Two weeks ago it was rain, and last week it was illness, but this week (knock on wood) things seem to be coming together. We’re catching up with the planting and got a few maintenance-type projects done, too, including hilling potatoes, staking tomatoes, and weed-wacking. Many thanks to the many hands who made today much less stressful than last week! Brittany Wallingford and Glenn Briggs helped out with the morning’s harvest, while Aunt Patty Nadeau came all the way down from Skowhegan to hang out with Ezra. And a very special thanks to our friend, Tuan Nguyen, for mowing our lawn yesterday as we wait for our ever-temperamental mower to be fixed. Let’s keep the hay out in the hay field, eh?
Your second share of veggies for the 2012 season includes the following:
1 bunch of beets -or- 1 bunch of carrots (Friday CSAers will get beets)
2 heads of lettuce (a red and a green)
2 small heads of bok choy
1 pint of strawberries
1 bunch of scallions
10 garlic scapes
1 bunch of basil
We hope you’ll all be excited by the appearance of the straws and the scapes this week. Garlic scapes are the undeveloped flower stem of the garlic plant. They are delicious, with a mild garlic flavor, and they can be used raw in salads or cooked in any recipes where garlic is called for. And then there’s pesto…just process those scapes with olive oil, a bit of parmesan or romano cheese, some pine nuts or walnuts, and you wind up with a gorgeous, pale green, garlic-y pesto that is to die for. Bok choy is an Asian vegetable that is excellent in stir fries. And, we know: This spring’s choy looks like hell. Those little holes are made by flea beetles and there are a ton of them out there doing their thing this year. However, the damage is cosmetic. I can assure you that the stuff tastes fabulous. In a shockingly stereotypical display, I went to Lowe’s on Fathers’ Day and bought myself our first ever gas grill. And what did I grill first? Bok choy! Slice the head in half, stem to top, drizzle the halves with a little oil and/or soy sauce and grill them briefly. Amazing! Lydia can’t get enough of the stuff, and we get a kick out of watching her holding the choy and chowing it down.
A few folks at the Friday CSA pick-up down in Portland mentioned that they enjoyed reading here about the various recent pig adventures. Perhaps the pigs got wind of this and decided to keep things interesting. Last Thursday, I was working with Brian McNulty out in Field 4 when we both heard a strange noise. A moment later Brian shouted “pig!” as a pig popped out of the hayfield and quickly disappeared back into it. Realizing that the morning’s schedule was likely shot, I walked over to the pig pen to verify its complete and utter emptiness. They had once again rooted around just enough to both short out the fence and create enough space to scoot under. Finding them and herding them took considerably longer this time…I think the fading light and rainy weather helped me out before, since who wants to be away from home in a storm with night coming on? 1 farmer and 5 pigs played a long game of chase and keep-away until I finally got them into their area. That lasted for about 30 seconds. By now, excited and frazzled, they had no respect for their fence and were either going under or through (taking it with them in some cases) at will. With Brian’s help, we kept herding them back in until we finally got them into their pig house. I practically threw pallets in front of the openings to keep them in, but the little weasels kept either pushing out or finding gaps to squeeze through. I got some rope, and the next time we coralled them in, we quickly tied the pallets to the house itself. Finally secure in their house, Brian and I looped some electric fencing around the ends of the house in the hope that a period of fence retraining plus more vigilence on my part with checking the fence line daily would prevent future escapes. I let the pigs back out into their area last Friday after harvest, and so far, so good…
And actually, it’s been quite a week of escapes. The sheep have been out a couple of times, too, and I was stumped as to why until I discovered that their solar fence energizer isn’t working properly. They got out this morning, in fact, and Sonya locked them in their winter pen until I could rig up a line running from the Field 2 deer fence out to their area. Luckily, a sheep escape is easy to handle because they stay together and head straight for their bin of grain off the driveway. There they more or less wait for one of us to come out, grab some grain, and lead them back to where they came from. About half of our chickens also flew the coop a few evenings ago. I suspect a hawk or other big bird swooped into their area and stirred them up. I ran out to see quite a pile of gray feathers in the center of their fenced area, yet all of the chickens were eventually found and returned home. Someone had a VERY close call. A few of the girls are now laying, too. We’re finding an egg or two a day now and look forward to their increased output in the coming weeks.
And finally, the next farm potluck is happening on the last day of June, specifically Saturday, 6/30 from 5-9 PM. Bring along a dish to share and enjoy food and conversation with your friends, neighbors, and fellow CSA members. Feel free to bring musical instruments, too, as we often gather around the firepit after dinner for music and chatting. See you soon!