The blackberries are budding and the broccoli is beginning to head. Spring is in full swing and we’re along for the ride. It is very humbling not to have any control over the weather and her fluctuations. George and I check the weather multiple times a day and we still come up with conflicting forecasts… simply because we are using different weather sites. So we hedge our bets and follow the more severe prediction to be on the safe side.
The field work has picked up significantly the past month and we are now only a month away from our first market day and CSA pickup.
The picture the the right is of our peas in the foreground and the bed behind that they were transplanted into. Unfortunately, the following week many of them suffered frost damage BUT we are hopeful that those that remain will produce a load of hearty snap peas come the end of May! That’s pretty late for most peas but we’re in Kansas and you just never know when things will line up for you.
Below is a picture of overflow… The transplanter trays on back of the tractor were full so these little dudes rode with me in front! ‘Toscano’ kale deserves the spot. It’s certainly funny to think about the life of a plant and the places it may go…
In other news, we have started planning for our next perennial planting on a new plot up the street. Since one of the biggest challenges to growing in Kansas is the desiccating south wind come July and August, we’re putting in trees. Lots of trees. Although I give George a hard time about the number he thinks we need, he insists it’s worth it on the front and and we can cut them down later if we don’t need them. This is wise forethought, I am sure. It is also the reason everyone should have someone with whom to make decisions (life and business and everything).
Lots of volunteers from Northfield School helped put in the trees two weeks ago. We certainly would have been out there a few more hours had these kids not shown up to help!
The days of spring are upon us and old things that looked dead are beginning ever so slowly to come to life. But winter has not lost its grip upon us yet. Yesterday I saw snow falling gently in the middle of the day and was reminded that last year it was not until May 5th that we got clear of snow and ice. So we will keep waiting.
Out in the woodshop we completed the staircase that has occupied a great deal of thought space since around St. Valentine’s Day even if many other things have occupied our hands since then. It began with a vision for a cohesive design to fit in an old house being given new life. We had the old eve brackets as inspiration, and we had the old banister as a relic to be resurrected. Many days and drawings and little thoughts later we began and bit by bit an idea came to life.Doing work on old houses is something like soil sampling. There are scientific facts that must be artfully addressed in an attempt to come to a correct resolution. Resolution is never simple and never without cost in labor and thought. But the more familiar you become the more the art and the science become old friends instead of bitter enemies.
Strawberries are beginning to perk up out of their winter rest, and even out in the bramble the first buds are beginning to break and show tiny leaves. The smell of chicken manure spread as the earliest spring fertilizer hangs in the bramble air along with the light smell of clover opening its little leaves to begin its work.
Alexis is feverishly exercising the old adage of “hurry up and wait” as her season is on the cusp of its beginning, and we are all excited to see what comes.
We’re gearing up for our 2014 CSA season! The CSA is a way for you to participate in the life of the farm and receive weekly shares of vegetables grown right here at Elderslie. Click here to read more about the CSA or to sign up.
Monday morning I spent as little time in the office as possible. I took care of the essential indoor work for the morning half of the day then gathered my measuring tools and headed for the field. I successfully marked the areas designated for the coming spring planting and laid the flags for our new driveway… I expected Tuesday to be full of tilling in anticipation of our first planting next week: onions sets! Well, Tuesday morning came with a chill. Well, perhaps the ‘polar vortex’ phrase that’s been thrown around lately is more appropriate. I was back to lighting a fire in the office and reading about grafting tomatoes.
Aside from seeing George, Ben, and Taylor’s vehicles parked at the shop when I arrive to work at 7:30 in the morning and the vehicles still there when I leave at 5:30 in the evenings, I haven’t seen much of the three of them this week. They’ve been working like mad and I suspect, although it is occasionally stressful, all three of them are loving the work. There’s nothing like pouring everything you’ve got into something you believe worthy of everything you’ve got. These three guys form a workhorse of a crew.
Every once in awhile during the week, George pops in to check his email or fill up his coffee mug. His desk has become a hazard. Today when I finally finished recording months of receipts that had littered the desk, I found a roll of toilet paper, multiple pairs of pliers, a teddy bear, and pink paper cutout hearts (I think leftover from our niece’s office visit and not an indication of an attempt on George’s part to escape the stressful work of the week). I saw him last at about 7:30 Friday morning… He was in better spirits than I but I attribute that to the fact that he was on his fourth cup of coffee while I had only just finished my first.
The CSA contracts are on their way to our 2014 members this coming week! This is certainly exciting news. We’re happy to announce that we’ll be collaborating with our flower farming neighbors at Chisholm Creek Flowers, Randy and Deb Jackson, to offer our members weekly flower shares as a part of their CSA share! I grew up picking peonies for the Jacksons and have learned a great deal from their gardening wisdom. I’m so honored to be able to offer their gorgeous blooms to our customers this year.
We’ll also be offering beef for sale at our farm stand this year from our friend Julie Bachman, JB Ranch! There’s lots to look forward to if things would just warm up a bit. Say warm!