it's been a flurry of spring activity around here. the wonderfully warm weather this week has allowed us to be outside getting lots of our time-sensitive projects done. (as a matter of fact, the Things To Be Done As Soon As Possible List is nearly done! the only things remaining on that daunting list are find some turkey and duck eggs to hatch and start the strawberry beds. Dave is building the brooder box tomorrow.)
Dave plowed and disced the lower garden yesterday, so hopefully by Monday we'll be planting potatoes and maybe onions as well. I've been having trouble tracking down blue potatoes, but i haven't given up yet!
already in the upper garden i have red and white onions planted, as well as 1 row of beets. in a few weeks I'll plant more beets. I'm going to try to be more organized about succession planting this year. it's so easy to start off like gangbusters after the winter's hibernation, but harder still to manage everything efficiently for the long haul. we did hang up a black board in the mud room, and i have all my garden notes and reminders on that. i plan on also having a large calendar to write dates of plantings and projected harvests.
this week Dave and G finished the 2nd pig tractor, and none too soon! 4 pigs slamming around in one small space is very crowded. not to mention messy. and muddy. we've been getting plenty of slops from the local restaurant that is the favorite hangout of the gas workers, so that's why we decided to get 2 more pigs.
i didn't take any pictures of the pigs. i guess we've been raising pigs so long now that i figure if you've seen one pig, you've pretty much seen them all! red. hairy. smelly. curly tail. big. sound familiar yet?
the big push this week was hauling the dirt from our farmer friend, Jay. G and Dave built 12 raised beds, and we filled them all with a combination of our bottom land soil, the dirt from the cow pasture and vermiculite. if you've seen or read the book Square Foot Gardening, you'll have an idea of the general direction we're headed.
the best part of hauling the dirt was borrowing the farm truck from our other farmer friend, Doug. G got a kick out of the truck, too, and could be observed on more than one occasion with a big grin on his face as he drove it around to unload dirt.
oi vey! the stories i could tell! suffice it to say that it was a driving experience that will give me some colorful stories to tell my grandchildren someday~ the highlights of which would include wearing a garbage bag skirt to keep me dry while driving the truck in the rain. and the absolutely best part: using a fire hose to fill a gas tank that would prefer an eyedropper. the gas guys standing in line for their lunch time hoagie won't soon forget that.
the high tunnel is doing well, and has some lettuce and spinach ready to harvest. the cold frames are full, too, and hopefully we'll have continuous harvests of lettuce, spinach and radishes until the hot weather.
G and i finished raking the vermiculite into all the raised beds, and i have 4 beds planted with peas and carrots. i can honestly say that even after only one day of gardening in raised beds, I'm a huge fan! the dirt is wonderful, it's easy to pick out stones and plant the seeds, and since the beds are so small it does not feel overwhelming. (like the long rows in the lower garden often do)
we're doing a buffet of gardening techniques this year: raised beds, square foot gardening, traditional garden, small scale farming and wide rows. we're still experimenting to find the best combination of what works well for us, and what will help us to be both productive on a large scale and efficient.
we have 25 buff orpington eggs in the incubator, and they are all due to start hatching out the evening of April 21. this clutch is just a trial run, since we've never used this incubator before. (i can vouch for the convenience of the automatic turner, however, and can't imagine remembering to turn the eggs 2-3 times a day!) i plan on filling all 42 slots in the incubator to hatch out my new laying flock later this spring.
on Wednesday our first batch of 100 Cornish cross roosters are due to arrive, via the United States Postal Service.
so if we think we're busy now, just wait until then!
p.s. ~ i finally finished the post about the drywalling in the girls' room. so if you've been anxiously awaiting news about that project, be sure to read the previous post!