Wednesday, April 29

its raining, its pouring

The greenhouse is filling up out here. Hundreds of plants waiting for a chance to get into the fields. We've been delayed in our planting due to the outrageous rains this spring. Terry was able to plow the rye under a few nights ago before this week's rains, thankfully. So when we do have enough sunshine to dry things up, we will be busy bees. Little plants just waiting include: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, lettuce, parsley, kohlrabi, cabbage, cucumbers.

Last week we were fortunate to have a few groups come out and put some volunteer hours in while the sun was shining. Leeks, onions, broccoli, and potatoes all got planted. And later in the week carrots, snow peas, radishes, spinach.
For the livestock update...Walter the rooster is not fairing well these days. His harem has evidently not been appreciating his ever watchful eye and has begun picking at some wounds on his wings. Constant nibbling has created this nasty bloody mess that Terry has to cover with pine tar. Disgusting.

Monday, April 20

where the wild things are

In two weeks time Victory Acres Farm has welcomed ten new animals. Eight of them are chicks, one of which spent what must have been a frightfully cold night in Terry's vehicle unbeknownst to us all until the following afternoon. (I wondered why I only counted seven chicks when I knew Terry had told me we were getting eight). Of the eight chicks a few appear like they will be roosters. Too bad for them, that will get them a ticket to the stewing pot. The happy little hens will be joining our older layers once they get a little bigger.

Annabelle, the goat is getting along rather well as she helps us mow down our rye grass in the fields. Eventually she will be staked out along the creek to clear brush. This fall she will help us clear fence row, as she is a voracious eater of all things shrubby. She is quite the social beast and makes her presence known by her constant and mournful bleating.

The last animal that got the drop at the farm last week is Jasper, the abused and abandoned puppy. Due to the fact that no one on the farm likes dogs besides me, I get the joyous responsibility of trying to train poor Jasper to be civil to all. A daunting task since his six month life has been a mixture of being tied up and tortured by children. He has found a friend in me and sticks close, but he is suspect of everyone else and has an aggressive running bark. Scary. He's got about three weeks to get it pulled together or he gets ushered out of here. I'm hoping he chills out a bit, being that this might be his best shot of having a happy home.

And remains in motion.

Sunday, April 12

virtual farm tour

Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma made the road trip to Upland for a late Easter lunch with Lana, Kyle and I. Lana and Kyle were gracious hosts in their mini-kitchen. Mom brought the ham, salad, and brownies. Lana made the biscuits and I fixed the potatoes. It was a patchwork effort, and delicious at that.

Grandpa and Grandma were treated to a personalized tour of Zondervan Library on Taylor University's campus; Lana's place of employment. And a cool, windy tour of Victory Acres Farm via golf cart.

I reside in an upstairs room in the old farm house (est. 1893). Cora Mae lives in the main floor. It is her house, she has lived there over 50 years and is kind enough to let me share space with her. She recently celebrated her 83rd birthday and proudly displayed her 23 birthday cards on her dining room table. Impressive!

The greenhouse is where it all happens right now. Due to the very wet and sometimes cool weather, we have been busy planting seeds into soil blocks, germinating them in a dark, warm box, and then moving them out onto tables in the greenhouse once the seeds pop up. It will be very crowded in a few more days when the eggplant, kohlrabi, and peppers all decide to show signs of life. So far we have lots of lettuce, broccoli, pea, tomato and parsley babies.
The "chicken tractor" is a movable laying house. It has nesting boxes on the end for easy access for the egg collector and can be moved around the farm with an electric fence to keep the birds in. Happy birds = yummy eggs!

The wood stove is a beast. It is our main way of heating the greenhouse on cold nights. We try to maintain a temperature of at least 50 degrees in the greenhouse at night. This means taking shifts throughout the night to stoke the fire. With the help of some coal dust and some skill at packing in the wood, we can get at least four hours of burn time out of each load.

Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of Victory Acres. Feel free to stop by if you are in the area, we would love to give you a live tour of the farm. More going on all the time!

Sunday, April 5

humility, in a nutshell

Humility: Knowing one's place in nature. And though it would be nice to control the weather, realizing it will ceaselessly do as it pleases.

And so it continues to rain. The temperatures drop. The nights are cold, the frost greets me in the morning as I pedal down the lane to the farm.

The staff performs in shifts at night to keep the wood burning stove in the greenhouse stoked. Every four hours. Open the trap, shove it full, shut the door. Back to bed.

Warm nights are much anticipated around here. Looks as if this week will be another week of working hard to maintain a minimum temperature of 50 degrees in the greenhouse.

The daffodils, crocuses, and bluebells are a cheerful reminder that spring is here, though it may not feel like it at the moment.


Taylor University Prairie Restoration Project: Annual Controlled Burn
Hot Tamales, it's smoky around here! Check it out.