It pays to plan ahead (hopefully, with actual money!). And that’s why we’re planning ahead for next year’s garden expansion! Right now we have a 75′ x 100′ garden plot, but we have lots of room to grow. If we’re going to sell at farmer’s markets, shared CSAs, local restaurants and chefs and feed ourselves we gotta expand. However, were going to take baby steps to do it. We wanna learn to crawl before you learn to walk. Besides, the more we learn about farming the more we realize that we don’t know noth’n!
A lot of our projects around the farm are really starting to come together and blossom, literally and figuratively. So we thought we would update you on what’s going on with some of our past projects.
Getting the garden together this year has been a long, arduous process. Like many farmers in Missouri, we’ve been sitting around the last two months with our thumbs in in our bums, waiting for the weather to be decent enough to get in the garden. It’s been really cold and really wet for a really long time. This is how we prepared our soil for this year’s garden.
Spring has finally sprung here at the farm! Let’s just hope it stays this way. Now that it’s April, Missouri’s weather needs to get its act together! Anyway, we’ve started to notice some signs that spring has arrived; the hyacinths in Rob’s flower bed have started to bloom, we have a seriously broody buff orpington, the greenhouse is full of seedlings and germinating herbs, we have construction projects out the wazoo and there’s this bright light coming from the sky… oh yeah, the sun.
We’ve been collecting old tires for a while now. Whenever we would get our hands on one, we’d throw them on the side of the barn in hopes that in one day we’ll think of something useful for them. In fact, old tires are hella handy to have around the farm. You can grow potatoes in them (although that didn’t work out too well for us last year), make nesting boxes out of them for your chickens, build an Earth home with them, just throw them down a hill and see whose tire goes the furthest or make flower planters out of them… which is what we did.
When we bought the farm, it came with our very own apple trees in the front yard. They were really neat to look at… but didn’t really produce squat. We were sure that they were a lost cause since it didn’t look like anyone had touched them for many, many, many, many years. However, our friend Nice Guy Ted, proved us wrong.
Saturday, March 9th marked the one year anniversary of our friend Rob’s passing. But it just so happened that on Saturday, March 9th, the sun came out, the weather warmed up and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day and date to plant a flower bed in honor of Robby. Nice Guy Ted had been collecting annual and perennial bulbs for us and brought them over that Saturday to plant. I wish we could plant a PBR tree or concrete flowers for him, but tulips and day lilies will have to do.
Last week we collected sap from our maple trees in order to make homemade maple syrup. (See how we tapped the trees here) We tapped the trees on Sunday and by Saturday afternoon we had about 72 gallons of sap! With a 40:1 ratio, that means that we should have just under 2 gallons of syrup. Here’s part two of our syrup making endeavor.
According to my camera roll, this was a pretty busy week out here on the farm. And better yet, it’s starting to feel like spring is just around the corner. We’re starting seedlings in the greenhouse, there may be baby chicks in the near future and the taste of homemade syrup is close at hand. But then again, this is Missouri. There could be a blizzard next week. Who knows. But here’s a look around the farm over the past week!
In Missouri, we have a saying, if you don’t like the weather all you gotta do is wait like, 15 minutes. However, in February these temperature swings are perfect for tapping a sweet little sugar maple tree. Ideally, what you want is for the temperature to drop below freezing at night and get up to the 40’s during the day. What happens is that at night, the tree is all cold, lonely and constricted, then as the temperature rises it gets all hot, loosens up and lets its milky white sap flow. Okay, enough innuendoes (haha, in your end-o!).