Here at White Stone Farm we are often presented with challenges. The hot, dry summers, very wet winters, poor drainage over most of the property, heavy frosts in winter, the house that needs a bit of TLC…but one of the biggest challenges we face is our lack of good topsoil. The farm is situated on an ancient alluvial floodplain of heavy clay, with some of the oldest soil this Earth has to offer (Ordovician soil, circa 500 million years for those playing at home…). In winter the clay holds water, in summer it cracks and dries as hard as concrete, the clay shrinking and expanding depending on moisture content.
Prior to our purchase of the land, the property was also overstocked with horses, creating further compaction of the soil. It makes for one slippery clay-ridden landscape in the depths of wet winters and is in desperate need of some more organic matter to boost the growing capacity of the land. Phew…so glad that we like a good challenge!! On the positive side, clay already has a number of nutrients that we can build on for our soil structure, we just need to improve the drainage and help it along a bit with some more organic matter. Hey, at least it’s not sand! Continue reading →
The chill of Winter is leaving the landscape and the warmth of Spring is finally upon us. Thank goodness!! Those -2°C mornings (down to -6°C one day…brrrrr!) are behind us for another year and we can look forward to longer days, more sunshine and a verdant, productive landscape. Even the llamas are happy about the plentiful, fresh green growth…
Spring is my favourite time of the year, a reminder after the dry summer and cold winter that there are ideal growing conditions to be had in this part of the world, blue sky days, clement weather and a myriad of birds filling the farm with a joyful chorus as they do their birds and the bees stuff. Nests are popping up all over the place, birds are courting each other, plumage colours are enhanced (even our male duck’s bill gets a bit more orange and he struts around proudly!) and it’s a great reminder of the joys of new life. Continue reading →
Wow – how quickly the year is disappearing! No sooner did we enjoy the golden hues of autumn, then winter approached with bracing winds, rain and more rain, sub-zero temperatures and more rain. Did I mention rain? How sad the extra water tanks aren’t in yet! But the ducks think it’s the best thing in the world – the whole property is one big swamp, just ripe for puddling around in!!
So far, our record coldest morning was about -6°C. The landscape was blanketed in white icicles, giving everything a lacy cover that crunched underfoot. Nearby towns had snow! Even the weeds looked pretty in their icicle finery.
Aside from the cold, there have been some glorious days of winter sunshine, enabling Stace to get out and make some amazing changes to the White Stone Farm landscape. The rain and high clay content on the property does make anything to do with dirt or driving around the property a lot more challenging and it’s caused Stace huge frustration as he slips and slides around the block. In future years we won’t be doing such grand manoeuvres in the slushy, slippery winter but this year we need to get lots done before spring. Despite the trying conditions, Stace has done an amazing job at moving earth to create some innovative infrastructure and effective grow beds… Continue reading →