Sunday, February 26, 2017

Raspberry Pruning Time

Half of our second high tunnel has been devoted to red and yellow raspberries (have you ever had a yellow raspberry? - they are swooningly sweet and flavorful!  But they have to be eaten within a couple of hours of being picked - which probably explains why you won't see them in the grocery store) 

This year I would like to add a couple of black raspberry plants to the rows. 

The other half of the high tunnel is devoted to early, late, and everbearing strawberries.  

But right now I'm pruning back and cutting back all the old raspberry canes.  

It's quite an intensive job, but very, very satisfying as the results are dramatic!

Before pruning (the closest canes are partially pruned):  

After pruning:

Of course our kitty "Thug" (so named because when he lived with my MIL - he would attack her feet), hangs out with me.  He is the ultimate farm cat.  He's always "overseeing" or giving companionship during chores.

Next I'll clean out all the debris and we should be ready to grow!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Maple Season Freight Train

Maple Season came upon us like a freight train.  One day we're looking out at below zero temperatures and the next day the snow melted and suddenly we have to start tapping trees right now!

So, we get outside and get to work!  Lo and behold the sap is running and we're actually getting splashed a little bit as we pound the spiles into the tree!

I love maple season.  After spending a sedentary winter it feels so great to get outside and walk up and down the mountains, over trees and through brush, feeling the ground soften beneath your feet and noticing all the little wonders of the forest.  

Sometimes you come across something strange and wonderful.. like the remains of a tree that once grew around a previous generation's barbed wire fence and now has decomposed into artful and fantastic shapes.  

Now I need to get out into the forest and work on getting all those taps done and boiling started.  We're behind the curve as our neighbor maple producers are boiling already! (Granted, they have a lot more young labor to help them out in the forest :  )  )

On a final note.  Does anyone know where I can find a drain plug for a Red Lion Semi-trash pump? Model 6RLAG-2ST.  Just the plug....

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's Not Always Bucolic On The Farm

While I was cleaning stalls yesterday I heard piglets screaming.  I ran to see what was happening because I feared they were being injured!

This is what happens when two piglets want the same thing....

Just like kids!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

No Whey!

A homemade yogurt-making friend saved the leftover whey from the draining process for me to give to my pigs.  They weren't too sure about solid foods yet.... now a few days later they're going nuts for it!

But as well as the food with whey, they found my boots to be fascinating.  

I don't know if they were licking my boots for the dirt on them, but I've read that if piglets have a mineral deficiency you should throw in a shovel full of dirt.  I did just that and they poked around at it.  So I'll continue to make sure they can get to dirt and minerals as they grow.  

You have to admit, that last picture is adorable!