Monday, November 30, 2009

Mmmmm, Garlic!

We have had a few really nice days this week, and I have been taking advantage. I planted a third bed of garlic... this makes about 300 plants for next year. I have made two new berry beds- one for the thornless blackberry, and one for a second row of blueberries- these ones will be Elliot. I am ordering a heat matt for propagation, and will be able to take lots of my own cuttings this winter from all the berry and grape plants. This is a bit slower than just buying them, but WAYYYYY cheaper!

There is a big hollow spot right where I want to put the next 25 garden beds, so the other thing I have been working on is filling it up with lots of compost. This is a very time consuming project, as the hollow part is about 100' in diameter. I have contacted a few landscapers, and asked if they are ever in my area for them to drop off their yard waste and tree chippings. I have had good responses to this, and some not-as-friendly responses. Hopefully people will start to bring me stuff... soon! I guess I can't expect much over the winter, but at least I am getting the word out there.

Friday, November 20, 2009

State of Emergency Flooding

NORTH COWICHAN, B.C.: NOVEMBER 20, 2009 The mid-Vancouver Island municipalities of Duncan and North Cowichan have declared a state of emergency and issued evacuation orders due to extensive flooding that began early in the morning on Nov. 20., 2009. Several streets and fields are underwater, such as this area near Lakes and Beverly roads.

This was in the Times Colonist this morning.... and I thought my driveway was bad! I am now considering myself lucky that a wet driveway is all I have to deal with. At least my little house is above ground, and won't flood.
I tried to go into town today, and 2 out of the 3 exits from my farm were closed due to flooding. I picked up some supplies, so when we get more RAIN, (tonight), I should be ok for a while... at least I won't starve to death. One MAJOR advantage to living on a farm- there is almost always something around you can eat!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rainy Days on the Wet Coast

So much RAIN! I know I promised to not complain about the rain after the dreadful drought this summer, but this is ridiculous! Roads are closed due to mudslides and flood, it just keeps coming and coming. Making up for lost time, I guess. It's not supposed to stop raining even for a minute today, and rain is in the forcast for the entire week. They are not even predicting any sunny breaks. Doesn't mean we won't get any, but it's bleak out there. I took a bunch of pics this morning- my driveway is a new river, my existing stream is a torrent, my little root cellar is a great doggie swimming pool. Even the dogs don't want to go out much. My house is wet and muddy from little doggie feet going out to pee, then coming back in soaked 2 minutes later. The weatherman is predicting a change by the end of the week... flurries and snow. Not sure which I prefer. I just mostly want it to be spring again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Learnin'

Last week, I went up to my long lost cousins home, and we made our tomato basil soup, mostly made from ingredients from our gardens. It was delicious! I brought enough home for 6 full meals. While up there, Cousin L (I never know if I should put people's names into these things... is there a privacy issue?? Comments are welcome on this point!) introduced me to a fellow farmer. This was one of the most fasinating people I have ever met! He does organic gardening, and was the first person to introduce CSA to the Island, way back when. He gave me an amazing tour, and showed me different techniques for doing my gardens... now I'll have to rethink alot of what I had planned! and how he gets all his compost- he just calls up all the local landscapers and arbourists in the area, and they just come by and drop off all their compost for him. They get rid of it faster and cheaper, and he gets free compost! It's so simple... why didn't I think of that?? lol! He also gave me some Jerusalem Artichoke to plant in my garden for harvest next year. The whole gist of these ramblings is that I learned ALOT, I met someone who is successful at doing what I want to do, and it got me hugely revved up for doing my gardens this next year. I was revved up anyway, but now it's at super-revved status! I ran home, planted another bed of garlic, got a bed prepared for the JA, and started making new and improved plans for my little farm. Tomorrow, I plan on getting over my shyness issues, and want to start calling landscapers in the area, let them know I am a convenient drop off spot for their garden waste.

We had a really, really sharp frost the other night that knocked off my peas. I knew it was a long shot with them, and they were SO close to being ready. Next year I will have my timing down, and I will get a good fall crop. It's not a total waste, anyway- I got lots of yummy pea shoots from it, plus the foliage can either feed the chickens and turkeys, or make good compost. Either is a good thing!

I have pretty much decided not to do pigs next year. I want to put all my energies into my gardens, so I think the piggies will have to wait until the year after. At least there is no shortage of things to do around here!

I have been doing some layering with the cascade berries I was given last fall. I only had 3 plants by the end, but now I am getting my numbers back up. I've got about 6 plants now, and by spring, that should almost double. I hope to be able to get some more beds ready by then, so I can really work on expanding the berry patch. I am going to do the same with my thornless blackberry, so I won't have to buy any more plants... I'll just make my own.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Tonight I felt like having a salad... so, I just walked outside and picked one. I just LOVE being able to do that! This time, I put some pea shoots in it. It was delicious! My peas are forming pods, but I don't think they'll be quite ready before the first cold snap hits. If I had been able to plant them when I should've planted them (about mid August), they would have been ready just on time for the weather to turn. Hopefully next year the water situation won't be so dire, and I can get my fall crops in on time.

I have been doing lots more research and planning for becoming a CSA farm. I am so excited about doing this, but really nervous, too. So much to think about. Will I have enough of everything? Will I be able to sow my crops at the proper times so I always have a good selection to go in the bag each week? Will the deer eat everything in sight, and ruin everything I've worked so hard for? Will I be able to get enough beds in this winter, so I have room for everything I've planned? Will the weather cooperate, even just a little? My brain is swimming...

The weather has been nasty this week. Not cold yet, but RAINY. All that rain we needed over the summer arrived in the last 2 days. It has been torrential. My root cellar (which is almost 2' deep now!) has become a swimming pool. My driveway is a river. My stream is a flood. My lawn is a big mushy swamp. You get the idea! And there is more to come over the next few days. We need the rain, but maybe not all at once???!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seriously... NEVER a dull day!

Another adventurous day on the Crazy Dog Farm. I have two VERY active dogs boarding right now, so sometimes I let them out together before I let the other dogs out, just to burn off some of their extra energy. This was what I did the other day. Eddie and Bella were racing through the stream that runs through the property, when Eddie suddenly goes ballistic. Both he and Bella are trying to get something in the water. At first, I thought it was a duck. It was an otter. The poor thing was absolutely terrified. I called the dogs, and Bella actually came, but Eddie was in too primal a place to respond. Then he got bit on the nose, and it was finally possible to grab him. That poor little otter didn't know what he was in for when he started to pass through the property! I'm pretty sure he won't be back anytime soon. It was kind of cool seeing one so close up, though. They are such amazing animals. When they are not biting you on the nose;-) !!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Putting the Farm to Bed for Winter

Well, it definitely feels like fall these days. They are even calling for flurries next week. When I heard that, I realized I was dragging my feet- time to put things away for the winter. I packed up all my hoses and put them away, mowed the lawn for the last time, have been busy trying to finish my hedge before it gets cold- I should be able to finish that tomorrow. I harvested all my Roma tomatoes... there was a bumper crop of those! I wasn't sure what to do with them all, but thanks to some helpful advice, I am blanching them, cutting them up, and freezing them for later. I am also going up to my cousin's soon, and we are going to make a big batch of tomato basil soup from all our garden ingredients. I am sure looking forward to tasting that!!! I also got my garden cloches up and done- they are covering a bed each of cabbage, mesculin mix, spinach, and broccoli. Hopefully, I will get salad from this for most of the winter.

The turkeys were driving me crazy- almost every morning, they had broken their 'roof' of the coop (just some netting) and some had escaped into the chicken coop. Almost every morning, I had to get them back into their own home, and fix the roof. I finally found my left over stucco wire (which I was saving for another job later) and decided it was time to use it. I put two rows of it over the turkey house where they were escaping. It took quite a while, but I am happy to report it's been a week, and no more escapes! Whew. I was so worried they were going to fly up into the trees, and I would never be able to catch them!

The coolest and best news is...... I sold my very first CSA membership already! I really wasn't expecting anything until after the new year. The people who know what CSA is, are really behind it, and support it fully. Just a matter of educating the public! I still have lots of research to do on CSA's over the winter, and a tonne of work in the garden, putting in all my new beds and such, but I am excited and looking forward to it all!

Flooded Driveway

Flooded Driveway
Too much RAIN!