Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cleaning our Wheat

This week we finally got around to getting some of our grain cleaned. At first we tried to clean all the grain by hand with 1/4 inch screens, but this was a long and laborious process, and we just couldn't seem to get the sunflowers in the wheat separated. As it turns out, the small seeded sunflowers that John grows in his maze are just about the same size as a wheat kernel.

Stan was able to track down an Emerson kicker, an old seed cleaner no longer in production, from a museum. I guess it's not an antique anymore when you make modifications.  These cleaners used to be used in grain elevators to test incoming grain for the amount of dockage (impurities in the grain). Once a few more modifications were made (it actually moved across the floor when running, so it needed to be stabilized on a forklift) and it was good to go. It goes at a pretty good pace too.

We decided to get the cleaning process on video, and you can see Anna here explaining what's going on. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is it spring yet?

I, Anna, sat on the deck this morning in the brilliant sunshine and wove a wreath. To think it was -25 just a couple of days ago. I am pretty sure that it was at least 5 or maybe even 10 above on the deck this morning! Everything is thawing, trinkling and wet. Almost as if winter is coming to an end. Of course its not, but we still hope! Ahh, Alberta. Both Daniel and I are eagerly awaiting spring. We just got our seed order from Richters in the mail yesterday! Yay! Thats not all the seeds yet- we're also waiting for some seeds from Heritage Harvest Seeds (in Manitoba),  as well as a couple from Mapple Farm (it's out east somewhere as well). I feel excited to try the varieties that we chose and see how we particular we are excited to try:

Mystery Keeper tomato (its supposed to store a long time, and ripen from the inside out!)
Fennel (Bronze and Sweet- see how well they go to seed in Alberta)
Gourds (Birdhouse and Crown of Thorns)
Bay Laurel
6 different mints (spear, pepper, orange, pineapple, ginger and chocolate)
a blend of herbs for tea making (bergamot, lemon balm, anise hyssop...)
a smorgasbord of edible flowers

This ties in with Daniels current project, seed saving. This year he will be experimentally growing a whole variety of vegetables and herbs for seed, in order to start with our own seed next year. I am excited about this- it ties in so beautifully with sustainability- it makes sense to us. We made a point of ordering open pollinated types of herbs and vegetables in order to make this project possible.