Thursday, March 10, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of March 2016

Spring is here.   Although we’ve not quite reached the vernal equinox (March 20), the temperatures this week have been consistently above freezing.   The spring peepers are beginning their mating rituals in the vernal pond and their  chorus is soothing us to sleep every night.     Here's a recording from our bedroom window.

With Spring-like weather, every animal imaginable is awake, searching for food and raising young.  On my nightly checks of the alpaca this week I’ve seen raccoons, skunks, coyotes, night herons, and groundhogs.   The skunk cabbage is in bloom and the bees are exploring the woodland looking for food.   The poultry crumble is a good source of protein since pollen is scarce.   It’s  covered with bees.

With Spring, the males begin competing for mates.   We found a pool of blood behind the coop and the source was two roosters fighting so violently that one knocked of his spurs (that’s like knocking off a finger).   They will grow back.

Running Unity Farm is a continuous educational experience.  In previous blogs I’ve described my 4 seasons approach to organic vegetable production including the germination stations I’ve built indoors and  outdoors (in the hoop house).    This week, with temperatures in the 70’s the sprouts in the hoop house got too hot.   It became clear to me that germination is best done in a controlled environment, so I’ve moved all the germination lights, heat mats, and trays to tables into the house.  

Thus far, I’ve had great luck transplanting germinated seeds after 3 weeks.  Here’s what the hoop house looks light today (in mid-March) using my transplant technique.

With my daughter getting married in May, I’m adding a few improvements to the farm near the place where she’ll get married (the grape pergola).   Last Saturday, I re-built this fountain using 3 boulders from the farm.   The engineering of the plumbing was interesting - a four season, easy to maintain pressure balanced water circulation system.    I used a magnetic, low power 1800 gallon/hour pump , polymer fittings from Shark Bite and stainless steel clamps.   The end result - nothing to maintain, since there is nothing to rust or wear out.

The only remaining infrastructure project before the wedding is repaving the driveway, which was last maintained in 1993.   Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Layanee said...

I do wish you luck and much fun with your adventures. Seed starting begins here in the basement under lights and on heat mats in April. Seeds are a promise unfulfilled. Optimism is required along with faith. LOL