Saturday, July 6, 2019

July Newsletter

The Wall
There are stages in every growing season that I think most growers and many other folk will recognize.  At the Genuine Faux Farm, we have a couple occurrences of hitting the proverbial "wall."  One of them typically happens around the 4th of July when we realize that we've put in a year's worth of effort and we still have a few years' worth of effort to go until the season is completed.  Exaggeration?  Perhaps - but when you are talking about how we feel, I am not sure it matters whether it is an exaggeration or not.

This 'wall' might have something to do with the ridiculous push we had to put on just to plant everything and now we find ourselves needing to cram in three weeks of cultivation and weeding into two - assuming the weather allows it to happen.  We will not bore you with the litany of things we have on our 'to do' lists (also known as VAPs at the Genuine Faux Farm), but we assure you there is a fine variety of mental and physical tasks for each of us to do.

What makes it harder is that there are at least a couple of unforeseen circumstances every month that complicate our farm lives.  You could argue that they are not entirely 'unforeseen' because we have come to expect that we will experience them.  But, we have yet to read the entire manual on the crystal ball we picked up this Winter to help with that problem.

One of our most recent 'additions of flavor' to the farm is the not so neat little storm that backed in from the Northeast just as people were arriving for a PFI gathering at our farm.  Apparently, the Poultry Pavilion roof has decided that we are giving far too much attention to the other parts of our farm right now.  In a desperate attempt to gain our attention, the metal on the roof threatened to go flying around the farm.  Happily, the grounding wire for the lightning rods held on and the sheets of metal merely flapped around merrily in the 60+ mph winds.

Well, add that one to the VAP.

Weather Wythards
A typical Iowa June at the farm this year.  It was warm, it was cool.  It was wet and it was... less wet.  There was wind and calm and there were gnats!  At least the buffalo gnats have come no where close to last year's silliness.

June's Report
High Temp: 95
High Heat Index: 119
Low Temp: 48
Windchill (believe it or not): 46
Rain: 5.58"  (average: 4.96")

Year Report
High Temp: 95
Highest Heat Index: 119
Low Temp: -29
Lowest Windchill: -53
Rain: 17.3"
Wind: 60+ mph from NE
Barometer Range: 29.14 - 30.90
Snow: you know, we lost count.  It was a lot.

Veggie Variety of the Month -Pablo lettuce
This one seems a little odd for a selection, even to me.  Why?  Well, we have not harvested that much Pablo so far this year.  But, the few we did harvest were absolutely beautiful and had the great taste we grow this variety for.

Pablo is best known to us as a decent Summer lettuce as it falls into the Batavian class of lettuces.  We are very hopeful that Pablo will pick up where some of our cooler season lettuces are leaving off!  So, there you have it, we listed a veggie variety in hopes that it will come through for us.  But, that isn't so different than last month's selection of  snow peas.  Speaking of which, the peas didn't start producing until July 1.  I guess it is going to be a very short pea harvest this year.  Sure hope I didn't jinx the Pablo lettuces!

Song of the Month
Been a while since I've listened - really listened - to some U2.  How about One Tree Hill for this month's song?

CSA Openings Abound - And CSA Phase I has Begun!
We still have plenty of space in our CSA program, so we would welcome new and returning members at any point this month.  We could certainly still add people throughout the season, but we'd really rather start with you on board now!

We will enter Phase II of the CSA season when we enter the month of August.  Until then, current members are able to use their CSA "credit dollars" to purchase early season veggies.  Things like lettuce, turnips, peas and the first of the cucumbers!

Farm News and Announcements 
We were mentioning unexpected challenges in the introduction.  The picture below shows a plug that decided to have a problem in the Poultry Pavilion earlier this season.  Happily, the circuit breaker did its job and were able to trace down the problem.  The temporary fix, in that case, was to take out the plug and just wire through it for the time being.  We'll put a new plug in later.

Another photo from earlier in the season that deserved to be featured earlier is this one from Tammy's phone.  The eave on the portable building for the henlet flock is open.  When the henlets were smaller than they are now, they thought it was supposed to be the ultimate roost.  It was mildly amusing to look up and see these sleepy little birds looking down at us.

Speaking of little birds, it is amazing that we've actually had the turklets on the farm for a couple of weeks now.  Tammy did manage to get a couple of pictures on the day of their arrival at the farm.  They are much bigger now, but still quite small.  The great news is that they appear to have the normal turkey 'curiosity' that amuses us sometimes.  Unless they get out of the pasture and we have to look for them in the dark.  That is NOT amusing - at least not to the farmers.

The farm house kitchen project continues to progress one step at a time.  As we have mentioned before, we try to set aside one day a week to make some progress (usually Sundays).  The dry wall has been taped, sanded, top-coated and now painted.
Next up- cabinets!
 One of the things that happens when we hit the wall?  The farmer doesn't quite get enough gumption to go out and take pictures of the fields.  We have a few we can show, such as this one from July 5.
As you might notice, we've hilled a bed of potatoes and mulched a couple beds of beans.  We are also experimenting with grass mulch on one of the potato beds.  Here is hoping that we have success.  Sadly, we couldn't get the beans in on time again this season, so the Colorado Potato Beetles are causing us some fits again this year.  The two beds with minimal problems?  They are adjacent to the one bed of beans we got in on time!

And finally - East Bremer Diner is trying out purchasing some veggies from the Genuine Faux Farm.  It may not be much, but we've got to start somewhere!
The Born & Raised Burger at East Bremer Diner - July Special
We were able to sell the Diner an assortment of heirloom lettuces to put on this burger that features a bun made by the nearby bakery, wagu beef from Hansen's Dairy in Hudsen and cheese curds from Hansen's as well.  If you are inclined to visit the Diner, please consider going and supporting them, Hansen's and us by asking for a Born & Raised Burger during the month of July.  We've tested it and it tastes extremely good!  Success here can lead to more collaboration later!

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