Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Farming Journal for April

 We got quite a bit done this month despite the deep snow and delays in the garden because of cement work for the hoop house.
We tried to rehabilitate an injured calf and it didn't work out as planned. Since then we have had 3 calves born at the farm, one of which did not survive. We are finding that we are very close with nature here and have had to deal with more death in a short period of time than we ever have in our lives put together. Together with the calf deaths have come deaths of the beautiful yellow breasted birds that arrived here at the farm with the spring weather. We have a ferral cat that has taken residence at the farm and she is quite the hunter. We keep finding these birds around the farm and in her den. It is sad. They are so beautiful. We may cage the cat and find a new home for her. I am worried about our chickens becoming prey to her hunting skills.

We have readied the beds on the terracing wall at the west side of the farm. I have even planted a few types of lettuces in there which will be followed this evening with spinach, radishes, tatsoi, and romaine. As an area is readied in the morning, I plant it in the evening so the seeds can stay moist all night and have a better chance at germination. The asparagus will be planted tonight also. :)   In the raised bed to the north of the greenhouse the garlic is sending green shoots up and the strawberries I planted from roots I got in the mail are leafing out. I love to see green. I planted mint in that bed along the wall in the shade.  The flowers we planted a month ago in the front bed are coming up now too.

We have spent hours out in the garden area disking the soil and following behind the tractor picking up rocks that surface and either putting them in the tractor bucket or on a wagon. The boys pulled one wagon behind their lawn mower. They had fun in the process. :)  I remember the hours spent and buckets full of  rocks I picked up as a child in my parents garden. My Dad had his first draft horse and put him to use with an antique plow to till up the garden. Us girls would ride the horse in a straight line while Dad walked behind the plow. It was a scene right out of the 1800's. :) Those are sweet memories to me now and I hope the memories the boys are making will be sweet to them one day. Right now they are working hard and playing hard and learning hard. It is a good life we live.

Along with a farm comes lots of open space and at this particular farm, the boys have an affinity for rebuilding and playing around on old mowers.  They have races once in a while and use them for their chores. They have learned lots about the basics of engine care and what to do when something stops working. I am pretty sure they know more about it than I do!
 Farm life has entered every aspect of our lives. My children draw pictures of animals and chicken coops and adventures they have here. My 6 year old son drew some pictures of the calves. So cute.

Today my 15 year old is building a chute for a cow we are going to start milking. He is studying online about chutes and is drawing up a plan with dimensions. Then he will weld it up and do whatever he needs to do to make it work. He will have to use an auger to anchor it in the ground. I love the things my kids are learning. Along with their studies to be well rounded, they are learning life skills that will make them so capable in life. 

There is so much learning going on around here that it is incredible. We are learning how to get along with each other as we work side by side. We are finding out what it really means to be close to nature and why it is important to take care of the earth. We are taking rest seriously. We are learning how to prioritize and make the most of what time we have. 
The greenhouse is still in full production. I have finally pulled out some of the plants that I had put in there in November. The Swiss Chard in the picture is still producing so it is staying for a while longer. I am putting peppers in place of the lettuces, spinach and kale I have taken out. I am trying to fill every spare inch with something green. I even planted marigolds in the corners of each bed for the beauty and the bug repellant properties it has.

We are selling our veggies, and whole grain breads at Bath Nursery here in Fort Collins on Saturdays. It is fun to meet people in the community and to distribute food that will only compliment their health and not detract from it. It feels good to be contributing good things. The radishes I planted a month ago are being harvested now. I just love the miracle of putting a seed in the ground no bigger than the tip of a pencil and being able to pick a vegetable from that seed in a months time. So cool!

Each morning we have a meeting with all of the boys and us parents to decide how the day is going to go. We have to plan who is working on what, when breaks will be, when we get to study, and when quitting time will be. We have some things that stay the same from day to day but the morning meeting gives room for tweaking what didn't work the best the day before, or sometimes new things come up that need addressed. The picture here is showing yesterdays meeting down at the chicken coops where we had all met for the morning. It is a busy life but good and rewarding. I love the things we are learning, even the tough things that have come along. We are all growing and are so much stronger(physically and mentally) than we were a year ago.

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