The beginning of a new month usually means we indulge in some sort of Genuine Faux Farm newsletter to keep everyone informed and up to date. So, with that in mind, we'll just dive right into it without further preamble.
Actually, I was just thinking that "preamble" is a pretty interesting word. It's a bit odd to type. It hides the word "amble" in it (a slow walk - essentially). So - maybe a preamble is the slow walk towards an even slower walk? At this rate, we'll never know what the amble is going to be because I've just made the preamble twice as long as it could have been.
You're welcome!Festive Atmosphere
I suspect most of you have heard about the concept that plants respond to music. While there are studies that seem to show there may be a positive response to music, other studies note that it is possible the presence of music simply encourages the caretaker to do a better job for the plant. What does appear to be true is that plants can and do react to certain "sounds" or vibrations. It just might not extend to measurable reactions to jazz, classical or other types of music.
There is also some research that shows how different colors of plastic mulches can have an effect on various components of growth for certain crops. There are others that believe you can encourage growth or fruit set by enhancing certain parts of the light spectrum.
We are, at the Genuine Faux Farm, taking all of this to the next level. If you drive by the farm in the next month or so, you might hear music coming from the smaller high tunnel during certain points of the day and, if you drive by in the evening, you might notice some colored lights in the rafters.
If the grant we wrote comes through, we should be able to set up sound systems in key parts of the farm so it will be easier to pump appropriate music to various locations throughout the day. We're thinking more energetic music during key growing periods will entice plants to do well for us. Perhaps salsa music to encourage the peppers and tomatoes to set fruit? We'll pump "Good Night Ladies" from the Music Man into the hen room just before the sun goes down too - maybe that will encourage the last few to come in so we can close the doors for the night.
The colored lights in the evenings are a carefully planned balance of yellows, reds and blues that could also enhance plant health. We consider it to be a type of subliminal messaging that we are giving plants as they wind down at the end of the day. "Grow plants grow! Produce excellent fruits!"
We admit that this is not a well-controlled experiment. We're just simply trying all of these things that are said to work in hopes one of them actually does! At the very least, it will give us a festive atmosphere in which to work - which should improve the health of the plants because we'll be there tending them!
I have been known to give slightly misleading headings in my blogs and I am afraid I may have done that to you again! You probably assume that I am referring to working on the farm at times when the moon is bright enough to be able to see what we are doing. And...
Ok, it is true. There have been times we have used the moonlight to help us complete certain tasks. But, that's not where we're going with this one!
In this case, we are referring to the expansion of our "sunlight farming" to include "moonlight farming." The solar panels on our farm have done a fine job since we put them in a year and a half ago, producing more than enough electricity needed to offset the consumption of power our farm needs for us to do what we do.
The next step? Add moonlight filters onto our solar panels! At the present time, the only filters we have found will require removal for the daytime hours and reapplication for the night time hours. Happily, we won't have to go through the application and removal process for nights with less than a half moon or if the skies are cloudy. But, we think it is worth doing on the clear, moonlit nights so we can improve our production of clean energy.
Unfortunately, moonlight generated electricity does have to go through some special filters so it can mix properly with the sunlight electricity. But, I think we can get that figured out.
Spy Frogs on the Farm
Frogs are among those animals that can see quite well in the dark. When you add in the ability of a tree frog to climb up the side of a building and park itself on a screen or window so it can eat the insects that can be found there - you have an excellent opportunity.
In this case, the opportunity for us at the Genuine Faux Farm is a chance to see if we can train these little creatures to visit other locations, gather information and get back to us with that information. The hardest part of the whole project has been getting these little froggy friends to understand what the tiny radio we give them is for. So far, we've lost half of our radios to various mishaps (the frogs are fine).
In the one case where the frog actually remembered it HAD a radio in the first place, we came to the realization that we do NOT speak frog. Hm. Back to the drawing board on that one.
Growing Rainbow Flowers
You thought I was trying to say that we would grow a rainbow of colors with our flowers this year, didn't you?
Nope. Our flowers spout rainbows from their petals. Just look at the proof.
The trick is that you have to be there at just the right moment to see one. You can usually tell a rainbow is about to pop out of a flower when it starts to get an iridescent glow. It is important that you wear eye protection, preferably with coating to deal with the bright flash that comes with the initial burst of rainbow. There is no telling which direction these darned rainbows are going to come spurting out of the flowers. A direct hit has been known to startle chickens and annoy the cats.
The good news is that rainbow residue is known to have healing properties and is a good fertilizer for blog posts.
Crazy Maurice's New Book
Now that Crazy Maurice is showing yellow stems, we can expect that he will awaken in the next few weeks. Once he does, we expect our favorite willow tree on the farm... Ok. He's the ONLY willow tree on the farm.
In any event, he will continue with the book he started a couple of years ago. Thus far, he has gotten a third of the way through the title.
Remember, he's a tree. It takes a long time to say anything in "tree" and we have to be patient. I might know the title of this book in three years. Or so.
Moms everywhere will be pleased to hear that we are going to expand our dandelion farming operation. Children from all over the state will be invited to come pick a pocket of yellow posies to give to their mother - expecting that she will exclaim over their beauty and put them in a vase or glass with water (until she can find a time to sneak them back out of the kitchen later on).
We have a few new varieties to choose from this year. One of them bears the scientific name "bounteous flowerous" and will likely carpet some of our pasture with yellow in April and May. Another new variety will extend our season for dandelion flowers and is called "flowerous opportunus." And, of course, we are experimenting with high tunnel production of these fine plants, selecting the variety "flowerous anywhereus" for that duty.
We expect this will encourage production of the annual dandelion whine - "But - it's a weeeeeeed!"
New Crop Rotations
Every skilled farmer employs a crop rotation to prevent the build up of pathogens, disrupt pest vectors and to promote soil health. We have decided to take crop rotations to the next level and we plan to increase the number of rotations we employ by MOVING our crops to a new location every three weeks - or sooner if conditions merit.
Does it look like aphids are in the lettuce? Move them out of there and to an "aphid-free" location. Water standing in the fields where the tomatoes are? Dig them up and put them in carts and pots for a week or so, then move them to the first location that dries up enough for them. Are your onions fighting with the hot peppers? Put each in their own carts and give them a "time out," followed by a lecture about good citizenship and teamwork. Then, to make sure they learn their lesson, put them back in the same place, but add some sunflowers to that area so they can shoot a rainbow or two at them if things get nasty again.
If all else fails, seed an entire plot with dandelion seeds by mowing a field with a bunch of dandelion seeds heads - making sure the wind is going in the direction of the plot you want to seed down. The spy frogs will probably watch this with some amount of concern, or perhaps a little amusement. But, they won't tell anyone about it because they've already lost their radio.
In the meantime, we'll all listen to music in the moonlight and Maurice will write the next fifty words for the title of his book.
I guess today is April 1st. But, you already knew that, didn't you?
Annual April Fool's Posts