process of soaking the logs when needed and add shiitakes to 47 Daisies lineup of goodies!!!!
We'll keep you posted.
Our family started using soapnuts about a year an a half ago after hearing about them from a meeting with some health conscious women..and then again soon after from a customer. We have never looked back. I mainly use them for laundry and diapers (we use cloth for the two babies) and they are AMAZING!! They really clean your clothes like nothing else..and everything comes out clean and fresh and really soft!! I add a little bit of essential oil, because I like scented clean laundry..and have loved them from the start.
I introduced my mom to soapnuts soon after finding them for myself and she's a FANATIC about them! I love it!! Every time I talk to her, she's found some other use for them. It's really amazing. She loves them so much she actually gives them to her sisters for birthday gifts with printouts of what all you can do with this amazing product!! She uses them for everything under the sun, but a few of the most recent ideas are:
You can boil a batch of soapnuts for about 10 minutes and then put this solution in bottles to use for cleaning furniture (everything from wood to glass..with no streaks!), washing your hair (no nasty residue!), cleaning grease off of things in the kitchen, bathing the dogs, placing used soap nuts and solution in houseplants as an additive, used as a soother for skin irriations..and the list goes on and on! She's really become an expert in soapnuts.
You can order about 5 lbs of soapnuts online for around $50, and they will last for a VERY LONG TIME! A very small bag of soapnuts will wash 3-6 loads of laundry, easily. 50 lbs lasts me at least 6 months.
Do some research and start using these amazing little nuts!! And if you have any questions beyond laundry, let me know and I'll give you my mom's email address for questions. :)
Let us know how you use your soapnuts!!
It should prove to be an interesting year here at 47 Daisies!! We are so excited about the changes being made to the farm that we wanted to tell you about them.
We are changing the CSA from one 20 week block to three 10 week blocks. Our membership spots are increasing slightly this year so get your name on the waiting list ASAP!! We are leasing an additional two acres of ground for production this year at a farm up the road which will greatly enhance our ability to utilize cover crops during the growing season and rotate production areas completely. We are also throwing a number of new crops into the mix this year including, sweet corn, popcorn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, radicchio, and some awesome others as well! Of course we will have the normal staples (and plenty of them)......beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, potatoes etc. We will be planting 500 strawberry plants soon and also hope to increase the offerings of herbs this year!! With the addition of the high tunnel to the farm we will hopefully (weather permitting) have early season high tunnel tomatoes.
In addition to all the fun produce......one of our does is due to give birth on February 12th........we are also gearing up to get a flock of laying hens. We have planted more blackberries, jujubes, pomegranates and pears......and maybe most exciting of all.....the asparagus bed is ready for all out harvest this year!!!
With all these fun things happening on the farm we are going to need your help. 2012 will be the first year that we are asking for your support in the fields and at pickups. Volunteers will need to be an integral part of the 2012 operation. If you are interested in getting involved get in touch with us and we can surely use the help!!
Happy new year!! and see you soon!
Leaves are a huge part of fall/winter around here. It seems like once they start falling, they don't ever stop! We have so many trees...and SO MANY LEAVES!! This is good, considering we use the leaves to add to the garden beds and till them under in the spring...but it's a whole lot of work to collect them.
If you read the "hoarders" blog, you know that we have piles of "things" all over the farm. Especially this time of year. But eventually, they have to be collected and consolidated near where they will be used instead of spread out all over the farm.
The kids love when we have "mulch day" (especially Kade!)in the summer months, which consists of cutting tall grass in one of our fields, letting it dry, raking it and then carting it with the mower and trailer up to the garden beds. We make a whole day of it and they really enjoy it!! Apparently "leaf day" is going to be a big hit as well! Even little Basil got in on the action, helping rake and move piles . Eilah is stronger than she looks. She could pull a full cart of leaves and didn't seem to have a problem with it at all!!!
We didn't collect anywhere near all the leaves on the property, but I feel like we made a good dent...and we have a nice big pile of leaves out by the garden beds to show for it. :)