We are making some changes on our farm.
Pigs and Pickles!
We had pigs last year and were quite successful. They mowed down an old strawberry patch and fertilized it well. So this year Don built them a condo on skids so we can move them around. He had 3 very keen helpers!
They pounded and pounded, the walls went up, the roof went on, the siding on and eventually the shed was done. The tractor was hooked up and it was dragged to the new field.
Off we went in the pick up to get our weaner pigs.....who didn't seem to want to get out....but when they did they were in heaven. They ran around in circles practically clicking their heels! Grass! Dirt! Flowers! Bugs! Worms! Little Boys!
The first, most noticeable change is the Raspberry Patch.....We took out the back half of the patch and have planted new plants. The new rows will be in production next year if it grows well! Unfortunately we will only have berries on the first three rows this year. Depending on the production we may replace these first three rows next year or the year after....
We are also filling in one of our irrigation ponds, digging a huge ditch on the other side of our fence, lining our first pond and digging a new well. We had a water shortage last year and are taking steps to prevent this. In the process, we are gaining about half an acre of workable land.....more strawberries? Organic broiler chickens? pigs? We haven't decided what to do with this land.......
We are clearing (we live on Boulder Hill so "clearing" takes on a whole new meaning) half an acre in the back field to plant more strawberries....
Lessons in Liming.....
The more we learn the less we know. That's how it feels. We had some soil tests last year and learned what every other farmer in the Valley already knew.....we need to add lime to our soil to change the acidity, raise the ph, and help our plants grow better (we hope). We should have limed in the late summer fall period, but were not in a position to do so. So we had 6 tonnes of lime delivered in early April. We picked up the lime spreader from a farm on Dove Creek Road (and blew the brake line of our farm truck bringing it home but that's another story) and brought it over. Don loaded it up, hooked it to our 45 HP tractor and off he went. Until he took a corner in our wet field. Can you say bogged down. Can you say STUCK. Can you say.....%$@#! Yep, when your tractor is on the small side and you have a lot of lime to spread on a wet field DON'T load 13,000 lbs in all at once. Lesson learned. Check.
So we have replaced the back half of the raspberry patch. We measured carefully to set our first new row, and then subsequent rows. Carefully. Then we laid out some compost, some manure, some fertilizer, dug some holes for poles. Did I mention we remeasured the rows each time. Can you say permanent markers? ARGH!!!!
Is it a raspberry patch or a cemetery? Hopefully something grows!
Planting 6000 Strawberry Plants in one day!
It can be done! Yep, the old New Holland transplanter invented in 1927 still works.....the machine has not been modified much since. We lucked out and tracked one down that had been out of use for more than a few years. Looks can be deceiving. Hope our tractor lasts as long! With a few tweaks and a farmhand with 26+ years of experience (26 years working for Farquaharson Farms and she grew up on a farm in Manitoba) we got it going and got all our plants in. Now the big debate is who had the harder job....Linda and I in the back placing the plants or Don trying to drive a tractor in a straight line at .5 kph......
Linda and I on our transplanter with our helper, August! The fully planted strawberry field!
And you thought our transplanter was old??? Wait until I get a picture of this beast in.....It was invented in 1899 and ours was built in 1939, which makes it the same age as my mother, hmmmmm, what does that say about my mother, there must be something catchy I could type here.....
We headed off to a farmer's auction in Duncan and then had to tow the thing home. Driving 50 kmh down the Old Island Highway is painful, at best. At times it felt like we were going backwards. Don just said "We could be in a wagon with a horse....."
This site was last updated 11/14/12