Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day 2011

Happy Valentines Day to all. Here at the farm we are starting out with a warm cup of coffee to prepare for a day of renovation, before a Valentine evening.

The onion seeds are starting to sprout (yeah!) A moment that has been less tenative as we have become more proficient in the greenhouse. But nonetheless, it is always a beautiful sight to see healthy seedlings beginning their new life.

Out in the fields the snow continues to melt. The insulating blanket of a foot of snow was a great benefit during the cold spell, and now the melting snow is adding some much needed moisture to the soil. It will warm up, before cooling down again later in the week, which is just fine with us farmers. No need to rush the Spring and have things damaged by a late cold snap.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Starting the Greenhouse

We remain quite busy at the farm. When we're not farming or remodeling we are using chain saws, log splitters, bobcats, tractors, trailers...and chains. Cutting, splitting and hauling wood through and around snow drifts is something that just has to be experienced. Lots of problem solving mixed with fresh winter air.

The main priority of the week, however, has been the greenhouse. We recieved our humified compost from Microleverage (of Sedalia) on Saturday, the last piece of the puzzle, and started seeding onions on Monday. It is a tedious job seeding 10,000 onions, so we spread it out over several days, finishing today-Wednesday.

We are trying something new this year relative to onion planting. Normally we grow onions from seeds and transplant each little plant 4 inches apart. We found last year through a trial that we can instead plant 4 together, and space them at 1 foot. This spacing allows us to use the water wheel transplanter to plant onions and save us from one of the most tedious (there's that word again) jobs on the farm. More to come on the onions.

Planting sheet and seed pack

Planting onion seeds in soil blocks

Remodeling continues on the office and living room. It has been a dirty, uneventful tearout, but there was one interesting suprise. Our living room ceiling was drywall over cracked plaster. The furring strips that were used to attach the drywall are 18 foot long tongue and groove floor boards. They're coated with a nice green patina of lead paint, but may prove useful in some other part of our renovation.

Furring strips



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Hits the Farm

Considering the fact that an estimated 100,000,000 people were impacted by the Blizzard of 2011, this is but another snow story. Here at the farm we experienced mainly bliss though it all. The heads-up that modern meteorology provides allowed us to plan ahead, and view the snow and wind from the safety and warmth of our small farmhouse.

We spent the day moving our office and living room out of the back half of the house to prepare for our latest home renovation project---total tearout of plaster and lath, insulating of exterior walls, some carpentry, electrical, drywall, painting, and a new wood stove. We ended the day making a large pot of chili, cole slaw and pumpkin-coconut pie.

We awoke today to 5 degrees and a beautiful sunny morning, with an inch of snow in some areas and drifts of 2 to 3 feet in others. The cats as you can see have the life, sitting on a sunny chair looking out at the bird feeder (a word that means something different to them).

The knowedge of impending snow also kicked us into gear on Friday and Saturday to do some much needed repair to the greenhouse before the start of the season. Both corners of the greenhouse were rotted and required repair. Also, the plastic had several major rips and needed replacement.

With the help of one of our 2011 interns, Lucas Knutter, we tackled the job over two days. Day one consisted of the carpentry. Day 2 with installing the new plastic. Once we get some openings sealed along the roof line the greenhouse will be ready to go. The only things keeping us from planting the onions is the arrival of our Microleverage compost (Tuesday's delivery had to be cancelled), and waiting for the single digit and sub-zero temps to pass. The season is about to begin.

Removing the rotten lumber

Installing a new corner

Removing the old plastic

Installing new wiggle wire channels

Installing the new plastic

The bubble inflated, trimming the plasic