Thursday, May 28, 2009

Its a learing experience.

It has been crazy busy around here which is why I have all ready yawned 6 times and it's only 7:40 AM. The puppies are doing great. we are working them hard and they are learning fast. We have watched every clip of Victoria Stilwell and Ceasar Millan available on the internet. We love them both.
There are a few new animals on this property besides Stella and Donovan as well. The wonderful people who own this beautiful farm we'll call them M&A and their son E for now, are in the process of moving back on to the property. They have brought their three cats, their, pretty and sweet collie and their miniature donkey Chloe and pony Dorri.

It has been pretty wonderful having all of them here. The children love the animals and we are looking forward to seeing more around here. Our idea is to work towards a cooperative living arrangement with M&A and our families. So we can share this amazing farm and all it has to offer.

The garden has proven to provide me with all kinds of challenges and learning experiences. We have rototilled the empty areas again. (thanks S&A) The grass had gotten so out of hand i joked we were growing hay. The onions and strawberries look amazing, they are mulched heavily with straw and not too bad with weeds. The peas are growing like crazy and Forrest is building and awesome trellis out of sticks and vines for them to climb. The mixed greens, (what didn't wash away as seed) look so yummy, Harland keeps snacking when ever we are out there. The radishes (also far less than i planted originally) are also looking splendid and taste sweet and peppery. I think we will have a big yummy salad once the rain stops. The spinach didn't do so great, only a few plants survived. The lettuce plants are tiny and a few died, they, along with the kale, cabbage, brussell sprouts, and broccoli, don't seem to be growing. I think we need to add fertilizer or compost. I will check them again after the 5 days of rain we are having.
Watering without rain is proving to be a total night mare. We have to lug the water across the street and down the dirt road in buckets and it takes many trips to bring enough for everything. We are working on getting a spigot over there. I also planted swiss chard, more spinach, beets, sweet potatoes and a hand full of potatoes just before the rain started. i can't wait to see if they germinate over the next few days.
Our farmer friends will be so proud of me, i planted them in actual coherent rows this time. This is a new thing for me. I always did patches. The problem is the weeds. They are so crazy and in a patch form, it's harder to tell exactly what is a weed and what is a sprouting plant. I think rows will help. I will plant our next carrot planting this way too.
Speaking of carrots....ARRRGGGGG! If you know me, you know these are my life line. I quite literally snack on raw carrots all day. But, they have now become the challenge of a life time. They are teeny tiny little fellas when they sprout. The grass and weeds grow much faster. then when you try to pull out a weed,.....out pops 20 carrot plants! Hopefully rows will change this drastically. I NEED CARROTS!
Now lets talk tomatoes. Not a single seedling made it. I had three trays and probably 12 or so varieties thanks to those wonderful friends S&A. I killed them all. To be honest, some are still alive, kind of. They are tiny bare stems with one or two minuscule leaves on them. It is sooo sad. I think i over watered them. In my defense, this is the first time i have ever done tomatoes from seed. I have always purchased plants. But, Sarah and Andy to the rescue again! I quite honestly have no idea what we would do with out them. Andy had a few tomato plants he never put into the ground and he was generous enough to throw them my way. hopefully I won't kill these.

Sarah came for lunch last week and went over a giant list of questions I had. There is really a ton to learn and she was very helpful. We are talking about the possibility of having organic strawberries as our niche crop, apparently they are very hard to come by and i think they would do great, if we don't eat them all. I borrowed a new farming/garden book from M. So far I really like this guys ideas. The vegetable gardeners bible its called. Between planting, weeding, planning, dreaming and learning, this farming thing is taking up a ton of time. I guess that is why no one has clean underwear. I am very excited about the possibilities for the future. I have never been so happy to be so over extended and exhausted.

Things I have learned so far.

There is a weed that looks soooo much like a radish i have pulled out more than a few weeds only to find a perfect pink radish at the end.

Slugs are the enemy

Carrots don't love me as much as I love them

Rows do matter(I really fought this one)

Straw is wonderful but way too expensive

I enjoy spending time alone, even if its weeding

starting pumpkin, cucumber, squash, and melon seedling are far more rewarding than other plants because they are so darn quick to germinate and grow at an alarming rate.

Farmer friends are invaluable both for their friendship, and help

Clean laundry and coherent meals are over rated

Farming can be extremely dangerous!!!! if you don't believe me just check out what happened to ANDY!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stella and Donovan are adjusting well. We are wearing them out if you can believe that. Yesterday they went exploring in the woods, worked on sitting and coming, walked on leads quite a bit,played in the hay fields while we worked in the garden and went to town to the farmers market and to run errands with us. The kids really enjoyed showing them off in town. They were great. Even off the leads they stay right with you. They were so tired that when mike and I tried to walk them last night around 7:00 they refused to walk. They kept laying down. So we ended up coming home. They got right in their crate and settled down quickly and slept until 4:45. out to pee then back to bed until 6:30. I'd say that is a pretty great day with two puppies. They are remarkably calm. Of course they have their moments. They rarely bark and they love to love. we have had only two tiny pee accidents and one poop but that was the first day and it was my fault, i waited too long to take them out. I am a bit tired but its really not too bad. They have figure out the stairs (with help from treats) and are fine now. The only other issues we have had is that Donovan is afraid of the dishwasher and barks at it. We fixed that with the help of treats in front of the running dishwasher and his sister who is just fine with it. Also they got into some burs yesterday out back. What a nightmare with their thick fluffy fur. It looks like they are helping each other out with them though. This morning one had puked up some burs and the big chunk of burs next to Stella's ear that i was planning to cut out today is gone. What a good brother! so here are some pics for anyone that is interested. I will post some non doggy news later today or tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Babies Babies Babies!

We have been discussing the possibility of puppies for a while. We knew we wanted good sized dogs, and two so they would have each other. The two breeds I have been very interested in are Great Pyrenees and Border Collie. They are both farm dogs who need a lot of exercise but are also very intelligent. We were also sure we wanted shelter dogs and babies. I never thought it would all come together. Any way, imagine my surprise when I pop onto and saw rescue pups coming to NH that were border collie/Pyrenees mix. I'll fill you in on the details and the wonderful work that Victoria and Ross and all of the others do in the next few days. Things are hectic right now as you can imagine. Any way here they are, 10 weeks old cute as can be. Donovan and Stella. They are settling right in. The only issues we have had so far is they are petrified of the stairs? It took 15 minutes to get them to go up or down the stairs in and out of the house. They are catching on. So until later, Thank You Victoria and Ross, Thank you Mark and Anna. We love them!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Tuesday, Sarah and Andy sold all 5 1/2 lbs of fiddle heads the boys picked! They were thrilled, Today we dropped off over 13 lbs with them. The boys picked in the rain on two different days. We washed and stemmed fiddle heads for hours last night. I am so proud of them, such hard workers. I hope they all sell today! If not, we will pickle the rest. I wonder if the kids will get another week out of it. I hope so.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So, yesterday, I ran errands including two weeks of grocery shopping, then came home and worked in the garden for three hours, made granola, baked date bars, made dinner, and almost fell into bed. It was a long day. Normally, grocery shopping is plenty for me in one day. It is a project! We also run all our errands so as to only drive to town once per week. It is going to be an interesting spring to say the least.

I weeded and mulched some more. There seems to be a whole lot of onion plants missing. What eats onions? Mike said a woodchuck. That would be our luck as a neighbor offered to come and kill some and I said no....thank you. We covered a huge section not currently being used with a blue tarp. We are hoping to kill some sod. It is popping up everywhere! It just won't go away. I can't help but think of all the times we tried to grow grass at other homes, and had such a hard time. Now we can't kill it! I started mulching in the onions with leaves. It makes me laugh to be raking leaves out of the woods! But it works wonders. My sister has always done this and she has the most gorgeous gardens. As the onions grow taller, I will add more. It will help keep the moisture in and the weeds out. My plan is to mulch the paths with straw and the veggies with leaves. Mostly to give a visual for the kids of where they can and can not walk.

The strawberry plants look awesome! They are already growing like crazy! mmmmmmm. I know you are not supposed to let them fruit the first year but we are going to. I just can't do it. We love strawberries!

I hung pie plates around the garden to try and deter the deer, but, I think I am going to take them down. I feel bad for the fox and her pups right next to the garden. She actually came out yesterday and didn't run, but walked up the hill, maybe she is getting used to us. I just can't imagine them having to deal with all that loud clanking. They don't eat my veggies!

I am knitting my first pair of socks. I hope it works out. I would love a whole bunch of pretty striped socks!

The first set of beehives is pretty much completed. Andy and Sarah have one and we have one. Mike still needs to drill the hole and make a top. Then I will rub the inside with bee's wax and drip some citronella on it and hope for bees. If that doesn't work we will purchase bees from our neighbor. I would like at least two hives this year. Once it has legs and a cover, i will post some pics.

Andy offered to sell fiddle heads at the market for us. So I told the boys it they picked they could keep the money. They were thrilled. they picked for hours yesterday. There are still plenty left. So today we will drop them off and hope for the best.