Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mozart is finally home!

Mozart didn't really like the initial car ride. Howled and whined his way to the ferry terminal. Once we got on the ferry he settled down enough to even get out of his crate to explore the trunk of the car. About half an hour through the ferry ride, he decided sleep is much more important anything else. Doozy dog....
Day 1 at home...here's a new use for baby bed....doggie playpen. Mozart really like the hard wooden bottom of the "playpen". Whenever he naps, he would push the towels to one side of the pen before lying down to sleep. He was a little timid on the first day home but curious enough to give most of the active rooms in the house a thorough inspection before going to bed in the night. 
 Hardwood floor seems to be his "thing". He loves to sprawl on the floor and nap. Favourite spot so far?
 Under the chair when someone is sitting on top using computer. He even marked the spot he loves best with a good lick!
 Who needs doggie pad? Who needs towels? Who needs dog bed? All Mozart needed was nice smooth wooden floor...tile didn't work, no carpet either only wooden floor works best as sheltie bed!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Ducky Guardian Angel...in training

Got the Ducks...but who will look after the ducks when we are busy in the field? Who will gather up the ducks when it's time for them to return to their coop in the night? After chasing the duckies around the yard for about a week or so, we knew for sure we needed reinforcement. These duckies can be a bit rowdy to gather up and return to coop. If they were not left out long enough...they dodge at every attempt in moving them close to their coop ramp. So, the reinforcement...coming in late December will be....
Mozart! A sweet male sheltie that will become a member of our family in 2 weeks time. He is very calm when handled but a bit bossy towards his litter mates. Since the leading drake is quite dominating, maybe that will be a good trait when he "face-off" with the ducks.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Now that frost has made its first hit....

Jack frost made its first visit through our veggie patch during the last week of October. Peppers are gone....tomatoes are gone....squashes are gone too. After a week of continuous frost in the early dawn, almost nothing is left to harvest in the garden other then those lucky plants that get to hide under cover.
So it is time to move on to other farm activities such as...raising ducklings!  
Close up shot of these cuties. They arrived on October 24. Some of them were a day old already while 2 of them were only few hours old!
Duckies exploring their new home lined with paper shreds. Chewing up some words...

They were fed with non-medicated chicken feed. 
Some like to use their feet to taste the feed better then using their beaks! Water only lasted 5 minutes. Duckies love splashing in water then get all cold and wet....
After getting wet...it's time to huddle under the heat lamp! Brrrr....
After too many water messes, it's time for a better water dispenser. Checking out the new device. Of course, ducks being ducks, they manage to take turns sticking 1 foot at a time into water and flicking it out. At least water was available to them for half an hour or so before it get all flicked on the straw bed. 
End of week 1 - time to weigh in! Boy are you skinny! This one must have spent too much time playing in the water and not feeding itself enough food!
That's not a different colouration on their feather...that's water from the little bird waterer. Water on duckies = cold duckies = more huddle under the lamp!
Bath time! Most don't know how to clean themselves yet. They just walk around in circles and make lots of splashes. 
First bath didn't last very long...just 3 minutes then they were all shivering. Out they come! They get wiped and blown dry with hairdryer - in this case feather-dryer!
After bath, it's time for more huddle and nappy. The water sure pooped them out. 
Just a week's time, the duckies have really grown. They no longer can bath together in the little blue bin. If they did, they would all be sitting on top of one another! So time to change to a bigger tub. 

Lots of space to splash, play and clean! Some even tried to "dive" in 3" deep water. Not such good idea. Good thing there's no need to teach duckies to hold their breath under water! 

Just a week old they have already outgrown their first tub and now even their home is looking a little crowded! At times, they need to step over each other just to get to their food and water. 

After a few nights of continuous loud chirping, their "ducky mommy" can't stand it no more. So a real home was built for them with lots of space for each ducky to sit and play without the need to step over each other just to get to the food and water. Of course, the duckies still love their straw bedding the best. 
How long did this coop last? - Well, the duckies sure didn't hold back in sending message to their "ducky mommy" that they wanted a real home of their own. They "fired" their doo doos all over the gate and made a real stinky mess in the house..."mommy ducky" had no choice but to work all day in building a real coop outdoor for the duckies. Now they can really splash to their hearts content!
Duckies' first day outdoor wasn't exactly nice weather. It had just snowed the day before and the ground was covered with frozen snow when they were let out. Ducks being ducks, found it no problem to just plop down and sit on the ground. Some even found the ice interesting enough to take a few bites. 
The ducky slide! 
Most of the ducks now have a nice coat of white feather on their body. They don't really mind the cold anymore. 
Even on days that are below zero, they would willingly jump into the pool to have a bath. 

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now we are rounding the bend...

Just to think...we only got started 3 months ago. The growing season has been cut incredibly short this year.
One good thing for the rain...the lettuce grew really well. However, the strangest thing happened with the spinach...none of them grew big enough for harvest...they all bolted as soon as we have a clear day. 
Yucaipa Lettuce - very very crunchy and sweet...only problem - slugs loves them too.

Mizuna - grows really well in our area but need lots of encouragement to attract buyers.

Red Amaranth - the winner of the market table...very nutritious too!

Grow pepper grow! Hope they make it before the first frost. 

Green onions - grew too many different species lost track of which one is best producer. Nonetheless, they taste really nice...much better than the store bought ones!

Summer squash - very tasty but no one seem to be interested in them at the market....wonder why.

Maybe we will just grow for our personal consumption next year. 

Weird shaped cucumbers...and it's not just one of them it's all of them! If they were all lined up together, they can represent a row of green geese!

More summer squash...we've got all shapes and sizes and all of them are very tasty when sauteed. 

Ronde de Nice - one of the best tasting summer squashes

Still waiting for the first harvest on this squash....

Lemon cucumber - really tasty, non-bitter...only downside is the skin can be rather tough to chew.

One of the bigger species of squashes we've got this year. Really nice and tender. 

Grow kohlrabi grow! 

These Russian Kale tastes awful when they are eaten raw but they are really tender when they are sauteed. They are a hot item on the market table too. 

Collards - these plants are so neat they make harvesting really easy. They are not too bad tasting when eaten raw but they become a bit tougher when cooked...tastes similar to Gai Lan. 

If the temperature stays the same for another 2-3 weeks these peppers should ripe well. 

Mud everywhere...now the raining season returns these aisles are really mucky and wet.

Then comes wood shavings to the rescue! Too bad there's a few really low spot that are simply impossible to fix at the moment. 

Here's the harvested products getting ready for the market next morning. A little foot bath should keep them looking fresh. Well, that's that for this year. Hopefully we will have a more bountiful harvest next year. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rain Rain Go Away...Come Back After We Get Everything Planted!!!

These poor plants have been stuck indoors for over 3 weeks because the field was too wet and unworkable. This week they finally made it out...poor skinny plants hope their catch up soon. 
These corn plants below were planted early July took them 2 weeks to fatten up their stems and leaves. They need all the fertilizing they can get to grow from now to harvest...if we do get any out of them. 
First attempt in growing potatoes. Aren't they beautiful? Got a few spring harvest out of them. The little nuggets were really sweet....though they were somewhat harder to cook than the mature ones. The ground between the rows are flooded with about 2 to 3 inches deep water...all that came from the non-stop rain we have had in the past few days. At this rate the large field will never get planted.  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Peonies Galore

Finally we have warmer weather....still wet but warm enough for the peonies to bloom. First to bloom was Rubra Plena (photo see previous post) a deep rose red peony that opens up to 4~5" in diameter. Next came Charles White a showy single petal white peony with creamy yellow tufted stamens. 
Peonies make excellent cut flowers. Their stems are often much longer than any florist would need it! Here's an arrangement we've created with just Charles White and Joker. Simple but elegant. Joker is an excellent choice for those that love peonies but are sensitive to fragrance. 
 Similar to Joker in term of their hard to find and unique bloom quality, Border Charm is a must have for peony enthusiasts. Most peony flower colour varies between all shades of pink, red, and white but not the Itoh varieties. They are a cross between herbaceous peony and the tree peony - resulting in unique colour combinations that are rarely seen in regular peonies.
Itoh peonies also bear many resemblances to the tree peonies such as their leaf pattern and flower bud shape. However, their growth behaviour is similar to that of the herbaceous peony...their leaves will die off in the winter and the entire plant will regrow in the spring.  Border Charm is very compact and can be planted in pots instead of in the ground. 
Some varieties that have consistently shown to grow on long strong stems are Festiva Maxima, Karl Rosenfield, and Charles White. Below is another arrangement we have created with a mix of Festiva Maxima, Raspberry Sundae, Karl Rosenfield, and Joker.  
Festiva Maxima is really fragrant and can literally scent up an entire room with just one or two flowers. They are double petal pure white bloom with splashes of deep rose red in the centre.  
In another week or so most of Festiva Maxima and Karl Rosenfield will be in full bloom. These will be the last group to flower on our farm this year.