Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Winter gardening and baby goats

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

And now, for a happy blog post about how awesome our winter is going this year.  Our busy season for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is kicking in, but there’s plenty of outdoor things to do. Because of a hard freeze on Jan. 7th, we had to cover the gardens with double layers of remay and harvest anything that we hoped to have in the future. Fingers crossed on how well our plants survived the freeze.

Dragon harvests some winter kale.

Dragon harvests some winter kale.

Luna harvests carrots from our winter garden.

Luna harvests carrots from our winter garden.

On January 6th, we harvested kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, beets, and carrots (not pictured).

On January 6th, we harvested kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, beets, and carrots (not pictured).

Our three kiko meat goats are scheduled to kid in January.  Radiator Charlie gave birth on Jan. 3rd, and Sweet Chocolate had her babies on Jan. 5th.  Despite being fat as anything, Grandma Nellie still hasn’t produced any children.  Every morning at milking time, I remind her to work on it, but she doesn’t seem to care.

Only one of our dairy goats is producing milk, but Mamma, our best producer, gives us half a gallon of milk a day.  We’re giving Lark, one of our dairy ladies, a rest because this summer she was sick for several months and still hasn’t gained back all the weight we’d hope. Lottie, Julie’s little favorite, hasn’t put on enough weight yet to breed, but Dancer, Sage, Calypso, and Beans are set to give birth in early spring, with Mamma a little later than the rest.  (We had planned on giving her a break but the buck broke into her pen…)

Lottie, the friendliest of our young goats, comes up to get chin scratches from Dragon.

Lottie, the friendliest of our young goats, comes up to get chin scratches from Dragon.  Lark hangs out in the background.

Radiator Charlie, one of our Kiko meat goats, shows off one of her two identical three-day old kids.

Radiator Charlie, one of our Kiko meat goats, shows off one of her two identical three-day old kids.

Intern Raynebo holds her garlic/ginger/roselle tea while being mobbed by the dairy herd, who hope futilely that she is carrying grain.

Intern Raynebo holds her garlic/ginger/roselle tea while being mobbed by the dairy herd, who hope futilely that she is carrying grain.  Goats from closest front to furthest back:  Dancer, Sage, Calypso, Lottie (almost hidden by Raynebo) and Lark.

Horus the black lab waits patiently at the edge of the goat fence.

Horus the black lab waits patiently at the edge of the goat fence.

Rejoice shows off Sweet Chocolate and Mr. Buckles' day-old baby.

Rejoice shows off Sweet Chocolate and Mr. Buckles’ day-old baby.

One day old, Sweet Chocolate's babies are already up, running around, and nursing well.

One day old, Sweet Chocolate’s babies are already up, running around, and nursing well.

Selling Seeds

Monday, March 1st, 2010

We are really, really, really, really busy.   I mean it, really.  This winter so far, much like last winter, has brought huge success for our seed business, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. This February has been our best month ever in sales, bringing in nearly $150,000. Before that in January, we saw a 40% increase in sales over January of ’09. It seems that more and more people are not only gardening, but also appreciating the value of organic, heirloom varieties of plants. Fulfilling the needs of our customers requires endless work during the winter. Our main office is constantly busy throughout the day with people buzzing around trying to get seeds in the hands of gardeners. There is other labor to be done as well though. Our seed rack services are expanding very much this year, and we are busy creating lots of our new wooden seed racks for customers who distribute seeds in stores. I went around various work areas here at Acorn and took a few quick pictures of people. Now you can see what an average day is like during the Winter at Acorn.

Hans & River shipping out seed orders

Hans & River shipping out seed orders

Irena & Puck picking seeds out in the inventory room

Irena & Puck picking seeds out in the inventory room

Lauren and Ashleigh packing seeds into packets

Lauren and Ashleigh packing seeds into packets

Andy constucting wooden seed racks

Andy constucting wooden seed racks

Hans posting packages of seeds to be mailed

Hans posting packages of seeds to be mailed

Not only is the office really busy, but the snow is melting and we are entering March.  It’s time to start preparing for spring and gardening!  This is of course another important aspect of our business.  We are excited to be doing lots of variety trialing this year to provide the highest quality seeds we can.  It will be an exciting time for blogging, because there will be lots of beautiful things to take pictures of!  Well, till next time.

We Got Chickens!!!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Acorn just purchased 18 pullets of 4 varieties. We have Black Stars, Red Stars, Barred Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds. The Star breeds are Hybrids, and the other two are Heritage breeds. All of them are dual purpose breeds that will lay eggs, and also provide some meat. We purchased our pullets and supplies at Eden Farms, right down the road in Gum Springs. Our particular birds are 14 weeks old and should begin laying in about a month. Once they get going, each bird should provide about 5-7 eggs per week. We eat a lot of eggs here at Acorn, so 90-127 eggs is unlikely to supply our needs. Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to provide for all of our own egg needs.
Fortunately for us, years ago Acorn had chickens and there was already a mobile chicken coup available. It was cleverly built on top of an old car frame in disuse. It had lots of aging problems, but Andy and I have done a rough refurbishment. It’s likely in the future we will build a new stationary coup, and maybe even build a new mobile one using this old car frame. Ideally, we would already have fenced in the area around the coup for the chickens to roam in, but all of the intense snow has prevented us from getting to that stage. As soon as the snow melts enough, we will get the fence up and start letting the chickens out during the day. Well, here are some pictures:

Chickens...

Chickens...

Inside the Coup

Inside the Coup

Outside the Coup

Outside the Coup

Andy Feeding the Chickens

Andy Feeding the Chickens

A Chicken and I

A Chicken and I

Chickens Eating

Chickens Eating

Andy

Andy

Oh yeah, this is Andy.  He is our newest provisional member.  Andy has been traveling through the FEC, other communities, and even to China.  He has been the main source of energy in starting up our new chicken system.  Thanks Andy!

Winter Wonderland

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

I love Acorn! One of the many big things I love here is that the land is absolutely stunning. As the land evolves throughout the seasons, everyday brings new beauty to the surface to enjoy and marvel at. Today brings a thick and fluffy snow that covers all of our buildings and landscape. It is the second major snow fall we have had this winter. It was so inspiring, I decided to go out while it snowed and take as many pictures as I could.

Heartwood Residence

Heartwood Residence

The Frozen Pond

The Frozen Pond

The Barn

The Barn

Farmhouse Backyard

Farmhouse Backyard

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse

The Greenhouses

The Greenhouses

Acorn

Acorn

Various Buildings

Various Buildings

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

I can't feel my face.

I can’t feel my face.

Well, that’s all for now. I think I’ll try to start blogging more about my Acorn adventures, and I definitely want to start putting up more pictures!

days go by, and the year turns over

Friday, January 1st, 2010

it’s been a few weeks since my last post. we’re still doing old-fashioned mondays, i still have a lot of crafty stuff to do. i still have laundry days and wash my things by hand (my clothes now, too, instead of just my cloth wipes), and we’ve had more snow since early december. here are a few photos from the past weeks.

orange and blue sunset

orange and blue sunset

this beautiful horizon was  a nice surprise one evening as i went out back to bring my laundry in before dark. i love the silhoette of trees in the wintertime.

gloves from a cut up old sweater, fixed

gloves from a cut up old sweater, fixed

i made these fingerless gloves in the winter of 2007 with two then-interns at acorn. we cut up a hole-ridden sweater from commie clothes and used dental floss to make gloves. i knew better than to attempt fingers with cut-up knitting. and now, two years later, the edges were getting awful ragged – and i finally had enough basic knitting skills to just pick up some of the hanging loops to keep it from unraveling further. other places required more creative measures.

fiver climbing ladder at heartwood

fiver climbing ladder at heartwood

i woke up one morning to find fiver ascending a ladder just outside my window. the heartwood re-siding project was going ahead full steam every day until the snowstorm came (and then christmas). that ladder is still outside my window.

laundry day - hand washing clothes

laundry day – hand washing clothes

another laundry day. it feels good that it’s becoming a simple routine, and still isn’t something that i resent or feel stubborn about. sometimes i put it off for a few days, but it’s always a pleasure once i make it outside and sit on my bucket in the sunshine for a simple hour of rewarding work. now that i’m washing my clothes as well, i have that delicious fresh air scent all the time. you can’t find that scent anywhere but line-hung clothes.

ashleigh wrapping crystals

ashleigh wrapping crystals

another old-fashioned monday found ashleigh wrapping a few crystals to turn into necklaces. i got one of them as a trade for some henna body art that i did on her weeks before. it’s wrapped in copper, and i haven’t taken it off yet.

after the snow - heartwood wreath

after the snow – heartwood wreath

we got nearly two feet of snow out here, and so for the first day or two everything was especially scenic, a veritable winter wonderland. of course now we’re in the waning days of dirty slush and scattered patches of stubborn snow. i made this wreath for heartwood after pruning an evergreen that always tickles my head when i walk on the path to the farmhouse. the trimmings made a fine wreath (for a beginner, anyway), and made heartwood feel a bit more festive.

dandelion tincture

dandelion tincture

i just started this dandelion tincture yesterday, after going on a weed walk the day before and finding some hearty dandelion south of the greenhouse. it’ll serve as a good winter tonic six weeks from now. i’ve been really excited to be undertaking more herbal projects, and have also finished decanting the herb-infused oils, and then used some of them to make lemon-balm lip balm and lavendar burn salve.

i hope you’re having a good new year wherever you are.

ah, the snow

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

snowheart

i almost forgot! i meant to share a picture of our first snow. it was a lovely day – bad for driving, but great for staying in and sipping hot cocoa. i walked around late the next day to catch a few pictures. it was cold enough that even two days later patches of snow still lingered in the most shaded areas.

snowy garden shed

i grew up in rural pennsylvania, and really appreciate a good snowfall. i spent my elementary school years making forts in 5-foot snow drifts and sclupting snow turtles, tromping around in snow clothes knowing that Mom was waiting with hot chocolate when i got home. it’s nice to see snow come back to visit this year… i’ve been living in richmond and alabama for the past ten years, and the snow was… not plentiful, there, to say the least. i’m looking forward to hunkering down at acorn for a snowy winter.

snow on the woodpile

here’s the wood pile outside of heartwood – we’re in the midst of a huge re-siding project, and this is the pile waiting to be de-nailed. needless to say, no de-nailing happened that day.

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