A note:
Just in case you're wondering, this is not the official website for Green Being Farm. This is just my blog from the summer I spent at the farm.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The season is over

For any of you that are still following this blog, I apologise for leaving it so abruptly. The days following the last post were hectic and exhausting. By the middle of October I had packed up the farm as best I could, left for the city, attended my step-brother's wedding, and made it to the west coast by bus in order to start a month-long bike trip.

I guess you won't get a detailed description of all the pigs now. Suffice it to say, they each had their own personalities and I miss them.

The season is over and I've returned to the city. I'll post again if I have any more news related to this season or Green Being Farm, or if I start up another blog detailing some other adventure or mine.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Looking rather uncharacteristically mopey

Yep, I think you can see what just happened there.

I think they're telling each other secrets

Name: Squealer/Babe/Humper
Personality: Typically very calm and sweet. He'd sit and let you pet him for a long while, and he'd always be one of the first to come up to the fence when you stood by to watch them. I really enjoyed his company.

Squealer earned this name only recently when he started to make that classic pig squealing sound as he'd wander up to the food trough, or sometimes for no reason at all. When he was younger Tarrah would call him Babe because of his obvious resemblance. Humper? Well, when he was younger he was much pushier and would, well, try to have his way with the other pigs at times.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The End of the Pigs

Half our group of pigs are going to slaughter tomorrow morning. We had a little photo shoot with the pigs this evening in order to capture them in their piggy glory, to honour them one last time as the wonderful friends and beings they are, and so as to remember them in the years to come.

In the coming days I'll tell you as much as I can about each of our eight pigs and what they've meant to us here on the farm.

But for now, good night blessed pig friends, good night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potato Harvest

Well, I'll still leave you wondering about the other photos for now. But in the mean time, today Angie (first picture) came to visit and help harvest the last of the potatoes. (I grew half of the potatoes for Angie and her CSA.) It was a very productive day -- we harvested almost of half of the remaining potatoes, so there's just about 1/6 of the patch left. What a relief. It's so good to have the potatoes harvested because then it feels like they are a bit more secure -- I don't have to worry about any sort of mischief happening in the field.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A season, a wedding, and now harvest. Lots to update you on, but in the mean time, here'r a few pictures to keep you wondering.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Turkey-eye view

In the fray whilst being fed grass:

Growed Up

Remember those little chickens I showed you a few weeks ago? They've grown up.

They've been moved out from the sunroom and into the paddock closest to the house. They live in so-called "chicken tractors" -- moveable shelters.

Twice a day we move the shelter onto a new patch of grass. If you look closely at the picture above you can see the flattened and well fertilised grass in the tractor's wake.

The chickens are growing up pretty fast -- they only usually take 6 weeks from hatching to being killed. I find it pretty disgusting how fast they grow, and how incapable (or unwilling) of moving they get. This is always what comes to mind when I think of them.

Anyhow, Tarrah's been looking to move their slaughter date up a week.

In other news, the turkeys and hens are doing just fine. Here'r are two of the hens in the foreground, and some of the turkeys in the background:

We just got a new batch of day-old chickens last week. I don't need to show you pictures. Just think "yellow" and "puff ball".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beetle Harvest

okay, I forgot this great picture in my last post. When I went out to weed the potatoes last week, I noticed that there were several plants with colorado potato beetle on them. So I lashed an old stinky nalgeen bottle to my leg and covered the opening with a bit of a plastic bag with a small hole in it. That way, when I would bend down to pick up off the beetle I could just pop it into the container.

I suppose if I was more cruel (or less of a wuss -- your call) I'd have just squished them rather than collect them, but I figured the turkeys would get some nutrients from them. Turns out, turkeys aren't super keen on these beetles, though they did eventually eat them all.

With my ragged hair and unkempt beard, my longsleeve shirt with sunprotecting popped collar and torn armpit and torso, and this bottle strapped to my leg, Nathan described me as "one week away from a vagrant".

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Potato planting

So, about two and half weeks ago, I planted all the potatoes. I was a big job. I had 1/3 of an acre to plant roughly. About 600 lbs of potato seed. I did it over two days, but really only about 12-15 hours of work.

I had prepared the bed before hand. I ploughed it, then used the furrower to make the furrows:

Hauled the potato seed out to the field. I have four different varieties. Two early (Onaway and Norland) and two main season types (Red Cheiftan and Yukon Gold). Here are the Onaway.

I stored them in our shed, under some cardboard and tarps. I was a bit concerned that this wasn't the best place to keep them (too moist, too dry, too hot, too cold... what do I know.), so I kept checking in on them. They stayed firm (except for one bag of Red Cheiftan that had a fair number of rotten guys in it).

I had also planned to let them sit out for a few days to let them grow sturdy sprouts, but they seemed to do this just fine on their own. :-) I had also planned to pull them all out and cut them if they were too big, but again, except for the Red Cheiftan, they were all a good planting size (about 2 oz). I didn't notice the big Red Cheiftan's until I got them out into the field, so I ended up cutting them out there and letting them dry before planting. Not ideal I don't think.

Anyhow, as to the actual planting. The furrows were 30 inches apart roughly, and I was planting 15 inches apart. I had about 29 rows at roughly 190 feet each (I plotted out a 200x200 foot area but then used some of the space as headers for turning the tractor and such).

I started by using a digging hoe to hack little pits into the furrow every 15 inches so that I could then drop the potato seeds in. This was probably unnecessary, but since it only took about 3 minutes for each row, and made it easier than placing the potatoes in the furrow and having them roll around, I stuck with it. I then used to hoe to pull a bit of dirt over each potato. Here's the sequence:


And, not that it looks much different, but here is the field after I was done planting:

And here's the field earlier this week, showing some green (both in plants and weeds... erm):

The early varieties having come up and are looking strong. The main season ones are just coming up. I spent a day this passed week weeding the early guys. It's pretty mind-numbing work to be hoeing the furrows (it's finicky and not nearly as fun as hoeing flat earth). It was also bit difficult with my lame hand.

Hopefully the next step will be hilling. I expect it'll be a bit cumbersome. When I was deciding how to layout to plot I didn't give much thought to the tractor and how I could use the furrower to hill (partly because we didn't have the tractor then, and partly I'm just a n00b). So, I think I'm stuck doing it by hand.

Luckily, working out on the far acre is really really nice. I'm right next to the wetland, and on a slight rise so I can look out over our fields, the wetland, and the neighbouring fields. I'm also away from the house and road so it has this quietness and peace about the place. I'm not sure how to take a picture to show you all of that.


I fell off my bike a two weekends ago, and sprained both of my wrists. Nothing severe, but bad enough that I couldn't use my hands for two days, type much for a week, and still have trouble opening jars or doing anything that involves gripping whilst twisting. But by the middle of the first week I was back hand-weeding a little, and by the end of this week I was able to use the tractor again for light work (but actually it was a stupid thing to do because the tractor kicks so much that occasionally I felt some pain).

Luckily I have great housemates that took care of me, and helped me weed the garden right when it was getting a little out of control -- I'd been neglecting it to do other things around the farm, and of course, to get the potatoes in (more on that in the next post).

All of this made me think about how important the health of my body is to the work that I'm doing. Without my hands I'm essentially useless. Can't weed, can't seed, can't plant, can't lift, can't ... etc.. At least, not in the ways I'm used to, and not with the tools I have. I did figure out new ways to do old things, like lifting bags of feed with my elbows and forearms, but mostly I just paced around wishing I had a mini-scuffle hoes I could strap to each arm.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

June 6th Tour

Remember those little baby chicks? They're now ugly adolescent creatures that have no souls. :-P

We've moved them out into the workshop near the greenhouse so that they have more space to run around. We've also put up chicken wire against the cardboard walls because the dudes are trying to fly up and out already.

We have more little ones though. We just got a bunch of turkeys. They're still cute, for the moment. Notice the turkey chicks have a little bump above their beak... that's their premature snood, I think.

Garden-wise, there is still a ton of tomatoes begging to be planted. Thing is, it hasn't been dry enough long enough for me to work any more of the garden. So the tomatoes will just have to wait another few days.

In the garden things are looking good.

The onions are going for it, as are the fava beans.

The carrots have come up.

So have the beets.


Celeric (hard to see in this picture) is still doing well, and hasn't been touched by the deer/birds.

Neither the fennel.

Out in the far acre, the wheat I planted last week has already come up. I did a bit of dance when I saw this:

See that patchy green stuff... here it is up close:

And for comparison, here's the rest of the wheat in the field that was planted two weeks earlier:

By the way, I tried baking loaves of bread using store bought whole wheat (President's Choice Organic), Organic Meadow whole wheat, and Red Fife from Saugeen Specialty Grains. All of the breads tasted okay, but the Red Fife and Organic Meadow had more wheaty flavour to them. The Red Fife in particular is surprisingly different.

The other day I was able to work most of the 1/3 of the acre that's going into potatoes.

I'm a bit worried about not yet having the potatoes in. It feels like it's getting late (but what do I know really). I would have liked to have them in this week, but as I mentioned, it's been so wet and our soil so full of clay that I haven't had much of a chance to work it since getting the compost spread. Bah.

Bubbies probably wouldn't approve...

We've had some pest problems in the garden over the passed couple of weeks. When I planted the chard seedlings out two weeks ago, I came back the next morning to find most of them all eat down to the ground. Whatever had done that had also taken a few nips out of the nearby lettuce, but hadn't touched the fennel, cilantro, dill, or onions.

Then last week I noticed what I think were deer tracks in the garden. They had pummelled some of the carrots and beets I had just seeded, otherwise hadn't done much else. That's because I was prepared... I covered the lettuce and other leafy things with row cover.

(Most of the row cover pictured here is covering the squash I just planted, but the far right hand corner is covering the greens.)

So it's deer then, right? Well, a neighbour says she's had trouble with starlings eating her baby greens. But since I saw the deer tracks I'm going with that. I did some reading and surfing to see what other people do to get rid of deer. Peeing on scarecrows? I like it. I haven't built a scarecrow yet, but that's coming. For the moment I'm just peeing around the garden, and I'm lucky enough to have housemates willing to contribute their stinky excresia -- (but not willing enough to walk out to the garden: hence, the Bubbies jar).

Nothing seems to be eating the peas, beet greens, or spinach that's come up so maybe it's working. Although yesterday I had the row cover off the brassicaes for an hour or so and when I came back:

No more kohlrabi. So now I'm thinking it is birds in the garden. Time for hanging tin cans and building a scarecrow I can pee on.