Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December Newsletter

Different Worlds

We realize we have used the picture at left before, but it's a good picture.  We haven't had much motivation to go out and about on the farm to take photos, so this one will have to do so I can make the point I was hoping to make. 

We have snow on the ground at the farm right now.  We drove into Waverly this morning and there isn't much for snow anywhere other than the small piles that remain from shoveling.  This isn't the only time we have observed the snow on the farm versus no snow in town phenomenon.  It's just a good reminder that the weather can differ a fair amount over a short distance.  In this case, it has more to do with the latent heat held by the town's structures than different snowfall amounts.

We see evidence of how little things can make a big difference on our farm as well.  The first frost of the the Fall is one instance where you can observe significant differences in results due to what seems like an insignificant alteration in the surroundings.  One year, we went outside to find that the row covers we had put on some peppers had blown off and we had somehow missed that the evening before.  On first glance, we thought we were pretty lucky.  But, as we worked our way towards the end of the row, we found we had lost the plants towards the far end.  All except for the one that had a decent sized weed growing next to it.  The button weed took the hit and was not looking happy.  The pepper plant, on the other hand, was doing pretty well.  A bit singed, but happy enough as compared to its neighbors.

With Thanksgiving still looming pretty large in the rear-view mirror and Christmas and New Year's growing larger as we look forward, it feels like a good time to consider the little things we might be doing that could make a big difference in the world - for good or for ill. 

Veg Variety of the Month

We were able to bring in a batch of carrots from Valhalla (our newer high tunnel) in October this season.  The varieties were Dragon (purple outside) and Napoli.  The variety shown in the picture is St Valery.  We were out of St Valery seed when it came time to put this batch in, so we went with Napoli and Dragon.  The results were pretty good, if we do say so ourselves. 

Germination for Napoli was lower than we wanted, but the numbers and size of the carrots were good enough for our needs.  The germination of Dragon was right on, just enough that we didn't have to thin, but not so thin that we were regretting wasted space.

The net result?  We were able to give our CSA members a couple of pounds of carrots each at the end of the season AND we had a few left over for supplemental sales.  After a season that had so many struggles, it was nice to end it with a positive note.

Weather Wythards
Do I dare say it?  Rainfall was above the average for November in Tripoli.  Average rainfall amount is 2.32" and average snowfall is about 3 inches. 

November's Report

High Temp: 58
Low Temp: -4
Rain: 3.43"
Snow: 2-3 inches

Year Through August
High Temp: 97
Low Temp: -20
Lowest Windchill: -34
Highest Heat Index: 119
Highest Wind gust: 46 mph
Rainfall: 52.36"
Barometer Range: 29.39 to 30.89

Song of the Month

For those who haven't noticed, music plays a significant role on the farm.  We do enjoy the music of nature, but there are times when a really good playlist of enjoyable tunes is just what is needed for a few hours behind the wheel hoe.  And, if it is paperwork in the Winter, there is almost always some music playing.  Here is our song of the month for December by the Vocal Few.

Picture of the Month

This is actually from the end of October.  But, we've not been big into picture taking this November.  Besides, this is a good photo.

Other Farm News
The process of 'packing up' the farm for the Winter continues at a decent pace, though we have to admit that we wish it were complete.  Why?  Well, there is still the matter of the Applecart Upset that has been our continuous state of being in our house since Spring this year.  The kitchen is still completely gutted and it would be really nice to make some progress on that project before the new year arrives.  Of course, since we live in Ye Ol' Farme House, every repair project has an issue with 'scope creep.'  If you're going to do "X" to the kitchen, it can't be done until you do "Y" to an adjacent room.  Etcetera.  Here's hoping we can target a week to concentrate on this project.  The current goal is to target the week after Christmas.  Here's hoping.

We will be taking a "Farm Sabbatical" during the month of January.  What does that mean?  Well, we need a bit of a break and January is the best candidate for that sort of a break.  But, that also means there are some things we need to finish in December that normally get done in January.  Seed orders, I'm looking at you.  Organic certification paperwork, you too.  It looks like we're setting ourselves up to fail with the long "to-do" list for the month, but I think we're also willing to accept where things land and pick them up again in February.  We know the break is important and if we don't enforce it, we are fully aware how the farm will simply creep until January is no different than any other month on the farm.

For those who are interested in eggs and poultry, that doesn't mean you are out of luck in January.  Well, if it is poultry, you should buy what you need in December or wait until February.  The hens, on the other hand, will continue to lay eggs.  We will be finding help to manage the flock and the distribution of eggs in January, so stay tuned as we figure that out.  Other than garlic and some carrots, we don't really have much left from our crops.  If you want garlic or carrots, you should contact us soon.  The lettuce in the high tunnels are in over-wintering mode and won't be ready until February or March.

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