Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All We Are Saying...

We are hunting around for a theme for this blog post and have failed to come up with one.  So, it may be disjointed.  Or maybe datjointed.

  • The crew spent most of its time today in the pea/cucumber field weeding.  We're not terribly pleased with the germination levels we have found there, but there is still something growing that should produce for us.  Either way, we did what we could to "give peas a chance."
  • One chicken to another, "Yep, that Clyde, he sure had guts."  Further explanation not likely forthcoming.
  • We are not sure whether this is a good or bad thing.  But, both Tammy and Rob had Robin Hood: Men in Tights movie lines going through our heads today. "So, why don't you fox them?"  or "Unlike some 'Robin Hoods,' I can speak with an English accent."
  • Canadian Thistle is one of our arch enemies on the farm.  During a presentation about weed control, the presenter noted that his college had a graduate student do an 'archeological dig' on a 30 foot by 30 foot patch of Canadian Thistle.  The student had to dig 30 feet down to get the last piece of root.  That patch had 10 miles of roots and the average depth was 10 feet.  It only takes a 1/4 inch piece of root tuber to start a new plant. 
  • We have noticed that one of the few plants that suppress Canadian Thistle is Crab Grass.....  As Anden said so well, "The enemy of our enemy is.....uh... still our enemy."
  • We were musing about songs we should rewrite with new lyrics.  One of the finalists is "Who Let the Birds Out."  Who indeed?
  • If you are amazed that we have time for musings.  Consider this:  Today we weeded about 1200 feet of peppers and eggplant, 400 feet of peas (of which half had canadian thistle and half had crab grass) and 500 feet of cucumbers.  One way to take your mind off of the thistles biting into your hand is to consider new songs to mutilate in the interest of scaring people with poor attempts at humor!  ah.... perhaps I can do a song about thistles?
  • We feel the pain of our friends to the south.  Thirteen inches of rain during the last storm system.  We remember this happening to us last year.  And we'd much rather it didn't happen to anyone....
  • Ironically, I'm beginning to think about looking (quietly) at the irrigation equipment again.  The last time I took time with it, it started raining and never quit (or so it seems).  When was that?  August of 2007.  Eeek!  Maybe not?
  • Have you seen Paint Your Wagon?  If so, why?
  • Thanks for the fish.  (you know who you are!)
  • I must go do chores now.  Funny thing about chores and farms.  You can work hard all day and feel like you put a good day in.  But, you still have to do the chores.  

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Crop Report

    Crop notes:
    We'll start with the not so good stuff first: 

    Vine Crop Struggles: We have had the worst cucumber beetle attack we've seen in the last four years.  Of course, the weather is drier....  Our vine crops (summer squash, zucchini, cucumber, winter squash, melon, watermelon, pumpkin) are working to fight through them, but it is slowing them down.  We're doing what we can to handle the situation (including starting another batch of zucchini and summer squash in trays to give them the head start they need). We do NOT foresee complete crop failures, just a delay in some of the shorter season items (cukes/ssq/zuke).  Once plants grow through this stage, we think we'll be ok.

    Small Timing Oops: The lettuce succession has a bit of a dry spell here - we should have some this week, but it's not as strong as we're used to.  The earlier hot weather shot one batch up early and we missed the timing on the next.  But, we're back on schedule and should be fine for lots more lettuce for as long as we can manage it.  We're hoping to break our record of 13 weeks of lettuce out 20 for a CSA season.

    Oh Deer!:  Ya, the deer have found us again. We're working on excluding them.

    And now for some good stuff!

    Oui, We Weed:  R&T spent the entire day Sunday using the wheel hoe and rototiller doing the between row 'weeding.'  We're hitting the timing pretty well on this, but we need lots of effort on the 'in row weeding' to stay on top of it.  If there are people who might like to entertain themselves with a weeding session....

    Toe the Line:  As in potato and tomato and peppers (oh, wait, that doesn't work).  Potatoes look great this year.  Two years ago we set a record with 2.5 tons of potatoes brought in.  Anyone like to see that record get broken?  It is looking like a possibility.  Tomatoes are looking to be on schedule.  We picked over 10,000 tomatoes in 2008.  2009 and 2010 were much weaker.  We like 2008 numbers better - let's go after those.  Beans look very good, peppers look good.  Onions are looking fine and the brassicae (broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, kale, brussels, etc) are also looking very good.  We have a crop of turnips and beets coming on.  We're going to work on fall plantings of carrots.  Jeff Sage is working on the spring carrots.  All in all, I think there is more good than bad this season.  We like that.

    A little more:   We've been working to get our companion flowers into our fields.  We also got 400 feet of basil in yesterday.  The plants are small, but look healthy and ready to go.  We're trying a second planting of basil (just germinating) to see how it might work.  Planting is, by no means finished.  but, it isn't really finished until October or so - so nothing abnormal there.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    The Day of "No Rain"

    NPR radio told us that the rain had "left the state."  That's when it started to rain.  Nice.

    But, what can you do on a farm when there is 'no rain' going on and getting you wet when you are outside?

    Ok, we'll grant you that the rain earlier in the day (Wednesday) was little more than a mist.  But, the fields were pretty wet already - and since we didn't need to pick (much) we stayed out of them.  Our crew did a nice job working through it and we all enjoyed (I think) pointing out how much 'not rain' we were getting.  And, we managed to find numerous important or useful farm tasks that didn't necessarily require that we all be damp and cold for the entire day.

    The high tunnel is now largely weed free and parts of it have been tilled for the next planting.  The high tunnel is actually a nice addition in that useful work can be done on days that are less than ideal.  Like all things, it has its plusses and minuses.  But, that's probably something for another post.

    The weeds around our hydrocooling/washing/packing station were getting annoying.  So, we moved the stainless steel counter and two intrepid workers set to work.  Got it done before it really started to 'not rain.'  We also attacked giant ragweed that tends to pop up on the north side of the poultry pavilion.  Nice to get that done as well.

    Perhaps we overlook the process of organizing, re organizing and cleaning in our buildings.  As the seasons change, the needs on the farm change.  As a result, we have to put some things 'away'  (on the higher shelves, in the storage areas, etc) and bring out other things.  And, over time, stuff just starts to get cluttered and out of order.  So - it was nice to have extra pairs of hands to help put things away.  I've lifted stacks of web flats on my shoulder and climbed a ladder to put them away - but is much easier to have someone hand them to you once you are up where you need to be.  There was much organizing going on today.  The results of this effort will be felt for many weeks to come. 

    We got more trays seeded (and you thought the season for this was finished?) and fixed a flat tire.  In short, the list for various and sundry work is fairly long.  So - a day of 'not rain' - especially if that 'not rain' is on the gentle side - is not entirely unwelcome.  However, let's not have too many of these wet unrainy days in a row!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    A Quick Look Back

    We understand some of our friends are having another difficult season with too much rain.  It is a helpless feeling when the weather doesn't even give you a chance to do what you need to do.

    We are grateful that, thus far, the weather for us has been pretty good.  Just enough rain to keep things going, but not so much that we can't get back into the fields and do the work we want to do.  In fact, a good friend of ours stopped by and saw our fields and remarked "Hm.  A *lot* more is planted this year than last."  In short, things look far better and the farmers are much more hopeful and positive.  We're quite pleased that he noticed.

    Just to give some of you more background - check out our June posts from 2010.  Scroll to the bottom and read up so you get things chronologically.  You can see a theme that we were having a little difficulty getting into the fields early in the month - and it just got progressively worse. 

    Last night's little storm that woke us up in the middle of the night was reminiscent of *several nights* last spring and summer.  It's no wonder we struggled so much.  Not only were we stressed about difficult working conditions, we weren't getting the sleep we needed.

    But, even then, we reminded ourselves to do our best to stay positive and be grateful.  Look at all of the wonderful things that happened last June.

    And this June, things are much better.  And after a quick look back, I'll remember to give thanks for all of the good things this month brings us.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    One for the Record Books

    It happened for the first time ever... and we are ever so proud!

    ** It is at this point radio stations tend to break for a commercial.  I seem to recall news stations do the same thing.  You know the ploy by now - "Coming up, a cure for cancer and we'll tell you how it works when we come back..."   Unfortunately, many of us tune out or fall asleep while they work up to it.  Or, once you get to it, you're disappointed.  So, please remind me to get to the point before this happens to you! **

    The day of a CSA distribution can be frantic and consists of a complex decision tree.   We try to pick as much as possible the same day as distribution.  This includes picking, cleaning and packing for the trip.  The whole time we are doing this we are assessing each crop and trying to determine how much *should* be picked and how much is *needed* for a reasonable distribution number.  This includes considerations for future CSA distributions, produce for our workers, the needs of the Waverly Child Care, our own food and the possibility of food donations.

    ** Coming up - we will tell you what happened today that has never happened before in our CSA.  It's great, really! **

    Note: I'm having too much fun with this - sorry.

    All of the things I mentioned above fail to take into consideration having checklists, bags, eggs and whatever sundry things we are bringing for various individuals on that day.  And, of course, we try to send out a weekly email and do what we can to keep everyone informed.  It's alot, but it's a good job for lots of good people - so we're fine with it. 

    On the other hand, it takes alot to get 40 different family units in line to pick up produce in a 2 to 2.5 hour period of time.  Lives have so much going on in them and so much can get in the way or distract us from an errand such as this. 

    So - what happened today that has not happened before in our CSA?

    Every member of the Tuesday Waverly pickup either
    1. Came and picked up their share
    or 2. Sent someone in their place to pick up their share
    or 3. Called and made other arrangements

    Does this sound trivial to you?  It doesn't to us.  Thank you to our CSA members - this made our day.

    R & T

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    GFF Crop Report

    While this may not be the most scintillating of prose - it does serve a purpose.  We wish to keep our CSA members and other interested parties informed of our crop status.  While we realize many will not read this in detail - it is one way that we can try to avoid miscommunications. 

    For example, last year our winter squash was destroyed by rain.  Some people though the lack of winter squash meant we *did not grow that vegetable* - which, of course, is far from the truth.  Just ask the four of us who frantically put in the seed for that crop last year just prior to a downpour.

    Plot E1 - Brassicae & Allium
    Leeks and onions all transplanted (these are allium family).  The first batch of onions (white onions) look to be on target for July maturity.  Others are tagged for August and September.  Leeks are usually October or November.
    Planting 1 of Kohlrabi looks to be 2 weeks out from first harvest (so 3 weeks from peak).  Planting 1 of Broccoli is about 2.5 weeks out from first broccoli heads.  All cabbage, broccoli, caufliflower, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts and kale scheduled for this field are IN.  Kale will get its first pick this coming week - but it will be a light picking as the plants are still small.

    Plot E2 - melons/watermelon
    companion flower seeds have germinated.  Transplanted melons and watermelons have appeared to 'take', but we don't expect much growth for another 4-5 days.  The melon/watermelon from seed are all in and are beginning to germinate.

    Plot E3 - beans and potatoes
    most of the potatoes have germinated.  It was slowed a bit by a need for some rain - which we finally did get.  There are sections that seem slower than others to get going, but I don't think we'll have any 'blank spots' in the rows this year.  Dry bush beans look good.  First and second green bean plantings look good.  A few of the lima types need a spot seed (normal).  We hope to get the next green bean succession in tomorrow.

    Plot E4 - pumpkins, dry beans and sweet corn
    NOTE - we don't grow sweet corn for the CSA - just enough for us to freeze.  And, per the norm - they aren't planted yet.  Ah well.  But, the pumpkin transplants are hanging in there so far.  This is the only plot that needs some major work yet this season.

    Plot E5 - fallow

    Plot E6 - All tomatoes have been in for a while.  Of the nearly 500 plants, only two succumbed to high winds or other issues.  We need to put in the companion basil and carrots.  We are finding that carrots are easier for us with later plantings (to avoid some of the crab grass issues).

    Plot E7 - winter squash
    All winter squash is in (both transplants and seeds).  Most seed has germinated.  companion flowers almost all in.  The cucumber beetles have found the crop, but we're hoping the plants have enough energy to fight them off.  The transplants have a jump and should be fine.

    Plot T1 - summer squash/zucchini/onion
    Plantings 1 and 2 are in.  Planting 3 hopefully tomorrow.  Seeds finally germinating after a slow start (the dry hot weather actually stopped them for a bit).  Germination levels are good.  Looks like July 20 or so for first picking.

    Plot T2 - pepper, eggplant, dry bean, okra
    All plants and seeds are in.  Plants look quite good so far this season.  Enough heat to make peppers and eggplant happy and not too much water.  Typically, first green bell peppers arrive around July 15.  We may have a trickle of them a bit earlier this season.

    Plot T3 - peas and cucumbers
    plantings 1-3 are in.  Planting 4 soon.  Peas required a spot reseed that is taking (somewhat).  We need to get fences up and a weeding is needed.  Peas probably won't get going until early July.  Remember, our soil holds moisture so earlier peas are difficult for us to even think about.

    Plot SW - short season crops
    lettuce, arugula, mustard, radish, turnips, etc etc.  This one is hard to report on.  Suffice it to say that some successions have been good, others not so good.  But, since they are 'short season' we can always replace a lost crop with a new one.  It just means we don't always have an item when we want it.

    High Tunnel - we've got some tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and leeks in there now.  Some other things going in this week when (if) it rains.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    A bit of fixing up

    The farm got a new look this week as we had a roof put onto the granary. The look is different, but it is nice to be able to save this building, which was one of the first of its kind in the area.  Our thanks to Dan Gingerich Construction for another fine job on the farm.

    We're sorry to see the cupola go, but sometimes you just have to go with what resources allow.  Given the size of the holes exposed in the sheeting around that cupola, it was time to fix this roof.  A little longer and we don't have much for a building.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    GFF goes visiting

    On Wednesday we managed to get in 6+ hours of work before leaving in the morning to visit friends at Scattergood Farm in West Branch. Over the winter several vegetable farmer friends were commiserating about conference and meeting season ending so we would be without the great moral support for the year to come.

    Several farms decided to do farm work swaps/social support days. Each month, beginning in June, we will travel to a different farm, help out for several hours, then have dinner. June is Scattergood Farm, July is GFF, August is Grinnell Heritage and September is Blue Gate. Great fun, good commiserating and some good work, complete with strawberry covered knees, was accomplished.

    Andy contemplates a project.  hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Lots of contemplating going on.  I wonder if the red hat helps?

    At one point, 9 people were picking strawberries, which then had to cleaned!  By this time, there was very little strawberry 'tasting' going on.  We suspect there was plenty of tasting during the picking phase.

     After working, it was time to relax and eat dinner.

    Mark grilled for us. Yummy dinner options!

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Was the sun coming up or going down?

    Yet another day has come and gone and here we are looking at each other and wondering - is this the end of the day or have we already gotten up to start the next?

    Speaking for myself (I'll ask Tammy how she feels later), while I wish I could get more done each day, etc etc - I've enjoyed this season more than the last three.  We've got better tools, better ideas of how to handle things and (knock on wood) better weather.  Does it mean we're caught up?  Of course not.  What made you think that?

    • All melons and watermelons are IN the field and hopefully will get watered in tonight.
    • The next succession of beets and radish are in.
    • All peppers, hot peppers and eggplant are in the ground
    • A couple 200 foot double rows of onions got the royal weeding treatment
    • Both the turkeys and the ducks have graduated to having the 'run' of their rooms (rather than smaller boxes).  It won't be too long before each is day ranging.
    • We're continuing to deal with the raccoon issue.  They've found a few of our hens and we're trying to stop it before it becomes a catastrophe.  Current score:  Raccoons 5, GFF 2
    • We got our potatoes and winter squash put into our Waverly Community Garden plots. 
    • The red exclusion cages we made 5 years ago (and had numerous people help paint them) have been shored up for another year of service.  It may be their last year.  But, at the time we made them, we expected maybe 3 years out of them.  thanks for the help Dad!
    • We have no more vegetable plants for sale.  They have all sold or been donated to community garden projects.
    UPCOMING EVENTS and ... uh... STUFF
    • Dan Gingerich construction will be out starting tomorrow to put a roof on the granary.  Unfortunately, it made sense financially to take the cupola down.  Sometimes you don't get everything you want.  But, we'll accept this if we can use the building and no longer worry about it leaking so much.
    • We make a trip tomorrow to Scattergood Farm in West Branch.  We have teamed up with four other farms (Heritage Farm in Grinnell, Blue Gate in Knoxville area and Scattergood).  The goal is for us to converge at one of the four farms each month (June-Sept) for a work day followed by food.  We remember how much it meant to us when Mark and Dana came up last year from Scattergood.  It went a long way towards turning our attitudes about the year around.  We hope making this happen can help all of us be more successful.
    • For those who don't know - a web flat can hold 18 3.5" pots (so, 18 peppers or tomatoes or eggplant) or a flat can old a 72 hold insert for things like broccoli or onions or squash.   So..please explain this to me.  There is a pile of web flats that is nearly as tall as I am.  These are web flats that HAD plants in them that we have put into the ground. How is it that *all* of our cold frames still have web flats with plants in them that need to go into the ground?
    I'm not sure I can remain coherent much longer.   This must suffice for a blog post!

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    A June Picture This

    A sea of squash and melon starts in early June.  

    Kohlrabi plants just germinating for us!  Yep, the variety *is* called "Winner."  We sure hope so.
     Planting onions and kohlrabi.  Note the wheel tracks - this is where we're using the tractor to set the size of the bed.    Oops, the row has a crooked spot there! 

    And, here are some broccoli, onion, cauliflower and kohlrabi with rows run the 'old' way.  We're doing a SARE grant funded study to see if we can accomplish companion planting with some larger equipment. 

     Yep, that's us. 

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Losing it By Degrees

    Ok - the roller coaster makes this farming business a bit more difficult than one would think.  What is it with 95 degrees Fahrenheit and high winds followed by 95 degrees Fahrenheit and no wind followed by 65 degrees F with a *northeast* wind? 

    Everyone on the farm Wednesday worked admirably through the warm weather.  But, you know it is warm when you see everyone sloooowing dooowwwn and you're pretty sure they are not aware of it.  A shade and lemonade break was in order!  Tammy bought me a nice thermos to keep drinks cold (1 liter bottle) and I went through that thing seven or eight times yesterday.  And, that doesn't account for all of the fluids I had to down to stay hydrated.  Then, there was today.  I actually found myself putting on another layer at one point when I was on the tractor.  I am sure everyone who was outside Wednesday couldn't make themselves believe that the next day would be this different.

    But, on to the farm report of this blog post:
    - The first week of CSA deliveries is completed.  We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the new members and, of course, were pleased to see the returning members as well. 
    - this week, we got in all but a handful (five or so) of the sweet peppers - for the workers who helped and want to brag - we put in 567 of them on Wednesday.  Tammy and I put in another 151 eggplant that evening (about 100 to go).
    - ten trays of onions went in on Wednesday.  That would be somewhere in the order of 450 feet (double rows).
    - today, we put in over 1200 feet of winter squash.  That includes transplanting four trays of plants (an experiment this season to see if we can incorporate this technique). 
    - We managed to do all of the picking, cleaning, etc for CSA distributions on Tuesday and Thursday.  Approximately 85 shares were delivered. 
    - The wind did a number on our clothesline and one a couple of cold frames (broken windows) - so we had to repair these.
    - And...with wind and heat, plants in the field desperately needed water.  We don't have an installed drip irrigation system so set up and time is required to do this on the farm. 
    - Thank you Kenny for helping us move the rest of the giant maple to a back corner of the property.
    - Monday saw another 1200 feet of winter squash seed go in and 1000 feet of companion flowers.

    Still to plant: melons, watermelon, hot peppers, okra, pumpkin and the sweet corn we grow for our own freezing (that often seems to go last).  Of course, there are successions of shorter season crops and there are some onions still to put in.  And, more companion flowers are planned.  Hopefully we can dry out after tonight's rain enough to get another planting session in later in the weekend.

    then - oui..... we weed.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Frustration on the farm

    (A rare post by T)  While living on a farm, especially this one, is rewarding, sometimes there are frustrations that get me wondering why we do this.  Are we not allowed a day away?  Are we not allowed to have some fun without penalty?  According to the masked pests in residence at GFF, the answer is no.  Down at least 3 hens by arriving home from a baseball game that went long.  And, now the car battery is dead because we used the headlights to try to help us see in the dark.  Argh somehow does not seem to cut it tonight.  Tomorrow will be a better day (good news, though - R played center field well and had several nice hits...)

    (an addendum by R)
    We try not to be overwhelmed on the frustration side.  But, at the same time, it's not entirely fair to present ourselves as never being frustrated or unhappy with the way things are going.  And - it's nice to have Tammy write something.

    The problem will be partially solved as R will not be playing baseball anymore.  Just can't justify the drive to Newton or Des Moines to play. 

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Farm News/Announcements

    Very quick farm news to start getting word out.

    1. First CSA deliveries are THIS WEEK.  Waverly pick up is Tuesday at the Farmers' Market from 3:30-6:00.  Cedar Falls is Thursday at Roots Market from 4:00-6:00.  Bring a bag or basket to take your veg home.  It starts slow - but what you get is good!  Tripoli - we will be dropping off on Tues.

    2. Tom Sawyer Day II - Saturday June 11.  Stay tuned for more details.

    3. the unseasonably warm weather is wreaking a bit of havoc with the Spring greens.  We may overpick a bit in week 1 - which means we're less sure about week 2.  But, we'll manage as we are allowed to.

    4. Egg shares will be figured tonight.  We'll have info at the distributions.  Expect an email for those of you who have expressed interest.

    5. We did have a predator visit last night and lost some hens in the deal.  We are *not* pleased.  Working on resolving this situation.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011


    Tammy and I completed the Waverly Farmers' Market at midday today.  Well, actually, Rob completed it while Tammy went to the 'ribbon cutting' for the Waverly Community Gardens.  All produce grown there will be donated to the 'food insecure' in our area via the food bank or community dinners.  Various churches or organizations have taken on a plot to maintain.  GFF has taken on two of the 30 foot by 30 foot plots.

    After these events we went to lunch in town.  It was there we were reminded how one person with a negative attitude and a desire to spread discord can turn a positive feeling rapidly to a negative one.  We rode out that little storm and sat for a bit longer than usual having a nice conversation.  Score one for us.  We also made sure to tell the beleaguered employees that they were doing fine and not to let one person's bad day ruin theirs.

    It's easy to be critical when you don't have to present your critique to the person at whom it is directed.  And it is scary how easy one bad thing can make so many people unhappy for so long.

    So... rather than dwell on it - I thought I'd share with you a list of positive things I witnessed being done today:

    • Several people attended the ribbon cutting for the Waverly Community Gardens.  There are some folk who are putting a lot of effort into something that could be very good.  
    • When I arrived at market, other vendors were very quick to move forward to help us put up our pop up tent.  Thank you!
    • More than once a vendor helped direct a person to *a different vendor* to help a customer find what they were looking for.
    • More than once I witnessed vendors helping people carry things to their cars and more than once I witnessed other customers helping each other.
    • I heard many (earned) compliments being given to the vendors at the market.  For those of you who attend such things - these compliments do mean something to us.
    • There were some individuals that stopped at the market just to say 'hello' even though they were leaving town and were not in a position to make purchases.
    • I heard a 4 (or 5) year old say thank you to a non-parental adult *without* being prodded.
    • Even though the day started with hail in Waverly and then a bit of lightning and rain at the beginning of market, the weather became pleasant and attendance was fine.  The real winner was the fact that we were not blown away by the wind like we have been recently. 

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    The Big Push

    There is dirt under our finger nails and we're both tired.  Must mean lots of work in the fields.  Don't expect great amounts of humor or exemplary prose from me tonight....

    Farm Report:
    • Five 200 foot rows in the brassica/allium field are in and watered.  That includes onions, leeks, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels and kale
    • The prior planting of these things has been cultivated.  The in row weeding still needs doing, but part of the battle is done.
    • Pea rows are cultivated.  We still need to replant or spot plant areas that did not germinate.  
    • Tomatoes are in....  about 500 of them.
    • Potatoes are in... all 11 200 foot rows.
    • Green bean plantings 1-3 are in.  Dry beans are in.  Limas are in.  Pole beans are in.
    • The room that held the broilers prior to their move outside has been cleaned out and is now home to ducklings.  For the uninitiated, we start birds when they are chicks in smaller boxes (with heat lamps) to keep the birds warm and safe until they have feathers, etc.  Then, we begin day ranging them.
    • Overground water line is mostly patched up and ready to go for the season.  A couple of non-critical fixes still needed.
    • How does the laundry pile up so fast?  Oh yeah.  Farming.  Dirt.  ya, got it.
    • The bees are doing very well so far this year.  John added a super (another box) to the hive - something that didn't happen last year.  Essentially adding a super gives the bees more room to make honey, etc.  We like that.
    • The process of squaring the formerly triangle fields has taken more steps forward.  It won't be the final shape until next year.  We'll use cover crops to begin getting some of it into shape this year - which means we'll improvise some on placement of crops.
    • Tammy did a great job patching up the fence for the hen pasture.  Necessary since they were too interested in the crops we were putting in.
    • The kittens (Bree and Hobnob) are still not entirely sure they like farming season.  Unfortunately, they'll just have to figure it out.  I guess they really are cattens, soon to be cats.... hm
    • Iris are blooming on the farm.  Not as many as we once had, but enough for us to enjoy. 
    • Our last plant sale day is this Saturday at the Waverly Farmers' market (8:30-11:30).  
    • We will be adopting a plot or two with the Waverly Community Gardens this year.  All food grown there is intended for the 'food insecure'  One plot will be winter squash and if we do two, the other will be potatoes.  We will be calling for volunteer help to keep these plots clean (they are 30'x30').  At this point, we are targeting most of what we grow there to go to the Food Bank - but we may also see some go to local community dinners, etc.
    And, finally - for those who are hoping for a return email, etc.  Please be patient.  I have enough energy to post a general update - but not much more beyond that.  We hope one more high level effort day will put us in good stead for the 'heavy planting' cycle.  Remember that we plant throughout the season.  but, some crops have one window (and that window is NOW).

    On tap for tomorrow:  winter squash, summer squash, zucchini, cucumber, peas, lettuce, radish, melons, watermelon....   ambitious.  Probably too ambitious - but we'll give it a try anyway.