The summer-like sun is still shining here, making it hard to be inside blogging when there is so much going on outside! We covered the rhubarb with floating row cover, a white, gauzy fabric that lets light through but helps keep the temperatures above freezing during frosty nights. It's like a little greenhouse for the beds, with the added benefit that the free ranging chickens won't be able to scratch the new shoots when they're searching for bugs in the compost. We also broke out the rototiller in a small patch of garden over the weekend and got some cold-hardy seeds into the ground. Peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, beets & radishes will all survive a light frost or snow, as will the onion sets we planted Saturday. We covered that bed with floating row cover as well, so if you're driving by, I didn't lose bed sheets from the line on a windy day, we're just keeping our sprouts warm!I'm looking to having the first green treats from the garden, and hoping for good initial harvests. We're opening the farm stand for the summer on Memorial Day weekend, so it's time to get things in the ground so the tables won't be bare! We did decide that the weather is sure to turn colder yet this month, so we held off on planting my much anticipated strawberries. I suppose the wait will seem worth it later when I have productive plants instead of frost-killed nubs.
We've been hatching and selling our own chicks for a couple of weeks now, and it is going very well. However, we don't hatch the meat birds we raise. Our first batch is expected to arrive this Friday, and so that also puts us on schedule to have fresh, farm-raised chicken for opening day. It takes a lot of planning to time things like that, and it's exciting to move from the winter planning stages into the spring doing stages. Also on the week's agenda is castrating the male piglets and shearing the sheep (this weather has been extremely hot if you're still wearing a wool coat!). We're happy to have some extra help for these tasks, as Dan's father, Tom, is visiting. He knew well in advance that this would be a working vacation here at the farm, but we try to at least feed him well with good home-raised food. Depending on the amount of rain we get, we're also hoping to be breaking ground with the horses this week. We're giving last year's garden and some of the other fields a rest by using cover crops, but they still need to be plowed, as will this year's garden and corn fields.
Among the many things I was able to complete this weekend was the next installment of our farm's monthly e-Newsletter. If you'd like to be added to that list, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.