Thursday, May 5, 2011

spring rush

Well this spring has been nothing like last. If you remember last season felt like sprinting a marathon to the finish line. And the finish line was the beginning of strawberry harvest which came on June 7th in 2010. This season I expect strawberry season to begin no sooner than the 20th of June and maybe 5 days later! Which means at least 2 more weeks if not closer to 3 do get the same work done! So this season is more like jogging the marathon. Still difficult and the same amount of work but it can be taken at a much more relaxing pace.
Butternut Farm has come through the winter well though. Our pick your own crops should be plentiful this season. Right now our plums are in full bloom and the cherries are just coming into bloom. It would be nice to get some warmer weather to help pollinate those crops. The bees tend to stay at home if it is below 60 or raining so everyone think sun! Most often though mother nature finds a way to set the crops so I try not to worry to much about these things which I can't control and just focus on running the marathon which I can control. The peaches will be in bloom probably by mothers day or slightly later and the apples will be soon to follow. If your reading this by then take a trip up to the farm and walk around if you like to watch the bees doing their work, it fascinates me every year. Be sure to do it on a warm sunny day though!
Any way take care and see you in june for PYO strawberries!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snow Shoes

A quick google search on "snow shoes" informed me that they were invented about 6000 years ago by people living in central asia. The people apparently observed the foot characteristics of animals like the Snow Shoe Hare and built the first snow shoes based on this animals' large webbed feet.
Well needless to say the farm purchased a pair of 21inch snow shoes for me to use while pruning the apple trees this winter. I tried one day without and quickly realized sinking into my knee on every step was going to get bothersome over the course of the pruning season. So a quick trip to Philbricks produced a nice pair of middle of the road snow shoes, cost about $110. Boy what a great feeling to be walking on, instead of in the snow. I imagine the first people to use snow shoes must have felt such a sense of freedom and mobility once they strapped those shoes to their feet. So did I. And to boot I am now a whole 1.5 feet taller and am able to reach the tops of those trees so much easier, its like walking around on stilts!

My dad always told me a piece of equipment was a good investment if it allowed you to get a job done faster. I would say this $110 was a good investment.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mid winter blues

Today is feb 2nd and the snow is coming down hard! Not much to do today on the farm but plow snow and stoke up the woodstove! So I figured it would be a good day to update the farmers blog and post a couple of pictures which remind us what summer is like!
Its been a great winter so far from the farms perspective. December was relatively mild and snow free which allowed us to clear more land for crops to be planted. We removed to overgrown rock wall areas near our strawberries. Not only was it fun to play with heavy equipment for a week but the benefits to the farm are numerous. Removing these walls cleared .5 acres of land for future plantings of strawberries and eventually peaches. Their removal will also increase the air drainage off the property and will allow for more efficient land use (hey were paying for that half acre of sunlight might as well harvest something off it). To boot we got about 4 cords of firewood from the hard woods that were growing along the walls! Also in December I was able to set the posts and build the end braces for the new bird netting system to go in around our younger cherry trees. Can't wait for cherry season!

That was December, then the snow came and it still seems to be coming. In between snow removal January was tax, budgeting, and business analysis time. On one of the better days of January I was able to get out and do some wood splitting. Now that job is complete and it is about time to start pruning the apple trees. The only problem is now there is at least 2 feet of snow in the orchards which obviously makes getting our there and moving about the orchard a bit more laborous. The farm might have to invest in a set of snow shoes this winter! All this snow does make winter chores more difficult however I would rather have it then not. The thick layer of snow makes a great blanket to insulate our plants and trees' root systems from potentially damaging extreme cold. Remember that while you are out shoveling snow this winter. The snow is a royal pain now however its' abundance should lead to a plentiful crop of pick your own peaches, strawberries, and raspberries this summer at Butternut Farm.

Thanks for reading and stay warm. Remember Pick your own strawberries is only 4.5 months away.