Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saturday and Lambs

So i'm just going to post some pictures of the planting we did on Saturday and some of the new lambs just because they are so cute!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What do you get from a sheep? (From Friday)

Well wool of course. And what does one do with wool when they are full of energy and enthusiasm. Well they say I'm going to clean it and care for it and make something cool. Well that's what I felt like when i started the process 2.5 hours ago. It looked pretty easy in the book. Step one get hot water with soap in it and let the wool soak for an hour. Then dry the wool and soak again in warm water. Two soaking may be neccessary if the wool is very dirty. Well apparently our wool was like super dirty because it is now on its 5th soaking and it is still coming out dirty. I'm pretty sure that soon I am just going to put it out to dry on my makeshift drying rack. Overall the process really is not too hard just really time consuming and dirty. Really dirty! The picture of the wool laid out is my make shift wool drying rack which worked out pretty well overall.

Well its Monday and the wool still is not completely dry hopefully by tomorrow it will be. It is looking pretty good I would say. It is not greasy at all and is fairly white! Well now its Tuesday and the wool is dry and I am finely going to post this.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shearing 101...or not

Well Wednesday night I went for a visit to Wendell Palmer's farm, the place where I bought my sheep from, to learn how to shear a sheep so that I could do my own. After watching him do two I tried my hand at one and managed to get a bit of it done before I was nearly dead with exhaustion and needed a break. Eventually Wendell had to tap me out and finish the sheep as it was not going that well and I was getting really sore (after only a single sheep). The shears are quite heavy and sometimes hard to control and I managed to nick the skin in a couple of places, nothing serious, but disheartening regardless. Once Wendell had finished I tried my second one and it went a lot better, although I still had Wendell finish up on the back end where there is a little more going on. He did one more and by then it was 8:30pm so it was time to go home.

I had taken the sheep shears with me as Wendell felt that I had improved dramatically from the first sheep and it was time to try it on my own. Fast forward to Thursday night...

Amanda and I had planned to get all the sheep shorn last night. The idea was that I would shear them and she would be my assistant, grabbing things for me, holding the shears, etc. Started with Rosie who is always friendly and who was quite calm when I flipped her over. I immediately found her more difficult than the sheep I had done the night before, but it wasn't too bad and I managed to get most of the wool off of her without nicking her too badly. I made it almost all the way to the back end and then let her go at that point with wool only on her rear as I needed a quick break and decided to try another sheep.

Next was Martha, mother of Snowball. She was very easy to catch and came quite readily to where I was shearing. I flipped her over and then disaster struck. She would not stop flailing her legs and kept arching her back in such strange positions that I could not get her into a good position for shearing. I ended up trying to shear her in a standing position, but found it really hard to get a good cut going. Left her with the wool off her back, but with it still on her rear, sides and underbelly. Its like a mullet for sheep.

After getting frustrated with her I decided I would try another. I finally caught Bess, our biggest ewe by a long shot, and when I finally got her flipped over (I could barely reach around her) I realized how big she really was. I was starting to shear her, but although she was relatively calm, she was flopping all over the place and I found her size to be way to difficult, plus I was really tired. I let her go and said to heck with it.

I decided eventually that I would give it once more go at Muncher, small and apparently very fast. I could not even come close to catching her as she is the wildest of the bunch. I gave up on it and packed it in.

Wendy and Rogue managed to avoid the circus act. Rogue because he is even bigger then Bess and a ram..., and Wendy because she combines a bit of the size of Bess with a bit of the wild spirit of Muncher...a recipe for sure disaster.

I will eventually try this again, or maybe get someone in there to do it, the price is generally quite reasonable, but I needed to return the shears this morning so it looks as if things are on hold for the meantime. I have learned a valuable lesson about shearing and maybe someday I can make it look as easy as the professionals.

P.S. There are some pictures floating around somewhere, but I do not have them at the moment. Will possibly be posted later if they are not too embarrassing.

Grow Tomato Grow

So we being the optimistic and proactive types (which may i say is not usual) planted some tomato plants early in the hopes that we would have early greenhouse tomatoes. Well so far so good. Perhaps two weeks ago I transferred the plug tomatoes into 4" pots. Well they really took off in the 4" pots so today i decided that it was time for another up pot. This time the tomatoes are going into a 1 gallon I'll call it a tub. I only did 15 of the Juan Flamme so perhaps tomorrow I will do the rest. There are maybe 60 more to do but it really easy a pretty easy job. Just fill the pot make a hole and plunk in the tomato.
Tonight we are going to sheer the sheep so that should be very exciting and I am looking foward to doing it even though Ryan will be doing all the hard work. I'm sure there will be some exciting picture to come.

Happy Earth Day

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Best Friends Forever

The new lamb is doing really well. He is full of energy and can often be seen leaping around the pen. I'd say that is pretty great for a lamb of only four days old. Being so full of life Lamaroo has also decided to make a best friend. His best friend is non other than Martha (Snowballs mother). I will attach some photos of their new found friendship.
Ryan is going to night to learn about sheep shearing and tomorrow the task is on to shear our sheep. I'm sure it will be a wild evening and I am looking forward to it. The task after that will probably be left to Friday which is cleaning the wool.
The plants are doing really well and come Saturday we are going to be planting the cabbages outside. Thankfully the weather forecast has changed and it is no longer supposed to rain.
The other picture is of Rosie who was pretty upset that I wasn't paying any attention to her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Busy Weekend and a Sunday Surprise

Well Amanda and I had a good weekend. We managed to get our first plantings of beets and peas in the ground (yes I know we are late on both), and hopefully things in the field will start growing soon. We are now entering the transition time when things start to get seeded outdoors as well as a few more things indoors and starting next weekend some of our transplants will start going outdoors as well (kale, cabbage).

Things in the greenhouse are growing really well. We have had great success this year with most of our transplants save only a couple of things that seemed to refuse to grow. It is really neat to walk in to the greenhouse and see all the plans lined up on the bench. Makes one really excited for the new season. Most days you can see an incredible difference in size from the day before when you get the optimal temperature/sunlight.

Here is the hay mountain we built last weekend from all the hay we picked up near Wainfleet. There is quite a bit there (about 350 bales), but was a bit less than we had hoped for. Not a big deal though, and we are always happy for anything we can get.

We were able to get the market garden at home worked up as well. We use this space as a small addition to our main market garden over in Jordan and were able to plant our beets here this year. The last four rows at the end are the first planting of beets and will get at least one more planting in the ground, if not two.
And now most of you are wondering what the Sunday surprise is. Well, when Amanda and I came home yesterday afternoon and went to feed the sheep we found this:

We would like to present lambaroo, our second lamb of the season/our farming experience. While the lamb is not really a surprise as we were expecting lambs any day now with since the expected first due date is this coming Friday, the surprise was the ewe which had the lamb. Muncher, as named by my cousin, was the ewe which had never been marked (presumably now because she was bred just before I got the marker, and who I was unsure if she was even pregnant or not because she was always so small. Needless to say we are very excited to see another lamb and looks as if mom and baby have bonded well.

For those of you who have asked about what the logo looks like without the 'C', here it is:

That is all for now, but keep checking back for more lamb pictures (I know Amanda will be all over that) and for more lambs as we have three more ewes due in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So thinking it would be pretty neat to grow a little Arugula (or for those overseas Rocket!) so I had my dad plant up a tray of it on Monday. My intention was just a little bit for home use. Well today I noticed it has already sprouted fairly substantially so I decide I should read up about it on the internet. Well it turns out Arugula is a rapid grower that is ready for harvest very quickly. My Dad being the generous guy he is also put multiple seeds in each spot in the tray. There are 72 spots in each tray and there are at least two seed in each. I feel an Arugula garden is soon going to be on hand here. However on the positive side I read that it can go outside which is good because it means that I can thin the plants out a little. I was picturing in my head pots everywhere filled with Arugula plants begging to be picked. I think tomorrow I'll plant some more of it and will try taking it to market in about a month.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Logo

Amanda and I have been working on a logo for our farm. We wanted something simple, but nice. We finally have something we both like for the most part, but cannot quite settle on it.

Just looking for comments or suggestions from our readers as to ideas as to what we could do with it, or if you like it as it is. You can either leave a comment on this blog or e-mail me at ryan@creekshorefarms.ca if you don't want it public.

One suggestion was to remove the 'C' from the word Creek since the blue creek surrounding the words forms the letter anyway, but to me it looks like 'Reek' Shore Farms and not sure that is the image we are after :)

Let us know what you think.

Up to the Axles!

Well, every once in a while everyone makes a mistake, and this morning I made a good one. Since the garden was starting to dry out and looked fairly firm on the surface I decided I should run the cultivator over it to crack the surface to aid in drying a little faster so Amanda and I could start planting some of our early crops towards the end of the week. After setting up the cultivators I headed out to the far end of the garden to break it up and this happened:

What happened was I had the cultivators a little too deep and then drove over the spot where I dug a large hole during the winter. Since the ground there was quite soft, which I hadn't expected, the tractor just dug right in there and sank down almost to the axle (the rear cultivator mounts were buried). There was no way to get out and as you can see from the other side, the wheel not in the hole wasn't getting any traction either:

After getting Amanda to help we pulled the tractor out with the Kubota loader tractor with no difficulty and I finished the garden, avoiding that particular spot. I may try again going perpendicular to that in a couple of days, but for now I will let it dry out a little more...

Photo Update

Here are a few photo's from the greenhouse. In the pictures you will see tomatoes, oregano, basil,and kale.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Its been too long

AH, it has been so long since we had a blog update so much has happened. I do actually have some pictures to put on but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Things have been busy here with lots of planting going on. Today I planted 21 trays and Monday we planted approx. 20 trays as well. Our germination table is getting very full! Which really is a good thing because outdoor planting is quickly approaching. This week I also planted some herbs from there 72's into 4" pots which we will have for sale at the market come May. It does not seem like a big job to put plants into 4" pots but once you get started time does fly.
The ducks have been very busy laying eggs, which sooner than later will lead to a huge pack of ducklings running around our yard. At least one duck is using the new nesting box which Ryan built last weekend. At last count there where 11 eggs in the new nest.
Ryan spent a very busy day picking up a load of free straw (or possibly hay) for mulching purposes. The straw was approx. 20 years old and I was told it was a big job for Ryan and his crew to put it into the truck. There total number of bales for the day was 300! That may seem like a lot but more may be needed which we will see in the coming weeks.
This week I watched what I would consider a shocking documentary type show by Jamie Oliver who is trying to convert people to eat healthy. It made me really think how lucky I will be to enjoy fresh local produce all summer long not only from our farm but those around us.