Friday, March 12, 2010

Signs of Spring

Spring is close, here are 3 signs of spring at Wild Hare Farm.

Turdus migratorius (aka Robins)

These guys are great. We have several roaming gangs of 20-30 Robins around the farm. Each individual group of birds moves together doing that funky 5-6 bouncing hop, then stopping to look around and display their orange breast.

We have been harvesting radishes for several
weeks now and they are awesome. One of our favorite ways to eat them is on good french bread with butter and a sprinkle of salt.

From Jacques Pepin:
Cut a baguette into thin slices about 3/8 inch thick. Cover each slice lavishly with unsalted butter. Thinly slice several radishes horizontally (a vegetable peeler is good for this) and cover the butter with overlapping slices of radish. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top and enjoy with drinks.

Our first hakurei turnips of the year and they are beautiful. This variety is mild enough to be sliced
thin and used in a salad. They are also excellent roasted. The tops are delicious sauteed.

For roasting remove greens, slice or quarter, rub with olive oil, generous salt and pepper, place in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 400 deg and cook until tender and golden brown (about 30 mins).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Carry All Project

One of the things I have wanted for sometime now is a Carry All. A Carry All is a metal frame, typically with wood decking that attaches to a tractor via a 3 point hitch. They are a really useful item for moving things around the farm. As the name implies, you can carry pretty much anything.

I shopped around and could find them new for about $125. I thought I could do better than that (plus I'm cheap). Being a pipe welder in a former life, I decided to make my own. I invested 50 bucks in some angle iron, $5 for a can of spray paint, roughly 3-4 dollars in welding rods, $5 in lift arm pins and a couple of dollars in electricity. Total cost, slightly over $65, plus the satisfaction of doing something yourself.

A Carry All is a simple project and doesn't require much in the way of special tools. I chopped the angle iron up using a Sawzall, used some C clamps and a square to make the frame.

Laying the frame out.

Corners Tack welded.

Attachment for Top link.

Welding it all together.

Upper frame welded.

Adding lower decking supports.

Here is the frame all welded and ready for paint.

Last I added some 2x12's left over from a previous project and 1x6's for the decking. The decking is attached via carriage bolts. I did not add the decking cost to the project total, as
decking would have been required with a Carry All purchase from a farm implement supplier.

Here is the Carry All with decking and ready for work.

Monday, March 1, 2010

With the colder than average winter all of crops are running behind. The good news is the Tulips are starting to show color and we have them available for market. We also have radishes and a small volume of strawberries. The strawberries are big and firm with a good taste. Hopefully
with the longer days and return of the sun, the volume of berries will increase. We should have turnips in a week or so.

We are gearing up for a big spring. Our starter house is packed full of trays: tomatoes, lettuce, kale, pac choi, etc. For flowers we have lisianthus, campanula, stock, dianthus, monarda, delphinium. We'll also have ranunculus, freesia and a few others surprises from our hoophouses.

It's has been so wet this winter doing any sort of soil tilling has been challenging. At one point I thought we may have to rig a snorkle and a periscope to the tractor.....Luckily we have been able to till a few of our raised beds. Weather permitting we'll be able to plant the starts from our greenhouse as well direct seed other items such as carrots.