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Sappy St. Patrick's Day

Posted 3/11/2014 8:29am by John Eisenstein.

I was going to call this blog entry "waiting for Spring" until I realized that is what I called the last entry two weeks ago.  apparently, we are still waiting, although this warm spell gives us hope.  Also, the maple sap is now flowing, which means things are starting to happen.  We have very few maple trees on our farm but nonetheless Dad and Hannah managed to make about 3 quarts of syrup last year--  and it only took them two whole days!  You can see why maple syrup is so expensive.

The farm is slowly coming to life in other ways, too.  I planted beets and carrots in the high tunnel yesterday for an early crop.  Here is a picture of me pushing the seeder through the newly raked bed.   Please note the look of steely determination on my face. 

You will notice the wooden boards along the carrot bed.  I read a charming little book last winter about late 19th century French intensive gardening, and was so inspired I have decided to adopt a few of the techniques therein described.  Chief among these is raised beds, although I am utilizing the greenhouse effect for heat rather than the 50 tons of horse manure per acre as was done in 1900.  For those of you unfamiliar with typical manure applications, that's a lot of poop!  But, in the days before automobiles, horses were more common than they are today.

One of our interns from last year, Steve, is currently visiting us for two weeks, and naturally we put him right to work.  Here is a picture of Steve adding rodent proofing to our second walk in cooler.  Please note the look of steely determination on his face.

Never mind, I guess you can't see his face.  We will be using this cooler for crops that like to be stored cool, but not too cold-- mostly tomatoes, eggplant, okra, zucchini and melons.  Hard to believe that when we started out nine years ago all we had was an extra refrigerator in the barn!

Our chickens are really enjoying the warmer weather, going outdoors and basking in the sun.  I have promised to move them to fresh pasture as soon as the ground thaws.  Here is a picture of a Buff Orpington hen, on the right, setting on her eggs with what can only be described as a look of steely determination.  The Rhode Island Red X Leghorn on the left is merely curious.

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