Saturday, February 2, 2013

Farmwife's Journal - February 2nd

Often Saturdays are farm days, meaning we work on getting things done around the farm.  With school and chores to do during the week, there isn't much time left for projects.  So today we started our first seeds. Gardening already - can you believe it?! 
As I walked out to the garden shed to collect my needed supplies, I had a feeling of excitement run through me - gardening!  But then the cold wind hit me and with the temperature hovering around 8 degrees, I wondered if I really wanted to be doing this.  Nevertheless, I made my way into the shed.  Oh the shed! :( This time of year the garden shed is a sea of obstacles.  It usually gets cleaned in the spring and fall, but all winter long, objects that need to find their home in the shed are quickly tossed in the door and stay right where they land.  Tempted to be discouraged again, I took a deep breath and began picking up Christmas decorations and arranging things in an orderly fashion so I could walk around.  Then I began collecting my supplies - a shovel, planting containers, trays, and a watering can.  Now the only thing I needed was dirt, and that was in the root cellar.
Every fall, we fill some five gallon buckets with dirt and store them in the root cellar.  That way, when we are ready to start seeds, we have good soil (that isn't frozen) ready to use.  For years we wondered what was in the potting soil that we bought from the store, until finally we decided that we would use our own dirt.  If you can plant seeds in the dirt in late spring, why is it that you have to start them in potting soil in February?  You don't! :)  Dirt works just fine.  And our rich black dirt from our organic farm works even better! :)
Together Mike and I started onions, parsley, and rosemary.  We have a shelf in our garage that has lights over it and plastic covering it.  A little heater on one end keeps it warm, and that's our green house.  We will be starting seeds every week or so for the next couple months.
While we worked on the seed starting project, Ben and Jonny dumped straw from the puppy pen and of course spent some time playing with the puppies.  Emily was in the house washing and cutting up a crate of apples.  We will have warm, spicy apple sauce for dessert tonight :)
The next project was cleaning the root cellar.  I spent some time searching crates for bad fruit.  I found some rotten apples, moldy squash, mushy onions, and soft potatoes, but most of the produce was in good condition.  Thankfully the weather has been cold.  Last year stuff rotted so fast because the root cellar was too warm.  The temperature is hovering around 35 degrees right now, which is perfect. 
The boys helped me compost some of the bad produce and some of it they gave to the chickens.
Then we organized the buckets of grain.  We found a bucket of spelt berries full of bugs, so that also became chicken food.  It is rare for us to find grain with bugs in it; I can't remember the last time that happened! 
Once the outside work was done, I was back in the house to make lunch.  Lunches are usually a fresh salad with lots of raw vegetables.  Today was no exception.  Along with our salad, we enjoyed an orange and a glass of kombucha (homemade by Emily).  Our lunch conversation center around puppies, as we have eleven of them now! :)  In fact, much of life is centered around them right now. :)  We are just beginning the process of weaning them, so we were talking about our feeding schedule for the next few weeks.  We have gotten our feeding routine for our adult dogs down.  Every morning our buckets of fruit and vegetables and raw meat are brought in from the refrigerator in the garage.  Then Emily or I divide the chicken or lamb and meaty bones up between the dogs dishes.  To that we add raw eggs, raw milk (or kefir or yogurt), herbs, a bit of fruits and veggies, and garlic.  Then the boys take the dishes and run them out to the dogs.  Our dogs are sometimes offered dry dog food, depending on the season.  For example, while Princess in nursing, she needs to have food available to her at all times, so there is always a dish of dog food available to her.  But it's funny, it is her last resort.  Smart dog. :)  And when the weather is really cold, I will leave food out to make sure everybody has plenty of fuel to stay warm.
During breeding season, Captain and Princess were on a special diet, and of course Princess has had lots of special treatment (foods) since she is now a nursing mom.  She especially likes her fortified milk drink.  It's raw milk, eggs, olive oil, and molasses all mixed together.  Doesn't that sound good? :)  She loves it.  I give it to her 4 cups at a time, and she drinks it right down on the spot.  What is amazing is that she has not had any trouble keeping up with nursing eleven puppies!
If you would like to learn more about our dogs click on the dog link above, or you can see them live via our puppy camera! :)

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