It’s been a few weeks since I’ve managed a note. We’ve been up to our eyeballs in weeds, fall transplanting and seeding, haymaking, and pasture moving, with little time to spare for writing. Luckily it’s not just the weeds that have kicked into high gear lately. The heat, sun and little bursts of rain have moved the veggies along quickly too, many are still small for the date but are making up for lost time. It’s like starting to feed a child who has been malnourished for ten years—there are great, big changes that happen immediately, others that come about slowly, and some deficiencies that you aren’t going to make up for with any amount of passing time. Like our mini green cabbages and summer broccoli crop (don’t be afraid of those broccoli shoots—they are as just as tasty as the big heads).
The last week has been a good reminder of the willpower of plants. The tomatoes, one of our saddest looking crops, have rebounded big time. Even the worst of the tomatoes, the ones that had all but disappeared into foot tall brown sticks with no leaves and only stumps for branches are suddenly sending out tuffs of bright greens leaves along their bases. The cucumbers are big and loaded with small fruits and the zucchini are sporting lots of new growth and flowers. To add insult to injury, as soon as the swiss chard made a come back someone came along and ate it all up. I put up the world’s smallest deer fence, just around the chard, to help us get a share of the harvest. We’ll see how well that works out in the coming weeks. The first planting of green beans has been a pretty big dud too. But the second planting is hot on its heels, still diminutive in size, but I’m hopeful that the harvest will be big enough to feed us all. The third planting, the pole beans, has a way to grow yet, but won’t be too far behind the others and should be full size with all of the beautiful weather it’s been getting since sowing.
We managed two cuttings of hay in the last few weeks. The first got rained on pretty hard, a surprise half-inch storm that rolled through one night. We still managed to dry the hay out and bale it—not the best quality hay ever, but not the worst either. The second cutting went far better, with a few showers coming over just as we were finishing up. Extra thanks to Dave Lincoln for helping out with baling that day, allowing us to get everything into the barn faster and drier. Dave and James headed up north last week to pick up a new baler (new to us but from the 1960’s). They spent the better part of the following morning getting it all cleaned out and running well, just in time for the baling to start. I’m not throwing hay bales this year, and spent the entire day raking with the horses instead, until they quit on me 10 minutes before finishing. They’re a little out of shape from a rainy summer spent standing at the hitching post, and clearly could not see that the end was in sight, just a few hundred feet away.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: Sweet summer onion, broccoli shoots (just break the stems where they are tender, and use head, leaves and stalk), zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, beets, green cabbage, kale, scallions, lettuce heads, mesclun mix, wheat berries, whole wheat regular and pastry flour, cornmeal.
In the meat share: All cuts of beef, pork and stew birds in the freezer. Beef stock, chicken organs, lard and leaf lard are available. Fresh broiler chickens this week!
- Full and By Farm: More Rain This Week (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Cider Making (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Vegetables Fields Continue Improving (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)