Monday, May 19, 2014

Balm of Gilead and work on the farm

We work our kids hard here on the farm. There’s not much time to just sit around as everyone has to pitch in. During the spring thaw we like to get out and pick poplar buds that have sap flowing through them and we put them in oil to make a healing remedy for everything from cuts and bruises to headaches and hemorrhoids.

It takes a long time but with everyone involved it doesn’t take that long.

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The buds are put in olive oil and left for weeks at a time.

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We picked buds on different days and put them in bottles.You can kind of see the red oil bottles which have been soaking longer.pretty girl 018

When the kids aren’t picking poplar buds we have them clearing the land of sticks and overgrowth.

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Little Polly is a trooper. She loves to help even when she’s dressed up in her fairy costume.

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I guess we do have some time just to sit around. It looks like we worked Ringo too hard on this day. It’s actually the day after a father and son campout. I don’t remember him taking more than a hand full of naps on his own in his life but we found him out sleeping on a bunch of wood slabs. Not sure how comfortable it was but he was there for all of 20 minutes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Planting trees in a snow storm

There’s a season for planting, a season for growing and a season for harvesting. In Canada all three seasons can feature snow. I’ve seen it snow in May, June, August, September, etc. So really the only month we are pretty darn safe regarding snow in is July but I swear I’ve seen that as well. Milly warned me to stop exaggerating so since I can’t remember the exact July snow storm in question I’ll pretend we are safe for that month.

Our planting season is upon us and we have been really excited because last week we had plus 20 c weather and we felt like the planting season was finally here and we were going to have good weather to get things in the earth. We are in dire need of a shelter belt and we made some good progress last year. We decided to kick start the wind break by investing in 5 foot tall spruce trees.

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These trees were dug out by a tree mover and places in a wire basket. Each one weight between 400 and 500 lbs. I ended up digging all the holes by hand and somehow sliding them into place with great difficulty and effort.

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We got 23 or so of them and that was the front end of the shelterbelt around 90 feet away from our house.

We then planted 35 or so Willow cuttings we got off of a local person in our town.

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By cuttings I mean we cut off limbs and planted them in the ground. Believe it or not they just grow.

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These grew around a foot to five feet of branches and are doing quite well. You can see they are starting to bud out already. The Willow cutting around our grey water pit is by far the furthest along.

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We got the Willow cuttings off of a few trees from a neighbor. He said if we’d trim his trees we could have the cuttings. The neighbor is ninety years old and so it helped him and it helped us as well. We like free stuff and it’s a great way to get trees started.

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After planting the poplars it started raining and then by morning it was snowing quite vigorously. We had rented a trencher to dig a path for our 300 plus Caragana starts and it would have been very easy to plant in the nicely dug up soil if the dirt wasn’t turned to mud and there wasn’t an inch of snow on top of the ground.

There is not too many women that would be out in the middle of a snow storm planting trees. We were both chilled to the bone and covered from head to toe in mud but at least our shelter belt is mostly planted.

We have several other things we need to plant this year namely:

  • Garden
  • Evens Cherry tree
  • Choke Cherry starts
  • Elderberry bushes
  • Saskatoon bushes
  • 100 or so more Willow starts
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Various other things we pick up

At this time of year we are really grateful for Sundays and our day of rest. Hopefully we have time to get everything done before the growing season is upon us.