Friday, April 12, 2013

The Passage of time

Now that the river has thawed out and most of the snow disappeared we can walk along the banks and see the latest changes in the river: some meanders have been widened , new swimming holes dugout and old ones filled in (think we'll wait before we jump in and find out where..) and the cliffs a little more eroded, no doubt leaving behind some more fossils.

Trees desperately hanging on.
A generation ago the field was a beautiful pasture for grazing cattle, and there is still find some barbed wire fencing alongside the river. The wire is now only held up where it has grown into tree trunks, and much of the fencing has long ago disappeared over the cliff edge into the river or been buried by the undergrowth.

Barbed wire growing through the tree

The field was then left to regenerate with spruce and pine trees.  Where one generation broke its back to turn a forest into a pasture, another wished to turn the grassland back into forest to make up for deforestation elsewhere. We then arrive and decide to clear much of it in order to turn it back to farmland, this time for raspberry and cut-flower production.
Clearing the field in May 2010
Today: Rows of raspberries & blackberries

Meanwhile the wildlife just carries on adapting as us humans try to make up our minds as to what to do with the land that we have taken on as custodians.  So the eagles soar above, coyotes and bears watch from the woods (most of the time..), and the deer just keep on helping themselves to whatever we grow.
Coyote scat

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring has arrived.... properly this time.

With the advent of some sun, we can now actually believe that spring has arrived in reality and not just in theory. The first day of real sunshine meant some serious spring cleaning of both the sunroom and the greenhouse, so both have been put to good use already:

Bertie would actually much rather be out chasing the chickens...
The arrival of some sun has meant we can start using the greenhouse:
Hot bed number 2
Hotbed covered at night as its been dropping to -6 degrees C
I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed the sun, but now that the bears are out of hibernation, the deer are moving about and the sun is shining I actually feel like I’m also ready for the new season.
The chickens are happy too....

This season we're planning to ‘work smarter, not harder’.  We’ve been putting that into practice with the maple syrup processing:  using a cleaned out backpack fertiliser sprayer to collect and haul the sap rather than lugging buckets around – much easier; waiting till the morning to collect the sap so that I can throw out the outer layer of ice which has a much lower sugar content – saving time and wood during the boiling process; and using the stove in the sunroom (with both doors open for ventilation) so that we're not only boiling sap but heating an area we can also use for seeding.
Time to head off now to make hay while the sun shines....