The Farm Journal
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1997 Farm Journal
Welcome to the farm! As we prepare for another growing season I'll be posting my recollections of the day's events here as time permits. We're wrapping up last year now as we prepare for the 'tax man' and see that our employee's W-2 and other red tape are filed for another year.
As I sit here among a mound of seed catalogs I get that warm fuzzy feeling that somethin' is right with the world. I like the planning part of farming. Nothing can break down, the weather doesn't matter, and the sun always shines. This is the time of year when Cindy and I sit down and figure out how over-worked we'd like to be in the coming year. We usually bite off more than we can chew in the fun of it all, but what the heck.
I just mailed off our seed order to our primary seed supplier, Harris Seed. They should be real pleased to see that order come in. We've been dealing with Harris for the entire time Cindy and I have been farming. And from what I understand Cindy's grandfather, John Ellison, dealt with them in his day too.
I counted it up -- we will be growing over 80 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs. It is a challenge keeping it all straight. We rely a lot on our computer to simplify the record keeping, but the truth of the matter is that in the execution it is the farmer's sixth sense that gets things done in the right order and on time -- in spite of the weather, equipment temperament, family emergencies and life's daily ups and downs.
I spent the day today beating a 75 year old with a crow-bar -- a 75 year old building that is. As sad as it is to see it go, it was actually kind of fun tearing down the old dilapidate stable that threatened to fall down on it's own with every puff of wind. The stable was built back when Grandfather Ellison first purchased this farm and cleared the land some 75 years ago.He used it to house the two mules he used to work the farm. It is really amazing to think that he worked probably 20+ acres of ground with just those two mules!
When I cleaned out the stable before tearing it down I filled about 10 large feed bags with old harness and mule tack. I had a strange feeling I was being watched as I stuffed all those old leather and wooden parts away. Cindy and I have often wondered what old 'Farmer John' would think of what we are doing with the place these days. We hope he would be pleased.
Part of the charm of farming in the footsteps of your ancestors is walking the same ground, using the same tools and living in the same house as those that lived before. We planned our plantings the first year we farmed using notes kept by Cindy's grandmother. We learned to plow using the same old tractor 'Farmer John' used. We built our first manure heated hotbed with the collective knowledge of those living relatives who could recall how it's done and used the same sash that had been used on the farm for decades. When we lived in the farmhouse we would often get a faint whiff of pipe smoke even though no-one had smoked a pipe in the house since grandfather passed away.
When I wiped my sweaty dusty brow this afternoon I wiped away dust that had fallen from the rafters of that old barn. Perhaps 75 years ago old farmer John tossed a fork of hay up there and the dust settled finally to the ground today when the old stable came tumbling down. We hope to build another farm building with what we can salvage from the weathered and dusty pieces.
Seed order's and plant plug orders were finalized and sent in last week. There a just a few more of these yearly logistics to take care of for the coming season. We need to order some strawberry plants since the present patch is getting a little age on it. We are also considering getting into some other berry crops this year, so those orders will be going in soon.
Well, it took me a couple of weeks but I finally got around to ordering the new strawberry plants. I ordered some red raspberries and asparagus as well. Planting asparagus is kind of like planting a redwood tree. It is a long-term commitment. I love to eat asparagus so I'm looking forward to swiping a few sprigs this Spring. You're not supposed to harvest any the first year, but I won't tell if you don't.
We finished the job of burying the old barn. The casket was a 30 cubic yard dumpster. We got rid of another old shed while we were at it. Neither building was at all practical for what we needed,.beside the fact that they were both falling down on their own.
Weather permitting, or not, we will be getting the hotbed started this weekend. It usually works out just about right to give the bed about two weeks to heat up before our March 1st planting date.
Gosh, it's hard to believe that not much more than a month from now I'll be planting peas and potatoes. The cycle begins again. The inevitability is reassuring. The days are lengthening, the soils will warm.and Rick and Cindy will farm. Hope to see soon, 'Down on the farm.'
I love it when a plan comes together! This weekend we dug out the hotbed and refitted it for the new season. We heat the bed with manure just the way Cindy's grandfather did many years ago. We're even using the same sash used by Farmer John, though it is now covered in plastic since the glass will no longer stay in the weathered frames.
We start the process by digging out the bed to a depth of about two feet. Then we layer upon layer straw and horse manure. Each layer of straw gets wetted down and each layer of manure gets packed by farmer's feet. On top those layers goes a weed barrier and finally some planting soil.
These days we're using Jiffy Mix, but in years past we would go to the woods and dig some soil then sift it to make a fine planting mix. The theory behind getting soil from the forest duff rather than the field is that it is less likely to harbor disease problems.
The bed will now sit for about two weeks and hopefully begin to heat up. We will plant tomatoes, eggplants and peppers around the first of March depending somewhat on the weather.
This past weekend I spent quite a long time going nowhere. Actually, I guess I must have been going 'somewhere,' it just seemed like I was getting nowhere. What I was doing was riding in circles for the better part of Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
It all started with a flat tire and a dead battery. It ended when the big field was finally mowed down. It is an annual ritual that really should be a bi-annual ritual, but something always seems to conspire against the second time ever happening each year. The old John Deere tractor plays a big part in the ritual and so the first order of business was getting 'ol green' in shape for a day's mowing.
First I had to pump up the front tire. That went well enough. The tire seemed to hold air. Then I attempted to start her up. That didn't happen right away. A jump start managed to get her turning over, but there was no fire. It seems that the main distributor wire needed a little adjustin'.
Well, that done, I pulled off a plug wire to see if I was getting any fire. Darn if the old gal didn't start up with only three plug wires attached as I was trying to test that plug! Can't complain. Other than a few healthy shocks as I tried to quickly re-attach the plug wire there was nothing more to do but hop on her and go -- for hours, and hours .....
The place really looks nice when it's mowed. I scared up dozens of rabbits and a few deer as I went along. I enjoy the mowing ritual. -- listening to the hum of the big tractor, bouncing over the old furrows, watching the crows and rabbits and deer scurry about, watching the job get done row by row till finally I make that last swipe and park 'ol green' till the next big field.
Next week we will plant tomatoes, eggplants and peppers in the hotbed.
It has felt very much like Spring all week. Cindy has been working on spreading manure. Her father has been working on the fence for the new donkey pasture. I hadn't done anything on the farm this week till today.
This morning I worked on fertilizing and spraying the strawberries. We decided that since this will be the last year for this patch we will not till out the row middles. Sometimes that can make for difficult picking, but I think the patch has thinned a bit since last year and may very well increase our yield by leaving some plants.Time will tell.
I fertilized the bottom section of the Smith field this afternoon. That is where we will plant our Spring garden -- peas, broccoli, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, collards and potatoes. Finished up just in time for dinner. Perfect timing!
Tomorrow Cindy will plant the hotbed if all goes well.
The weather this past week conspired to keep Cindy from planting the hotbed as scheduled. Finally yesterday we got it done. Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are now entrusted to Mother Earth. A little TLC from Cindy each day should be all it takes. I guess we're farmin' now!
I managed to grease up my jacket as well as the IH265 this weekend. Got it all set up with the rototiller. Cindy will see that the field for the early crops are turned over.
Cindy's dad has been working on the fence for the new donkey pasture. I noticed today that the gate is almost in place and all the posts have been set. Guess I'll have to make time to help string the wire.
I talked with our beekeeper. He said the bees did fairly well this winter. The hives were really active this weekend.
Fence building is good exercise. Putting up the fence for the new donkey pasture took most of the weekend. Things didn't quite go as planned, but all in all the project was a success. Julie (the donkey) tried out her new place this afternoon. She liked it so much she had to be persuaded to go back to her old hangout with a little trickery.
It's tough to tempt a donkey with a bowl of pellets when she is standing in a field of lush green grass. Cindy finally resorted to a brief chase and a little bob and weave. I think Cindy is as happy with the new pasture as Julie.
Some tomatoes are up in the hotbed. This means the bed needs a little more daily attention. We must uncover it early to catch as much daylight at possible, then ventilate at the appropriate times to avoid overheating. At precisely the right moment we must seal it up to capture the days heat for the long cold evening.
Mr. Bunk tilled the field across the road this past week. We will be planting peas and potatoes there some time this week. We usually shoot for St. Patrick's Day. I don't know if we'll hit it exactly this year , but I'll take a day off this week when the weather looks good and we'll get it done.
I did manage an assist on one other important project this weekend. Ricky needed a hand in hauling some debris from his 'fort.' He has been working on this project for month's. I bought him a bow saw and a pair of loppers which he has used to clear an area in the brush behind the donkey shed. It has been quite an undertaking and the 'fort' is lookin' good!
Potato and pea planting had to wait till this weekend. Finished it up today. I also planted a couple rows of string beans. Planting them this early is always a gamble, but if the weather cooperates we can get an early crop. It'll take them probably two weeks to come up anyway.
Just so you know that everything hasn't gone quite as planned I'll fill you in on the odyssey of the Farmall Cub tire repair. I called the tire repair center and scheduled a tire repair by their road-service for Friday evening. On Friday at dinner-time I called the repair center to see if the repair truck was still scheduled. I was assured that he would be out that evening and that they work till 10 P.M. So I waited at the farm. And waited...and waited...the phone rang.
It was Cindy saying that the repair center had called her at the park to tell us that the repairman had gotten sick and he would not be coming. He would be there at 8 A.M. on Saturday morning.
Right on schedule the next morning he did arrive. He took one look at the tractor, another look at his repair ticket and then looked at me. "They didn't tell me I'd need a calcium pump and new tube, " he said. He promised to be back as soon as he could.
A couple of hours later he returned. Cindy and I went across the road to plant potatoes while he began working on the tire. About an hour later the repairman came over to the field to see us. I thought he was ready to leave and he wanted a check. Well, yea...he wanted to leave.
It seems that the rim had rusted through in one spot and he said it needed to be repaired before the tube could be replaced. So off he went and there I sat with a rim that needs repair.
Today, in between setting up the transplanter for strawberries, and planting peas across the road I worked on patching the rim with some epoxy. One day soon I'll get that tire repaired.....
Easter weekend is never quiet on the farm. This year was no exception. The annual easter egg hunt was a success. There were about 65 egg-hunters present -- family, friends and neighbors. The hiding of the eggs was a little tricky this year. We had a good stand of winter rye, but that kept the chickweed down. Chickweed is the preferred egg hiding weed.
I believe we hid about 85 dozen eggs.And of course, we hid the prize eggs (plastic) a little 'deeper.' This tends to make the hunt last a little longer, but I'm inclined to think we should hide them no more than the rest of the eggs. I remember the old Stallings egg-hunts from which our hunt evolved. Don't ever remember needing a backhoe to find the prize eggs there.
We did a little farmin'. this week too. I broadcast fertilizer on all the acreage we will use this year. That was fun. It was about 45 degrees and the wind was blowing about 40 mph.
For the past two days we have been filling flats and planting seeds. This was all for vegetable plants for the farm. We also planted some flats of herbs for later trasplanting.
Today the potting crew began potting up the flower plugs which arrived yesterday. That process will take at least another day. Then it will be on to pulling tomatoes from the hotbed and potting them up in trays and flats -- some for the farm and some for resale.
I harrowed over the potatoes and peas this afternoon. Still nothing showing there, but I dug around to see how the peas were doing. They are coming along nicely with a nice root and just beginning to shoot.
Expecting strawberry plants to arrive any day now....
Activity is picking up on the farm. All the plugs are potted up and we now have two hoop-houses full of plants as well as a couple of our old coldframes. We had a scare with the weather this week. Just like last year at this time, the temps were predicted to drop to the mid-20's. Since our hoop-houses aren't normally heated nor do they have double plastic we decided to take the safe way around the dilemma.
We spent the better part of one afternoon just before the freeze carrying everything from the hoophouses into the old farmhouse and some of the outbuildings. We managed to find a secure place for almost everything.Today, now that the threat is over we moved everything back out. Everything did well with the exception of a couple of flats of tomatoes that the mice munched down.
Mice were a real problem in the hoop-house where we planted the flats from seed this year. Cantaloupe are the favorite of the mice there. We replanted some flats several times.
The peas are up across the road, but no sign of potatoes yet. I'm hoping we can get time to cultivate there within the next couple of days. But first, we have 1000 asparagus to plant as well as our Spring crops to set out. Broccoli, kale, collards, kohlrabi and cabbage are ready to go. I also need to get some turnip and radish in the ground.
There are still about 2 acres of ground with cover crop to turn under. This is a priority too, as the longer the rye grows the harder it is to cover. So much to do and so little time....
Saturday was fun! By late morning we were set up to transplant our Spring crops. I had tilled the area one more time, hooked up and oiled the transplanter, filled the tank with water and fertilizer and the tractor with fuel. Cindy and her father had removed all the bands from the bundles of plants that came up from Georgia last week.
And then it started to rain. Slow at first, then steady. Cindy sat on the transplanter wearing her full set of rain gear. I sat on the tractor with various pieces of rain gear draped over me. (From the grin on Cindy's face I must have been quite a sight!) We went ahead with the planting, each row getting a little muddier. Everything was caked with the wet sandy loam, but things were planting well.
A couple of hours later, a bit damp, and a bit chilled we had planted about 5000 of the various cole crops for our Spring garden. We called it a day.
On Sunday we jumped right on our next big project -- asparagus. We had 1000 asparagus to plant. We couldn't figure a way to do it with the mechanical transplanter so it had to be done by hand. I had laid off the rows with a potato plow last week. We spread some compost in the furrow and dropped the asparagus roots in, then pulled one of the hills in with a rake. It didn't take as long as we thought it would, but we much prefer the 'automated' planting with the mechanical transplanter.
I wrapped up the weekend by pulling a harrow over the potatoes one more time. Some of the spuds are just beginning to break ground. Cindy and I went over to try a new 'raking' technique for hoeing the peas. I thought it worked pretty well, Cindy was undecided. As usual the weeds are just beyond the vulnerable stage and a simple raking with a heavy leaf rake wasn't always quite enough to uproot some of them. I think the raking technique is worth remembering, but it will be most effective if you do it before you can actually see the weeds breaking ground.
We now have two hoop houses and two large cold frames full of plants. The potting crew will be working on peppers and eggplants this week and possibly a few herbs. The rest of the week will likely be spent on a last minute weeding in the old strawberry patch. The peas will be hoed first thing this week and I hope to get a chance to run through them with a cultivator and drop some fertilizer. After the busy weekend we're feeling pretty good about where we stand in our preparations for the coming season.
Another week has slipped away. Today was the first time I got a chance to work on the farm since last weekend. We were busy at the park this past week getting the playground finished and preparing for our big Earthday event and dedication ceremony for the playground.
I hopped on the tractor this morning and began cultivating the peas, cole crops, raspberries and new strawberries. Everything got a shot of 10-10-10 along the way. I decided to let the potatoes go a few days. Many of the rows are not completely showing. I harrowed there last weekend so I don't see any weeds showing.
I was a little disappointed in how the cole crops look. We've had some significant loss. I suspect we may have stressed them a bit by holding them too long before planting. They were shipped on a Monday and we didn't get them into the ground till then following Saturday.
This afternoon I made a couple of swipes with the tiller and then hand broadcast some turnip/radish/kale seed. I meant to plant them last week, but never got around to it. Until I quit for dinner I ran the tiller in Smith field turning under the last of the winter rye -- it's about a foot tall and quite lush.
Cindy's dad has been working steadily on potting up some of the herbs and other things that are now big enough to pull from the planting flats. We are quickly developing a space crunch in the greenhouses. I noticed that things are now sitting in the aisles.
I'm a might bit sleepy as I write this. It has been a busy week followed by a very busy weekend. Cindy and crew have worked hard this week weeding the strawberry patch. Cindy's dad has been steady potting plants. I don't recall exactly when I did on the farm during the week, but it wasn't much.
First thing on Saturday I jumped on the tractor and began cultivating the potatoes. I also ran thru everything else that's growing right now. I finished up Sunday by cultivating and raking the asparagus. I dug up a root and could see some growth so I guess we should see something showing there soon.
We have had quite an interesting time trying to get all the supplies delivered to trellis the peas. I ordered some pea fence from Burpee which arrived pronto, but the stakes I ordered from A.M. Leonard can't seem to find there way here. The first shipment was apparently completely lost. They did a UPS trace and couldn't find a trace, so they shipped a second time. That time we got half the shipment.
Another UPS trace found the other half had been shipped to the wrong address and ended up in Connecticut! So on Thursday they shipped that second half again. We are still waiting, but hopeful that it will arrive on Monday. The peas are just about ready to climb and we will need to get the trellis up soon.
Many of our farm plants are close to being ready so set out. We will be watching the weather this week and making a decision soon on setting things out. Most of the ground had a re-growth of rye that will need to be turned under. Lots to do....
We worked on setting up the trellis for the peas this past week. Everything went in place and the job turned out to be rather easy except for the 100 deep knee bends involved. The peas seem to 'know' what to do and some have already latched on and begun to climb.
Cindy and Bunk hoed the potatoes this week. They spuds look really good! No sign of potato beetles yet, but we are monitoring daily as the onslaught of hungry beetles and larvae is inevitable.
Yesterday we opened the stand for the first time this year with a good selection of bedding plants, both flowers and vegetables. Thus begins the daily ritual of setting up and taking down the stand. It is exciting to see activity at the stand as this means that if all goes well the bank accounts will begin to reflect the start of the new season.
We took time out today to attend the family reunion for Cindy's mother's side of the family. Lots of good food and everyone had a great time. The rain and overcast eased the farmer's guilt for abandoning the fields in favor of the picnic. We wouldn't have been able to do much on the farm anyway.
It is supposed to be a little on the cool side this week, but I think we will begin setting out a few things if I can arrange my schedule to accommodate a day or two of farmin'.
The past 10 days have been a bit frustrating as we watched the weather and tried to get some of the plants set out in the fields. The winds have been the biggest hassle. Work schedules vs. weather has been the next biggest hassle. In spite of it all, we did get all tomatoes, squash, melons, cukes, sweet potatoes and okra set out.
I also got in a planting of beans, both string beans and lima beans. Over the past two days the cut your own flower patch has been planted by hand. We still have lettuce and eggplants to get out. Beyond that just a few miscellaneous things and we'll be set for the first part of the season.
Strawberry picking will begin very soon. I noticed a few ripe berries the other day! There is also one variety of pea blooming.so they well be along soon too. On the stand we've added many herbs to the plants available for sale. There are still more to come.
Cindy's crew has been hoeing some every day. Catching up on the weeds EVERYWHERE will be the next order of the day. As usually happens during planting season I have gotten a little behind on cultivating the spring crops that are already in. If all goes well I will be caught up by the weekend.
We've had a little trouble this past week with theft from the roadside stand while it is on self serve.We've instituted a few security measure which should help us see what's going on. We appreciate the help of our neighbors and regular customers in watching over things.
Lots happening on the farm these days and more to come.....
I'm sitting here this evening listening to the sound of rain on the roof. It is a welcome sound. This past week has been hard on the plants as things are getting dry and the wind continued to blow. Pretty much the entire first planting is now in the fields and we scrambled to get irrigation down to most of it.
During the last few days everything was given a drink from the drip lines and a sigh of relief could be heard -- from the plants as well as the farmers. Hopefully this evening's rain will come in moderation and the relatively bare fields will be spared the radical washouts we experienced last year at about this time.
We're now picking strawberries, broccoli, kale and radish. Snap peas will be coming along soon. We also have a nice selection of bedding plants including flowers, herbs and vegetables. And our beekeeper has refreshed our supply of local Maryland Wildflower honey and well as some Orange Blossom honey from Florida. The market is open daily. (And closed daily, what a pain!)
We wrapped up this very hectic week by closing up the stand this evening in the rain. That has been how it has gone -- one thing after the other. I beginning to see the signs of benign neglect setting in. Everything needs cultivation and the list of things I need to do before I can get to cultivating is a mile long.
From the looks of the weather forcast it may be a while before I get into the fields to do anything. There is rain and cooler temps predicted for the next 5 days.
In spite of the workload we did manage to get the latest brocolli shipment planted and put in a few beans. I also planted the mammoth sunflower in the front field. It wouldn't be summer without them.
We are picking heavy now. All the Spring crops are in and more to come. Cindy spends most of her day picking one thing or the other. Without extra weekend help I end up spending my weekend time picking too. That needs to change or I'll never catch up!
'Tis the season! One day at a time....
If you just leave me alone and let me work I can get some serious work done. This past Sunday I had to handle all the farm details because Cindy had commitments elsewhere almost the entire day. Other than picking strawberries she was scarce for the entire day.
I started the day picking peas, broccoli, kale, collards, radish, lettuce, and kohlrabi. After cleaning the radishes I set up the stand with the help of my parents and Cindy's dad. The rest of the day I spent on the tractor cultivating and fertilizing everything in sight.
At day's end things looked mighty good. There is still some hoeing to be done to clean things up, but it's nice to get such a jump on the almighty weeds.
It is supposed to feel like summer this coming week with 90 degree temps. Cindy began running the irrigation today in anticipation of the extreme temps.
We're still waiting for the shell peas to come on strong. We're hoping the anticipated high temps don't hurt the peas. Summer squash and tomatoes look pretty good.. Peppers, eggplants, okra and sweet potatoes are just sitting there waiting for summer. Maybe this week will jump start them.
The stand is now manned (actually womanned) from 10 AM to 4 pm. Self serve at other times.
Busy farmin'. Haven't had the energy at day's end to post anything here in a while. We're now battling weeds and bugs, picking lots of stuff (see the What's Growin' page), and trying to get a few more things in the ground. Last weekend I planted all of the winter squash, pumpkins and gourds, some broom corn and some more beans.
This weekend we have our second planting of summer squash, cukes and a few other things, as well as some more tomatoes to set out. We're kind of in a crunch for space since the peas and brocolli are still hanging in there. Not sure where we're going to plant the new stuff.
In spite of the busy farm we've adjusted our priorities enough to squeeze in some crabbing and fishing for Rick and I and some time for Cindy and Katie to do some horse shows. Cindy is also looking forward to picking up her new donkey in mid-July. We went to Cumberland last month and picked it out.
The chickens are eating well these days. We've been bringing them some left over greens each day.
I finished installing our new vegatable washer this evening. We're hoping this works well and saves us a little time and a lot of work in washing produce every morning.
Gotta go, see you down on the farm......
The weather was the big story last week. Boy was it hot! Of course, what better time to start digging potatoes? Nothing like picking up potatoes in the noon-day sun! Yields are terrific in both white and red potatoes.
We are now in the midst of our usual lull in harvesting. The peas are done. Brocolli is just about finished. Squash is just getting started as well as cukes. We're still picking a little lettuce but that is starting to bolt and will be done very soon.
We set out a second planting of some squash and cukes this past week We're waiting for the brocolli to wind down so there will be room to plant some tomatoes and the next planting of beans. Before the season is over almost all our ground with the exception of the tomatoe/pepper/eggplant fields will be double cropped.
The cut flower garden is now open for cut-your-own flowers. We hope to see you down on the farm....
We're now picking most of our summer crops. Peppers, eggplants and okra are a bit slow coming on but we seem to find enough to keep some on the stand most of the time. We're still waiting for the first sweet corn because the first plantings we're done in by the drought.
The dry weather has been a pre-occupation lately. We are running drip irrigation daily from dawn to dusk. Everything that is irrigated looks good. Amazingly the planting of tomatoes and squash set out over a week ago in one of our fields that isn't irrigated hasn't seen any rain either, yet continues to grow. The winter squash and pumpkins in the same field are also a miracle crop.
We're hoping for some rain to give the crops a boost, but none is in sight. We also need rain before we can put in our next plantings of beans, squash, and cukes.
Cindy expects to see her new donkey, Buffy, delivered this week. The excitement grows....
My, time flies! The business of farming has taken precedence over the joys of html and hence there has been a bit of a lag in my updates here. Bear with me. We weathered the drought by the skin of our teeth. There were some losses and a definite reduction in yield for some things, but we have received just enough rain to keep things going . That, combined with a healthy application from the drip irrigation has been enough to keep us going. The drip has really paid for itself this year!
We now have a full selection of summer vegetables at our roadside market -- corn, tomatoes, lopes, watermelon.....and much, much more. The cut-your-own flower garden is still beautiful and very popular.
The days are long now as we start early with picking and never seem to wrap things up till dark with closing the stand for the day. August is always our busiest month and our most profitable. All indications are that this year will be no exception. There little time for anything but work, work, work.....
Except, of course, for fishing.....white perch fishing has been fun. Oh, yes, and Buffy arrived and is doing quite well. I'll post a photo soon. Remind me to take a picture....
Gee, August is history. Wew! What a month! Things are still going strong at the market. We have begun to harvest our second crop of tomatoes, third planting of summers squash, lima beans, and everything else continues to come in.
We will dig some sweet potatoes this week and begin to harvest our winter squash in earnest. There is another beautiful planting of string beans flowering right now. Pumpkins, gourds, mums and broom corn will be harvested as soon as time permits. No rest for the weary!
The days have begun to shorten and bring some much needed rest for these weary farmers. Kids are back in school now so that is one more logistic to complicate our day. School buses, lunches packed, homework and more....
A Day on the Farm
by the farmer
Days are like a ride on a bobbing horse
In circles we ride
The view is exciting and cyles right by
The carousel is taking us for a ride
We pay the corn man to keep it going
We dig the taters and wash the 'maters
The flower garden is spectacular
Come cut your own
It's confusing, exciting, rewarding
It's tiring, overwhelming and dwarfs the nibbles.
We escape to it and from it depending on the mood
And it sure beats working for a living.
It is beginning to look like Fall at the market. Corn stalks, gourds, mini-pumpkins, winter squash all add color and Autumn flavor. We dug some sweet potatoes today and picked a wagon load of winter squash. Picked a bunch of summer squash too, that's still coming on strong. We had hoped to get our lettuce planted today, but there are not enough hours in the day. That's a job for tommorrow.....
This farmer needs a nap. See you down on the farm!
Ricky and I went fishing today. Caught a mess of perch, spot and croakers. Threw them all back for another day, got sunburned and wished we could stay longer.
Things are still going strong at the market. We have begun picking lettuce, brocolli, turnip, radish and kale. Dug a mess of sweet potatoes over the last couple of weeks. Still have two rows to dig. Seems we let them go a bit to long. Got some really jumbo sweet potatoes!
For the last several weeks we have been taking a truckload of produce to the wholesale auction at Cheltenham. It is a nice way to move some quantities of produce that we might not sell otherwise.
Pumpkin and other fall decorations sales are beginning to pick up. We have a nice selection including broom corn, indian corn, gourds, goose gourds, white pumpkins, cornstalks, popcorn and more. Our last load of fall mums is now on the wagon. Once they are sold that will be it for mums for this year. Get em' while they're hot!
The shorter daylight hours puts a little of a rush into the day as we find ourselves closing the stand in the twilight and after dark. But the end of the season is in sight! We squeaked by one cold night last week where the temps dipped close to freezing. From the weather forcast is looks good at least for the next week or so.
Still farmin...Still need a nap...
The season has finally wound down. We were able to hang in there with the market till the end of October. Pumpkin sales were good and the season ended on a positive note. I've done a little more fishin' than farmin' over the past several weeks, so there are still a few things left to do to put the farm to bed for the winter. But the end is in sight.
One of the real challenges of the season wrap-up was taking down the pea fence for the 700 foot of pea row. The fence was lost in weeds that loomed over my head. It really wasn't such a bad job, but I think we planted about 100 million weed seeds by letting it go so late in the season.
There are still brocolli and turnips growing. I suppose we'll eventually get them turned under. Our intention is to make one last picking of brocolli for the freezer if time permits.
Guess that's about it. We've had another great season on the farm. Thanks for following the season with us. See you next year, "Down on the Farm!"
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