Winter projects have been rolling along and we’re now essentially at the beginning of spring. All of a sudden the days are longer and lighter, and we feel the anticipation of the main season starting to build. Most folks probably still consider this to be winter, but for farmers it’s just about game time. We’ve already started our first onions and leeks (our new Propagation Station is JUST AWESOME) and have beds of salad mix and spinach starting to grow in the greenhouses. Our garlic is coming up nicely, too, as you can see in the above photo. I love the feeling that this time of year brings–excitement, anticipation of warmth and new growth, and a new season in which to keep learning and developing our skills as farmers.
As you can also see in the above photo, I am growing by the day! I’m now 36 weeks pregnant; our due date is exactly one month from today. This adds greatly to the general anticipation of springtime as we look forward to meeting our child very soon. UPS has been bringing us a steady mix of orders for the farm along with parcels of baby stuff (just yesterday we got a rad baby swing followed by seeds and a soil blocker today). It is going to be a truly CRAZY year for Excelsior Farm!
The project update: I used our Propagation Station for the first time last week, and it works wonderfully! I hardly had to think about what I was doing. Having a stationary setup dedicated to starting seeds is going to make the process so much smoother. We can start tons of flats to fill up our new Propagation House, pictured above, which is one of our latest finished (or nearly finished) projects. This prop house is one of our passive hoop houses made over with a heater on a thermostat, circulation fans, and, get this, AUTOMATIC ventilation. Yes, this is a self-regulating house, which means that it will automatically heat or ventilate the house when the temperature goes too low or high above the set temperature, maintaining a consistent temperature for our seedlings. We’re so excited about this, not only for the health of our plants but because it’s way more effective and less annoying for us than opening and closing the house thirty times a day. We really could just stand and watch those vents open and close all day.
Jeremy moved his shop to the front of the barn just across from the prop station. It’s much more accessible from the field, and now all of the tools we use are in the same part of the barn. We’re both totally thriving on all this organization! Not only is this a better location for the workshop, but moving it allowed us to install a pretty nice farm kitchen in its old place. Because we need to eat, take tea breaks, and wash dishes. We need a pleasant area to stop work and rest if we’re going to be good farmers (and good parents). We’ve learned that taking care of ourselves has to be a priority if this is going to work.
And things have been working out great! We’re so excited for the upcoming season. We’re bringing in a lot of enthusiasm and gusto and hope for the best season yet!
Here’s to an awesome spring!
Ashli and Jeremy