Friday, March 25, 2011

On again, off again - please make up your mind!

Old Mr. Weather is at it again!  Right now it's snowing and sleeting outside.  It's definitely spring - you can tell by the temperatures - 70's one day and this morning it was 31 degrees and there was frost on the ground.  Damage to the blooms can occur with frost or temperatures around 30 degrees, so we knew we needed to cover the plants and give them some extra warmth for a few days.  It's hard work pulling the row covers on and off and you have to be careful not to break off any plants, but it gives them a few extra degrees of heat under the covers. 

 If the weather gets extremely cold and there is a freeze warning, we also turn on the overhead sprinklers to form a thin layer of ice, which actually produces heat underneath!  Hard to believe, but it saved our crop in 2007 from total failure.  We don't like to use water unless absolutely necessary, because too much water can cause diseases.  Brr - it was cold taking this picture!  But Jeff, Jimmy, and Kyle did the hard work :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still cleaning!

Every day we (mostly Jeff) do a bit more to spruce up the farm.  He's being very daring high up on that ladder taking down some old tree swings that have rotted.  He put them up for our daughter, Rachel, and she loved swinging on them.  

Another just finished project was the right side shed on the old barn.  This barn is about 100 years old.  Kyle and his dad did a great job on both side sheds.  Now Jeff can protect some of his farm equipment from the elements.  Thanks, mom! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Jeff was driving home from church today and saw this breathtaking sight - blooming Bradford Pear trees lining the main street in Fulton.  The real thing is even prettier than the pictures he took.  

Our strawberries have some blooms, too!  Here is a picture of them after spring cleaning. Keep track of the plant's size - it's about 7 inches in diameter right now and just one little bloom that will be a strawberry in 30 days.   Soon the fields will be full of little white blooms in a sea of green.

What a beautiful world God has created for us to enjoy!  We have so much to be grateful for, don't we?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring cleaning

Some jobs Jeff can take care of and for others we need extra help.   Jeff is spraying the grass in the middle of the rows.  During the fall and winter, the grass helps with erosion  and weed control.  The spray doesn't hurt the strawberries, thank goodness.  The dead grass makes a nice walking surface for picking berries, too.

Our helpers are going to need backrubs after hand weeding the fields today!  The weeds aren't bad this year, but we check every plant to make sure the old leaves from winter and weeds are cleaned away.  It usually takes 2 days to finish this project.  All the strawberries need now is sun, sun, sun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catering to the strawberries

Now that the strawberries are uncovered and growing more, they are hungry!  Jeff is priming the pump.  Water goes through the big round filters, and he feeds the plants through the underground irrigation system.  This is their first food of the spring season.  It's precise and every week they need different nutrients.  You can see their food on the truck bed.  The tiniest bottle is the most expensive - $95.00.  Strawberries have expensive taste buds!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day of rest

No work on the farm today.  Just going to church and relaxing.  Here are a few of our wonderful friends.  Pumpkin just appeared one day about a month ago. He was a mess!  But I gave him a bath and brushed him and he was soon soft and fluffy.  He obviously had a home somewhere else, because he made himself right at home immediately. He'd love to be a house cat, but our 2 inside cats weren't too happy when he tried to move in,'ll see Pumpkin roaming the farm now. He has a tiny meow and a big purr.

Until about a month ago, we had 3 dogs.  Chaos (named after a Sonic the Hedgehog character) just vanished.  We don't know what happened to him.  We rescued him as a puppy, so it was sad to lose him.  He was the big protector of our 2 smaller dogs.  You see, they are both handicapped.  Juliet is blind in one eye, and Nala was hit by a car and can't use one of her back legs very well.  All of our girl dogs are named after "princesses" of one sort or another.  I'm having my daughter, Rachel, make up a genealogy chart of all the pets we've had on the farm.  We have a couple of pet cemeteries to remember them, because they were all loved.  Here's a picture of Juliet on the left and Nala on the right napping.  It was a scary, stormy night and as a special treat we let them come in the family room.  They loved it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunny day

It's the first warm, sunny day in a loong time.  Jeff's finished cleaning up the fence row.  It grows up so quickly and he likes to have everything ship shape around the farm.  We're going to have one big bonfire from the looks of the brushpile!  You can see the beehives next to the fence row.  We stayed far away from them today.  They are very busy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Uncovering the sleeping beauties - I mean berries

Our berries have been protected through the winter with row covers held down by sandbags.  This provided a warmer temperature for them through the cold winter months.  Jordon and Kyle are carefully pulling the row covers off the berries, but leaving them in the field just in case we have more very cold weather before the berries ripen.  You can see the rye grass between the rows for erosion control and weed control.  It will be gone before berry picking time.