Just Another Weed Patch Farm was one of twelve participating hosts for Gabriola Island’s first Tour de Coop. We showcased our mobile “Yolkswagons” which were a big hit. Sixty folks stopped in to ask questions and see the coops and birds. Our agroforestry site plan was helpful in illustrating what on earth we’re doing and how the silvo-pastured chickens fit into that plan.
Boba Fett and Yolko Ono (seven weeks old) enjoyed all the attention and extra snacks!
We’re packing away some soft bud stage peonies in the fridge for use later in July (when no one else will have any!). Stems cut at the right stage and stripped of leaves can keep for up to two months in the fridge when wrapped in newspaper and plastic.
We have a few special dates in July that some lush peonies would be just perfect for. Industrial scale flower operations use this trick to provide consumers with roses for the Valentine’s Day bonanza. Most roses available from florists in February were actually cut in December! A couple of dozen peonies in the back of our egg fridge won’t make us rich but will surely bring a smile to the recipients’ faces!
While we arrest the development of a certain flower, we can’t stop the rapid growth and development of our ten ’chicks’ which are now almost six weeks old and have just moved out of the nursery into their very own Yolkswagon. Since we don’t know their lineage, we’re guessing that we see some buff orpingtons; barred rock and araucana. The next generation of silvopastured chickens are officially on the job!
Hope you enjoyed lots of local honey today to celebrate May 29th as the international ‘Day of the Honey Bee’! Hug your local beekeeper, or better yet, buy some honey or beeswax products from them! Our girls didn’t leave the hives today in the constant rain so we couldn’t salute them on their way through the gardens. Canada Post just released this silver collector coin which reminded me that ours is the only money in the world (I think) with poems, animals, insects and hockey proudly displayed!
What do you get when you take three happy kids, a few adults and a couple of hundred metres of freshly mowed wavy paths through a field of baby nut trees? A wildly fun game of freeze tag, where every staked tree, mobile chicken coop, hugelkulture row or clump of grass is a help or hindrance to the participants. I love that the transformation of our field includes the obvious components of a small agroforestry project, but also the subtle makings of a giant playground for those other little nuts that need nurturing…
With several hundred onion seedlings now thriving in the ground, we can focus our attention on the ornamental members of the Allium (onion) family. These orbs of lush purple flowers are at their peak this week and vibrate with nectar seeking insects. They are the focal point of this weeks’ cut flower CSA bee-friendly bouquets and paired with peony, lupin, Calendula and the first sweet peas of the season.
My partner in crime commented on how much the Calendula petals resemble feathers. I see these rather common blooms with fresh eyes now! Patterns in nature sure do repeat themselves. Thanks to Jen and Patrick (wwoofers extraordinaire) for seeding trays and trays of Styrian pumpkins last week! 99% of the seeds (our own and supply from my uncle in Austria) are up and will be transplanted as an alley crop between a few rows of baby walnut trees in the next few weeks.
We’re playing catch up finishing the expansion of 175 mulch rings for all the baby nut trees planted in the last year. Dusk to dawn there are no shortage of time sensitive tasks to attend to and we’re lucky to have folks visiting with us who are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in during this crazy time of year! Including our friend ‘Quick Draw McGraw’ shepherding the hens at dusk from the ravenous ravens. Despite the May madness we’re waking up and going to bed with smiles on our faces. Thanks everyone for your support!
Some virtual blooms for our mama’s a few provinces to the east…wish we could deliver them to your door! This week’s ingredients include columbine; peony seed pods; lilacs and chestnut blooms.
Mother’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a new episode of “Chick TV on channel Hen…”. We’re all taking ample breaks from planting and weeding to sit and watch some ‘chick TV’. Ten little peepers were re-homed with us this weekend and we’re having fun guessing the breeds and sex of each fuzzball. If you leave the naming of chicks to our 11 year old you end up with handles such as Yolko Ono and Queen Kong. He doesn’t get why I think Margaret Hatcher is so witty…
At least we found a use for the old soldier’s helmet discovered in the woods!
We awoke to frosty conditions this morning but it was short-lived. Beautiful reminder not to rush the growing season too quickly.
The honey bees have had their fill of nectar from the first push of ‘weeds’. We’re leaving the seed heads for the golden crowned and white crowned sparrows who feed intensely in the fields. Seems a shame to mow down their buffet!
The newly planted Chinese chestnuts are awakening for the first time in their new habitat. It is romantic (to me) to imagine them awakening like this for the next 50+ years. I hope I get to see them in their prime.
Early season bouquets of thanks to my CSA members. This weeks’ ingredients included bee balm; fiddleheads; bronze fennel; flowering scirpus; early peonies; tulips and flowering chives. Lilacs are almost ready and a sure sign that it is May! So long frost. See you in October.
All 50 Chinese chestnuts (Castanea mollissima) are in the ground as of this week, bringing our total to 175 trees planted in the last year! We have 75 hazelnuts left to plant in May and then the planting shovel will take a well deserved break.
I wish I could have a toast with a tulip goblet filled with sparkling wine to celebrate our accomplishments thus far. A glass will have to do. That old hayfield is starting to transform into a nut orchard. Our site plan is materializing before our eyes!
Influenza took front stage in our house for a few weeks but now that we’re upright again we’re celebrating by focusing on growth!
My partner-in-crime surprised me with a dozen new swallow boxes in every possible location on the farm. He and the young jedi constructed them from scrap lumber while I was incapacitated with the flu. Three varieties of swallows are now scoping out the new real estate, much to our delight. The biggest thrill was seeing our first American kestrel on the property today, which we couldn’t snap a picture of. We’re hoping to help re-introduce kestrels in the neighbourhood by providing nesting boxes and habitat for their food sources. Their presence is the ultimate red squirrel deterrant for nut trees!
Bored with endless streams of ginger/lemon/honey tea these past two weeks we needed a little something else on our kitchen table… Welcome April!