After what has been for the most part a dry summer, we give thanks to the universe for the abundance of rain we’ve seen over the past few days…and also request an end to it! It’s been a nice soaking…loved the thunder and lightning, too. Really. Plenty, though. Just enough, and no more…
A final shout-out and farewell to The Cost of Living, a.k.a. WWOOFers Colin and Jess, who left last Friday after 5 days with us here on the farm. They put in some quality hours out in the field, and it was fun for me to talk music with them and to exchange recordings before they hit the road again, bound for a gig in western Mass. followed by a few more shows in Ohio before their return home to Wisconsin. Thanks, fellas, and safe travels! The crew today consisted of Anna, Brittany, and Sigrid (dividing her time between Ezzy care and harvesting beans)…thanks, everybody! Tuesdays have been well-staffed and surprisingly stress-free, but Fridays have been a different story. We really could use some help! If you or someone you know would like to sign on to help us out with harvesting on Friday mornings from 7am until noon, please get in touch with us. The work is challenging but very fun and very healthy, and we will send you home with lots and lots of veggies!
CSA share #10…wait, 10? The halfway mark?! Goodness! Anyway, share #10 for the 2012 season includes the following veggies:
2 lbs of potatoes (Satina)
2 lbs of beets
1 lb of eggplant
1 lb of green, purple, or wax beans
1 head of lettuce
2 sweet peppers
1 sweet onion
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 enormous bunch of basil
1.5 lbs of tomatoes (beefsteak, heirloom, and/or Juliettes)
No curve balls this week, just classic summer veggies! Enjoy the last of the cherry tomatoes. As is usually the case, the cherry tomato yields are dropping just as the big field tomats are finally beginning to come in. Look for more heirlooms in the weeks to come and hope for an end to the rain…too much moisture dilutes the flavor and encourages all sorts of diseases (including the dreaded late blight) that attack tomatoes. The plants are already showing signs of some early blight and are being subjected to considerable chomping from this year’s robust tomato hornworm population. I suspect we’ll have a strong but short tomato season…this has basically been the pattern with many crops this summer, including peas, zukes, and cukes.
And now, animal updates…and, gosh darn it, we have some really good news to report this week! Perhaps the tide is turning… After lamenting the apparent loss of our guinea hens in last week’s post, imagine our surprise when Lydia, riding her bike around in the driveway last Thursday afternoon, shouted “GUINEAS!” We rushed over, and sure enough, there they were, all four of them, cruising along in the grass across the road from the house. The next morning, they were around last season’s pig area behind the driveway, and since then we’ve seen them just about every day somewhere on the farm…hanging out near the chickens behind the hoophouse, way out in Field 4 in the beet beds, in the raspberry patch, etc. They get around but seem to be staying on or very near the farm. And, more importantly, they’re surviving on their own. Welcome home, birdies, though I suppose you never really left!
And, we have exciting sheep news, too. On Sunday morning, I heaved a surprised Palmer into the back of the minivan and drove him two hours north to his new home: Fisher Farm in Winterport. Sonya met Beth and Dennis last fall during MOFGA’s annual Farmer to Farmer conference…Fisher Farm was one of the spots for the traditional Friday pre-conference farm tour. The Fishers have a veggie CSA and also a pretty sizable flock of Icelandic sheep, so Sonya and Beth came up with a plan to swap ram lambs at some point during the following season to inject some genetic diversity into the herds at both farms. Palmer was our only fella born this spring, so he got the call. We traded him for a handsome, slightly younger white Icelandic ram, and we also bought an additional ewe (also white, plus hornless) from the Fishers just to bump our herd size up a bit (a whopping five sheep now!) So, the drive up with Palmer was fine, and it went well when he was released into the pasture with his new compatriots. The other sheep (and we’re talking about a herd of maybe 20-25 sheep) checked him out and sniffed him, and we didn’t see any butting or other aggressive welcomes. By the time I left, he was off by himself, munching contentedly. I yelled out to him and got a throaty “baaaaaa!” in return. Good luck, Palmer! And, into the van came the two new sheep, and the trip home went smoothly, too. The new duo are now in the winter pen, and they are still pretty nervous and unsure about what’s what. They are also completely unfamiliar with grain, so I’m trying to get that concept across to them as well as just getting them used to my voice and presence. We’ll probably introduce them to Sienna, Lake, and Coco in a few days, and hopefully that will go smoothly. And you might be wondering…names? Lydia named the ewe Fiona. Sonya and I avoided band names this time for the ram but went with a Spanish flair: Jeffe Blanco. I know, we’re weird.
Enjoy the veggies, everyone, and have a wonderful week!