1st. The New Year seems to be bringing little hope for a regular winter. We have had no rain since October. The weather is cool to very cold at night - and if it did rain, it would probably snow! There is no snowpack in the Sierras and it looks like we may have another drought year. Last year was said to have been a La Nina and I've heard it said that if one year is a La Nina, the following year will be one too. So far, that theory is not correct. The hills where they usually feed cattle for the winter are barren of grass enough to keep them fed.
7th. The farm will finally be protected by that greatest of all predators - Deer! Those uninvited diners who devoured our produce last year have finally met their match. We have begun installing 8 ft. "game" fencing around the perimeter of the farm property in the hope that those cute but devious deer will find easier meals elsewhere and we will be able to sell ripe produce - untouched and unfound by produce-eating predators.
15th. Approximately 660 ft. of fencing has been tacked into place around the front portion of the farm. The weather is holding cold, but still no rain. Rumor has it we may have rain by the 19th.
19th. Rain at last! Finally, the long-awaited rain began around 9:15 am this morning - a nice simple non-stop rain without thunder and lightening or raging winds. May the rest of the year's rain be this calm. Now I'll only be complaining about keeping dry and warm, but will be wondering how the Spring will do after the plants have been fed.
18th. Hand-planted around 1,500 red onions today. Piece of cake - NOT! If there is anyone who would like to get into shape without paying a monthly fee to a gym, come on out and help us. Planting onions will strengthen and tighten the back of the thighs, the buttocks, the back and upper arms. No doubt about it.
19th. Hand-planted the second half of red onions and the first of the yellow sweet onions. Oh my, how I am going to get into shape!
24th. All the onions have been hand-planted today - approximately 7,000 to 8,000. No more. Our heirloom tomatoes have been seeded and placed in the greenhouse. The sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes are done and basking in the heat of the greenhouse. Grow- grow-grow!
25th. My favorite farmer has purchased a bigger seeder and is trying it out today in planting many root vegetables along with cabbage and lettuce. Will take a photo to show how nice our fields look right after planting. As of today, it is supposed to rain this Wednesday. We really need the rain as this winter had been the mildest yet. Looks like we will have a very dry summer. Not good.
26th. I am hoping the weathermen are correct with the rain this time, would help alot. My newest baby chick has arrived! Welsummers are definitely not the easiest eggs to hatch. Not very many hatched out of the first round of eggs I put in the incubator, but there are two more rounds to go. I don't think they were all fertile eggs. There are three (3) altogether as of today.
28th. There are now (5) chicks that hatched from our very own hens. The second round will come this Sunday with three more rounds after that.
29th. Leap Year! I think this is a good thing this year - we will have good luck for the rest of the year!
4th. Yesterday and today Roger has been cutting old limbs off the biggest oaks and trimming other limbs up in preparation for fencing and disking the back portion of virgin land. There is a lot of small new trees that will be taken out going toward the creek so it is easily accessible. The old Oaks in the grassy area will be trimmed up to not interfere with the tractor coming in and disking and rotovating. Some of those old Oak limbs have grown down to touch the ground and then started back up again - a real mess.
My second batch of chicks are due today also. Waiting, waiting. They may not come until tomorrow!
10th. Well, no chicks for the second and third batch, darn. I candled them and they were not fertile - - I'm going to have a talk with our roosters again. They are not needed unless they do their duty!!!
18th. Farmer Roger is harvesting our test plots full of ripe Kale, white Turnips and petite radishes. The Kale is delicious - very sweet - almost like cabbage. I use the leaves in sandwiches instead of lettuce. The white turnips are wonderful when peeled, boiled and mashed with butter and salt and pepper! The beets, parsnips, carrots and red cabbage are not quite ripe yet.
April has been a month with not a lot happening besides transplanting tomatoes and cleaning up portions of our back property. Roger had to drill into the earth to make holes for the tomatoes. This soil gets soooo hard when it drys out. We had a neighbor gal help with the transplanting and she was a really big help and a good trooper.
Another month of transplanting tomatoes. Though it's May, it is still hot to plant, but thankfully we are not doing this in June or July when it would be unbearable. We
12th. The Oroville Saturday morning Farmers' Market began today. This will be our first complete year at a farmers' market and we are excited to see how our produce fares.
We are developing our farm as a "green" farm and will have a solar pump, controls and pressurized tank for water use on the farm. My husband asked his son to weld up a solar array and he has done a great job of it. It will hold 10 solar panels and will move facing the sun all day. The iron post that the array sits on was cemented into the ground at about eight feet deep. It's pretty big! We are finally coming into the 20th century! Pressurized water to use, yippee!!!
3rd. Thought you might liket to see a couple of short videos of our property to show some of what we are preparing for cultivation and what we already have under cultivation.
First Videos of Our Developing Farm
Left. This shows a portion of our front small acreage and was taken from the turn in our drive that would take you to the wellhouse, shed and temporary greenhouse (in back of me).
Right. This video shows our back portion. When it shows the grove of Oak and Sycamore trees at the end is where the year-round creek runs. This is where we are planning a small orchard of assorted trees and more row crops.
This month we also got a surprise from one of our hens hatching seven little chicks. Most impressive. She won't let us get near the chicks and insists on raising them outside the chicken coop and yard.
So, we'll see how many little pullets were hatched in about a month. Welsummers are easy to sex at an early age when they are feathering out because the young roosters get black feathers on each side of their breasts.
I will be closely watching. We do not need a lot of young roosters with too few hens because they tend to bother the hens too much.
I forgot to mention we have a new farm animal, we have a horse brought home in December of this year. He is a 5 year-old Thoroughbred that was rescued and is a very gentle, playful and hungry beast! His manure will be used to fertilize trees and help amend other soil areas where it is too hard. He is also being trained for pleasure riding and dressage during the year when there is time.
16th. Today is the first day of harvest for our Candy onions. They are delicious and sweet! Planted watermelon, raspberries, and green bell peppers.
This month began with so much rain!
1st. This year must have been the "every ten year flood." The year-round creek overflowed into our back field and on into the creek to the west.
It was the first time I'd seen up close a flood, but it only lasted a day and nothing was washed downstream.
20th. Most of our garlic has been planted. We have Russian Red, Italian purple and Spanish White so far. The Elephant garlic and California white still need to be planted -- whew, with all the rain, it has been hard to find a day good enough to go out to the disced field to plant without sinking a foot.