What do you get when you cross a busy week in the greenhouse with a busy week lambing? Springtime on the farm!
After a sudden start to a busy lambing season last Sunday the rest of the week hasn’t abated much in pace. Sure there were days without new lambs, but not many, and the total number of lambs has just kept stacking up. So one week in and we are at 29 lambs. Not quite half way through the ewes we are expecting to lamb, so this week is likely to be busy as well.
For those of you in the Dufferin Grove area this is our delivery week so if you haven’t already gotten your order in you have until tonight. Same goes for pickup at the Montgomery’s Inn. So get those orders in!
This week in CSA we have Lettuce, Spinach, Bok Choi, Radishes, Cabbage, and Rutabaga.
We continue to be busy harvesting in the greenhouse. It seems like as fast as we can cut lettuce more grows back. The radishes and Bok Choi are just beautiful right now and the ones in the unheated tunnels are nearly ready as well so we will continue to have them for several more weeks. The tomatoes are really growing and many of them are ready for their strings to trellis them for the summer. I think I even saw a few blossoms on the cherry tomato plants, so the season is coming. We have our first cucumbers planted as well, and if we have time this week maybe we can plant the peppers.
Since our week has centred so much on lambing we are thinking of it a lot so I thought we could share a bit more about what we actually have to do in lambing season. We get some questions basically along the lines of “don’t they just do it on their own?”. Well yes, most of them. But then there are the times that doesn’t work out and you end up with dead lambs, or even a dead ewe. Even when we try our best it can still happen, but often if we are there we have an opportunity to save them. So sometimes we are just there in case they need us. And sometimes they do it by themselves when we aren’t there and usually they are fine. But even for the ones that do have the lambs on their own the work isn’t over. We move them into a small pen to adjust to family life and so we have a chance to keep a closer eye on them. While they are there we weigh and tag the lambs and record the numbers and who the ewe was so we can keep track of our genetics and how each ewe is doing from year to year. We also dock tails so they don’t develop problems later in life from manure building up on their tales and attracting fly larva. Since we didn’t trim hooves at shearing time we are also trimming the ewes hooves while we have them separated. Then after a day or two they are off to the group pen of ewes with lambs. Someone also asked recently about the colour of some of the lambs that looked quite yellow. This happens because sometimes before they are born they poop and the little baby meconium poop colours them yellow. It most often happens if it was a long or hard lambing. Sometimes when there are twins or triplets the first one or two will be white and the last one yellow. But after a week they all look about the same. It’s just something that happens sometimes.
This last week might have been cooler, but the previous week really warmed the soil and last week hasn’t been freezing anyway. Much to our surprise, yesterday we saw the Asparagus peaking up. It’s too early. There is still cold in the forecast and our previous attempts to keep asparagus warm on cold nights haven’t been overly successful. Not that we won’t try. On the off chance we are successful we may have asparagus as soon as the end of this week. Just don’t hold your breath for it.
We haven’t been planting in the field yet, but progress is still happening. We got the manure spread for our squash field so it will hopefully be ready in good time for planting this year. Nathan has the spreader somewhat fixed, but he still isn’t happy with it especially for larger jobs so we were glad for the opportunity to hire someone with a larger spreader to get the job done for us. What might have taken us a week was done in an afternoon. The wood chips still need to be spread and we may have to do that ourselves depending on availability, but sometimes when there is an opportunity it is better just to pay someone to do the job rather than fight away all week ourselves.
We are coming up on the summer market season, so it seems like a good time to update everyone on our plans for the summer. On May 6th we will be back outside at the Stop’s market most likely in our usual spot by the courtyard but we are still waiting on the updated map. On the 18th we will be back at Dufferin Grove park for the summer market season there. Unfortunately, due to ongoing staffing challenges we will not be able to continue at Montgomery’s Inn. I know some of you know already, and it is a disappointment to many, but we have to prioritize our time where it is most important, which has to include enough time on the farm to actually grow things. We will be continuing for now on a biweekly schedule until May 17th.
Well I’ve rambled on long enough. According to the calendar we are supposed to move the chickens to the pasture pens today, but according to the forecast that is a terrible idea so we will wait a little while. Fortunately we have a bit of extra space where they are so the extra week of growth shouldn’t harm anything and we’ll have enough of a handful trying to keep the lambs and the asparagus warm without worrying about stuffing pasture pens full of straw to keep the birds from freezing. Anyway, we need ten more cases of lettuce harvested and packed for Wednesday so I’d better check how the guys are doing.
Until next week,
Nathan and Aleta Klassen