Monday, December 23, 2013

Harvest in December

Greens from the "Greenhouse"!

We are very excited to be harvesting our salad mix from the greenhouse close to the end of December.  It tastes good to have a fresh bit of greens on the plate at this time of year!!

Winter morning

This was after the first snowfall/rain of the season.  We love our homestead.

This is Smarty Pants after the first snowfall cuddling in his new found sleeping old suitcase that I store linens you know why we call him Smarty Pants!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Plans for Saturday?

This is what we will be doing on Saturday December 7th.  I will be selling our veggies, Christmas wreaths, garlic braids, soap, lip balm, gift baskets and more...Come and visit us!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Here you have it....

Mo's Braided Garlic 2013
My first year at braiding garlic.  They turned out not so bad.  We are selling them at market and they are a great way to store a bunch of garlic for the season. 

Speaking of garlic...we got our bulbs in for harvest next season.  Yes I counted....1173 bulbs went in!  We hope that we get that many back!!  They are tucked in nice and safe with a load of seaweed on top for a cozy winter. 

Spirit and Baby Boy

Spirit and Baby Boy had a great summer and they are enjoying grazing the field still into November.  Baby Boy is not such a baby anymore...he is bigger than Spirit and definately like an awkward teenager.  He can find his way into the strangest in the chicken coop eating their feed!  Hmmmm...not sure the chickens enjoyed the company.  
Spirit is definitely pregnant and is expecting her calf in March.  K and I are are both very excited and nervous.  We will share news and photos.

K, K's Mom and Mo
We had a wonderful visit with K's mom.  She arrived the middle of October and stayed for a week.  The weather was great...mild and sunny and the garden was still in full force.  We will miss her over the holidays...yet having her visit in October is such a perfect time of year to come for a visit.  She helped us out in the garden and spoiled us with delicious dinners!  Thanks for taking care of us :)

 Things are gearing down is still producing with kale, chard, beets, parsnips, turnips and black radish.  The greenhouse has also worked really well and we have an excellent salad mix...I think it is the best we have had all year.  Also gearing up to do wreaths for the holidays.  Never a dull moment here at HillTop!

Wreath making....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hub in the Dub last market 2013

What a great day at the market this past Saturday!  There was sooo many faces and very familiar faces which is wonderful.  Thanks everyone for a great season at the West Dublin Market and we look forward to planning the new season after a bit of a "winter" break.  The garden is still producing...broccolli, cabbage, chard, spinach, kale, carrots and of course the hoop house which is giving us some great salad mix!!  

We will be at Riverhouse on Thursday October 31st this week as well as on Saturday Nov 2!  Come on over and visit us there or feel free to give a call and come by the farm!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Short and Sweet

Just a little photo update of what has been happening in the greenhouse...I promise more to come very soon!  All is well and looking forward to a long weekend.

Things are growing in the hoop house!!

Mesclun Mix and Spinach here we come

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A little project

Here is what K has been up to for the past few days....

This is a before...this was taken just after we took possesion

First level....shingles off and replaced

2nd level...coming along

Finished project!  Hay and animals will be nice and cozy for the winter!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Greenhouse is UP

K did it....with the help of our wonderful neighbours and friends and their visitor from Ontario...they put on the plastic for the

greenhouse!  So very to plan what to grow!

This is what the greenhouse looked like before the transformation......

 And of course the after....


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Days 2013

Family swim time in the river

Fresh caught halibut....just off the hook!

Beautiful flowers for summer parties...

Thurs and Friday farm stand at River House Rug Hooking. 

K & M at the Saturday morning West Dublin market

View from the garden

Relaxing the the cool shady barn

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What's Happening....

 The Scapes are here!  Just harvested this bunch from our garlic!  They are delicious sauteed with butter or olive oil!!  I am also making a scape pesto...which I will have for sale at the market so you will have to give it a try.  Feel free to stop by the farm to pick up some scapes before Thursday if you like! 

The scapes have to come off the garlic plant so the energy in the plant can form the bulb of the garlic.  We will have lots of garlic this year...can never have enough!!
Scapes and more Scpaes
 A small sampling of what we are bringing with us to market in Petite.  The garden is coming along and now that we have this heat wave, the tomatoes, basil and squash are loving it!!  We should have peas this week as well as some other greens and  Rainbow Swiss Chard.  Our cilantro, dill and parsley are also doing well.
Market Stand at Riverhouse
Curious George

We have discovered some hidden kittens in one of our old buildings.  They are soooo cute!  Hope they stay around.  I call this one George because he is always watching and wanting to know what is going on!  Maybe we will have a few new cats here at HillTop if they decide to hang out with us!

Spirit is also doing well...and she maybe pregnant!  We had her inseminated and all the signs look good so if all goes well, come April of 2014 she will have a new calf!  Exciting and nervewracking at the same time!!

Speaking of we are having this heat wave here...we decided to invest in an ice cream making machine...waiting to see how the first try of fresh Strawberry ice cream goes...we will keep you posted if we can type in between spoonfuls of homemade ice cream!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life on the Farm

 Life on the farm has been great and busy!  Things in the garden are starting to pick up with the last round of warm weather that we have been having.  Calling for some rain today which will be great for the new little seedlings and seeds!  We started our market booth in Petite Riviere last week and we had a great response.  We will continue there throughout the season and keep you posted as to what we will be offering as the season progress. 

Here are a few photos of what has been going on...
Spirit and Baby Boy enjoy exploring their new pasture

My most favourite flower...peony!  Thanks P :)
Setting up in Petite...come over for a visit

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Arrivals


New Layers at HillTop
20 new dual purpose layer/meat chickens.  They are 4 weeks old today and they just arrived to their new home.  They are still getting used to their surroundings....I am sure they will enjoy their stay...especially once the sun comes out!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HillTop Farm Market @ Riverhouse

Come and join us this Friday for our very first market stand of the season at the Riverhouse in Petite Riviere!  We will be set up by 9 and open until 2!  If you miss us there, you can always come by the farm!    

We will be selling homemade soaps, lip balm, some produce and some potted plants both edible and decorative.  We also have a couple of other ideas in the works...we will keep you posted! 

Then on can find us at the Bridgewater Farmers Market from 9-1!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Wrangling

Thanks Jonathan for your help with chicken wrangling! 

J and one of the Chantys

Your energy and assistance is much appreciated!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Out to Pasture

Yesterday was the day....Spirit and Baby Boy were put outside to graze the first grass of the 2013 season!  They were sooo excited, it was a great site to see.

K and his cows...happy to be in the pasture!

K has fenced a new section on the back fields all the way down to the pond for these guys to graze when they finish the front pasture.  He also created some temporary fencing so the two of them can be put into paddocks each day to graze following Greg Judys pasture management of 60% graze, 30% trampled and 10% left standing.  We were excited to have these guys out on the grass!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Homemade butter is easy and better | Rustik Magazine

Homemade butter is easy and better | Rustik Magazine

A local couple created this online magazine and I contributed some information for this article.  I enjoyed the process of this and who may see more!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Market Season

 We are looking forward to an exciting market season...we have confirmed our markets and where we will be so we look forward to seeing you there and at the farm!

36 Petite Riviere Road (beside the Petite Fire Hall)
Join us  every Thursday and Friday at the Riverhouse which is beside the Fire Hall in Petite Riviere.  We have not set a start date....we will keep you posted as we hope to start the latter part of May. 

Season Starts  - Saturday June 1, 2013 mark it on your calendars!
685 King St., Bridgewater, NS

Slide # 4 Next market May 18, 2013 
and dates all through the season! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Delivery....

Hay Pickup
We had to get a little more hay to tide us over until the pasture is ready to put Spirit and BB out.  K went to go pick some up and he came home with a truck load.  We were surprised how many bales we could fit on our little truck...not bad for a girl who is 23 years old!!  Way to go Maude!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mushroom Farming?

So maybe not this year...we did give a try this year to growing Shitake mushrooms.  We just received the spawn plugs the other day and got them "planted" ASAP!
Mushroom spawn
 This is the tray of spawn.  I was not sure what to expect and when I saw our mail lady come up the drive I was so excited because I knew these were what she was delivering.  It is very important to be able to put the spawn into the logs as soon as possible.  Lucky for us both K and I were home and our friend E was around to lend a hand and some logs! 
A few weeks back, K was clearing some land and was cutting some alders, beech and apple trees so we kept some branches to use for the mushroom project.  E also had some ash and beech so we used a few different logs to see which was going to work the best.  We will have to wait until possibly fall or for sure next spring to see what the results will be. 
The next step is to drill holes into the logs for the spawn to go into.  These holes have to be 1/2 inch in diameter and set at a certain depth to kept air circulation around the spawn.  These plugs had a styrofoam top to them to protect them once they are placed in the log. 
Precise measurement and accuracy helps for a successful harvest
Placing the spawn

The spawn goes directly into the drilled hole and the cap is just flush with the log. 
Mushroom Farmers?

K and I enjoying the new experience of planting Shitake mushrooms.  We will see what happens hopefully in the fall for our first harvest!

All plugged up...a before picture
This is what the logs look like all filled in with the mushroom plugs.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

After picture
This is what the logs are supposed to look like once the mushrooms start their growing.  We will see if ours does the same. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Under the Hoop House

Green all over!

Greens under the hoop house...success!

Seedlings taking a sunbath and hardening off to get ready for planting
Lots going on at this time of year.  It looks like Spring may have arrived here on the South Shore...lets keep our fingers crossed that it has.  Seedlings are coming along nicely and now it is our job to get the garden ready for them to get out and grow some more.  This week the plan is to put out the Red, Yellow and White cooking onions and also maybe some pea seeds along with some more Spinach and Kale and we will see what else! 

This week our Shitake mushroom spawns are also arriving.  We are going to give it a try to see what happens.  We probably will not see any results until next Spring which is a long time to wait...although if it works...well worth the wait!  We will post photos when we are in the inoculating stage.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blue Gold

Our completed sand water filter

After speaking with our new friends from Blueberry Hill Farm, we decided to take on this project and make our own slow sand filter for our water.  The photo above is our completed model.  We used a cleaned out cooking oil (which is food grade) bucket to create this filter system. 
Copper pipe with holes leading to spigot
The next step was to put a pipe at the bottom with some holes drilled in it so the water can filter out through the tap.  K also added some rocks to assist with further filtration.
K then put a barrier from the pipe to sand which happened to be for us a piece of unbleached organic cotton to stop the sand from going into the pipe and into the water. 
Cotton cloth put in before the sand  

 He then added the sand (which happened to be silica for us as that is what we had) for the water to slow filter through and to catch all the impurities into the sand.  The sand removes pathogens and suspended solids from the water.  We let water run through the sand a few times to rinse it through. 

Pretty simple and a great and economical way to filter your water.  The filter can remove up to 95% ofdirt and cloudiness, and up to 95% or iron.  With our first few weeks of it, we love it and it feels like the water just tastes cleaner.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HillTop Hoop House

Say that ten times fast...

Planting in the Hoop House
So we decided to give this a try as we wanted to put something in the garden.  K and I put this together a couple of days ago with PVC pipe and heavy duty plastic.  We kept the plastic down for a couple of days to help heat up the soil and boy did it get warm in there!  Not sure of the exact temperature, but it was cooking.

Today we planted some radish, spinach, mesclun mix, mache and cilantro.  Looking forward to seeing what will happen.  K started working the soil in the rest of the garden to get ready for some upcoming planting.  Sure hope the weather keeps getting more spring like!    Next year we are definitely looking into setting up a larger option for season extension on both spring and fall.  The wheels are turning as to what and how to do it and we will keep you posted.