With the extraordinarily dry and warm weather we've had in the past two weeks we've been able to complete much field work ahead of schedule. We've pulled all the poly at the Albion farm and about half of the Benton field; a field we had several acres in to start with. Several fields are still too wet to get into so we'll wait on those. We've spread compost and plowed fields 1, 5, 7, 8,9,11, and the field across from the farm all in Albion. We've chisel plowed 11 and 14 North along with the Higgins field; an isolation field we have nearby. Field planting starts in a couple of weeks; we'll be ready barring and weeks of rain.
It's hard to believe we've completed so much ground prep so early in the season. Many years it would be now before we could get into the highest and driest fields, and this year we're able to get on some of the not so high and dry fields. I'm not saying it's dry everywhere; some fields still have standing water on them or in the road that leads to them - not a good place to drive a tractor, but many fields are workable now.
The greenhouses are filling up fast. We moved the breeding peppers into greenhouse # 2 last Friday: they will get bumped up into bigger containers this week. Lots of seedlings to be bumped up and lots of seeding to do. Crops we have growing are broccoli, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, endive and lots of flowers. The swallows are back in force, checking out the bird houses. The poly tunnel will get greens and lettuces planted this week. Tomatoes will be the next big crop to seed.
On Monday I had a pair of Blue birds (yes, bluebirds) outside my office window. They were checking out a bird house near my office but the swallows were harassing them so I don't know if they'll hang around or not. I think most of the migratory birds must be back by now. I saw two Great Blue Herons over the weekend and I think they round out my list of birds coming back. I've heard loons on the pond behind the house and seen lots of hawks and a few turkey vultures. Tom turkeys are strutting their stuff to a few interested hens.
Since last week, I've spotted more than a few woodchucks; one living in the stone wall on the north end of field 11. We'll have to live trap him and give him a new home before we plant that field. I like to transport them to a place of relative safety; one like the abandoned field near my house. They'll have plenty of friends there as I've released many chucks there over the past few years.
And I saw the first snake on Monday this week; an eight inch long Milk Adder in the workshop. They've been hanging around there ever since I've worked here but this is the earliest I've ever seen them. I put him down next to the greenhouse; he'll be fine. We found a snake skin a couple of years ago from what I assume is his mother; nearly four feet long; a big one she is. We've seen her a couple of times, coming in the shop where it's cool on a hot day must surely feel good to her.
Blackflies will be here shortly as will the fiddle heads. We checked at one of our "secret" spots on Saturday but there's no sign of fiddlies, give ‘em a couple of weeks they'll be up. The water is really low in the stream next to our spot; much lower than it normally is, so whether or not that has any bearing on the ferns is anyone's guess. Nothing like a good mess of fiddlies to herald in spring.
Until next week, Brian