Spring Updates on the Farm

In this post, I’ll mention a bit of what we’re up to right now, some things that have been inspiring us lately, and a few of our plans for this farming season that are different than normal.

First, this coming Saturday (April 1st, 2023) is the 11th Annual Seedy Saturday in Amherst. We’ve attended every one and we’re excited to be there again this year!

It’s from 11 to 2 pm at 5 Ratchford St., Amherst, NS. Right next to the library.

We’ll mostly have organic seed packets for sale, though we often bring some organic veggies (perhaps some squash or garlic). There will be a number of seed vendors, plus a seed swap table. Even if you’re not a gardener, there are other local vendors who attend non-seed things. Check out the facebook event page for more details.

What have we been up to lately?

Shannon has spent most of her time starting plenty of seeds in the greenhouse.

Bryan is really focused on some house projects. Our many-years long process of re-siding the house (removing old siding and putting up new siding) is moving along, slowly but surely (one wall per year is the trend). It’s a slower process for a few reasons. One is that we are treating the wood with a Japanese process called ‘Shou Sugi Ban.’ We char the exterior of the wood, brush off any flaking char, and coat with raw linseed oil.

A newer house project he’s been working on has been building wood-framed windows to replace our old windows. Some of them don’t open and so he’s been completing those ones faster, but the one that are operable are a new thing he’s learning (by doing).

This past winter wasn’t filled with as many farming conferences/events as we used to attend. But the ACORN (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) conference happened again this year after quite a few years hiatus and it was great!

Shannon also just attended an annual Women Farmers Retreat which was (and always is) incredibly inspiring and rejuvenating.  

What’s been inspiring us lately?

We’re dreaming/planning of getting a family cow.

This is pretty big news, and perhaps unexpected (or at least lots of folks have responded with surprise). We eat a lot of dairy (mostly yogurt and cheese) but we also have a number of spaces on the farm where the grass tends to get away from us until finally it becomes necessary to spend what feels like too much time mowing (even with the tractor and a wide mower). With a cow, that grass will be a resource rather than an urgent but unimportant (for our business) to-do item.

The 1st farm that Bryan worked at was a biodynamic farm. They had milking cows and he’s loved them ever since.

A major barrier to wanting a cow has been how they tie you to the farm (daily milking on a schedule). But we’ve decided we’re ready to be so tied. We may not end up with a cow in 2023 but we’re actively preparing.

What will be different this year than normal?

A big thing is that we didn’t plant any tulips last fall. We decided during tulip bulb-ordering season (which is right after we the tulips are harvested each year). It wasn’t because we were tired of tulips, but we decided we wanted to have a year without them. The tulip harvest really pushes us back to market earlier (and to make sure we have a lot of greens and other early crops planted so that we’re not only going returning to market with tulip bouquets). While that’s great and we’ve enjoyed that push….it also reduces time for other spring projects we’d like to do to set our whole season up well (like put up another tunnel for example). So, we thought – let’s see what a season without tulips works for us.

That brings us to another big change this year – we’ll be returning to market later than normal. Where we usually return in April, this year we’ll be returning to market in mid May.

And that kind of brings us back up to the very first news of this blog post – the Seedy Saturday. We normally also sell seed packets in the spring at the market. We will still have them, but it will be later. So for folks who attend the Dieppe Market and buy our seeds there in the spring, if you want them earlier than mid-May, you just might want to consider heading to Amherst this Saturday. We’re hoping to see lot of friendly faces there!

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