Tonight I find myself asking, "Is the week really already over...I mean, really?" In the whirlwind that is early spring on the farm, time is an inconvenient reality; because it is now Sunday, the 13th week of the year, and there is more to do than hours in the day. It is always a careful balance of what dire circumstance must be tended to immediately, and what tedious chore can handle a day's wait.
Pictured above is a hen roosting in her new coop. We spent about 3 days completing the hen house, which was about 2 more than we initially allotted in our planning. It required a little more labor due to some thorough predator proofing, but it is always better to lose time now than to lose an animal down the road.
During the icy, rain, turned to snow storm the three bottle calves got sick. Thomas heard Ellie Mae coughing while feeding them earlier this week, and sure enough a quick ear to the chest, and it was certain, they were congested, and probably beginning to develop pneumonia. A single dose of antibiotics and they are now running around and back to their old, silly ways. I am glad they are feeling better so that I can begin trying to wean them off their morning milk. They are beginning to eat a bit more hay, as well as calf feed, so tonight for their evening bottle they only got 2 pints instead of their usual 4. The process will be a slow one so that they can stay in the best of health (and because they love their milk!).
We started another 80 or so trays of vegetables this week as well. Mostly tomatoes, peppers, and brassicas. We were hoping to be able to plant in the field this weekend, but as the last day approached before the storms, the ground was still much too wet. Before a single seed or plant can be buried, the dirt must be perfect. It needs adequate moisture to germinate the seed without irrigation (as that would wash the tiny seeds away), yet dry enough so as not to rot the seed. Even as strong of a desire that we had to plant, we had to remind ourselves that the benefits on harvest and plant health far outweigh the benefit of earliness. When you farm organically, you need every advantage you can find, and the best is plant health. So, we are hoping that Tuesday or Wednesday will yield favorable conditions for planting.
We were excited to finally complete our seed potato order for the year. Up until now we have purchased our seed stock locally, which reduces the options to about three: Russet, Yukon Gold, and Red Pontiac. Despite the limited choices, it was the most logical, as the shipping cost for hundreds of pounds of potatoes can really add up! However, we decided we just couldn't continue to grow such poor species when there are so many better ones out there. After lengthy discussion, we finally settled on the following 7 new varieites:
The monthly newsletter for CSA members will be going out this week. Keep an eye out for it as there will be a lot of information about the first anticipated harvest of the season, as well as a few other important tidbits. Also, a big thank you is in order for the members that completed our survey; your insight was invaluable.
Until next week, all the best.