Monday, 7 February 2022

History never happens all at once.  

We all have common concerns.  We learn about these common concerns by listening to one another.  According to the folks interviewed by Amanda Ripley, author of "High Conflict", one of the most effective ways to get people to sit, speak with and listen to one another, is over food...


We still have honey avaiallble!  Contact us if you are interested...



Here we are, a new year and a brand new fresh start!  Let the boring twenties continue...

















Here is Cayley moments after fishing her Christmas present out of a brown paper bag.  

Barely visible to her right, is her toy filled with fresh catnip.  Exactly what she wants to keep her preoccupied during the winter days when the snow beneath her paws is not to her liking.

Helps keep her off the computer when its getting more attention than she is.









While perusing photos from last year, I came across this dragon fly.  It's unclear if this was taken in Lanark or in Stittsville.














Our big farm investment this year was the trailer.  

Many tasks become quicker around here (and lighter), and we could not have moved everything from the old farm to the new one without it.


















 
Many small tasks were completed, such as our leaky outdoor tap and pipe.












Julia started, and subsequesntly completed, building her first garden from scratch - a bed of very bee friendly flowers.  







In spite of all our progress, the field is not ready enough to provide for a full CSA next season.  It's a tough decision, the first time in over twelve seasons that I will not be selling a lot of vegetables.

One of the mistakes I made in our first year was to start before we had the farm on a firm foundation, and it reallly slowed down our growth for the first four years.  The old farm never really recovered and in the end, never achieved it's fullest potential.


There will be some produce in the middle of the year:  garlic, potatoes, carrots, a few green beans and whatever other crops we can fit in the curently prepared beds; as well as honey and (I'm not counting on them) maybe some mushrooms.

























Sunday, 5 December 2021

Update as of December 9th:


We still have produce in stock for sale.  For our CSA and occasional customers in Kanata, Stittsville, and Ottawa, I will be making deliveries once during the weeks of the 13th, 20th, and 27th.

Exact dates to be determined by the weather, I try to keep my best eather days for work here at the farm.

For custoemrme in the Lanark and McDonalds Corners area, please contact us by phone or email (prefferrred) to order and arrange a pick up time.


For honey or pork, please see the honey and pork pages respectively.  For other produce, check the Farmgate Store page.

Supplies for most of our produce stock, and certain cuts of pork are limited, so contact us soon.

Our jars of award winning gold honey make great Christmas gifts!




 

Hello Everyone:

Withthe pork to arrive soon, activity continues to ramp up here at Whitsend.  Even as the first snow flies, there are tasks to be seen to.  No time for winter reading just yet.

There are still carrots, rutabaga, garlic, and limited quantities of potatoes remaining to be sold.  Contact us if you are interested.





Our pork is arriving tommorrow.  As is our new freezer.  And the worst weather of the new season.  

For details, see the 'Pork' page at the tab above.

I'm sure my pork pick-up trip will be a bit of an adventure on the roads tommorrow.







In the meantime, we are saying good bye to the old farm.  Almost everything is out of the field except for my freshly harvested fence posts and a pile of smooth rocks I use to pin down row covers and insect netting.  

The barn has a lot of assorted stuff still in it, all slowly being packed while a new shed is hastily constructed at the Lanark site to put it all in.






Our field for the past ten years has finally begun to yield some very good results.  The last and probably biggest lesson I learned in deveping soil fertility was cover cropping, especially at the end of the year to provide for the next season's soil. 




One of the most unusual things I noticed this season was the lack of insect pests.  One potato beatle, no evidence of hormworms, very few lawn grubs and wire worms, and not a single squash beatle.  However, there were plenty common house finches, and several sightings of mature praying mantis'.  I was here almost five years before I found my first mantid, now the population seems to have established itself.  Hopefully forever...

This photo is taken of the earliest portion of the field that I grew vegetables on.  I have not used it for over three years, yet the outlines of the beds are still discernable.




The farm is now sold so everything must be out by January First.  Good bye first farm...









The new farm had some progress this season.  Our first vegetable field has had it's cover crops rotated for two years and now the new beds are being cut in.  

The first four to be completed were the garlic beds, seen here coverd with straw.







This is the next vegetable field to start work on after its first plowing.  I have started it now as I expect there will be at least one year of cover cropping.  While the cover crops break up the hard crust, smother weeds and feed the soil, I'll be cleaning and preparing beds in the first field.









Roof spacce is in very short supply here.  THis is my solution for storing straw.  I would have preferred to keep this in the large shed, but that structure is near black walnut trees.  Walnut trees proiduce a toxin that inhibits the growth of other plants, so I need to keep the walnuts out of the straw that I want to use as mulch and eventually compost material.

The problem with keeping stra bales near walnut trees is that the rodents like to eat the walnuts on top of the bales, thus spreading the rinds and shell (and toxins) into the bales.




So I have to resort to using some old tarps and whatever else I can find to protect the bales from exposure to rain and snow.  It's an eyesore, but it works.






Here is another temporary solution, a hastily constructed lean to covered in tarps. I hope it lasts the winter, in an attempt to keep building materials dry and as organised for quick retrieval as posssible.

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The foundation for the "hot nursery" is started.  For the past couoplk eof years I have used the main floor of the hexagon for seedling starting but the light is poor and the space not custom built to suit the needs. 

This will be the fourth nursery I've built, using everything I have learned from my first three nurseries at the old farm to improve the work spae of this one.

I will consider myself lucky if this gets built before the weather becomes impractical to continue.




Of course, there is much more to relate, but the sun is rising and that means tume to bundle up and head outside...


PS - Word from B.C. is that our two main seed garlic suppliers are ok.  At last word, one was without pawer and operating on generators and the other was on high enough ground to be out of the flood zone.  No doubt they still have their challenges.


It is very unfortunate that there will be a lot of soil remediation to be done.  One farmer I heard from remarked that after the water receded from their field, it left a scent of kerosene all over their land.  I wonder about the ecological and organic farms that have had their nieghbours herbicides such as round up wash over their soil.  This mess will be a long clean up.  


A drained lake is not land!





Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Hello Everyone:

This is just a quick update - I have another busy day(s) ahead of me.  

First off, thank-you to our CSA customers who have supported us this season.  Our final season at Stittsville provided yet another exxcellent yield with several crops breaking  or matching our previous bests.  The fingerling potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, cherry tomatoes and kidney benas all did very well and our garlic did better than usual.  Beets still eluded me and the red chieftain potatoes were not as plentiful as they could have been (though bigger than usual).  

The two biggest disapointments were of my own making - I missed about a 1/3 of our garlic scapes.  I misinterpreted how close they were to harvest and missed them by about ten days.  This probably had an impact on the bulb size as well.  Customers recieved a typical amount of kidney beans, despite only 2/3 of the crop being included in their baskets.  The remaining third were left on the pods too long and got too wet.  As a result, some of the bean pods are rotten.  There are still good beans to be had but it will be a time consuming task to separate the good ones for the bad ones.  

With luck, I should be able to divert these rescued beans to the farmgate store after cleaning them this winter.



Our farmgate store is closing for the season.  Future purchases may be made by apointment.  Carrots, garlic, rutabaga and possibly green onions and kidney beans may be avaialable so keep checking here for updates.

Gold honey is still available.

Our pigs are being harvested as of today.  In about a week, we should be ready to sell our butchered meat.  This year, we are using the Farmersville Community Abbatoire butchering services.

Pork is available frozen and wrapped in butchers paper.

The price list on our pork page is out of date, but should be updated fairly soon.  Expect the new price to be higher than what is listed there as feed and other supplies are more expensive than in the past.




We are thinking of one of our past customers who now lives in B.C.  Two of our seed garlic providers - Rasa Creek Farm and Norwegian Creek Farm have survived the B.C. flooding.





Back in September, Whitsend participated in it's first community farm fair - the MacDonalds Corners Agricutlural Fair.

It gave us an opportunity to meet some locals, sell some of our food, and try out our new tent for the first time.

















Here are our prize winning contestants.

Our gold honey took first prize.













Our Persian Star Garlic took second prize. 







As did our white honey.  






There was no category for Rutabaga, so I placed it in the unusual vegetables category.  There is nothing nusal about rutabaga or turnips, so it was no contest aginst some unusual squashes and (I can't recall its name) some kind of plant that I have never seen before.  Should have taken a picture of it, but I suppose vanity won out in that moment.  






Our cherry tomatoes did well.






I was surprised by our first place peppers.









This is our entrant in the odd shaped vegetable category.  

I had intended to enter our regular carrots but after harvesting them, I discovered that carrots needed to have their tops on to be eligible.  Beaten by the fine print!

Allin all, I was impressed by the organisation of the fair.  There was plenty to see and do and it was well run.  Can't wait for next year...




























Monday, 30 August 2021

 Hello Everyone:

Our farm gate store is now taking orders for carrots, honey, and garlic.

If you are interested inn our products, send your requests to whitsmg@gmail.com.








Our field in Stittsville is being very productive this season.  The potatoes, kidney beans, carrots and rutabaga are looking very good.  

The garlic is finished curing and I am in the process of grading it, selecting seed bulbs, and delivering the season customers share.

As soon as the garlic is out of the barn rafters, the kidney beans (pictured right) will be harvested, bundled up, and hung in the rafters for their turn to cure.





I spent a large amount of effort into preparing our future vegetable field in Lanark during the first two weeks of the month.  After seeding what should be our final cover crop of radish, clover, and buckwheat, I waited for rain.  And waited, while a flock of crows descended to start eating the seeds.






Fortunately, I put a lot of seed down, but none of it will perform unlesss we recieve more rain.  We now have had a little, but more is needed.  Keep hoping for wet weather!