Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just like that, I am a farmer

It's been a busy week. I am starting to feel the stress from work and the farm. Years ago, I was diagnosed with adrenal burnout and so now I am highly tuned to my stress reactions. It started about a week ago when all the food I ate tasted too salty. My body is out of balance. Stress hormones, at chronic levels, do bad things to the rest of your chemistry.

So stress is bad, so I took some sick time off of work to spend it on the farm. I can't fix the stress at work (just my attitude towards it), but I can accomplish goals around the farm which takes pressure off. Farming is all about timing, and Spring is an all too short window up here in New Hampshire.

So I was on a mission to get stuff done.

We finished building the beds in the greenhouse. We got the chicklins (In our particular brand of crazy, chicks are called "chicklins" and chickens are called "chickenistas" or just "nistas") out for their first play date in the greenhouse. I want them on dirt as soon as possible to start ingesting all that wonderful bacteria that helps chickens thrive. They got one monitored hour in the 65 degree green house and then back into the brooder.

We got the outdoor garden plot tilled. We ended up not doing the entire disc available, but settled on a 40' x 40' plot, so 1600 SF. That is plenty for this year, believe me. There's still work to do on the terraces, clearing out the overgrown raspberries and making room for some other fruits and veggies (strawberries perhaps?).

Outdoor garden plot as seen from the top of the terraces. Chicken fence only half completed.

I staked and twined the rows, both to keep me straight as I plant, and to provide a tenting structure if needed for me to cold frame any baby crops. When the danger has passed, I will remove the stakes and twine and build bean poles.

I also got two varieties of peas, early onions, and early potatoes in the ground. I planted 5 each of the peas, about ten onions and five each of the potatoes. I will come back in two weeks and plant some more, moving down the row in succession. I am hoping for staggered harvest, or at the very least, to not lose my entire crop to a late frost.

View of the terraces and back up to the house.

Terraces are very overgrown. That's tomorrow's project.

They will be nice one day.

I also planted a few seedlings in the greenhouse, experimenting with the temperatures in it. It may already get too warm in there for the kale, spinach, and broccoli I selected, but that's something I will have to see. Luckily, I have plenty of seedlings, so a little experimentation won't set me back. I have about three weeks to stabilize the temps before the tomatoes and peppers will get transplanted in there.

Beds in the greenhouse and first kale, bottom left.

Seed trays waiting for their day trips into the greenhouse.

In the next few days, my next shipment of spring chicks will arrive: Wyandottes. I spent today getting the brooder in order and transferring the older chicklins to their bigger, better brooder until they are old enough to move to the fenced off area of the greenhouse. We're playing musical chairs with the chicklins, but hopefully this will be the last year I will raise them. I expect broody hens to take on that duty in the future.

Odie is not such a bad fellow.

Wee chicklin brooder setup and ready for the onslaught (26 chicks)

Big chicklin brooder with five Speckled Sussex pullets (I hope)

At 3.5 weeks, they are reaching the fugly stage


dp said...

Wowsers. Good call on taking some time off work. My supervisor offered me a week off next week in celebration of getting a paper submitted, but then he suggested a whole bunch of things I might consider doing for some of this other projects during that week off. Hmmm....

Anyhow, you have been far more productive than I am planning to be. I hope you get some time to just relax over the lone weekend.

Bev said...

Odie is indeed very handsome. He is looking rather proud of himself. I wish we could raise some chickens but our homeowners association regulations prevent it.

Do you expect to have problems with deer, rabbtis, etc. eating what your plant? We have deer who feed from the flower beds around our house. They seem to especially like blooms from day lilies and hostas. I hadn't planned on eating them myself, so it is fine if the deer find them tasty. I enjoy the show.

Daun said...

DP, Yesterday I sat around in my PJs while it rained. Now today is sunny and gorgeous so I can't wait to get back out there! I can rest next winter. ;)

I have a chicken fence, 3' tall going up around the garden. The deer don't really come that close to the house when they are on miles of state forest. Most of the critters around here feral, not suburbanized, so they do stay away from the houses. If the chicken fence is insufficient, I am prepared to buy an electrified version. Zappity zap.