Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Perfect Day!

Today was the best day. Even though I had to take a trip up to Nanaimo, mow part of the lawn, and go pick up hay, I still got craploads done. I only have 2 boarding dogs at the moment, and both are regulars, with whom I've done 'garden training' with, so they can come out and play with my dogs while I am working in the gardens. They have been trained to not go zooming through and over everything. I managed to plant over 200 tomatoes (only 1000 to go...), some cuc's and some zucchini's. I did a bunch of weeding and slug picking as well. Even though it was supposed to rain today, it ended up being sunny and gorgeous out. I feel energized. I just kept doing 'one more thing' all day. For the first day this year, I had the energy I had last year. Not sure if it was because the weather was nice, and it is finally warming up, or what, but it felt GOOD!!
It also gave me a good taste of what life might be like if I made enough money from the farm that I didn't have to do dog boarding anymore. Even though I worked super hard, the day was calm and relaxing. I was able to take a few breaks and do some training with my dogs, and have a play session with them. Sometimes, I just get too busy with everyone else's dogs to do even that. I had the little goats out eating grass, and my dogs out with them for about an hour in the middle of the day. My dogs completely ignored them. They were so good! It was funny, though... Maggie was sniffing around them, looking for goat candy, and she came up next to Trouble. Trouble thought this was too close for comfort, and butted her in the side. Did she ever jump! She gave him a bit more room after that! This is the kind of thing I envision for my future here on the farm. Having my dogs out with me while the goats eat the grass and weeds, and the ducks eat slugs in the garden, and I can just do what I have to do without having to worry about waiting for people to drop off their dogs, or pick them up, or having the dogs zoom through the garden and smoosh everything. It's such a nice, peaceful, calm picture. I am now reenergized to work even harder to make this picture happen sooner rather than later.

Next week, I get my CSA payments. I have planned what to do with each penny I get. I have an appointment to get a hitch on my car, so I can use my utility trailer, get another load of soil, go pick up more cardboard, get a side of pasture raised pork for the freezer, take the dogs for a long-awaited vet visit, and finish my farmgate stand. To name but a few things listed! Nice to get a bunch of this stuff done. Next year is going to be so much easier! I will be so far ahead by then, and not so many projects to have to do. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Falling Behind....

Argh!! I'm falling behind in everything lately. My blogging, my advertising, my planting, definitely my housework;-) Dog boarding has been insanely busy again, just slowing down now. When I have lots of dogs, they take up so much of my time and attention, I just can't seem to get anything else done around here. I am barely keeping up with the daily chores - feeding and watering the chickens, goats, turkeys, mowing the lawn, etc. I am just so tired. I don't seem to have the same energy I did last year. There have been moments when even I think I've taken on too much. (I get lectured about that all the time by my friends). Then, I think.... if I didn't do any dog boarding, and was just able to spend 8 or 10 hours a day in the gardens, would I be able to make enough money to pay the mortgage and the bills? I'd like to think I could, but I'm not willing to just forget about the dogs to take the plunge... yet. I have set a few more lofty goals for this coming year, and if I can accomplish them, I think I will be able to just live off what I make from the farm. My first goal is to finish getting the gardens built. I still have about 3/4 of an acre of land that I need to cover in cardboard, then make my lasagna beds. The second goal is to make enough money from my veggies (outside of my CSA shares) that I can get a nice big greenhouse installed. I want one that is about 20' by 100'. Then, I will be able to grow mesculin and spinach and whatnot all winter long. I think then I can grow enough to pay the mortgage. And maybe even take a day off now and then. I think I am just burning out at the moment.

I got my meat chickens and turkeys in at the beginning of May. I have had terrible luck with my turkeys this year. You always expect to lose a few, but out of 20 'regular' turkeys, I only have about 12 left, and out of 12 heritage turkeys, I only have 5. The heritage I am super sad about, as I was planning on keeping some to breed for next year, so I don't have to keep buying them. They are not cheap! The 5 I have remaining are looking good now, though. Hopefully whatever got them has passed. The chickens look good so far, though. I've already had orders for a few, and I haven't even advertised that I have them yet. I do have to raise my price a bit, though, as the cost of feed has gone up. Substantially. Sigh.

My little goats are doing fantastic. I LOVE my little goats! They are super friendly now, and love to visit anyone who comes over. I take them out on the leashes as much as I can to eat grass and weeds, but it's never enough with the dogs around. My dogs accidently met them when they were tied out. I forgot they were up by the fruit trees, and let my kids out... they barked for a bit, then settled into it, and all got along great. Kybosh was the biggest pain, as all she wanted to do was herd them. Poor Ky... I have to find a way to afford herding lessons for her! She needs an outlet. OH!! I have also got an order for my first two baby goats for next year already!! I am going to breed them in December, so the kids will be born next May. Two of them will be going as pets to a friend of mine. Yay!! I honestly don't think I'm ready to sell any for meat yet. They are just too cute for that!

Ravens are still giving me trouble. I also had an eagle kill my Cochin rooster, so the dream of breeding them is done. I am going to stick to chicken breeds that have the instinct to run away when a bird of prey comes. No more stupid birds! My muscovy ducks have been trying to brood nests, but the ravens keep stealing their eggs, too. Yesterday, I built a shelter for them out of pallets. I THINK it is raven-proof. I got my white female in there, with my second-pick drake. My first pick drake was too slow, and didn't get in this time! No sex for you, buddy. You snooze, you loose. So, my hope is that she will start laying again and get broody, and hopefully have some muscovy babies. My other female is brooding a nest out in the field. I just found it this morning, and there are at least 6 eggs in there that haven't been stolen yet, so I am just leaving her... maybe she'll be lucky, and the ravens won't find this nest.

The gardens are looking good, what there is. It has still been too chilly at night to plant any warm weather stuff yet. I planted a few tomatoes, and a few lemon cuc's, but that's about it. I check the weather about 50 times a day, to see if it has changed and is going to get warmer. This morning, it did change! At the moment, it looks like tonight may be our last chilly night, then tomorrow night will be up to 9 c. So, tomorrow, I start planting. This climate change thing sucks. Our summers may be hotter, but they are getting shorter and shorter. I've never had to wait this long to plant tomatoes before. The good news is that everything I grew in the greenhouse looks fantastic, so hopefully I can get it planted super soon!
Other than that, my mesculin, arugula, kale, etc is looking amazing. I have started selling the odd bag of it. I am still planting more, though. You can never have too much mesculin! I am hoping to have my farmgate stand ready to go in the next 2 or 3 weeks, so I will be able to sell more of it then.

Flooded Driveway

Flooded Driveway
Too much RAIN!