Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cold Frames, Friends and bliss!

 Its been a few weeks of farming bliss, seeing the warmth of having friends that are as excited as we are now that have a farm, figuring out our routines as we do chores, slowly working on our ever-growing list of projects. Many of which are going faster due to friends generously giving us their time and energy to help us. Thank-you, you know who you are!!

Last Saturday we decided it was time to build our cold frame/high tunnel to house our potted herbs for the spring, and also our  entire "baby" crop Basil for the summer (Basil can't handle the cooler evenings here in AB). We had a handle on how to build something like this- previous experience building metal high-tunnels for John Mills at Eagle Creek Farms as well as some theoretical knowledge. Well, we can give ourselves a pat on the back (I think)! Along with help from our friend Kyle we managed to complete a tunnel, complete with 1 door (sort sags a bit...) and 1 ventilation door in the back (which may not exist yet...) but it is pretty much done! And it seems reasonable sturdy too. It was a surprisingly hot, sunny day (20 C above) and so we got a lot of sun! Between the hot sun, a beer and a wee bit of dehydration we felt pretty good! Ha!We can call it a very productive and wonderful day.

Skeleton of the tunnel

Wood supports added

Finished tunnel covered with greenhouse poly and a door in front and back ends

The fun continues...between trying to get dinner served for my hubby on time (well, on time is a great exaggeration) and farming stuff I have also been able to do some work on our garden.

 The previous owner took great care of his property...everything was raked, well-weeded, and he was also an orderly sort of fellow... straight rows in his garden beds, a clump of tulips at each corner of the deck...don't get me wrong- I appreciate gaining possession of a clean yard, but the whole effect is also fairly boring. This just means I have a clean slate to work with- this appeals to creative me very much! First thing first, a herb garden near the kitchen is in order. So far I have dug up a good chunk of dirt next to the deck, right nearest to the kitchen entrance. Daniel left one morning from a lawn and came back that evening to a minor excavation! Ha! Digging up boring lawn is one of the most liberating feelings :) I adore it...honestly, it's entirely possible that I dig up lawns purely based on my need for that feeling of liberation....well, that and the added effects of a much more diversified flower/veggie/herb bed, water retention in the diversified plant matter, increased insect populations (namely butterflies and bees!), and so on and so forth. It's going to be a lot of work, I realize this- especially after 2 days have gone by because other things have demanded my attention. And still the half dug yard waits for me.

The boring undug yard- the grass looks a little sad cause its spring and not all the grass is green yet

Partially dug herb garden, same view as above photo. The left edge will actually be another path (like below) and then the rest of the grass on the left will also be dug up

First little brick path through the right side of future herb garden

It doesn't look like much, I know.  It will get finished and look beautiful, in time... The problem is patience. Patience is the single most virtue I lack and which is most needed when it comes to gardening. My recent interest in "pinterest" (don't get me started, a friend told me I absolutely needed to try it out, as it turns out, I like virtual pin boards... I do in real life, so I guess it's not a far stretch to...virtual.... pin board?) oh right, so I'm all on fire researching  creative and grounded garden ideas- from creative things like hanging mirrors in the garden to reflect light around (cool,right?!) to more grounded ideas like sheet mulching to get a garden going.... And I have all these dreams germinating of what this little herb garden and all my other gardens will look like...images of cottage-ey mature plants spilling over rock borders... (pinning all these images on pinterest of course) And then I look at my just flipped sod....bare earth...will I have the patience to see this through? We'll see. I do live the process though, as impatient as I am. Soon I'll just plant some herbs in that gorgeous, rich soil.

Maybe one day the herb garden will look like day!

The beauty about all of this is accepting the process it seems. Sure I want an amazing garden in the end, but the process, work and years of tending are what is the important part. Collecting and adding unique perennials, herbs and other plants to the garden, watching them grow. Making and finding unique treasures from the forest, 2nd hand stores, antique shops, and finding special places for those treasures in the garden. And of course the learning along the way, understanding lifecycles, plants, insects, nutrients, how everything is connected... becoming a better person (ie, gaining patience!).

I am only slightly, ok a lot, overwhelmed by the tasks ahead. Something that keeps me sane though is, well first Daniel. Truly he is a rock and carries much of the weight of the decision making, financial planning burdens. And secondly, the fact that the best you can do is take things ONE day at time (and use chalk boards, to make lists and prioritize!) ok I think I'm done now! oh ya, enjoy yourself, everyday! Take pride in the work you do, in the things you accomplished THAT day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

First week in the farm

The good life, that's what this is. It's sounds cliche, but this is what I've dreamt about since I was little. Life on the land, growing your own food, hanging laundry on the clothesline, heading down to the barn every evening and morning and give your bunny a cuddle, water and feed the birds (and sometime soon milk the goats!!).

This first week we had Daniels parents staying with us. They took a whole week of vacation time to give us a hand. Mike's expertise has been saved us a lot of trouble and us standing there scratching our heads saying "gee, hmm, guess we'll google it!". Mike has converted our bath tub into a showers, set up electrical thing a ma bobs (yep, that's what they're called) in the barn, helped hang a clothes line (that's proper and taught), build fences, convert things, build doors, the list goes on!

We successfully converted on building into a coop that all our birds are now in, including the ducks, chickens and turkeys. They're all very happy. First we're teaching them where home is by keeping locked on the coop for 4 days, then we can let them out. During the day they 'll go wherever they darn well please, and at night they'll come home to their safety zone the coop. We've cheated actually and let them out and about a bunch already. All the birds wandered around exploring their new yard.

There is white fencing around the yard that the birds are in, but this fencing is only to keep our two donkeys contained. Yep, we bought two mini donkeys at the odd and unusual on sunday. Our friends Wilma and Devina spent the afternoon with us. Their names are Desiree and Sally. Sally is due to have a foal sometime mid-summer, which I'm so excited for!!
The birds still go under, through and over the fence to range through the trees to the easy or the pasture to the south and the west.

We feel so lucky and happy to be on this beautiful property. It's been very well kept, and yet old, weathered treasures of barn wood and metal wheels are to be seen.