Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog who annually predicts when spring will arrive, declared on Feb. 2 that it is a certainty that spring will be early this year.
With tax time here and being attended to, Allison Hosford and Roger Knight down at Two Pond Farm didn’t wait for word from the rodent.
When he revealed his news they had already enthusiastically turned their attention to spring activity at their farm on Weaver Road, in the beginning of the new year, as they have done for decades.
Allison’s first garden experience was in the late 1960s with a few pots on the back deck of her apartment in Boston.
She readily will admit that the venture was a dismal failure.
She had a full time corporate America job and knew nothing about the adventures working the soil can provide.
Nine years later, after many container garden attempts, a library of do-it-yourself books, a drop spindle and a dream, she moved out of the city to Two Pond Farm in New Jersey.
The land was purchased by an earlier generation of her family but had not been farmed.
She created a garden on rocky clay and some things actually grew.
Her frustrated, non-farmer Dad gave her gifts of baby pigs, baby goats, sheep, chickens and ducks.
She met Roger, who is just as excited about farming as Allison is, and they now have a self-supporting farm that feeds them and their customers.
“This week I’ll be starting parsley and yams,” Allison said. “Then I’ll be cleaning all of the seeds I saved from last year’s garden, and packaging many of them for sale in our store.”
Roger has been cutting and splitting wood to keep the farmhouse warm. Then he feeds the chickens and sheep.
They have ordered 50, one-day old chicks for meat chickens and 40 laying hens that are 17 weeks old.
These will be picked up from a hatchery in late April.
“We have bred only our three youngest ewes so hopefully this will be a short, easy lambing in early April,” Allison said. “We’ve also ordered our piglets. They should be here late in April. Hopefully, with help from my family, 1,200 Christmas tree seedlings will be planted in mid-April."
All the seeds they need for the year were saved for the new season.
Onion starts from a huge onion farm in Texas will be coming in soon.
Ten bundles are ordered to be grown at Two Pond Farm. Each of these have no less than 60 onions.
They are green shoots and not small bulbs.
Allison likes to share the knowledge about farming that she has gathered through the years.
She has given many lectures and classes and taught workshops and hosted tours on the farm.
She is also an accomplished artist and craft person with her work often displayed in exhibits and shows.
“We have bred only our three youngest ewes so hopefully this will be a short, easy lambing in early April. We’ve also ordered our piglets. They should be here late in April. Hopefully, with help from my family, 1,200 Christmas tree seedlings will be planted in mid-April." - Allison Hosford of Two Pond Farm