Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gettin' it going - Spring arrives early.

Peas in a soil bacteria inoculant. The goal is to have many peas and many beans throughout summer. Many.

Plum blossoms

Parsnips and scorzinera

Down to the lower field. It's hard to believe on February 20th that its time to start tilling up fields and putting seeds in the ground. After about two rain-free weeks, it seems like we better act now rather than later when the spring rains settle in. I'm only tilling enough earth now to get spring crops in. Thats radishes, mustards, spinach and arugula to name a few.

7:40 AM, Vashon Post Office : we were the fifth and last party to pick up our chicks. We have been looking forward to this addition for some time. The farm didn't seem quite complete without a flock of laying hens.

We got them home and immediately under heat lamps. Around 90 degrees is good for there first week. Before we placed them into their temporary home, we took each one and dipped its beak into water to make sure that it knew where to find it. Then we let them loose one by one. We had placed newspaper over their bedding so that they would not eat the pine chips. Right away we realized our mistake as one chick slipped on the paper and splayed her leg. A splayed leg chick cannot walk properly (or at all if both legs are splayed). Their leg comes out sideways from its body. We quickly turned to google and found our fix. We taped her little legs together and moved her to another box with a few mellow friends to keep her company. Within two days her leg was straight and she had ripped off her bandages. Now all chicks are together in one brooder box.

Gray Cat, the cool cat.

The winter rye - vetch cover crop is reaching new heights with all the sun the PNW's been getting; and the new greenhouse cover.

Harvesting stinging nettles for market and soup

We laid down a concrete water bar to direct dirty water to a shallow sump and lead-off ditch -to keep the house cleaner.

Spring arrived on about January 5th this year. Once we got the greenhouse covered and seeds ordered we started growing stuff - like these onions.

The plums trees are in the midst of blowing up - real nice.

The farmer's seed starting table keeps getting fuller and extending further. Watering three times a day keeps us a little grounded.

A sorrel bath.

When the sorrel came up earlier this month, we found this fantastic recipe in The City Gardeners Cookbook:
French Sorrel--Onion Tart
1 9-inch pie crust, orebaked
3 T butter
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
4 c stemmed and sliced sorrel leaves
2 large eggs
1 c cream
1/4 c grated Gruyere cheese
pinch of fresh nutmeg
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

preheat oven to 375
In skillet melt butter and add onion. Cook about 5 minutes. Add sorrel and cook over low heat. When sorrel is wilted, remove from heat and set aside. In bowl whisk eggs and cream. Add half of cheese and the onion and sorrel. Mix together before seasoning with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Layer the other half of the cheese over the crust and pour filling on top.
Bake 35 minutes, until set

So good!

Look Bob, we're growing (abigail grew) parsnips! They love this field and the roots have been measured at 2.5 feet! Now, that's not easy to pull up.

The hand seeder in action

Digging soil samples in the new field. This years crop? Potatoes and sweet corn. Yum.

Soil samples from various fields drying out for mixing before we send them off for testing

January. The trailer will soon be the chicken coop.


Garlic with its over-wintering chestnut and hazel leaf mulch

Red tail hawk, one of a pair that have been cavorting up in the tree tops lately

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Belted Kingfisher over one of the farm's ponds

Glaucous-winged gull with fresh sea-star lunch

One Western Sandpiper among thousands last month at Padilla Bay

The largest Great Blue Heron rookery in Washington State

Red shafted northern flickers, winter residents at the farm

Juvenile red-tailed hawk

Pied-billed grebe on Lake Washington

American Wigeons in Tramp Harbor

Eurasian wigeon

House finch

Belted Kingfisher off Discovery Park

American goldfinch

White crowned sparrow at Blue Dog

White-crowned sparrow chick