Showing posts from February, 2018

Connecting with Connections

The Connections class at the Academy of Lifelong Learning connects the community with a wide variety of speakers, from healthcare to politics, clinics to …farms! I was honored to be asked to speak to the Connections class on February 21 about Highland Orchards and our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Two of our customers were instrumental in asking me to present to the class. Of course, I selected a winter time slot, when we are a bit slower. I remember wondering if they had a snow date. Not to worry this year; February 21 was 75 degrees!
Wacky weather makes a great introduction to a talk about farming, and we had a great time. So many in the class have been long-time residents of northern Delaware and were familiar with the changes in population and eating that I presented. A little history of the farm and the way that farming has changed over the past 100 years brought into focus the fact that farming is a business. The CSA program was new to many, and the class’s curi…

What do we do in February?

“As the day begins to lengthen, so the cold begins to strengthen.” (From The Old Farmers Almanac) February is traditionally the snowiest month for us. Of course, this year, the weather has not been typical. 70 degrees in February! Good Ol' Mother Nature. If she decided that winter is over, we'll be fine. It's the 70 degrees back to freezing swings that we worry about. 

It is also the month when we get very excited for spring to come. Why? February 2 (also known as Candlemas or Groundhog Day) marks the midway point between winter and spring, and every day after that means we are closer to spring! It marks the point when we have 10 hours of daylight--and that is a key factor for plants to grow.
First on the list is pruning. Most trees and vines fare best when pruned in complete dormancy. Every sunny day when the temperature is above freezing, we are out pruning. This means apple, peach, and plum trees; kiwi vines; and gooseberry and currant bushes. The trees and vines put on t…

All About Chickens

Chickens are funny birds in many ways. They share a common ancestry with Tyrannosaurus Rex. They have a gizzard (and you thought your grandparents made up that word!), which is a small part of the stomach that contains tiny stones and grinds up their food.They can fly only a few feet (enough to get over a fence!) and are officially classified as flightless birds. There are over 24 billion chickens in the world. A group of chickens is a flock, a female is a hen, and a male is a rooster or cockerel. Young females are called pullets until they start to lay eggs at 20 to 24 weeks of age. Usually first eggs are smaller sized. 

Roosters can crow any time of day, starting at o’dark thirty, about 60 minutes before sunrise, and then continue All. Day. Long. Roosters can become very aggressive, usually after one year of age (full maturity). This is one reason why we rarely have a rooster in our flock. They are protective of their hens and will often have a group of followers. If he spots some de…