April 13, 2011

what's growing

More rain here, though we caught a glimpse of sun today and are feeling hopeful with the promise of more tomorrow. The lambs are hanging in there and seem to be doing well. They're keeping us busy with bottle feedings.

We're dealing with some heavy issues concerning our poultry feed here, but that's a separate post of it's own.

In other news . . .

Our full-season intern, Lynn, has arrived! She worked on the farm last year and is here again this year. She's a huge help!

Lynn watering the high tunnel

Since the last greenhouse update, we've started:
  • purple coneflower
  • bachelors button
  • marigolds
  • radicchio
  • sweet annie
  • statice
  • ishikura scallions
  • coleus
  • morning glories
  • anise hyssop
  • cumin
  • chervil
  • sorghum
  • sweet alysum
  • cosmos (double click, sensations, picotee and sea shells)
  • more tomatoes (mortgage lifter, chalks early jewel, shebotgan, german pink, hillbilly, black from tula, yellow brandywine, snow white, black cherry, toronjuna, amish paste)
  • sweetie and sun gold cherry tomatoes
  • more peppers (chervena chushka, beaver dam, georgia flame, sheep nose, cubanelle, hinkelhatz)
  • husk cherries
  • delphinium
  • dianthus
  • lavatera
  • coreopsis
  • digitalis
  • globe amaranth
  • siberian kale
  • nufar basil
Despite the rain and sometimes in the rain, we've been working outside too. In the fields, we've started lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots and fava beans. New apple, sourwood, pear and hickory trees have been planted around the farm. We had to stop starting seeds for the time being because we have no more room in the greenhouse.

Some of our potted up seedlings are leaving the farm this week to be sold by our good friend at Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery in Pittsburgh (Wilkinsburg) for their opening day this Saturday! Don't miss it!

April 8, 2011

rough day

Some days on the farm are just plain hard. I buried the tiniest little lamb this morning. After making a comeback yesterday, she surprised me and took a turn for the worse overnight. She was gone by this morning.

I agreed that these lambs would be my project. It's not like I have time for a new project but I was expecting these lambs to be like our last bottle-fed lambs; cute, fun and relatively easy. Not so. These three girls each came with their own issues and honestly, the jury's still out on the other two though they're in a much better place than the girl we lost. I've never lost a farm animal bigger than a chicken and while this little girl wasn't really much bigger. . . it still sucked.

It sucked enough to make me have one of those days where I felt like everything was out of control. Like all the animals were having 'issues' and things were falling apart. A few deep breaths and some quiet time spent weeding the kohlrabi in the high tunnel and I felt a bit better.

It doesn't help that we are knee deep in the season of mud. I'm pretty sure that only a farmer can really grasp the intensity of what this means. It's an inevitable passage into Spring on a farm. Not only is it not fun to farm in the cold rain and mud (the show must go on, rain or shine!), but it puts a lot of important projects on hold while we wait for things to dry out.

Universe, if you feel like doing me a favor, could you please help these 2 lambs along? I'm tired and not feeling up to losing another. Oh, and a little sunshine wouldn't hurt either. Thanks.

Tomorrow will be better.

April 6, 2011

why not?

These are not the best photos because the light was bad and these little ones won't stop wiggling, but you get the idea. We have a good farmer friend who raises sheep. She's a one woman show and this year she had her hands full with more bottle-fed lambs than she has arms for. Lambs need to be bottle-fed for several reasons. Either they were rejected by their mother, the mother had a multiple birth and can't produce enough milk for all, or the mother has died. Either way, they need human intervention to survive.

We . . . ok, I, agreed to take 3 baby girls off her hands. We already have 3 female sheep for wool so why not have 3 more? I had no idea how small 2 of them would be. There is one that is literally smaller than a cat. In fact, I'm a little worried about that one but I'm doing what I can to get it through. These little pumpkins are being bottle-fed 5 times a day, which would be fine if that's all that we needed to do around here. Needless to say, there's been some lost sleep and lots of consulting our reference books.

In other, very important news . . . the big hens have moved out into the eggmobile and are spending their days on pasture and the new girls have moved into a much-needed larger space in the greenhouse! This really is a big deal. I don't know who's happier, the girls or us.

We did, however, have a rough night last night. Since we moved them the night before while they slept, last night was their first night falling asleep in their new home. It was different enough and cold enough to cause a panic so we had to intervene with heat lights. It was touch and go for a while but everyone made it through the night and they seem to be doing well tonight.

In just a few weeks the new girls will be ready to move outside just in time to make room for the arrival of the first batch of broiler chicks.

It may not feel quite like Spring just yet but I do believe we are farming now!

wordless. . . what day is it?