Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Second Seeding of Beans. The Pollinator Garden and Rain Barrels. There is Hope

July 28 2020 Tuesday 

Address: 139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON K2k 2E2

417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

After the failures: the teepe beans structures tumbling, the clay soil cracking, pollinator plants dying, there was a massive dump of mulch from our community farmers. They pooled resources and geniuses, and brought us substantial mulch. 

Mai fundraised and we got $700. I prioritize water facility on this budget and we manage to secure 2 1,000L water barrels as of yesterday.  One barrel went to the Foodbank Plot and the 2nd one is near the barn is set up for the Community Farmers.  That is 400$ spent on water barrel, so I am aiming to spend the next 300$ for the wood and parts for the hugelkuture beds. 
The Hugelkulture beds for the teens ( this will be a fall project) - as it will be a composting system and also a water retention facility to re-use our current garden clippings. I like to re-use organic materials from gardens and use it for soil build up. Soil depletion and water shortage is an issue that come hand in hand and we are very conscious to make sure our inputs are locally from the land and not taking anything out. 

Yesterday, the beans and zucchini are germinating again. 

The pollinator garden started to wake up and signs of plants blooming. 

The teepee structure, I tied it with strong rope to the rainwater barrel  - so far it is holding up in 2 weeks. I have been in the garden daily to mulch to pollinator gardens. The heat and sometimes rain get me but its all good. 

We have cleared path all around the barn - if anyone is up for an "abandoned farm" walk, its a possibility. 
We should have named this farm " Ankle Breaker Farm", as the path are full of holes and well, it can break your ankle. So, close shoes for your walks or steel toe boots if you have. 

Kyle and I (Angelina) are both contractors, so we both wear our Steel toes shoes in the farm. Some fences have fallen overtime, barb wire buried and I still keep finding them.  

I did not see myself as one who will operate the weed trimmer, as I always have my boys doing it for worksites. Well, at farm, you can see me doing it, day in and out. My arm shakes after 1 hour or two, I rake and do it again. Richard, MJs brother started it in June and I finished the whole round about path at the back of the barn to connect it down the hill towards the Community Farmers. With the path, it makes it easier for Kyle to run down the hills and refill those water barrels. 

The kids ( 2 years old to the 12 year olds) seems to enjoy the path, I hear them running around the path circling the barn. There is an area where you can actually see the inside of the barn from the Herzberg side, so I make a clear path so they can take a peak. 
The kids  did not mind the bumpy -ness of it, I guess I maybe spunky as a kid, and would not mind it either. My ankle is way stronger way back then, now I am relying on my trustee Moxie Trade boots, "Alice and Anne' to keep me steady and safe. 

I also cleared a path between the 2 barns, there is a bird house, probably for migratory birds. It can be a bat house, I cannot remember for the life of me during the 2015 tour. 

 I also  know there are barn swallows residing in the barn, but I keep the path clear, so the maintenance crew can easily come in. 

The children's garden and apple tree look out (looking out to the far field and food bank garden) is always a work in progress. This is where kids lay out their camping tent, and the nearby Worm composting station. The kids are so irregular with bringing food - so I wonder how Mr. Wormy is doing? No, we don't buy red wriglers, we just feed our regular earthworms that live under the Mulberry. 

So far, I manage to extend the path to circle around the lilac trees to make a complete loop to what I call the courtyard. It has a small oak tree in the center, which I thought was a future big oak tree which children will play - so long term, this will be the Courtyard. 

I will add some of the pictures soon, it is on my other phone. 

Thank you for all donors, thank you for the pots, we re-use them and so glad we can recycle them. 


Angelina and Kyle

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Heatwave, The Failure and the Rain on July 11 Saturday

Sweet William Farms

July 11, 2020 Saturday

Address: 139 March Rd, Ottawa, ON K2k 2E2

417 West -Exit at Eagleson between Corkstown Rd and Herzberg Rd. 

It rained on July 11, it was a Saturday. We woke up and run to the farm to check it out. It may not be enough, but the plants looks nourish.

As mentioned, our beans and squash were toasted, there were few strugglers but over all the front garden is a failure except drought tolerant and native perennial that Angelina planted.

With low till practices, it needs much longer time to get results especially the farm is abandoned in the last 20 years.

We wanted to give up but our team and volunteers are not yet ready too.

They hustle to bring mulch and much needed support. Friends visit in person and cheers online to keep going. The planted perennial pollinator donations thrive. So why not?
Lets give it round 2, and see what happened.

This time we build big mounds of 6 ft with 1 ft height. It seems we buried something in there, but trust me, those were just swales of hugelkulture bed, that will help with water retention.

With the crew coming to help mulch, the Eco Farm will keep pushing it to regenerate this soil and this farm as a whole.

We are blessed!

Angelina and Kyle

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Heatwave of July 2020

Sweet William Farms
July 8 2020 Wednesday

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

Its 6am, I am sweaty, so I need to get to shower and water my plants. 

There has been no rain, and we have no irrigation. Hand watering it is. 

On regular season, we usually take 2 weeks off after Canaday Day, one week to celebrate Canada Day, then the 2nd week is Angelinas Birthday. This year, we combine Kyle and Angelina's birthday. 

It is drought and heatwave. I hear news of Creek drying in Kanata area and our well seems to stop at random. I'd say it is not random, the water table is just low, our generator stops. Another thing is generator is over heating as well. 

Its been challenging, the place looks good. We have lots of going, we have community farmers going on the their plots, we have pollinator garden, good bank garden is thriving with the help of volunteers and started international garden/filipino garden. 

As this heat increases, we find ourselves weary and cannot continue on longer most days. 

Kyle has been bothered by stinging nettle - I am not sure if it is, but rash marks all over his legs tells me so. Farm life has its challenge and I can see that it is pushing the envelop on us. 

Kyle has added a temporary shed in front of the barn, so that we can shelter our plants

We are currently exploring on possibilities of a section for intensive cropping. This will alleviate our need to more land to till. 

I can say all in all, it is a very satisfying journey of learning and working with the land. 
It seems to me that 20 years abandonment shows - the land can barely support basic plant growing. everything is stunted and it needs boost of fertilizer input. I am not in a rush - nature takes time to recover, and so as our soil. The clay in the test garden cracks - without organic matter or simply mulch on top, there is nothing to hold moisture. We do not clear cut anything except paths, we do not take more than we can use. Weeds - they have a function, they retain moisture in order to keep our water table replenish. 
The roadways is full of salt - and washed to the farm each years. 20 years of that and our land topography is sloping - this land needs more care than I anticipate. 
She is beautiful yet wounded by  years of abandonment - chemicals poured on her and garbage. She needed us, and I hope we can stay to care. There are signs of life in some section which are raise, but anywhere that there is run-off, the land is totally a barren wasteland. 

We have lots of compost and we continously mulch - this is how to build her up. Again, give us time mighty Gods, she is worth repairing. 

This fall can be an opportunity to prepare for next season and we hope that her balance will slowly return. 

We have children's composting station going, we need it, we need it badly and we need to do more. 
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Happy Canada Day 2020

July 1 2020
Ottawa City, Ontario Canada

We woke up early to water the plants. We spend sometime together, potting plants in our house, hoping to celebrate Canada Day in the farm. 

Not so fast....We got hit by heatwave and we got all tired. We got drinks and continue working on potting our plants in our house...ah! farmer life. 

However, we manage to take our Canada Day pictures!
Success! celebrate little victories, we manage to get 3 kids in canada day spirit of red shirt.

By 10pm, we were still in the backyard. The neighbors put fireworks, our kids watch over. That keeps them occupied. It was actually nice, we took 5 minutes break to see it. We use to drive far for fireworks, this year, multiple neighbors have fireworks.

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