farming / Uncategorized

Rainy Day Blog Post. . .No Hay Today!

We are finally getting some good rain, which is great for the garden. Once something is in the garden I give it a little water to settle in and then hope it rains soon–and it has so far. Yay for unirrigated gardening!

The collard greens and bok choy I planted while I was really sick are now an eatable size and we have been enjoying them with dinners and lunches, and juiced. The yellow french beans are budding (I didn’t think they were going to make it initially), and we added a whole new section of garden and planted it with more greens and a dozen tomato plants I started from seed. The seed came from a medium sized, faintly striped, heart shaped tomato given to Spencer a couple years ago by an Italian customer. He said, “this is a real tomato, you can save the seeds”, and explained that he had smuggled it home from his last trip to Italy. I don’t know what the variety is called in Italy, but it was very meaty and delicious. I will save more seeds from this crop if nothing eats it first. . .I don’t trust the peacocks.
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Here is a picture of the first greens I planted, before weeding. They look much nicer weeded now, and actually they are little bigger than they were in this photo. They are planted in about 5 inches of composted wood chips laid down on top of the grass. It was an experiment in no-till gardening, and so far it has been awesome. The composted wood chips are mostly broken down into a fine, rich soil which holds moisture well and is totally uncompacted. Weeding is extremely easy. The main thing I was worried about was the nutrients available for the plants, but since the composted duff under a forest is extremely rich and fertile soil, I hoped this would be something similar; so far, it seems that way. Also, because we didn’t break up any ground under it, I hoped that the sensitive biological activity down there would be happier, thus making nutrients from the soil more readily available to the plants. Not sure if the plants are really more nutrient dense though, I will have to take more brix readings. So far we tested the collards, and they really didn’t have a high nutrient reading compared to anything else (the pasture grass is like a 12 or more, but the collards came in around 7, although they had a high amount of calcium in them, which is a good sign the soil is pretty happy).

I really haven’t had time to keep up with the blog lately. This is mostly a good thing. I’m feeling better and able to be up and around most days as long as I don’t let myself get really hungry. I have enough energy to help more in the garden and with other odds and ends, although I am not anywhere near my normal level of ability. It irks me–I am definitely not getting much done overall. On the upside I am feeling well enough to cook!
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We had a little incident a week ago where we thought something had eaten our cat. She is pretty dog-like in that she loves to be with us (including in our truck), and spends a lot of the day either following us, or sleeping in our trailer. But She didn’t show up one night for dinner and then wasn’t there all day the next day. By dinner time we were sure she was gone–ha, turns out we had accidentally shut her in the shed the evening before. Oops. Big relief. We’re pretty attached to our cat. She’s cool.
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Prior to the rain we were keeping pretty busy; Spence helping make hay, me making sure the girls didn’t kill each other. Didn’t leave much time to write on here or photograph things, although I am hoping to make that more of a priority now. I still haven’t taken any pics of the peacocks, or the swallows, or the bluebirds! Or the old corncrib with the mural by Bill Dunlap on it (the site has pictures of the farm on it, but they no longer have goats and the garden looks different now).

Chub is turning out to be very observant (what healthy kid isn’t though?) and found a snapping turtle in the grass last week. Not sure why it came all that way up the hill and away from the pond, but it was gone the next day. Must have been on a mission of some sort. This week she found a hidden duck nest full of eggs, which was great because we were wondering where the lonely duck had got up to. When she came back to the nest we snatched her up and put her with the new ducklings in the brooder–needless to say she is much happier with her own kind, and now very busy teaching them to play in the water and forage in the yard.004

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100_2044 Here are the three pigs. “The intern’s project” as they are know, but really not much work at all. They root around in the woods during the cool of the day, eat scraps greedily, and otherwise cause no trouble. And they do NOT smell like the confinement pig operation we drive past in Lancaster, which is inescapably wretched smelling. Even with the windows up the stench seeps in and it’s disgusting. The pigs here smell like happy pigs, which is not bad at all. Mol and Missy (farmer’s daughter) named them: Twinkle, Cinnamon, and Princing Charles. I bet you can guess who picked “Princing Charles”. She was very specific that it was princing and not prince, which is a good thing I guess. Naming your future bacon Prince Charles would be sort of mean. . .to Prince Charles, that is.

On Sunday we are going to Baltimore to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary (that freakin flew by–not fair!)and see a friend we haven’t met up with in 6 or 7 years, and do a little exploring before it gets dark. Will bring camera!

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3 thoughts on “Rainy Day Blog Post. . .No Hay Today!

  1. What a wonderful batch of information and great pictures. I hope your tomatoes do well. I would like to try a few seeds if possible. I brought in a small tigeralla-or what ever you call them. It wasn’t very good but perhaps the rest will be. I have a Burpee tye dye ripening, it is a beautiful yellow so far. The plant is loaded with tomatoes but I don’t think they finished growing this one out. Some of the tomatoes are heart shaped instead of round.

    That turtle is really big!

    I will have to try what you did with some of my garden, the wood chips etc. What are the pigs are eating? And they are razor backs aren’t they? That is what my uncle John raised. I have a lot more questions but I will save them for a phone call.

    • If my tomatoes attempt is successful I’ll bring some seeds back with me for sure. I can’t wait until ours start getting ripe–probably not for another couple months. they just started to get a couple flowers.

      The pigs get a pig feed from the feed store, as well as all the kitchen scraps, some gallons of not-quite-fresh-anymore milk, and recently a whole truck load of slightly moldy grapes. Later in the summer they will get mushy peaches and apples by the truck load (well, they have to share those with us though, we will be canning a lot of it). They aren’t razorbacks, I think the breed is Hampshire or something like that. I heard razorbacks taste very good though. . .I didn’t know you had an uncle who raised pigs.

      We’ll have to call again soon!

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