Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our Week on the Farm

What a week this has been at our little farm. We have had sickness in our house since May 9th and it really seems to like to stick around.  Even so, life must go on. So we have been busy.  Monday morning some friends of ours came over so Larry could change their brakes on their van.  Even in my zombie like state, I knew I should have some food ready in case they could stay for lunch. So, fast thinking me took some ham broth with ham out of the freezer, started cooking some veggies for soup and started a batch of buns.  Just before they arrived, I was going to pour the broth into the soup. But when I opened the lid, I found crabapple juice! Anyway, I improvised with some canned homemade chicken broth and made cream of vegetable soup and buns.  But now I had to so something with the crabapple juice, so I found some chokecherry juice in the freezer and made 3 batches of Crabapple Chokecherry Jelly (Jacob's favorite) and I have enough chokecherry juice left to make Larry a batch of Chokecherry Jelly.  Rebekah helped with the 1st batch, but lost interest after that. She also helped me make a batch of white bread.

Crabapple Chokecherry Jelly and Fresh White Bread

On Friday, the kids helped me start planting our sunflower patch. We have 17 - 30ft rows. I hope it's enough for the chickens for the winter.

I need to find a way to keep the chickens in the farm yard while my garden is establishing itself. Plus, we can not find all the eggs. They are laying ALL OVER the farm. So, I found a roll of snow fence at a garage sale yesterday and cut it in half and I am securing it around our farm yard. It isn't long enough, so I am keeping my eye open for anything else that will work. I could always put it around the garden, but I would like to be able to locate all the eggs. We have a waiting list for eggs right now and we can't find any chickens for sale.

I bought these 2 Honeyberry (Haskap) plants yesterday.  I am excited about these. They will grow fruit that tastes like a combination of blueberries, raspberries and currants and they are supposed to be super hardy.

Here, you can see some little berries already starting. They are supposed to be mature be the middle of June. Oh what a blessing fresh fruit will be!

I found a great article with information on the right pollinator matches here. The blossoms can withstand frost to -7C! This will be great for my climate. But they have varieties for zones 0-9, so anyone can grow them. Apparently, the 2 varieties I bought, Borealis and Tundra, are not a good pollinating pair, so I will have to keep my eyes open for a Berry Blue. If they grow as well as they say, I think I would like to plant a lot of these Honeyberries and sell the extra at the farmers market.

This is what the Honeyberries will look like whe they are ripe and you can use them anyway you would a blueberry.

Well, that has been our week here in Central Alberta. I am looking forward to planting our garden next week. IF, we can figure out what to do about the chickens!
God bless.


  1. I'm interested to know more about the sunflowers and what you do with them and your chickens for winter??? I am new to this whole farming thing, and we are planning on getting chickens as soon as we get a coop built. Hope you all feel better soon!

    1. Another note; I bought a 3 lb bag of medium striped sunflower bird seeds (I think from the dollar store). That's what I use for planting. I've only used about 1/5 of the bag for 2 years now. I have also planted the black oil sunflower bird seeds which are even more healthy for the chickens, but I guess I got a better deal at the dollar store. I never buy little packages of sunflower seeds any more, just big bags of bird seed sunlfower seeds.

  2. Hi Shannon. You will love chickens. This is the 2nd year I have planted sunflowers for my chickens for winter feed. We have very cold and snowy winters here (-40C). So, the chickens spend most of their time in the barn. I will save the dried sunflower heads in some kind of mouse proof, ventilated container and throw one into the barn for them to pick at. It is very healthy for them and pecking at the sunflower heads gives them something to do. I feel bad for them when they are stuck inside all the time.
    Plus, the feed bill gets huge when they are not free ranging. So this will supplement that expense.
    I save the stalks for our donkeys. They act like it's candy. Plus they like to eat the barn it helps to give them something to chew on.
    I hope you have a wonderful day Shannon!

  3. Hi Crystal! Love reading your updates! Which causes me to ask on behalf of my children: any crabapple-chokecherry jelly for sale?


    1. You're so sweet Chantal. And yes, we do have some crabapple chokecherry jelly for sale. We'll have to meet up somewhere and I'll give you a deal because you guys go through so much!