Monday, April 26, 2010

The last week of April

The lettuce and arugula are ready in the greenhouse. We've started selling some and have been making lots of salads.

We finally got rain, and some hail last night. The hail wasn't big enough to do any damage though.

After quite a bit of work, the $75 grain drill is functional again!

I'm planting spring wheat for fall harvest.

The next project is to get our 16 ft drill working.

April 19-15

The grain drill needed a hitch to pull a cultipacker behind it.

Instead of welding the hitch directly to the frame I welded the hitch to separate pieces of angle iron and bolted it to the drill. The idea is that if something happens the part I built will bend (or the bolts will shear) so the frame of the drill isn't damaged.

After adding the covering chains, its starting to look like a functional grain drill again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 12-19 th

Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) was introduced as a forage crop. Unfortunately it is invasive and very hard to get rid of since it propagates by underground stems called rhizomes (pictured above), rhizomes can be several feet long! The rhizomes are capable of sprouting a new plant at each node. If the rhizome is cut into pieces (such as by disking) then each piece develops more plants.

One way to manage quackgrass is to harrow at the three leaf stage. If the soil moisture is right the harrow will pull out the rhizomes and they will dry out and die.

A view from the tractor seat, I'm disking up a field I just plowed.

Disking breaks up soil clods to help prepare the seedbed for planting.

Lynn and my dad getting suited up to transfer honeybees to their hives.

The bees are given a dose of smoke to calm them down.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Maple Hill Musings is One Year Old!

This was meant to be last weeks post. For some reason it didn't get published.
On Saturday the sheep got their annual haircut. And Maple Hill Musings turns 1 year old in May!

Bagging the fleece.

We needed to transfer feed from one of the big bins to the smaller one.

It worked best to put it in the gravity box, then auger it into the small bin.

The Second Week of April

We're experimenting with growing wine cap mushrooms this year. Ideally they should be grown on wood chips, straw will also work if you don't have a source of wood chips. The straw has to be soaked for a few days then the mushroom spawn is mixed with the straw.

To keep the moisture in we used feed sacks to cover the straw.

Grain drill #2 we were looking for a parts drill, for $75 a friend sold us this one. Instead of parting it out we're going to fix it up and keep it. Its seven feet wide, and has a mechanical lift so it will work with our Allis Chalmers B. This drill will be great for seeding smaller areas.

A couple of gears were missing teeth. This is caused by engaging the drive shafts without checking first to see if the wheels will turn. If the drill is rusty or has been sitting outside for awhile the drive shaft can seize.

The culprits. The smaller gear took about 10 minutes to remove, the bigger one took a few hours. I had to dismantle part of the drill to get at the gear.

The site of this years vegetable gardens. Spring came early and its been dry, rain would be nice but this way we can get a jump on tillage.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The lettuce and other greens are starting to grow in the greenhouse.

Some of our transplants. The tomatoes and peppers have to be brought inside at night since its still a little chilly.

Outdoor fiber art, my mom is working on some weaving.