Spring update!

So it’s spring. The spring peepers, robins, and blackflies have all made this abundantly clear here for some time now. It’s been a nice spring up here on the mountain. Rather cool but not overly wet. So long as there’s sunshine, the greenhouses and solar panels could hardly care less about the temperature.

And by gods, the greenhouses sure have been pumping out some badass greens lately:

SpinachSpinach and other greens

More salad greens

Salad greensRed oakleaf lettuce

Radish, too. But you’ll have to come to the Annapolis Royal Winter Market tomorrow to see (and hopefully buy) those brightly coloured jewels. Tomorrow is the last Winter Market of the season, as next week – the 21st – we return to our spot at the Summer Market!

The outside gardens are also growing quite happily, with many of our beds in cold frames. The garlic is all doing great, and we’ve got carrots, beets, parsnips, peas, beans, kale, chard, potatoes, and more salad greens, spinach, and radish planted.

Garlic in full swing

And thanks to Laire’s maniacal efforts last fall, he and I have lots of tulips and daffodils in bloom all around our front yard! Such a wicked landscaper, that one.

Tulips abloomDaffodils littering the paths

Daffodils abloom along brook

You might be wondering what we’ve been up to lately. Well, unfortunately, we didn’t end up getting any new baby goats that we were all counting on here. We basically built a new barn for them, perhaps you’ve seen it? But then the goat kids just decided to not exist. That is, our billygoat turned out to be shooting blanks. None of our goats had actually been bred, as much as we managed to convince ourselves otherwise over the winter. This was a bit of a disappointment, mostly because baby goats are super cute and we were all planning on spending all spring cuddling with them for days on end.

No, actually, because it would have been great to get all that extra milk to make some hard cheeses and such. I even spent the winter getting rather obsessed with a certain style of raw milk cheesemaking through a wonderful book, The Art of Natural Cheesemaking. I’ve been practicing over the winter and become rather good at making various styles of fresh chèvre using a kefir starter culture. We still have enough milk on the go for me to keep that up – Mocha and Notch continue to yield milk since they gave birth last year – but it’ll be harder to squeeze a wheel of alpine or cheddar out of those old girls.

But we did end up with surprise kittens! And who doesn’t like kittens? Well, apparently they don’t like us. The kittens were born in the barn loft by our new feral barn cat, Lucky. Hopefully one day soon Lucky will be away hunting and we can sneak in some playtime with her babies!

We went for our first picking of fiddleheads yesterday. ‘Tis the season to forage for fiddleheads on the forest floor. We’ll go back next week when more of them have emerged, but we still did quite well. It’s lovely little spot we like to go picking at. There’s bloodroot in bloom everywhere.

Foraging for fiddleheads in the forestBloodroot in bloom

We’ll have lots of fiddleheads at the market tomorrow!

So really, why wouldn’t you come to market tomorrow? I mean, besides the thunderstorms? See you tomorrow!

Summer Returns to Snow Lake

A long winter and reluctant spring are quickly fading in the rear view; flowers are blooming, fireflies are buzzing, and the forest is once again busy with the sounds of life. The sun has returned to the North Mountain and we’ve been quick to take advantage of the long days to make some planned improvements to the Keep.

The Barn begins

Wayne gives us a lift.Timbers cut, stacked and ready for the build.

Work has officially begun on a large, central barn. We’ve hauled all the timbers to the site for construction of the frame, thanks to help from Wayne and his John Deer. The Barn will be the new home for our goats, complete with water cistern and drive-in hay loft – and an extra stall for future work horse. Stay tuned for updates on this build (and maybe even an invite to a proper barn-raising later this fall!).

A raised bed, built to last

Solar electric fence charger

This week, we poured the first stone-wall raised bed. This medieval addition to the Lower Garden will host a small crop of potatoes for its first season. The forms come off in a couple days and we’ll be sure to post a photo or two of the results. This project also served as a dry run for foundation work on Thor’s Den later this month.

Farm-Gate Fridays

Fresh produce every Friday!
Farm tours every Friday!
Just a reminder that Farm-Gate Fridays are a great way to beat the rush at the market, have first pick at our freshest harvest, and come tour the farm! 4-6pm every Friday. Stop by and say hello!

Growing greens never looked so good

It looks like we’ll have a sunny one for the third week at market! It’ll be a welcome change from last week, where we ended up having to leave early because of the wind, rain, and sleet. But after this muggy week of summerlike temperatures, last Saturday already seems like a distant memory! The black flies sure enjoyed the weather, I happened to notice.

Along with this welcome warmth, the greenhouses have been prolific, and we’re excited this week to bring to market loads of our first beet greens!

Beet greens

We also have lots of salad mix, spinach, arugula, radishes, and yet more fiddleheads (though you can be reasonably sure this will be the last week for those).

Bagging saladFreshly picked salad mix

RadishesArugula growing in the greenhouse

Plus, as always we have duck eggs, chicken eggs, hummus, and goat products.

If you’re in the area, stop by the farm today between 4 and 6pm for Farm-Gate Fridays to pick up your choices in advance of tomorrow’s market. Otherwise, see you at market tomorrow!