Saturday, June 13, 2020

What Did These Photos Have In Common?

For our Saturday post this weekend, I thought I would have a little bit of fun and take you all along for the ride.  I hope you enjoy it and you might learn a thing or two at the same time.

Oh.  You're not interested in the learning part?  Well, what are you doing here then?  We're ALL about learning here!  Every second of every day!  Round the clock learning.  Yessir!  Learn learn learn.

The problem is - we're also doing a lot of the forgettin' stuff too.  That's why we have to keep learning.  It's like the opposite of a sinking boat.  In that case, you keep bailing to get the water out, knowing that more water is going to come in.  You just have to bail enough to keep the level of water low enough to stay afloat.  The learning/forgetting goes the other way.  If you keep leaking out knowledge, you have to keep pouring more in just to keep the knowledge levels high enough for you to stay afloat.

So - here is our mental edge exercise today.  How are the following pictures related to each other?  While you peruse them, I shall attempt to entertain you with my clever prose.

Or, at least I shall writ some werds on this here blog fer y'all to view or not.  But, we'll still inklude the perdy pichers.
A local food lunch!
The first photo is from a field day from several years ago that we hosted.  There was an educational (uh oh, there's that werd agin) event regarding programs for alternative crop insurance.  We provided the turkey, lettuce and tomatoes for these sandwiches.  The whole event was worth it just for the lunch.

Now I'm getting a bit hungry (it is supper time here at the farm... I hope).

An attempt at beds of rhubarb
 A year or two later, we tried to use the field space to the North of Valhalla, our larger high tunnel.  We thought this would be an ideal place to put in some rhubarb and maybe some grapes.  We hilled the rows a bit so we could deal with possible wet conditions and add some compost for the plants.  Despite the wilty leaves in this picture, we had about 95% survival rate after transplant. The few that failed were probably marginal to begin with.

It turns out that rhubarb is not terribly fond of our farm and its soil.  If you are wondering if it is just this area, we've tried more than one location.  It's either us or the farm.

From our perspective, the biggest loss is the time and effort it took to try to get them established.  Neither of us are big fans of rhubarb (apologies to those that love it).  Ok, let me revise.  Rob REALLY doesn't like it - they may be worse than carrots for him.  Tammy is ok with them but doesn't find them to be worth her time if she's the only one eating it.

Suddenly, I am less hungry... until I think about what we're having for dinner tonight.  Hungry again.

Gotta fence those cukes in or they might get away.
With the event of our farm down-sizing a bit over the years, we find ourselves looking at a year where there will be much less of this sight.  Cucumbers typically grow pretty well for us - so that's a good thing.  We often have trouble getting them all picked and... in recent years... haven't been able to get them all moved.

Our incentive for growing them like we did in the past is just not there.  We were looking at growing cucumbers for events at the Diamond Event Center this year, but the pandemic is likely not going to encourage all that many events.  So, never mind.

You see, cucumbers - to keep them this clean (weeded) AND to keep them harvested - can be pretty labor intensive.  Since it is really only the two of us this year, we're not sure spending a great deal of effort on them is wise.  We actually get a better return for less labor from melons and winter squash.

To put it all in perspective, the above shows three 200 foot rows of 5 varieties of cucumber.  There are fences for peas on the left (they have finished by the time of this photo) and dry pole beans at the right.  We could easily harvest 500-700 cukes in picking from this plot - harvesting 2 to 3 times per week for three or four weeks.  We would do two successions with this many cucumbers in a season.  This year, I seeded two trays (140 plants) for early cucumbers.  We had to make a decision as to what got planted before the rains came and the cucumbers didn't make the cut.  They are now past the quality where it is worth planting them, so we will compost them.  There will be ZERO cucumbers in the field in June.

Before you get too sad, we are seeding new trays, so we will have some cucumbers.  But, it still isn't going to be any more than 140 plants.

This did NOT happen in June (or May for that matter)
Just a reminder that we, in Iowa, do have cold days and warm days. Whichever you prefer, remember that you get to go back to them when it isn't what you prefer now.

Evening colors are a highlight at the farm
And, say what you will about Iowa, but we get some really nice sunrises and sunsets.  It is important to the two of us at the Genuine Faux Farm that we remind ourselves of that.  We often just think of sunrise as time to let the birds out, give them food and water, etc etc.  And sunset is putting birds away, putting away tools and closing up buildings.  These darned shows that nature keeps putting on only distract us from doing our work.

Thank you.
We still get surprised how nice things look that we don't think are supposed to look nice.
No one that I know of plants chive because they want to see the flowers.  And yet, there they are, every season, looking good.  They attract some pollinators and give us some early color.  Even if we have failed to keep their bed weeded, the chive remind us every season that they are still there with this colorful display.

We used to try to offer chive as a part of our CSA shares every so often, but it didn't seem like people were all that interested.  Yes, we know a few of you were, but we would often come home with lots of bundles that people would leave behind and we don't recall anyone asking for more than one bundle.

It doesn't matter.  We still like them.  And a little chive on a baked potato is still a treat.

Reconnecting with good friends
The Gang of Five has seen significant changes over the years in how each of them is going through life (the farms and the people).  Yet, we still are finding ways to stay connected and maintain our friendships.  We haven't gathered since this past Winter, but we have had a couple of 'zoom' meetings to check in with each other (including one just this Thursday).

We are trying to remind ourselves that physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing.  When you have a lot to do, it can be hard to make the effort to make sure the physical distancing doesn't become the same as being socially distant.  We hope the blog helps some.  We hope we can reach out to others more (and regularly) and we hope to start using the nice days to safely gather in the outdoors.

So - what do these photos have in common?  Can you tell?  We'll wait and see if you can figure it out.

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