Monday, April 27, 2009

Home stretch

Ben and I are in our final week of classes, which means that I will be moving to the farm on Friday! I can't tell you how excited I am to be there full time! So, in preparation for that, Ben and I had quite a bit to get accomplished on Sunday!

We are building our hoop house tables out of lumber from the Howards in town in an attempt to keep things as local as possible. They are giving us locust boards which are fairly rot-resistant, high quality boards and they are very reasonably priced, which makes them the best choice for lumber in my book. They are currently finishing up their sugaring season (being the farming rockstars that they are) and should be able to get lumber to us by next week. So, in the meantime we have set up temporary tables in the hoop house out of saw horses, buckets, and scrap wood.

The other temporary station we had to construct was our potting area. The lumber for the rest of the floorboards that we need to finish the workspace floor in the barn is also coming from the Howards, so until that floor is laid we need to have another area in the barn to pot things up. 
We were lucky enough to find this old workbench in the barn. I hosed it down and disinfected it for good measure and set up a workstation right outside of our other horse stall. Our potting mix is from Vermont Compost Company, our trays are recycled from another farm, and that little metal do-hicky you see on the top left side of the bench is our soil-block maker. We are all set to start seeding next week!

Another project I started was to clean out an "office" space for myself in the barn. 
It's in the hay loft and overlooks the front field we'll be using this season... 
I think it will be my quiet space to plan and take a breath! We're thinking of putting in a couple of windows to brighten it up...

While I worked on all those projects, Ben put the chain saw certification classes he's been taking to good use. He ventured up into the woods and came back with the logs we needed to make our roll-up sides on the hoop house (this is why I call him the woodsman, among other things).

Those roll up sides were a huge project and took Ben a good chunk of the day and a large amount of creativity to construct, and while we both had our doubts about them, I think it's safe to say they are high quality. 
I am so happy to have those done! They look great! We could have gone with the commercially made ones, but these have more character!

And finally I just want to leave you with some pictures of what's happening around the farm. It seems like everywhere I turn there's something beautiful to be present to.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mulching Indoors

Yesterday I spent a good hour putting the finishing touches on the floor in the hoop house. It's got a thick blanket of mulch hay on it now, which means it's all ready for tables. Hopefully we'll be able to get those started next Sunday.

While I did that, Ben went to work on the tractor, servicing it to get it ready before the season begins in 2 weeks! Such a handy man he is...

Later in the day I began making a compost pile, something I am very passionate about! Compost is such an integral part of a healthy farming system, so knowing how to do it well is a must for farmers, especially new ones like me. I made this particular pile from horse manure, leaves, and wood shavings that came out of the chicken coup when we cleaned it this winter. I'm following a technique I learned at Rio Muchacho Organic Farm in Ecuador when I interned there in 2006. This compost pile(if everything works correctly) will get hot as the bacteria break down the organic matter in the pile and convert it into available nutrients for us to use. The end product will be rich, dark compost that we can then spread on our fields. Very important stuff, and something I could get absorbed in for entire afternoons.

It's amazing to think that in 2 weeks I will have completed my college career and will be living down on the farm full time. I can't wait...

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Life

Ben and I ventured down to the farm this weekend to find the hoop house steamy and very much alive at a toasty 75 degrees! There were even a few dandelions mixed in there. I have to admit that I was really relieved to feel just how warm it was despite the light snowfall outside! I knew the hoop house was a good purchase, it's just really nice to see that we did everything correctly and it's working really well! I can't wait to get seedlings in there!

I spent a good deal of the afternoon on Sunday peeling stickers 
off the banana boxes my mom so graciously collected for me during her afternoons volunteering down at the food shelf. These boxes were then laid out over the entire floor of the  hoop house. It was so sad to have to put cardboard down and smother the new life that had emerged in our absence, but we really can't have grass growing in the hoop house. Next weekend we are hoping to begin building the tables that will hold our seedlings so we need to have the grass under control. 

Now that the cardboard is down we will put a layer of mulch hay down on top of that which should suppress the weeds entirely.

This weekend Jake and Ben worked really hard to get the window and the door installed in the hoop house. I don't
 know what I would have done without those boys. 
I am not very handy and find myself much more useful on the vegetable growing side of things, although I am learning slowly. So, as you can imagine, having the boys there to aid me in the finishing touches of the hoop house was such a gift! Hopefully next weekend we can finish the roll up sides, and the structural aspects of the hoop house will be finished!

In addition to getting the hoop house opened up, I also moved Sunny's paddock from behind the barn to run on the uphill side of our plot and then open up out into the far field. In the space that freed up I was able to plot out the next chunk of land we'll be tilling up for use this season. In a few weeks Fred will be coming back to break that ground and incorporate lime over both plots, and then we'll be all set to start the season in the soil!!

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, the garlic we planted last fall has broken through the
 mulch we laid, and it looks great! This is our first crop poking up through the ground, and we couldn't be happier about it. It's a pretty small amount, unfortunately not enough to give out in this year's CSA. Instead we are planning to save this garlic seed, and we're thinking we'll end up with about 400 cloves to plant this fall, which will be more than enough for next year's CSA. So I suppose that's something to look forward to!

Before I sign off, I just want to mention that we still have CSA shares available, as well as pork by the half pig, so please write us and check out our brochure. So keep spreading the word, we so appreciate it!

Monday, April 6, 2009


This is a really exciting night for me, and also for Sundora Farm...

I just got off the phone with Nancy at Hogwash Farm, and she just confirmed that we have 3 pigs reserved! So one month from today we will be driving to Norwich to pick up our piglets!! I can't tell you how excited I am about these pigs. It's been a dream of mine to have pigs of my own, and now that dream is coming true!

This also means that come November we will have locally raised pork for sale by the half pig. So, spread the word and please contact us asap if you'd like to reserve a half!