FreestyleFarm » AN URBAN FARM IN THE CITY

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Spring Happenings

Grab a coffee, this post has been long overdue. With the record-breaking warm spring, it meant being outside, working in the garden instead of inside blogging. There were many things to share with you, but as soon as I started, another time-sensitive project pulled me away. So here it is…a quick update of what’s been happening. Some topics will be covered in more detail when I get a chance, so stay tuned. Better yet, hit the subscribe button, and be notified of new posts.

March break was spent at the cottage tapping maples and making syrup. The sap didn’t flow as well as last year. The nights were too warm, with days even warmer. We tapped 23 trees and collected sap for a week, yielding only 2 litres.

Another purpose of our cottage trip was to bring back a pile of oak logs for cultivating Shitake mushrooms. Best cut when they are dormant; we waited 4 weeks for the logs to “die” before innoculating. Living cells in the logs will reject and fight the spawn.

I am also experimenting with growing Oyster mushrooms in spent coffee grounds. So far, so good. A few smelly disasters, and a naughty curious pigs who ate my bag of spawn…coffee grounds and all!

The chickens and Henry, along with our kids made their television debut on the Steven and Chris show back in April. It was Jenny, Sunshine and Millie that they really wanted for a omelette-making segment with Chef Lynn Crawford, but it was Henry who stole the show.

We welcomed a couple of new rabbits. Poppy and Boris, new friends for Piper.

Poppy turned out to be a boy, fell in love with Piper (pregnant in above photo), and had four darling bunnies who are now 3 weeks old.

The tiniest one wasn’t getting enough milk so I’ve been bottle feeding her with kitten formula.

I finally got around to painting the lattice and hanging a vertical garden. Kale, assorted herbs, and strawberries are planted in these grow towers.

Spring also means spring chickens. This is Marigold, a bantam Golden Lace Wyandotte. We became good friends once she figured out that I dig worms to feed the trout.

Two more silkie chickens were also added to our flock. This is Honey, our little buff-coloured silkie.

New chickens means new coop! Going into our third year of raising hens, we took the plunge to make a bigger more permanent home for the girls.

Thank you my brilliant Hubby for building me this lovely coop over a weekend; complete with a living green roof. I can’t wait to see it filled in with Chickory, Arugula, Bok Choy, Rainbow Chard, Nasturtium and Merlot Lettuce.

Radishes, Yu Choy, and Gai Lan Choy have already been harvested and beds are ready for second planting. The indoor lights helped immensely in getting a head start on the growing season.

We replaced our two aquaponics grow beds with containers I found at Home Hardware during the winter. These made better use of space on our shelves.

Mother’s Day was spent trout fishing, bringing back 2-lb rainbow trouts for the barbecue, and 2 dozen fingerlings to power the aquaponics beds. Sadly, a few died everyday. Only three remain.

Last year, the water in the tanks had to be heated to keep the prawns alive, this year, Hubby is working on a cooling system to keep the rainbow trout cool and comfortable. Trout like moving, clear, cold water, with optimal temperatures between 55-65•F.

I’ve also been a regular contributor at Eat Boutique for the past year. If I’m not posting here, or puttering in the garden, I’m likely working on something at Eat Boutique. Now that most projects are underway, I hope to be back here more often.

deirdre - what can i say jill – you are an INSPIRATION – you are just the most amazing unique creative and talented person – i’m exhausted just reading what you’ve been up to on the farm!!

looking forward to meeting all of the new additions…:) ciao!

Mary - Hi Dierdre,

You and your family are the most creative and kind people. The new chicken coop is a work of art and would be a wonderful decorative addition to any garden. I love to read about your new adventures and new additions to your animal family. Henry and Rocco are the sweetest little pigs. The little bunnies are adorable. You have such energy and innovative ideas.

Stacy - Love it! Do you have any plans for the coop? Especially what it took to make the roof top garden? I have a very small space and would love to add food to the top of the coop == any info greatly appreciated!

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