Saturday, June 13, 2020

And its blowing in the Wind - Bean Poles at Children's Garden

June 12, 2020 
139 March Rd, Ottawa Ontario

Blowing in the Wind

A down day - literally, my bean poles went to the ground due to strong winds crushing my beans.

My spirit was flattened to the ground. The confidence hit the all-time low. Why? 

On significant note: 
Sweet William finished 2 herbs boxes. 
He finished putting wheel rollers for the gate.
He hauled compost to the front of the barn garden. 
-planted Cucumbers, Zucchini -Deema, Dunja and Golden Sunshine. 

And...he built the water tower on Thursday - for the Kanata Food Cupboard Plot.

And the Kanata Food Cupboard trap -  blown in the wind as well. Two big tarps that I set up for Cucurbita in the garden. So we haul water in home depot buckets to keep the tarp down. 

And the SALES table too, for vegetable seedlings and flowers? 
Blown-in the wind too. A pot of begonia just flies by Sweet William while he was building boxes. 

Are we in tornado alley? 

Who knew that wind is a significant factor in this garden? 

Maybe switch to all root crops until we find a solution to this wind problem?

The area is bald, deforested from both sides -north and south, east is the road and west is the greenbelt. This land is more challenging than I thought, and totally a barren wasteland. 

By the way, the barn is still standing - so, I guess that's good news!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Kanata Food Cupboard - Food Bank Plot

Sweet William Farms
139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON
417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

May 27, Wed, 2020. 

The Kanata Food Cupboard Plot

The acre for Food Security
(66 ft x 660 ft  - or 4,4047 square meters)

Where do we begin? 

It may not look like a lot, but the landscape fabric is huge. It is 2 rolls of 6 ft wide x 300 ft long 
(Cost at $277.78 at Geosynthetics). That is only 1/4 of the total land that we  allocated for Foodbank, covered with landscape fabric. 

The rest will probably be covered with any material FREE that I can find, or dug in ground without cover. 

So far, this is what we can tackle this season: Our rows will be assembled in rows of 5 ft by 200 ft. 

 We have planted
Row 1 = Potatoes ( Solanum tuberosum)
Row 2 =Tomato (Solanum lypersicum) and Eggplants (Solanum melongina)
Row 3 =  Sunflower  (Heliathus sp) , Beets , Herbs
Row 4 =  Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) green bean, yellow beans, purple beans
Row 5 = Beets ( Beta vulgaris) , Radishes, Turnips, Allium 

So far, Kanata Food Cupboard has volunteers for harvesting produce. 

  1. Supplies Needed: Rain Barrel - 1 per row
  2. Seeds: We have potato seeds donated by Karen of Blackstar Urban Farm and some seedlings
  3. Need Seeds for other crops
  4. Volunteers: Needed for removing weeds and helping plant the rows and hauling mushroom compost to the rows. Regular weeding and watering crew as we have no irrigation set up yet, so its gonna be manual labour. 
  5. Need more rain barrel $25 each at Cohen and Cohen

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Sweet William built a Greenhouse

Sweet William Farms
139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON
417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

May 27, Wed, 2020. 
Sweet William built our greenhouse, it was shelter from wind and other elements. 

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Water - The Source of Life

Our Well - the Source of Life

Sweet William Farms
May 31, 2020

139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON
417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

The last record of well located was in 2015. Five years later, we have a none functioning well, and we desperately needed water. I was loading water from home daily and we are out of our wits. We got 2 companies came to estimate the cost for pump and it was roughly 2K. 

Sweet William is handy, this is why we took this project together. It took 2 days driving from one end of the city to the outskirts to get the parts - and he made it work. 

So A+ to Sweet William, the plants will live!!!

Sweet William finally got the pump and got us water!!

Sweet William built a little shed over our generator. 

Note: Add to your COVID 19 farmers challenges: 

 1. SLOW or CLOSED: Stores to get our supplies are either close or operating on low capacity. 
2. Prices: Prices are way higher - lumber at Home Depot in particular was over our forecasted budget. 
3. Time Budget: The time spent on line-up and shopping - takes away our precious time when we could be working at the farm. 

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The Weather Game, 31 Days challenge, We lived!

Sweet William Farms
May 31, 2020

139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON
417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

We survived working 12 hour days, 31 days non-stop. I tell you it was not good for our mental help. 

We were drained, exhausted both physical & financial, and we have look at each other: "Why are we doing this"? 

I am pretty sure we are not the first farmer who said this. No wonder many farms are abandoned!

Farming and growing food is a cliche, it is a life long calling, but on smaller scale, it does not give you the financial luxury of big farms with equipment. If you are trying to build a livelihood with children in this profession, they better be NOT vegetarian. 

Hobby farms are great because you do no depend on it to feed your family. 

But a small farmer, that is a game-changer. It is challenging, it is difficult and why do we do it? 

Have you ever heard the phrase " Ambition destroys it's possessor"? 

I sigh and walk over the fields with aroma of lilac. The frustrations melted away for a whole damn 60 seconds, and worries sink in. 

But that is just the usual days

On May 28 and 29, (Thursday & Friday) as we getting our fields ready to be planted with the Solanum family - the heat wave heats. And there is no way we gonna plant them now - we baby these eggplants and tomatoes since March. Thunder showers looms as it did not help the case, but it cools down.

On May 30 & 31 (Sat and Sunday), we gathered the family to plant, and it was freaking cold with forecast of overnight low of 6C. Great!!! One degree lower, and my solanum will die too. 

Talk about murder of 500-1000 plants ---nah!!! cannot do it!
Back to the greenhouse they go, and cramp them to survive.

The hail hit, pieces of ice fall over the carport with 5 kids shivering asking: " when are we going home". 

By Monday, it cool down and we are just barely enough breathing to pot our herbs too.  Our flowers were lanky, the sunflowers needed to be sown too. 

Everything happens all at once, and I was tank. I lay on the truck after drinking coffee. That was how exhausted I was. 
Having a partner is a great help, Sweet William just give me a hug, and we silently know how we feel inside. 

The kids were cherry for the first 15 minutes after we arrive, and  5 seconds after we feed them donuts. The rest of the day, they grumble while loading the tractor and started questioning us. 

The youngest in particular said, "It is illegal to let your kids work for 12 hours straight", while I wonder why 12 hours only? I have been here as early as 5am and now it is close to 10pm and still hauling the crap.
 The youngest got a lecture on how he only worked for  2 hours max the entire time we are in the farm, the rest - he was being fed, he was running in the fields, he was playing with his siblings, he tipped over the bucket of mulched and I have to clean up after him and he did not even visit Casper the White Pumpkin to see how he is doing. So, I was short and cranky. 

We had a very kick ass ninja staff - who took over the potting as a question my life decisions over coffee, that did not work anymore as my body was giving up. 

Farming is a profession, we are in it for the long haul. It is a dream that destroys family, farms abandoned and ripped tear people apart - we have zero social life.

It is a profession for those who will face themselves as their own enemy on challenging days, and tackle the weather like a professional gambler. 

There is something fundamental about farmers - we are built with physical and mental strength, and that's the biggest asset we have.  As long as we did not lose ourselves, as long as we see fields of hope, our lives will be built together around big old barn. 

Sincerely, and sarcastically yours - Angelina

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