All Posts by Tamara

At the end of the Season

Here’s where you count your beans, you made it.  We kept saying the finish line is in view, well here we are.  Hays all in the barn, garden is put to bed, seeds are drying, days are getting shorter, nights are longer….

You begin things at the start of the season with youthful exuberance, almost forgetting what it takes to get you here.  The finish line.  Whew.  Linnaea Farm was a flurry of excitement this year.  We fed 30 families, for 20 weeks with our CSA program, we hosted The Power of Hope,  The Gulf Island Center of Ecological Learning (GICEL), University of Vicoria’s Permaculture students, David Asher from Black sheep Cheese School, and Michelle’s Yoga from Vicoria.

Adam Schick lead an inspiration Organic Market Workshop (we will be offering 2 courses in 2017!), as well as Rick Valley, Brent Howieson and Jodi Peters offered a Permaculture Design Course.

Our herd of cows grew to 10, and rotationally grazed across 30 acres of pasture, and we pulled 900 bales of hay off our 3rd field (yep, that’s a record).  300 Cornish Giant chickens were raised and processed on the farm and were pastured out in the 2nd field.

Brent’s front stand starts keep Cortesians well stocked in plants for their gardens, and our fruit collective provided pounds of plums and apples for the every hungry locals!

Our mycelial beds grew and spread Garden Giant spawn all around the farm as well as keeping nutrients out of Gunflint Lake.

We hosted our annual Harvest Festival, feeding over 100 locals and keeping folks occupied with games and music for one beautiful afternoon in September!

 

New Lambs

Always the sweetest time of the year, baby lambs are by far the cutest animals on the farm (okay, i say that about all the animals when they are first born)!

Sweatervest was first to lamb, followed by Sassy.  They both produced twins ~ Yin, Yang, and yet to be named!

It’s a Y year, so we are having fun remembering and creating names that begin with Y.

 

Seedy Saturday @ Linnaea Farm Education Centre.

Saturday March 5th 11:30-3:00
Bring Seeds to Swap+Take+Trade.
Lunch available for purchase. See you there!

Eggs

Today when i went out to the chicken coop to collect eggs, i found this beautiful little nugget.  The very first egg a chicken has laid.  It’s like a gift.  A very precious, tiny gift.  Like when you are walking along the path and find a robin’s egg, shell cracked, and look above you to see if you can spot the nest way up above you.

Check out these facts about chickens and eggs:

 

  • A female chick is born with thousands of tiny ova, which are undeveloped yolks. Once she reaches maturity, an ovum will be released into a canal called the oviduct and begin its journey of development.
  • At any given time a productive hen will have eggs of several stages within her reproductive system. The eggs most recently discharged from the ovary are just tiny yolks, and the eggs farther down the oviduct are progressively larger and more developed.
  • From the time an ovum leaves the ovary, it takes approximately 25 hours for the egg to reach the vent for laying. During that time period, the yolk will grow larger while being surrounded by albumen (egg white), wrapped in a membrane, and encased in a shell. Pigment is deposited on the shell as the last step of the egg production process.
  • If sperm is present, the yolk will be fertilized before the albumen is deposited.
  • As a chick embryo develops in a fertilized egg, the yolk provides nourishment and the albumen cushions the embryo.
  • Although a hen has only one exterior opening (the cloaca or vent) for egg laying and elimination, eggs are not contaminated during the laying process. Two separate channels, the oviduct and the large intestine, open into the cloaca. As the egg nears the end of the oviduct, the intestinal opening is temporarily blocked off. The egg passes through the cloaca without contact with waste matter.
  • The typical interval between eggs laid is about 25 hours, so a hen that lays an egg every day will lay a bit later each day.
  • Hens don’t usually lay eggs in the dark, so once a hen’s laying cycle reaches dusk time, she will usually not lay till the following morning.

No doubt they make so much noise when they are laying eggs!  I’m so thankful for the fresh eggs that we are provided with from our chickens.  A great animal to start with if you are interested in getting into livestock!

IMG_1520  IMG_4317

 

 

Why Hello Jack Frost!

I have to admit that i love the brisk, sunny, crystal clear days that surprise us at this time of the year. With it, comes all the nasty stuff, burst pipes, frozen water, cold house, slippery barn courtyard. However, when you go out into the fields, and get to see the beauty of a frosty landscape, it all feels worth it. The weather gives our animals a reprieve from the day to day, kept up off the fields, and in the barn. They are once again, released out onto the fields. At times, they are hugely outnumbered by the Canadian Geese that seem to think we grow grass just for. Or perhaps they will meet up with some of the beavers that have taken up residence on the corner of the 1st field. Linnaea Farm has over 30 acres of pasture, that our animals graze throughout the late spring, summer, and fall months. Once the rains fall, our fields become saturated in certain areas, and we keep our animals off of them, as hard as it is. With this cold weather, our fields are nice and solid and okay for the animals to walk through onto areas that they can still graze on.
But for today, the sun is shining, the ground is frozen, and the animals are all out in the fields, in a sunny patch, stretching their legs, and the Stewards? You’ll find us in the barn first thing in the morning, and once again around dark tending to the animals (how much manure do we shovel in a day?), in the Education Center weaving willow, at my desk, updating the website and tending to emails, and in the shop, working on the back breaks of the farm truck. The pace of the farm has slowed, thankfully, although the list is still long, the hours of the day no longer support working until beyond exhaustion. It’s time to dive into the stores of food we worked so hard all season to produce and preserve, get the seeds all cleaned up and ready for next season, and dream of what comes next. At the end of the day, it all feels worth it, and although we have many, many days until the season starts up again, the seeds are being nurtured and prepared for planting. The joy of farming is there is always next year.

And the garden keeps on giving

It’s almost the end of October, and I can’t believe that we are still eating 4lb cauliflowers out of the garden!  I’m not sure for how much longer, as the darkness that was still covering the fields when i awoke this morning, reminded me that it is indeed autumn.  The leaves are changing color, alighting the sky with beautiful hues of yellow and red, the mists are settling on the fields, and surprise me when they lift, leaving a bright, sun filled sky.  I was reminded of one of my favorite poems recently that i’d like to share here.

Happy autumn, may the stillness inspire you!

 

John Keats (1795-1821)

TO AUTUMN.

1.

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

2.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

3.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies