Hi. My name is Kade Dillaway. I live on 47 Daisies farm with mom (Harmony) and dad (Dylan). I am 13 and about to go into 8th grade at the Vassalboro Community School, GO VIKINGS!!!
But lets get back to what we are supposed to be talking about. This summer I really started helping out on the farm. Obviously, I'd helped out a little on the farm previously, but this summer, I helped more than I ever have. I am doing tasks at ease that a year ago would've been very difficult. I am earning a little bit of money, but best of all, I am improving both my mental and physical strength.
So recently, as I was working, I couldn't help but notice that something was missing. So I talked to dad and did some research and I decided that we needed some sort of spice. I did some more research and I decided that we needed ginger. So yes, I will hopefully put in ginger plants early this spring!!! Also, I will be heading the “ginger department” of 47 daisies!!! However, I have never grown ginger, nor has anyone else at 47 daisies. But hopefully the ginger crop will be successful and we will have ginger by next fall. If you would like more information on ginger, click this link: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/CFS-GIN-3A.pdf
We have a hen that was born to be a momma hen. She has tried so hard to have her own batch of chicks. The first round this year ended in sorrow. She sat on her eggs for a very long time, much longer than needed to hatch, and we eventually had to remove her from her nest in the hay loft and dispose of her mostly rotten eggs. A sort of sad day for all.
Not long after that, we found her, once again, in the hay loft on a bunch of eggs, 18 to be exact. We didn't have much hope for success as there is 1 lone rooster to about 35 hens. Odds aren't very good that her eggs are fertile. We decided to let her try again...without getting the kids excited. We explained that it probably wouldn't happen, but we'd give her a chance.
As of yesterday, she had six chicks hatched!! And when we checked on her today, there were six more!! Six eggs left to go, we'll see what happens.
So proud of our momma hen and all her little babies. She's doing such a great job taking care of them all, and allowing us to be a part of it. Very cool experience for all of us here. :)
So we have done A LOT of building jobs since we moved to Maine. Currently, we're working on the farm store. I will say that most of this responsibility falls on Dylan for this job because 1. we have three kids that need supervision and can only spend limited time in the farm store without going crazy and 2. Dylan is a much better carpenter than I am.
Number 1 needs no explanation. It is the reason why a lot of the labor falls on Dylan.
Number 2 has become more and more clear the few times I've tried to help building...well..anything. For some reason, Dylan always thinks its a great idea to have me measure.........which ALWAYS ends up in a wrong measurement. Always. My skill with power tools is definitely lacking as well. Dylan is very patient and continues to "allow" me to help, but it has to drive him crazy.
The funny part of all of this is that my dad is an expert carpenter/woodworker and would absolutely be ashamed of my carpentry skills. You would think I would have inherited some of his carpentry skills, but I apparently did not. Nor his artistic skills. And barely any of his musical skills.
I can paint, and do a pretty good job at that. So..............that is something I get to help with quite a bit when the kids allow it. Silver lining, I guess.
Anticipation and farming are synonymous……..
Farming is all about anticipation……..this tends to keep the seasonal blues at bay because there is always something around the bend to anticipate. The dead of winter (December, January and half of February) is a time for preparation…..building infrastructure needed for the coming year (this year it is the seed starting room in the barn and the farm store…..more to come on those projects). But without the anticipation of more exciting things to come, those building projects can become monotonous…….so, what is on the horizon?
Upon moving to Maine….one of the most exciting things, from my standpoint, is tapping maples. This will be the sixth state (Louisiana, Wisconsin, New York, Kentucky, Pennsylvania came prior) that we get to try our hand at maple syrup and I can hardly wait….!!!!! Luckily, 47 Daisies has a fair amount of mature maples (sugar, red, Norway and box elder……and yes, we will tap all of these species!!) scattered around the property. The only limitation on number of taps this year will be the availability of buckets. Currently we own 23 maple collection buckets and so 23 taps will go in. Most of those will be hung on sugar maples, but the taste test from the different syrups made from the other species will be fun. Our taps will go in late February and remain in place throughout March and into April. Let’s hope the weather conditions cooperate for some great sap runs!!!
Winter is fun for a lot of reasons (like playing hockey with the kids and building snow forts)……but one of the most fun things about winter is planning for the next years ventures.
This coming season will be an eventful one at 47 Daisies!! Aside from the kickoff of vegetable, berry and egg sales from the farm and CSA and farmers markets, we will also be doing some MAJOR plantings to prepare for years to come.
We have finalized our order for spring planting of the first 1000 Christmas trees, apples, peaches, plums, cherries, pears, grapes, raspberries and horseradish!! The seed potato order is in as well with four varieties coming our way in mid-April!!!
Next up…..seeds, asparagus, blueberries, rhubarb, artichokes…..!! The list goes on and on.
Can’t wait for spring.......but for now I’m enjoying winter….8-12inches of snow coming on Sunday! Perfect excuse to peruse those seed catalogs.
A LOT has been going on here at 47 Daisies. We have been very busy. It is strange for us, because we aren't "farming for the public" this year, but it is still pretty much farming from sun up to sun down.
We are preparing to (hopefully) be open for business next spring. This takes a lot of planning and money (which is hard to come by when you're not currently farming). There is an adorable garage/shop close to the road and we're going to renovate that building and turn it into a farm store. We will sell to the public from that, a lot like the "farm room" in Ruston. At this point we're not planning on doing a CSA just to see how the farm store goes. In the next few years, we'll also be able to have pick your own berries (many varieties) and Christmas trees will go in the ground next year. This will be in addition to all the vegetables we'll have for sale, and EGGS!! 55 Chickens will be laying this spring. :) And we'll also have goat milk soap and other goat milk products...once we get goats and have a milk supply again (missing it!!)
We already have a wood pile for the boiling pan. Dylan's planning on boiling a lot of sap for making maple syrup. I think a fire outside in the winter in Maine sounds amazing!! I told him that will be a great job for me, since I'm sure I'll freeze to death until I acclimate. I will sit by the fire and boil sap. A lot. :)
In the past few weeks, with Dylan's dad's help, we have built a stairway up to the hayloft in the barn and a shed for Dylan's tiller and garden tools...which is very important since he has decided to have his garden beds out in the middle of nowhere. Speaking of, if you knew us in LA, you know we had several of our fields named. This area back in the middle of nowhere will be our main production beds....and now has the "North Dakota" sign up. So now, regularly, I hear from Dylan, "I'm going to North Dakota". Some things never change.
It rains a lot here, or at least it has since the end of May. This is great, because we'll probably never have to irrigate (which was literally OUR LIFE in Louisiana. It consumed us for most of the year....), but we're also not used to the "down time" rain causes. Two days ago, Dylan decided to build a playhouse for the kids out of barn wood. It is almost finished, and it is adorable. It's out by the gardens so the kids can play while we're working in the beds. We did have to make a trip to the hardware store for a few things, but the structure, and then some, were made from wood left in our barn. The kids love it!!! ....and we love it.
I know I'm rambling about anything and everything, but I guess that's okay and I'll just continue to do so.
We have SO MUCH zucchini this year!! That's about the only thing we have in abundance because we knew we weren't going to be selling to the public. But somehow, no matter what...you always end up with too much zucchini. I have LITERALLY been putting it in everything and eating it every single night. A few recipes in the past couple weeks; zucchini quesadillas, zucchini fritters, zucchini lasagna, chocolate zucchini cookies, zucchini grilled cheese, zucchini crispy burritos (we actually replaced the chicken with diced zucchini in this one)...and we have frozen probably 50 bags so far. Funny. I guess we will continue to have zucchini in everything, even after the season is over.
We were fortunate to have a huge blackberry patch on the property, and we've been very much enjoying that. We have about 15 bags in the freezer so far, and Dylan made the first batch of jam with the kids a few hours ago. 100% sealed. Woo hoo!! (That's always exciting for us).
In addition to the berry patch, we have a very nice orchard. Apples have been falling and we've made applesauce that the kids have very much enjoyed. Due to the lack of apple orchards in Louisiana, Basil and Eilah are enjoying their first year of apple abundance. It's nice. We have applesauce in the freezer as well.
All of this food in the freezer really helps with my food hoarding problem (Dylan has accused me of having this disorder for years...). :)
I guess that's enough for now.
Would love to hear what all of you are up to! Anyone have a garden this year? How's it doing?
Dylan decided, for many reasons, to make our main production beds about a 1/2 a mile from the house. One of those reasons being that the soil condition is much better there, and drains better, so it's not as wet in times like this (it has literally rained since we've been here). He has to get the beds prepared this year for next year's production. Our fields are literally ready to be hayed..but can't be because of the rain...so imagine the height of the grass....just for starters. Yesterday, Dylan mowed AN ACRE of open field with our mower...and today we raked it into piles and carted those piles (what felt like 50 miles) to a very large mulch pile in the middle of the field. The mulch will be used on the beds. Now that you have the background...here's what I learned from our DAY LONG experience. :)
-There ARE snakes in Maine. We saw (another) one today. That makes 2 that we've actually spotted, and one that possibly bit Dylan on the back of the leg when his truck was stuck in the mud. Good news? None are poisonous....and unlike Louisiana snakes, they seem to be pretty small. I actually walked up and looked at the one today, then Basil poked it with a stick and it slithered away. This is much improvement from my normal kicking and screaming and running away while kicking my shoes off (don't ask, I can't explain it).
-When you tell the kids you'll buy them a pint of blueberries each for helping, they get really excited. (And yes, they all got their blueberries tonight!).
-After pulling a cart back and forth...back and forth...back and forth...all day over an acre of ground...I can honestly say I know how a horse feels.
-It takes approximately $16 in gas to mow a 1 acre field with our mower to "mulch" standards.
-Dylan is a MUCH faster raker than I am (no surprises there).
-When garden carts say "easy to pull" on the enclosed info, they mean in a flat paved area...with nothing in it. It is significantly harder to pull a fully loaded (with mulch and/or children) cart across somewhat mowed somewhat level somewhat wet ground. "Easy" is not the word that comes to mind.
-It takes exactly 6 Motrin to ease back pains from 1/2 a day of raking and a full day of loading/carting mulch in a one acre field.
-There is no limit to how many times you get to say "Who's idea was this, anyway?" during the "mulch day" event.
-Kids (and husbands) can come up with a song while mulching in the tune of "99 bottles of beer on the wall"...that can go on forever.
-12 year old boys become very motivated when food is involved as a prize.
-There are JUST AS MANY spiders in Maine as in Louisiana...only smaller and they can't kill you.
-An acre is a lot bigger than you think.
-2 and 4 year olds CAN and WILL eat a whole box of chocolate chip Bunny Grahams if left unattended on a blanket in the middle of a field.
-2 and 4 year olds ALSO still have plenty of room in their very small bellies for dinner and blueberries later in the day.
-Dogs like to chase mice...even if the mice are rescued and relocated to the woods.
-A whole day in the field doing mulch gives you lots of time to think about how...exactly...you're going to get all those vegetables back to the house next year once the beds are producing. You hope that it's not in the sorry garden cart that's "easy" to pull.
-Unfortunately, 2 wheel drive trucks will not make it 1/2 mile back into a muddy field to help with the mulch day. Believe me, I asked several times for this to happen.
-And lastly, a family of 5 can actually have a pretty decent day raking and moving mulch on the farm.
Hopefully, this is Dylan's last big field that needs to be prepared for the year, but you NEVER KNOW with him. I think I'm going to start taking donations for some heavy equipment...or farmhands. :)
If there are two tasks that I despise it is planting potatoes and planting strawberries!!!! I dread these tasks each year. I don't really know why because they aren't that difficult, but these farm tasks are my nemesis! On a positive note though, they are complete for another year!! 500 strawberry plants were planted in the high tunnel and the potatoes are in the ground! I am in the clear until next February and lets hope that these two crops repay the effort in bumper crops of juicy strawberries!!
Basil loves to pick flowers!!! If you've ever read the children's book "Ferdinand" basil is definitely our Ferdinand. It is a great time of year for this pastime as the garden paths are filled with the tiniest little flowers! It is quite beautiful if you take the time to look closely!!! Just watch out for those bumblebees or you will be carted off to Madrid!!!!
The first low tunnel was constructed in the garden today. These are a derivation of the hoop style row cover you may have seen out at 47 daisies in the past growing seasons. Instead of protecting only one row though.... These protect four rows or a four foot bed....awesome!! Lettuce mix, arugula and a double row of gold ball turnips are planted underneath!
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )