Prepping the farm for winter

I can’t believe how fast time has flown by since my last vegetable delivery! I had to get lots of stuff done before winter came in earnest (there are a couple feet of snow on the ground at the farm right now).

In November, with the help of Jeremy, my intern for next season, I built spools for winding up irrigation drip tape, got the various bits of irrigation equipment off the field (so fast when you have 2 sets of hands!), did a final glean of the field and processed the laying hens (yes, that means they are now dead and in my freezer, ready to become chicken soup). The last harvest from the field yielded tons of chard and kale, as well as some root vegetables (beets, carrots & parsnips) and cabbage. Most of the chard is now in my freezer and the kale was turned into delicious, crispy chips! My neighbours came over for a field glean feast that night and we thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of our labour 🙂

For the house, I fire-proofed my basement insulation with a thermal barrier paint…a process which took more than twice as much time and paint than I initially expected 🙁  Not too much fun considering I don’t like hanging out in my basement, the paint cost about $100/gallon and it had to be applied by brush. It was like painting a rocky cliff face. But, safety first after all! And now it’s done, my insurer is happy too. The eavestroughs on my house were also replaced, so hopefully there will be no repeat of the basement flooding that happened this summer…though eavestroughs won’t prevent that in the case of torrential rains, they might mitigate somewhat! At least my new washer is up on a platform so I will have more time to start bailing/pumping the basement if the situation repeats itself!

I’ve also been stacking wood for the winter, a process only half done so far. But this year I was smarter and covered the wood pile with tarps, so even with the snow that’s come down, the wood will be more accessible than last year when I had to chip logs out of ice ;P It is quite lovely to have the wood stove heating the house. The flames are beautiful and the dry heat definitely takes the damp out of the house! The cats love sitting in front of the stove too 🙂

Which reminds me…I now have cats! I knew I had to choose between cats or mice in the house for the winter, so I went with cats. I adopted a lovely pair from a couple moving to Zurich and am quite happy with my new mousers. I haven’t had any mouse droppings around the house since their arrival and I was presented with my first dead mouse while watching a movie one night.

The one thing I didn’t get around to doing before the weather got cold, is set up my heat lamp for the well pump. I should probably have prioritized that as I’m currently sitting at home with no water because the temperature dropped below -10C last night so the pump line froze. I completely forgot about it before I left for Toronto to help my sister with the One of a Kind show, and wasn’t paying enough attention to temperature to clue in that I needed to get that set up yesterday. Since I just got back to the farm on Tuesday, I guess my mind hadn’t quite returned to rural mode yet! Plus, yesterday’s all day snow storm meant I wasn’t in the mood for wandering around outside running extension cords ;P

Now I’m in a Christmas decorating frame of mind…jump started by making the wreaths for my first set of Christmas wreath deliveries mid-November. I have another set of deliveries in about a week, but the greens will be harder to forage now since there’s so much snow on the ground! It will definitely be good exercise to go snow hiking out to gather greens 🙂

This is the story of my journey into sustainable agriculture. From the streets of downtown Toronto, to the farm land of southern Ontario, I hope to discover the techniques and practices that work for me in both mind and heart.

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