Friday, May 15, 2009

Independence Days Update

Weekly updates, it seems, are more than I can do in this busy, busy season. Besides, if I did hold myself to that standard, chances are I wouldn't blog about anything else! We have another rainy week ahead, so expect a spate of posts over the next few days as I run through my backlog of topics.


Direct seeded: 4 varieties of bush beans (provider, rocdor, royal purple, contender) and 2 rows of red core chantenay carrots down in the market garden.

Transplanted: ~ 300 tomato plants to the market garden (green zebra, Cherokee purple, striped German, Brandywine, sungold, sweet olive and gold nugget); Egyptian walking onions, shallots, thyme, citrus thyme, rhubarb, horseradish, and black raspberries to the front garden. Set in plants from Edible Landscaping—4 hops vines, 3 filbert trees, and 20 asparagus crowns.

Seeded in flats: calendula, evening primrose, pennyroyal, saltwort, fennel, lovage, peppermint, hyssop, arnica, marshmallow, paprika chili, Thai chili, and chamomile.


Spinach, lamb's quarters, kale, broccoli raab, lettuces, carrots, radishes, thyme, citrus thyme, oregano, tarragon, chives, rosemary, sorrel, horseradish, cilantro, parsley, eggs, milk.


Still eating down reserves. Made and froze butter.


With some volunteer help, we got one of the high tunnels cleaned out and ready for cover cropping, which I'll hopefully get done this weekend. Meanwhile I'm trying to stay on top of the weeds in the market garden with all this rain and dealing with flea beetles. Grrrrrr.

Continuing managed intensive grazing—this is primarily Jim's thing, and he gets total credit for staying on top of the frequent moves.


Our silver fox rabbit doe, Jewel, gave birth to 7 kits the other day. While she did all the work, it does bode well for the beginnings of our breeding program. Silver Fox are meat rabbits listed on Slow Food's Ark of Taste list. They will be both human and pet food, letting us reduce our dependence on commercial pet food even further, which should be healthier for both the dogs and the cats and lighter on the earth besides. I know some people will have a problem with that, but I can guarantee that these rabbits will have a better, healthier life than anything that goes into the commercial foods.

Set up three bee hives in the hopes of maintaining at least two hives on our property.

Continued working on our "insectary" around the gardens to encourage beneficial insects. ATTRA has a great pdf publication on "farmscaping" for beneficial insects for those who'd like to read more about this idea.

Our cookstove arrived this week, so we'll be working on the install over the next few months to have it up and running for fall burning season.


Added more bread flour, as we really blow through it quickly here. I still have my hi-gluten bulk flour, but it's twice as much as the King Arthur brand I use on a regular basis, so I try to stock up on K.A. whenever it's on sale.


CSA delivery to four families: eggs, mixed baby greens, lamb's quarters, head lettuce, broccoli raab, radishes, carrots, spring garlic, horseradish greens, oregano, sage, parsley, cilantro, rosemary.


I found a bag of roasted red peppers in the bottom of the freezer, so I made some roasted red pepper cous-cous to go with an herb roasted chicken and sauteed lamb's quarters seasoned with sea salt and spring garlic. Quite tasty.


Julia and I learned more about rabbits and "kindling" (what it's called when rabbits give birth). Did you know that baby rabbits only nurse about 5 minutes a day and that mama doesn't sit on them or near them for warmth? Neither did I, but we do now.

I'm hopeful that our first time mama knows what she's doing. She's pulled off some fur for the nest, but not a ton. The babies seem to have nice, rounded bellies from what I can see, so that's a good sign. I'll continue to monitor them over the next couple of weeks.


Danielle @ Savor Culture said...

Nice work! I'm glad to have the chance to catch up with your life on the farm. Thanks for taking the time to write about your accomplishments.

Christy said...

That spiral is so cool looking! That's going to be herbs? I need to get some herbs started, I should probably go do that now.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for taking the time to post. I always enjoy reading what you have been up too.


Sarah said...

Love the update on your rabbits. I've looked into raising rabbits instead of chicken and got some great advice from Nita over at Throwback for that. I have to remind myself to call them rabbits and not bunnies. I can harvest rabbits. I can't harvest bunnies.

Jody M said...

What do you mulch with? I'm always concerned with what is in commercial mulch. I'm thinking of just going with dead grass and/or hay.

Not sure in MD where you're at, but were in PA just north of Hagerstown...

Nicole said...

This is OT: the One Local Summer challenge begins on June 1 - I hope you're able to join us again this year!

Misty Day, C.A.P. said...

I am so inspired by your blog and homestead -- I found it while searching for ways to fund a homestead or minifarm coop. I am taking a course at UCLA to learn how to write proposals to foundations, but finding the right niche is taking a lot of time. Can you tell us of sources for funding to purchase "bricks and mortar" items such as land and buildings as well as edible landscaping, tools, hydroponic or french intensive garden supplies, greenhouses, trestle tables, etc? We don't want to take out loans, we would like to establish a non-profit foundation and have a number of eligibility statuses. We can make it a wellness coop, so it falls under the health and helping the disabled category. Or an educational group. Or a sustainable ecological village sort of thing.

Any clues would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.