Sleepy Sara

Okay everyone, this week’s update is going to be a short one. It’s 8:20PM, I’m tired and I’ve got a long day tomorrow (12hrs+).

Wednesday’s are going to be long days from now on because they are CSA (community supported agriculture) pick up days. That means we start harvesting at 7AM so that we can have everything harvested, washed and bagged and ready to go by 4PM. Some people come pick up their CSA boxes/shares at the farm but there are also two other pick-up points between 5PM and 7PM. I’m going to be at one of the pickup points tomorrow. Therefore I showered tonight, so as to be presentable tomorrow. Although I could probably just shower tomorrow as well, they are calling for more rain. Wonderful.

And what did we do last week? Well I forget what we did in the middle of the week, but we started it and ended it the same way. The first and last day are actually very similar when I think about it. On Tuesday last week we started weeding the spinach. I basically spent all day weeding spinach and only got through one row! Not even one whole bed, only one row in a bed! It’s so discouraging when you work so hard and yet you have barely anything to show for it. And we ended the week on Saturday hoeing the herbs. Three of us, spent 8 hrs (almost) and only got through 2 beds of herbs. The weeding list is so long and we only got through 2 beds. So frustrating. Needless to say, we were all in need of a drink by the end of the day. I was so happy to have my friend come pick me up and head up to my cottage for the weekend. It was a wonderful relaxing weekend and I plan to do a soil test up there to see if I can possibly plant some things up there next year.

My friend, Tina laughed at us/was in disbelief when she first showed up because we were just finishing the herbs, and therefore we were using forks. We do not hoe with forks. We do have hand tools, but when it gets down to the end and we need to get rid of the little tiny weeds around the plants we use forks. And we’ve had to do this a lot lately because our transplants are all very small and so it is necessary to get rid of even the smallest weeds. Why are our transplants small you may ask? Well unfortunately, we have realized that the soil we have been using for seeding is really not the greatest. It is was too dense and heavy and quite possibly too nutritious. Which explains all of the troubles we have been having with germination and growth of seedlings. But what is done is done and life goes on. We now have some new potting soil and it looks so much nicer. Hooray!

I have now finished the Elliot Coleman book and look forward to reading up on permaculture. I want to take so many notes and I have so many ideas whizzing around inside my head. I will write more about them next week when I am more awake.

Oh yes, I hope everyone enjoyed their day off today. Bonne Saint Jean Baptiste!

Good night!

Scotch please!

So after working in the rain for most of the week last week, I have realized that having a bottle of Whisky would be a good idea. The first day of rain we worked from 130PM to about 530PM in the rain and mud planting peppers, eggplants and sweet potatoes. It was at the end of the day that I realized how nice a shot of whisky would be at that point. Just something to warm up the joints a little bit and reward oneself for a hard day’s work.

I had been wearing my Helly Hansen raincoat which not only has a defective hood that doesn’t cover my head but neither is it 100% water proof. And so I was (as we all were) soaked to the bones. Plus my yellow rain suspenders which I had gotten as part of a 20$ bargain had ripped as I was planting and by the end of the week had ripped all the way past my bum. Therefore I am travelling back to Casselman on the Via Rail today with a new rain coat and pants. It’s not working in the rain that sucks, it can actually be quite nice, it’s lacking the proper attire that is no fun.

Poor Rebecca actually came down with a pretty bad cold by the end of the week and so took most of the day off on Friday so that she would be rested for the market on Saturday. Johnny’s mom normally goes to the market on Saturdays but she had friends in from Europe and so Rebecca went with Johnny this week. Therefore it was just Chloe and I on Saturday making 20 pound row bags and placing hoops so that we could cover up what we had recently planted. At this point we are basically only left with some more Lettuce and Swiss Chard to plant. The greenhouse is quite empty. We also spent the day cleaning bins, as we had done at the beginning of the season, but this time in much warmer weather. And we made our way out to the field to harvest the garlic scapes, which is/would eventually become, the flower of the garlic, edible and delicious. It is necessary to harvest these so that the plant uses its energy to produce the garlic bulb and not the flower.

So despite the rain this week we got a lot done. Including the planting of more cucurbits and sweet potatoes as well! Not only were we planting in the field, but we have also been planting around our trailers. We had planted extra in the greenhouse to provide a buffer in case things don’t grow well. We are only planting so much in the fields and so we have a lot of left over seedlings, of which we are trying to save as many as we can. We’ve taken old tires from cleaning out the chicken coop and filled them with dirt and have collected pots from all over the place. At the moment we have planted some tomatoes, herbs (cilantro, parsley and basil), cucumbers, pumpkins, and peppers around the trailer. Fingers crossed they all survive. We hope to continue planting more as well.

So that was the week. A few more tidbits of information would include:

Daizy made pork enchiladas this week! They were delicious. And she also made a blueberry Rhubarb pie. It was soo good. I made some Tom Yum soup with a pre-done paste that was pretty good. Obviously not as good as making it home made, but it got the job done. To it I added cabbage, mushrooms, a broccoli stalk and some chopped up tomato.

Molly (the dog) got a haircut. She has beautiful long black hair but had recently been sprayed by a skunk and had been covered in mats. She looks and smells so much better. She must also feel so much better.

And Ayla (baby) is getting really good at saying my name. She calls Chloe “Coco” and Rebecca “Becca” and had been calling me “Sa” but is now clearly saying “Sara”. She is so cute, I love her.

Farley (the rooster) is no longer sleeping with the chickens. They used to gather around him at night. He seems to be a bit of a loner. We should nickname him the Lone Ranger.

Chloe was the one to go to the Market on Sunday. So will get info from her on how that went.

And I had red wine on the Via rail on my trip home on Saturday night. Definitely wasn’t the best red wine but was much appreciated after a week of work in the rain. (I would recommend the white wine instead, just had a juice box of it on my trip back)

And that ends blog #8! Which means I am now entering my third month on Luxy Farm! Time flies, but I am happy that I am making some awesome memories and learning a whole bunch. I’ve read “The Market Gardener” by Jean Martin Fortier and am almost done Elliot Coleman’s “The New Organic Grower”. They are both a great read and have tons of pertinent information. I would recommend them to anyone interested in understanding the lifestyle and work involved in small scale organic gardening.

As always, hoping you all have a wonderful week. And hoping we don’t get as much rain!

Brewers Market!

Do I ever have a lot to write about this week!

But first, I feel obliged to mention that I am writing this blog while watching episode 2 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Wand family where are you???) in the trailer with Rebecca. So who knows how long this will take. Rebecca has also begun the process of giving herself dreads, which I have never seen done before, so hopefully I won’t be too distracted and will be able to get through this blog.

This week went by pretty quick. Tuesday was grey and we spent the day in the greenhouse seeding and thinning. It was nice and relaxing, which was great because I was pretty pooped from the weekend at home at the Bat2BeatCancer softball tournament. Never mind I’ve been coming home pretty much every weekend since I started here and it can actually be quite taxing. As happy as I am to come home, I’m also running around trying to see everyone. So although we did have a busy weekend here, it was nice to stay here for once.

My week runs from Tuesday to Saturday and the Brewers Market has now begun, which is on Sundays. One of us will be going to the market with Johnny every week from now on, meaning we will be working one out of every 3 Sundays. I got to go this weekend and it was tons of fun! I love interacting with people and it’s great to see so many stands at the market as well as so many people coming. The brewers market is a producer only market, meaning that every stand there has made their own produce. There are no middlemen at this market, unlike the Atwater or Jean Talon Market where a lot of stands are middlemen and that is why they are able to be their all the time.

But anywho! The market was a blast, even though I was up at 5AM in the morning. We were there by 7 to set up and the market runs from 8AM-3PM. So we start setting up and then Michael the Jam guy (http://www.michaelsdolce.com) shows up and I got some Strawberry Balsamic Jam from him (he also gave me some Siracha jam and Raspberry Chocolate jam at the end of the day) AND ArtIsIn showed up; a pretty well known bakery in Ottawa. They started unloading their truck and I couldn’t help but buy a Honey Oat Bread from them as well as a Raspberry Pastry because it smelled so good! Then there’s Joseph in front of us who sells Lamb, Pork and Mutton meat as well a bunch of different cheeses made from sheep and bison milk. And those are just 3 stands! There are about 120! AND then there are food vendors too! I tell you, I am in heaven at the market! I can see how it would be easy to spend my whole weeks pay check there. Thank God I only go once every 3 weeks. Plus we sold out of radishes, garlic and arugula! We had a bunch of mixed lettuce left over but that’s because we overharvested a bit, and we still had a bunch of the seedlings (tomatoes and peppers) that we brought but we can easily bring those back to the market next week. So it was a great day to say the least!

And today (Monday) we went on a farm tour with a bunch of other interns from other farms. We got to visit Amber’s farm; Amber of Arc Acres (http://arcacres.ca/). She has free range cattle, pigs, chickens, bees, maple syrup, mushrooms (which require very little work after the initial setup and makes me excited because I love mushrooms) and a veggie garden as well. She, as well as the other worker and interns live in cabins/trailers that she has made herself (they have a sawmill on the farm and a bunch of woods) but she didn’t need to get permits for them because they are all portable in some way. It was really great to get to see another farm and different farming methods, plus we got to meet a bunch of different people. And to top it all off, at the end of the day we had a potluck, yay!

So yes, it was a very good week. We transplanted our lettuce and bok choy, and we brought out a lot of our seedlings to ‘harden up’, so our greenhouse is getting pretty empty, it’s crazy!

Speaking of crazy actually, our chickens are hilarious! You should see them come running out of the coop when they hear us coming because they are so excited to get food (our compost). They don’t seem to be fond of citrus but they went crazy over beets and some steak. Chloe actually found one of them the other day outside of the fence (she escaped somehow) but she promptly ran right back into the coop when Chloe opened the door for her. She wanted freedom, but once free, didn’t know what to do with herself and ran right back to captivity which can be less frightening. We then had a really interesting conversation about how many of us do the same but I won’t get into that here. And Farley is still alive and well. We have come to the conclusion that he is simply not your “normal” rooster. But we love him all the same.

Success! Funny enough, I am finishing this blog just as the Buffy episode comes to an end. Which reminds me that I heard the coyotes the other night when I woke up at 2AM because I had to pee. But after hearing the coyotes, there was no way I was getting out of bed to walk to the house. No way Jose! So I held it in and ran to the house in the morning.

Well that’s all folks! Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Till next time!

Serenity

Okay!

This is now my 6th blog! Which means I am presently in week 7 and have been here for almost two months. And still, every day I wake up and I am happy I made the decision to come work on an organic farm.

But before I get into why I am loving what I do, I will recap the last week. It won’t take long. I’m sure you can guess what we did. That’s right, hoed and transplanted! I would like to make clear though, that hoeing is not weeding. We are not just on our hands and knees all the time picking weeds with our hands. You hoe in order to cultivate, to loosen up the soil so that it aerates and to get to the weeds while they are small, which helps to eliminate some of the weeding later on.

We also placed 3 row covers (which cover 8 beds each), one of which kept blowing off. But alas, the 3rd time is always a charm (or was it 4? it may very well have taken 4 tries). And we transplanted our cucurbits and had hoped to transplant the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers because by now most of our veggies should be in the ground, but they weren’t big enough yet. And so, being unable to transplant the rest of the veggies, I asked for Friday off so I could see my cousin Sabrina graduate from McGill and I had already asked for Saturday off because it was the famous Bat2BeatCancer Softball Tournament in Deux-Montagnes.

My boyfriend and many of his cousins/close friends of the family have been participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer for 3 summers now. They ride for their aunts. But in order to participate, each participant needs to raise 2,500$ and so they hold the baseball tournament to help raise funds. It was a success as usual, it’s always lots of fun, and if you haven’t heard of it before I would suggest checking out the website: http://bat2beatcancer.webstarts.com/

Also, if you know any of the participants (James Rochon, Justin Rochon, Derek White, Serita White, Shane White, Leonard Guarda and Josee Moreton), you can donate to them personally through the website. (All donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt)

We had a wonderful weekend in the sun, but it was quite busy, and as much work as I do here on the farm it can almost be more relaxing than running home every weekend to visit everyone.

Being outside, despite the hard work, is so calming. I start by mornings by waking up to pee (I always pee first thing in the morning) but peeing, means getting out of the trailer and walking 50 ft to the house, and thus the fresh air wakes me up almost instantaneously. After my relieving pee, I do a few morning stretches outside of the trailer on my yoga mat and then go for a walk into the fields. Once I am in the fields, no one can see me from the house or from the trailer and I feel all alone. Those are my moments of solitude, and I treasure them so much. In those moments I either dance to music on my ipod to loosen up, or I simply sit/lay on the ground and watch the sun rise, the clouds move and the trees sway. It is absolutely amazing. In these moments I am completely happy and at peace.

Then I work hard throughout the day, and do the same thing at night to wind down. It’s wonderful. I really feel so lucky to be where I am right now. And it has helped me realize how important nature is to us. I believe that everyone would enjoy a daily dose of outdoors, and the more you can get, the better. It is definitely influencing the future I see for myself.

I am actually writing this blog while I sit outside my trailer, after having finished my dinner of freshly picked lettuce from the greenhouse and my yummy carrot/ginger soup which I made ahead of time. Accompanied of course by a glass of organic wine.

And now I must go collect my laundry from the house and possibly take a stroll while the sun is still up. I wish you all a lovely week. And will be back with more info next week. (I forgot my camera cord once again, doh! and so no pics yet, so sorry). Hopefully, my writings are entertaining enough.

Sweet Dreams!