Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Farm-mates





Chestnut-backed chickadee



Bushtit



Red-breasted nuthatch



Spotted towhee



Buffleheads



Stellar's jay



American wigeons

New starts and a burn





Chicks 'er in the greenhouse and Michelle's in town


March brought with it my sister. She came at a crucial time when I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and aimless. She did not come for fun and games. She came to farm and boy what a farmer she is! She whipped this place into shape in a mere 5 days!

What a motivator! Thanks Michelle!




On a beautiful sunny day (which I now miss very much) the middle school students came out and we decided to set up a temporary pen in the greenhouse to let the chickens run around and discover what life holds outside the brooder box. It was great day and the kids spent nearly an hour just watching the chicks in their newfound glory.
















Boy, were those chicks happy to discover the joys of greenhouse cover crops!






Today's game. Guess that seedling!


A Junco that flew into our glass door at breakfast. Fear not! She recovered eventually and flew off. But I just couldn't resist holding her first.





Assessing the situation.



The cold frame for our little seedlings. Here they are gradually acclimated to the cooler temperatures of the outdoors before they are planted out. Putting this giant plastic sheet over the frame every night gets really annoying especially in the wind. Having a helping hand is so nice!



Inde girl loves her little chicks. She likes to keep them all together, so she can watch over them more carefully.



So the greenhouse set up requires catching all the chicks in the evening and putting them into their brooder box. Not an easy task but over time we were able to make some adjustments to speed up the process. Here Michelle grabs a handful.



Once they are all in they can relax and get comfy on their little perches. Good night chickys!

Monday, March 29, 2010

In the hot seat


The '54 Case w/double furrow plough











Ploughing in a "casting" pattern. I should've ploughed finishing furrows like those shown at the end of this post. Oops. Oh well.



Next field. We'll cast it again.



Old aerial shots show this as a field. Funny then to find two 3-man rocks just below the surface.



Jen using the furrow as a guide.







Farmer castings.







Saturday, March 13, 2010

early bloomers

My best guess: Most of these are plum trees from late-February to early-March. The ornamental cherry bloom is quickly followed by the bloom of fruiting plums, 2-3 weeks later pears flower, then apples, then fruiting cherries.











Plum



Nest in a dwarf apple







Common Hazel (February)



Plum



Plum




Plum

Monday, March 8, 2010

Raising the roof @ the winter work party 2010!

During this winter's wind storms our already decrepit greenhouse was ripped to shreds. So, in early February the students came out and finished it off. They loved demolition (of course, what kid doesn't?) and left absolutely covered in mud. Fun day.



This is Jacquie with the kids. Jacquie is the founder and director of the school. She goes non-stop and never seems to run out of energy. It's pretty darn amazing.








It was a beautiful, warm spring day. I really liked the look of the uncovered greenhouse. It's almost too bad we couldn't leave it like that.



Next day. Saturday. Work party with teachers and parents from the the school. We finished dismantling the hardware from the old cover and rolled out the new platic. Now, I have been stressing about this new greenhouse for months. Making sure I ordered the right kind, triple checking all the measurements, etc. Now the moment was here and there was the shiny new plastic. All $700 of it. While we are standing around admiring it's sheen, a parent took it upon himself to whip out his pocketknife and slice the tape that held the roll together. It was slow-motion. I didn't react fast enough. And then it was over. The tape came loose and left behind 9 clean slices through the new greenhouse plastic. I thought I might have a heart attack. Walk away. Cool down. Breathe.

In the end, it worked out. Bob and others were able to pull one side tight enough so that all the ripped plastic was under the frame. Whew!








Pulling it over. Many hands made this a piece of cake!










The most tedious part. This is Tom. He is a former teacher turned chef, who comes out every Friday to help with the students and whatever farm work needs doing. He's the best!





Another Tom. There are many Toms and even more Bobs involved with the farm. This is Tom Bray. He works at the school and also happens to be mighty handy at all things mechinized. He's getting the old Case tractor going so that we can begin plowing new fields.



Oh, but first he moved the little intern cabin to a new location. That tractor made it look so easy!





Tom giving me all the info for my first spin on the old Case. Love it! Except for one small problem. It requires a pull start with the John Deere. Which is a sight to see.