Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Cycle begins ...

The snow is falling as I write and in the last two weeks we have gone from temperatures in the minus 20's to temperatures now hovering around zero.  It has been crazy weather and so far we do not have a great deal of snow although there is more than enough to cover the ground now and necessitate plowing and shovelling after each new fall.

I have neglected the blog in recent months -- and will strive to do better as the new year advances.  Jen was delivering to her CSA customers right up to the first week in November and then there is the serious work of putting the garden to bed.   There comes a time when one is almost happy to see the frost that brings the garden to a close for the season. 
When the clean up of the garden and storing of veggies is completed the subject of gardening is taboo for the next couple of months.  I think that is the gardener's version of a "staycation". Now, Christmas and New Year have come and gone, it would seem and thoughts are turning once again to the planning and organizing that makes the whole process possible. 

The "SEED" order went in this week and that means that the cycle begins again.  I hesitate to count the number of seed catalogues that have arrived in recent months.  My husband likes to refer to these as "garden porn" or "crack" for gardeners and for different reasons both seem appropriate.  When Jen asked for my list of flowers and dye plants, it took me exactly 30 minutes to amass an order of 34 items and really I was just getting started :-) .  We should be share holders in William Dam's for the volume of business that Ranfurly Farm represents - Jen's CSA veggies, Mike with his annual forages for various critters and personal list of favorites, brother Tim with his penchant for the odd and unusual and me, just trying to keep up with everyone else!  I am sure that if you are reading this, you understand the addictive nature of gardening - even for the novice.  The irony will be that even with this wealth of seeds, there will still be items that we overlooked or forgot about.

While it is too early to even speak about the coming of spr... , there are chicks hatching in the spare room and this will be the third or fourth batch to date.  Jen and Adam wanted to hatch their own laying hens in a time frame that would have the hens starting to lay in early spring/summer just as the market and the CSA take off.  It has been an interesting exercise.  The chickens are in the greenhouse for the winter where they have lots of space and seem to be extremely comfortable while doing their job of adding fibre and nutrients to the soil.   

The Gotlands will begin lambing in another month which means that I have to give them their boosters and selenium shots this week.  We have four Gotland ewes bred to AI rams and they will be the first to lamb this year.  They are already looking pretty round.  My BFL's will start lambing a month later.