Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hot Humid Weather & Whitewash

It's the perfect weather for blight to start in the potatoes and tomatoes if we get a couple of damp days. Sheep farmers also call this maggoty weather. Keeping an eye on them is a priority too. But it's so miserable to be out there in the blazing sun and the heat.

Once it cools a few degrees we've got some property maintenance jobs to be done. Paint the tractor, whitewash the insides of the coops and barn, compost and shovel out the barn, put the rain cover on the barn extension and then we have a greenhouse to build. This in addition to baking and running a market, and growing veggies. Yikes! Over the coming winter I'm going to have a good think about how to streamline some of my projects. For example we're eating less lamb so I'm going to re-think my sheep situation. I sold some already.  And if the market keeps on being busy I'm going to focus more energy there.

But for now it's shaping up to be a wet and stormy weekend. We'll see. I thought it's a good time to shovel the barn out and give the whole thing a good thick coat of whitewash. The type of whitewash I'm talking about is the chalky, indoor style wash that's great for keeping bugs and germs at bay. The Amish use it to keep things sanitary inside their barns and it's simple to make and apply. I've heard you can use a sprayer but I'll just probably brush it on in two coats. It doesn't leave things sparkly and shiny but it does lighten up the walls and because it's so alkaline it doesn't provide a nesting space for insects and kills germs.

So how complicated is whitewash? It's not. There are hundreds of recipes but for smaller projects that are indoors, ie. chicken coops and small barns, I love this recipe.

Mix together in a bucket:
1 gallon warm water (4 litres)
2 pounds salt
Stir until salt is dissolved. Then add-
7 pounds hydrated lime and stir until it resembles lumpy pancake batter. It'll thicken a bit over time so you can add a little more water as needed.

Make sure it's hydrated lime and not garden lime or quick lime which is very caustic.

Now hop to it and brush that stuff on every wall, nook and cranny you can find. It'll dry to a powdery finish and if you get it on your skin or clothes it will just wash right off. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just Checking In

It's a crazy week. My ex is here, the kids are having a rotten time, my parents arrive tomorrow and my adorable husband is fleeing on Thursday to go visit our kids out west. It's insanity here at the farm! But what can you do? It's been very hot so hopefully tomorrow will give us a little rain and some cooler temps. Gotta run. Hope you're finding time for fun this summer!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mid Valley Farmers Market - Up And Running!

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you all over the past month and a bit. Organizing the new farmers market has taken much longer than I thought it would. We held our first market on Saturday and it was amazing! We learned a lot about planning and organization and have a plan in place to improve each week. Do you want to know what the biggest problems we had were?

First,  crowd control. Actually it was more of a parking issue. We had so many people at times that the road got blocked and people were parking all over the place. Our solution for this is to move the vendors back further onto the grass to provide for a wider parking area. If the crowds continue to grow we'll have to mark out parking areas. There's lots of grassy space, we just need to encourage people to use it. Too many customers, what a problem to have! We appreciate all the community support, you guys are great. Please check back each week to see what's new and bear with us as we work out the kinks.

Second, lack of coffee. Vendors like us who get up early need coffee! Getting up at 3am to dig potatoes so they're fresh for you and to bake makes for one heck of a long day! And now everything is in place to just turn on the brewer as soon as we get there and have a pot ready within 20 mins. Our Bunn brewer has a large water tank so it takes a while to heat up. Plus I forgot my grounds until the second trip (silly me) so I kept everyone waiting.  On the subject of coffee, North Mountain Coffee in Berwick have agreed to donate us coffee each week which is terrific! Plus I hear that North Mountain coffee is delicious according to everyone who had some. I don't drink it personally but it's easy at the market to find other vendors who will sample it for me :)  We paired it up with wild blueberry muffins and cinnamon buns and it was great. As the cooler weather gets here I'm sure Meghan will do even more business. And thanks North Mountain for the coffee and the donation to the basket, the winner was thrilled!

A few of our vendors didn't come as scheduled for whatever reason but we're still accepting applications and hope to grow the market over time. If you're interested in finding out more just send me a message to  We had a good turn out and sales were much higher than expected for all vendors except the coffee. We have a great little group of regular customers forming and we're available rain or shine because we've got the community centre booked until mid October and we can move inside if the weather gets crummy.

Look for the produce to change as the seasons change. Apples are beginning for us in September with our main crops of Cortlands available in October. Lettuces and peas will start to reappear as the weather cools and tomatoes and peppers should be available this week for at least one of our sellers. Yum!