It's one of those evenings here tonight that really only happen this time of year. It was a glorious warm day of clear skies and the air carried a purpose to it, incensing everyone to get to their gardens, or get out for a walk, or at least mow their lawns. People made good suppers that they maybe ate outdoors and many are still working away. The kids are sound asleep after a long day outdoors and I'm not far from it myself. Mark is still in the field, planting peas and barley, hoping to finish before dark. I love the feel of the air getting colder by the hour and the sound of the spring peepers slowly coming back to life after a couple frosty nights. I love watching the robins pull worms out of the freshly mowed lawn and seeing all the motorbikes out and about on the country roads for their first rip of the season.
It's not been a week without incidence around here though, nor will it be, before it's over. We've got two school tours tomorrow morning, an adult writers group on Friday and then another school tour and a tour of Japanese journalists next week. Thankfully there's lots of animals to see right now, so that will eat up most of the touring time and we won't have to rely too much on filling time with looking at various seeds and trying to make crop production sound exciting to kids.
We got our four weaner pigs this week and Gail is a happy mama wannabe, teaching them the ways of the farm. May-May, Beatrice, Sparkle and Runaway are their names and they're pretty darn cute right now. They weren't so cute when they got out the first night and we spent far too long looking before giving up and letting them come back on their own. Runaway, after a lengthy house arrest, escaped again yesterday, but surely, has learned her lesson by now. She will make particularly tasty bacon I'm sure and will be particularly easy to say goodbye to come fall.
Our second batch of chicks came yesterday and as I type this I can hear another peeping away in the incubator downstairs. We really messed up this last batch, but somehow three have managed to hatch anyway. The incubator (on lend from Mark's sister) has an automatic turner in it and we forgot to take it out until the night before they were due (the eggs are NOT supposed to move for the last three days). Anyway, lesson learned and next time we'll be sure to pay attention and probably even program it into our various technologies to remind us to be better mother hens. I was looking particularly forward to these chicks since they were from our red rooster, Big Handsome, and our red hens. But we'll try again.
We've been having some wet weather, although not as wet at some areas of the Maritimes. It's been grey and cold and on and off showers, but no real heavy rains to speak of. Just enough to keep the tractors out of the fields. So yesterday, when it was our first real, sunny dry day of the last couple weeks, you can imagine how happy Mark was to be puttering around on the lawn mower and building chicken pens, rather than planting. We've had some real challenges in the last couple years sourcing an inoculant for the peas that is acceptable under organic standards. Much of the dry, peat products we used to source includes irradiated peat, so is no good to us. This means we have to find a liquid and it turns out it's a lot trickier to source. Or at least it's been made out to be much trickier. We've been dealing with a particularly useless local Co-Op manager who has made life rather difficult, despite Mark having ordered the product back in February and being very clear as to what he needed. Unfortunately this is not the first bad customer experience we've had with the Co-Op, so I suspect we will be moving our (rather significant) business elsewhere, following a letter to the board and manager.
The kids and I planted most of what will be our garden this year, today. Given my 'condition' and anticipated desire to be weeding and picking, it is limited to onions, corn and pumpkins. We might throw some tomato transplants in for salsa after a bit, but the rest will be buckwheat to give it a rest and cover and still lots of bee food. I'd probably be way less happy about this if I wasn't so excited for my CSA share with Jen and Derek's Farm Fresh Veggies this summer. For 18 weeks I will be getting a variety of veggies from the best CSA farm on the Island and I'll also be maintaining a separate blog with coinciding recipes (to share soon). Really excited about this!
If things weren't busy enough Mark received his first ever jury summons, to appear June 10th. Could this be some cosmic joke!? So we're hoping that the "owner/manager/single employee of a large farm business, father of three under 5 and husband of wife expecting baby #4 within a week" qualifies under the 'extreme hardship' excuse to get out of it. If all else fails, he'll just act like a wacko at the interview/selection part of the process and hope to be dismissed. gah!!! Surely there are enough people on EI in Summerside who can fill the spot without causing 'extreme hardship'!!
Wish me lots of patience tomorrow with the elementary school kids and then the highschool kids. They're both traveling from an hour away (each in the opposite direction), so should be glad to get here when they do. Here's hoping!