Tag Archives: to-do list

farm progress report: bit by bit


So, it’s mid-May now. It’s been over 8 months since we officially started this farm transformation project. We’ve gotten a lot done, but we still have a lot to go to reach our goals for this first year, most notably the planting, growing and harvesting of some vegetables for all of us. Our extra long, extra cold (for west coast standards) and extra rainy winter and spring, along with our own busy schedules means that we haven’t gotten around to the bulk of our planting yet. Yikes! On the flip side, it sounds like we aren’t alone. This weather means late planting times for a lot of gardeners and farmers around here, other than those that have decent greenhouses or are just way more organized than us. We did attempt to start seedlings indoors in planting trays (since we don’t have a greenhouse yet), but most of the seedlings haven’t survived the trays. Oops. Well, this is a learning experience after all… We need to order some top soil for our deep beds. I’m hoping we can get the soil in place and our seeds planted in the ground by May long weekend (is that this weekend or the following? See, unorganized…).

But despite the slow start to some things, when I reflect on what we have accomplished so far, it’s pretty awesome:

  • fixed up the chicken
    coop and filled it with chickens;

  • rototilled a
    vegetable patch beside the chicken coop which has been planted with
    garlic, beans, peas and flowers (the flowers were recently replanted
    to other areas of the farm to make more room for bean and pea
  • built four deep beds
    and did what we could to prep the clay-heavy and weed-heavy soil;
  • dug out the drainage
  • planted wildflower regeneration seeds along the ditches;
  • planted raspberry and blueberry bushes as well as multiple fruit trees;
  • built a composting system;
  • got rabbits and built a rabbit hutch above the composting system to utilize their manure as much as we can;
  • built a pig pen that now houses 6 pigs;
  • chopped tons of firewood;
  • tidied up parts of the property;
  • felled trees that needed to come down;
  • expanded the pond and stream in the back meadow;
  • created a water catchment and storage system;
  • built a chicken tractor;
  • ordered seeds (well, actually Cary did :);
  • built a herb spiral and mapped out a planting plan for it;
  • planted numerous decorative bushes and trees that will pretty the place up and create a more diverse plant environment;
  • planted kiwi vines and laid down a brick pad for our future outdoor feasting table;
  • hosted two work parties where old friends and new came out to help;
  • made new friends with other farmers and like-minded folks in the Maple Ridge and surrounding areas;
  • had many awesome farm family meetings around great food, coffee and wine;

I’m sure there’s more I could add, but that’s what comes to mind right now. In addition to those group accomplishments, I’ve personally become fairly adept at trailer living – fixing leaks, living without heat and hot water sometimes (or any water at all), not to mention getting used to living with an outdoor composting toilet. I’ve also come to love driving a truck, even when it does come with it’s own list of fix-it problems.

So for now, we keep moving ahead with our plans, bit by bit, slow as it may feel sometimes. This past weekend was rainy again (surprise, surprise), but I managed to get in a few projects here and there when the downpour lightened up. I gave the pig pen a good clean and filled it with fresh, dry sawdust (THAT is stinky work), transplanted flowers from the garlic patch to pots and other areas around the property to make room for edible stuff. In their place, I planted peas and beans, as well as more sweet peas along the fence line. I scattered wildflower regeneration seeds along the ditch beside out deep beds, stacked a bunch of freshly chopped wood and spread woodchips all along the east side of my trailer. Now, instead of looking out on gravel and dirt, I have nice consistent wood chips that lead to where the grass starts. Looks a bit nicer. Now to burn away all of our junk wood pile and move that trailer that is parked between me and the pig pen off to the side. Like I said, pretty-ing this place up bit by bit.

Chris also did some work this weekend, cutting down armfuls of comfrey and layering it in our compost bins to help create a balanced, healthy compost pile.

Some photos of things I captured over the weekend above, including a couple trailer interior shots on rainy days (taken from my reading chair where I was curled up with a cup of tea, resting my feet on my little heater). Hopefully my next blog post will involve us getting all of our veggie seeds planted under a blue sky!