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Monday, February 3, 2014

Groundhog Day

Okay campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties cause its cold out there...its cold out there every day.

"This is the one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather." - Phil Connors

Groundhog Day!

This winter, my first winter in the mid atlantic, has been wet and cold. People keep telling me it is colder than normal but I have little to compare it to. Having grown up in Florida anything below 75 is reason enough to wear a fuzzy sweater. That being said, this Friday when temps climbed to a balmy 45 I couldn't wait to get outside and do some work on the farm. It was downright warm once I started moving. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, I had a small crew and we made some great progress. The weekend was lovely with temps flirting with 55. As I type now though it is cold and wet again.

As you can imagine I was anxious to see what Punxsatawney Phil had to say on Sunday, and not at all surprised with his prediction that winter would continue for another 6 weeks. That may be a good thing for me since getting the greenhouse built keeps being pushed back because the ground is either frozen or muddy. Still, I am building tables and lining up trays and organic seed starting mix and finalizing the seed order. Once the ground is prepared the structure should go up quickly and everything should be ready to move in and get started. 

Community Forklift

Community Forklift

Community Forklift is an awesome green business in DC. They sell surplus, salvaged and green building material. They have everything from tubs and tiles to doors and dressers. This week I picked up two doors for the greenhouse ($15/piece) and some wire shelving for the greenhouse tables at $1/ft compared to about twice that at Lowes. 

Greenhouse Doors and wire shelves loaded up

I got the idea for the tables from this blog at Hansen Woodland Farm. The ones I have built so far at 16"w by 8' long. Next week I'll build the center table which will be 4'x10.
One Greenhouse Table Done

On the farm

This week brought some signs of life back to the farm. For one, Priscilla returned from her preventative maintenance at the shop. This means we can start up our composting operation again. It has been on hold since Christmas time. 

Friday Andrew and  Gayle came out to help me accept delivery of our Hoop House. This is going to be a 30' long by 72' wide structure. It arrived on a trailer in bundles. The driver slid the bundles off onto the ground. Some of them probably weighed 1,000lb. We had to take the bundles apart and move the pieces into the barn a few pipes at a time. They will wait there until the weather allows us to build in the new field. 

That's our hoop house! 
Andrew and Gayle moving it into the barn

Andrew and Gayle clearing the fence

While we anxiously awaited our delivery we cleared some fence line. This simple fence is not deer proof so we have to make some adjustments to it to protect our new field. The first step is to find it! Brambles and weeds have over run this whole fence line. We attacked with pruners and machetes and I rented a Billy Goat for a few hours. It is a walk behind brush hog. It worked great where the brambles weren't too high. 

Where the brambles were shoulder high and taller they would reach out and grab you. In this case they took my hat right off my head! We had to cut those down manually before we could take the Billy Goat through and it would finish the job.

Billy Goat

We also cleared out a carport on the side of the stables which can now be useable space. I may try keeping the mushroom logs there. They will be near water, shaded and easy to harvest. 

Puddy Time

Eating Snow

Bonus Poem, why not?

Work without Hope

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair--
The bees are stirring--birds are on the wing--
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet, well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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