Denise has been researching different seed trials carried out in Belgium and France for varieties that will grow well in our Maritime climate. Because of our shorter growing season, we are looking at seed varieties with good youth growth. We are planning to grow five acres of flax this year, with the majority of the fields being planted with the Melina variety. We have planted Melina before with good success. We will also plant some small test plots with a range of newer varieties.
As we increase the amount of flax we are growing, we have to solve the harvesting issue. Last year, our one-acre plot of flax was harvested manually over several weeks. This harvesting method is clearly not a viable option with our production increasing to five acres. The team has been working on finding a solution to our harvesting needs.
We have decided to include roving on our list of products. I have been carrying out research to determine a fair price for this product.
On January 15th, a group of farmers, weavers, spinners, and other interested folks started an exciting discussion about forming a collective fibershed here in Nova Scotia. We will be continuing the conversation on February 12th, at 1 pm at Bishop Hall. If you are interested in joining the conversation, or interested in learning more, please join us on the 12th.
Last year, we were contacted by a flax and linen study group in New England about a symposium they are hosting in August of this year. We are happy to announce that Patricia and Mike (our engineer) will not only be attending the event, but will be presenting. And, we are looking into the possibility of taking our equipment with us. I have been conducting some research into the necessary paperwork we need to have in place to cross the border with our machinery.
Back in December, we were asked to write some content for TrustedClothes.com and the first two blog posts have been published. It was nice to work with Shannon at Trusted Clothes and we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for this organization.
Patricia brought in her mother's knitting machine and I am working on getting the machine into operational condition. Once operating, I will learn how to knit dishcloths on the machine using our linen yarn. In addition to this, we are working with Jonathan McClelland at Western Valley Agri to develop a firelog using our flax shives.
Our second piece of equipment, the breaker, was brought to the farm last week. After some tweaking, I will be able to start breaking mechanically. I am super excited as this means no more tired shoulder!
We are in the process of setting up the flax processing room on the farm. We have started testing our third piece of equipment, the scutcher--this machine will remove the shive from the linen fibres--and construction of our fourth piece of equipment, the hackling machine, has started. This piece of equipment will remove any knots and shorter linen fibres and leave you with long line linen fibres that are ready for the intersector.