The garden space this year will be greatly increased and with it, the work load, that is, if the chickens do not scratch the seeds up again. They are fenced in, but most are excellent fliers and even with their wings clipped, manage to get over that 4 foot fence. I plan to grow lots of herbs to dry and use in winter for tea and for infusing oils for soap and lotions. The herbs will aslo be sold in the store. There are many herbs growing naturally on the farm, too, and it is a matter of collecting them. Red raspberry leaves, red clover, wild roses and hips, yarrow, plantain, lambs quarters, dandelion and so many more are free for the picking and since there is no agriculture on this farm or the next, the plants are relatively clean and free from any pesticides or herbicides drifting from the neighbour's farms. I have a pumpkin and squash patch planned, too, which is a two year old manure and straw pile from winter bedding. It is in a fenced area, so it will be a matter of just stirring it up and planting the seeds, then hoping the rains will be sufficient to grow some amazing vegetables. Another field area will be designated for potato growing. The layer of top soil is pushed aside and replaced with a thick layer of old composted manure and straw, then the soil is returned and covered with a thick straw bed and a little more soil. The potatoes are placed under the straw and the idea is that they come out clean from the easy harvest. I did try that two years ago, but was still thinking of gardening at home in Vancouver, and did not water the potatoes enough. I did get a bit of a crop, but with water they would have been twice as large and plentiful.
There will be much painting to do this summer too, if the weather finally cooperates. The old sheds, granaries and the two houses all could use some fresh paint. The look I have in mind is a whitish building with lovely bright trim, window boxes and shutters. Functional shutters need to be closed from outside, but they do block a lot of wind and cold and I think would be a great asset to keeping the buildings warm in our cold winters.
I do feel that this year will be the best one here so far. I don't have a basis for the feeling, but I took a leap of faith at the close of 2014 and just had the feeling that all will be fine. I hope it will be for you as well. Happy New Year! It is the year of the sheep, the green sheep to be exact and guess what? The Fat Ewe Farm does not have green sheep, but the green means connected to the Earth, so it is our year! …so exciting.