This little lady was crawling across my computer keyboard this noon. Must have come in on the flowers I have close by. I took her out to the beans in the hoophouse, which will probably be the last crop I pull out (have started thinning out the tomato plants). It is a ladybug nymph. Many of the beneficial predator insects look sort of like alligators in their nymph stage. Even if I’m not sure which they are, when I see little alligators I either leave them alone or try to help them.
This newsletter was supposed to lead off with a video I took of our bees today, but I can’t get it to load from my phone to the computer for editing. Short version: finally extracted the honey and put the empty frames, which still have lots of honey in them, back out for the bees to harvest. They were VERY active and focused.
Only other news/story is that we spent ALL DAY Saturday replacing the well pump for the irrigation well. I had noticed for several days that I got a trickle or nothing when I wanted water. Troubleshooted for kinked hoses. Checked that water was not flowing to any of the outlets. Asked Tony for help Friday evening. So Saturday he rechecked the electrical box and stuff I had already crossed off. Finally pulled the pump, over 100 feet of pipe with a heavy pump on the end. Started testing for power. Sometimes we’d get a beep, others not. Finally no beep right down into the (21 year old) pump. Tony decided that the internal wiring was probably beyond him so headed into Hulburts (open until noon on Saturday) and bought a new pump. Hooked it up and nothing. Oh, and had to make another trip to get heat shrink wire wraps. Started testing and looking farther back up the wiring that goes down along the pipe to the pump. Found a spot where it had abraded (Tony says the wire torques every time the pump comes on, causing it to rub). Need more of the heat shrink sealer. Trips to Keeseville, Peru, and finally back into Pburgh Lowes since Hulburts was long closed by then. Spliced the wire. The pump turned on. Whew. The pipe, wire, and safety/hauling up rope had been ziptied together every 10 feet or so. Because of all the abraded spots, they are now electrical taped together about every 3 feet up the pipe. Took awhile. But when we had the well dub the well driller worked to get 10 gallons/minute. We pulled the 8 gal/min house well pump for the irrigation well and put the new one in the house well. Tony got a 12 gallon/minute pump this time – we’ll see if the well will keep up. I can tell the difference in the flow rate, and will have to throttle back some of the irrigation fittings to not blow up the drip tape (that is OK – I’ll take more flow).
Farmwise, sort of coasting.
Have a good week, maybe coasting for you too.
We had a light, not forecast frost Thursday a week ago, mostly uphill. The lower part gets some fall protection from the marsh/lake. The frost damaged some of the butternuts a little, just on the skin so those may not store into next summer like they usually do. Then Monday we were forecast for a freeze, so finished bringing in the winter squash – delicata (not many), Sweet Dumpling (like delicata but round), acorn, spaghetti squash, and butternuts. A huge crop. I left over half the spaghetti squash in the field knowing that I’ll never be able to sell or give it away. Hopefully we’ll move the hens down into the squash area so they can clean up weed seeds and the remaining squash.
The “freeze” was basically just enough frost to do in the dahlias, zinnias, peppers, etc. It hit the tops of the weeds but didn’t kill them or stop them from setting seed (I would have liked a good freeze). The peppers were tired and slowing down anyway. I think the eggplant still has some good fruit on it, though the tops of the plants are dead. Anyway, we are into clean up since I need to have the ground leveled to put new hoophouse where they were.
The ducklings are doing well. We lost one during the daytime, and have been bringing them in at night for night time protection, but they are outgrowing their “box”, so I need to clean out the brooder house and train mom and ducklings to it.
The brussels sprouts are gorgeous this year. I haven’t been harvesting them yet because they are so much sweeter after a couple good freezes, but since we don’t have any freezes forecast, I will cut some for you.
I have been harvesting carrots, and found some much nicer looking ones, and the purple ones!
The kale looks the nicest it has all summer, with the leaves curling more. It does love the cooler temps.
Two more Tuesdays for the summer CSA! I am looking forward to moving to the winter farmstore. I was just thinking today of a little ceremonial last taking off of the noose of keys around my neck. No more getting partway down the hill to open and realizing I don’t have the key (it stays on the back of the front door handle at ight, but if the door is open I don’t see it).
I normally seed carrots a month later than “recommended”, to get past the main annual weed season and because they sweeten after they’ve been frosted a few times. But that also means I am holding my breath hoping we actually get large enough carrots, and they usually are smaller than we’d like. This year I planted “on time” in July. Result – Mokum carrots supposedly get 9″ long, and we usually harvest mostly 6 to 7″ ones.
They are good tasting, but I’ll admit still “summer” carrots – not as sweet as if they had been frosted. Still, if I don’t harvest them they will split, so we’ll be happy with the fact that they are long and still slender.
The Lipstick and Carmen peppers are incredibly sweet and great tasting, and have nice thick crunchy walls. Love them. The peppers are about a month late in ripening this year, but they are coming on strong now and we are somewhat overrun with them. They are great for snacking out of hand. Please stock up – you can slice and freeze them (great roasted first).
The next to last field lettuce is mature and in the walkin cooler (since the deer have discovered it). Really nice and lots of variety.
This last batch of broilers will be ready in a couple of weeks. If you would like to take advantage of our “stock your freezer” special, 10 birds for $200, at least 4 lbs each, let us know soon. Those that aren’t ordered ahead for fresh will get parted out into pieces – takes much less freezer space.
That’s it at the end of a beautiful Sunday that was hot enough I took a long nap. Have a good week. I am on a quest to get a better understanding of what the writings of the Bible meant to the people it was written to, in the centuries it was written. So, Wednesday night will experience a little of Rosh Hoshanah. Interesting that it was/is a deeply spiritual holiday, rather than the fun and games holidays we tend to make holidays.
Sweet peppers are ripening and sweet. These are “Lipstick”. Looks the the bells are turning and we’ll have a few of those, and a few of the orange and yellow that I love.
I know a few of you like celeriac (celery root). A few are of harvestable size. CSA folks – if I don’t get to them, or need to harvest more, please let me know.
Now what I would have written the whole newsletter on if last night. Off topic but an encouragement or warning. I normally don’t do many vaccines. Don’t do the flu shot. I keep my tetanus current and that is about it. But we did get our shingles vaccines several years ago. I am very glad I did and encourage you to also.
The rash on my face last Tuesday was Shingles. The vaccine doesn’t prevent it but it sure lessens the severity. It started a couple of weeks ago now with intermittent short ear aches and headaches. Thursday a week and a half ago it got so I couldn’t ignore it. I went to 5 Star UrgentCare Saturday morning, and they were very good. I had an ear ache and a canker sore. They diagnosed sinus induced plugged ear tubes and put me on a good antibiotic (sinus is hard to wipe out) and nose drops. WOW – I belly breathe now. But Sunday morning I woke up with really large, bumpy welts on my chin and side of my face. Fortunately they weren’t itchy, but…and my ear was getting crusty. I started putting Young Living Thieves essential oil blend on a q-tip and swabbing my ear, and putting it on my toothpaste, and in coconut oil on my face. The welts went right down and by Tuesday none of the CSA seemed to be grossed out by my face. I ended up with 5 canker sores side by side so my lip stayed swollen. I had my regular osteopathic treatment scheduled for Thursday, so waited for that to do anything. I went in, told Anita what had been going on and she immediately said I had shingles. She also said she would not have diagnosed that with just an ear ache and canker sore, so the UrgentCare was not negligent. With three Shingles meds I started to back off the Thieves, but the ear crusted right back up and I got more rash on my face, so back to the Thieves. I don’t know how much is meds and how much is Thieves, but the sores are not itchy and quickly healing – not what I hear from other folks getting Shingles.
There is a farm that I only occasionally get to drive by, but whose fields have looked perfectly weed-free from the road. We had a farm meeting there this afternoon, and THANK YOU = my field looks really good. They get more rain than we do, which made cultivating hard for them so they have worse weeds than I do. I welcomed the rain because it softened the ground enough to cultivate. It is not a gloating feeling, but a real relief feeling when you think you aren’t doing something well and find out that you are doing better than some other good operators. (Their tomato plants looked better than ours though.)
The walkin cooler is icing up badly so troubleshooting and solving that is tomorrow’s biggest problem – it quickly gets up into the high 60s in there when its off, but I don’t want to blow up the unit leaving it iced either – not good for lettuce, broccoli, etc.
Tomato plants are doing well, finally putting out nice large ones (yes those are cherry tomatoes in the photo). We marveled today about how resilient plants are. The row of pole beans in our hoophouse that got decimated with leafhopper feeding are putting out nice new growth. The other farm is pulling nice onions out of incredible weeds. Our carrots have been growing OK with intense weed pressure (but we have three beds of them well-weeded). If I forget to pick peppers for you please remind me Tuesday. They don’t come onto my radar screen until they turn red (or orange or yellow depending on the variety). But they are close by and I can easily get you some. I have been forgetting the chard and kale on Tuesdays also, but it is close and easy too.
I started transplanting fall crops where the garlic was. Though we have a larger than usual deer population, they haven’t bothered much (sunflowers, beets). But we never put the deer fence up this year, so I am parking the tractors by the new planting to hopefully deter them until we have finished needing to drive through to haul the onions out. Not sure whether we’ll do the deer fence or try the trick of stringing monofilament across the lettuce and broccoli/etc. Supposedly they can’t see it and don’t like the feel so stay out. Hmmm. Not sure whether to trust that or not. I see teeny fawn tracks out there – we have one doe that fawns very late, and it is sad to see the little tracks because we don’t think it will make it through the winter.
We have some huge Candy onions. Many folks don’t want large onions, particularly in the winter when they are just cooking with them. So I tried planting some 3 or 4 to a hole to get smaller ones. They are too small. But singles are like this – probably a pound. Spacing them is both an economic (sales) and labor issue. It takes much less labor to plant 4 in a hole, with holes a foot apart, than to plant each one six inches apart. But it is harder to keep weed-free six-inches apart but less sales if we plant each one a foot apart for easier weed control. One of the thoughts for next year.
CSA folks – we are getting toward the end of the current sign up sheet. Yes, you go through October. We can only fit yea many columns on a sheet of paper, so we’ll get a new signup sheet for September and October.
Have a great week.
If you want fresh, never frozen chicken ask by Wednesday. Tony harvested most of the broilers Friday and Saturday and will finish Monday morning. So, if you want fresh chicken to cut up, let me know by Wednesday, before I freeze all of them.
Garlic is almost all dug. More than half is cleaned and drying. Each year I try something new with several things. Last year it was cutting the tops of the garlic short before drying. Before that we laid the garlic with full tops out in single layer, but the tops overlapped. That was a lot of greenery to dry down. Our regional Cornell garlic specialist said it was OK to cut the tops, so we did. This year I am doing an “unapproved” thing – washing them before drying. Other farmers on Facebook hose the dirt off. Otherwise I spend hours with a toothbrush peeling the skin down to pretty. We’ll see. Apparently there are a lot of “odd things” out there this year with garlic, and mine is no exception. Amy took samples and sent them to the specialist for diagnosis. But that is something I really like about washing the garlic – it is much easier to see which ones have discoloration.
First Miss Muss has held steady with four ducklings. Second Miss Muss was down to six. Lost 5 this morning. Muscovies don’t quack, and are very quiet, but they hiss in defense and squeak when really upset. I heard her squeaking this morning and went out to see what was up (first Miss Muss and young had spent night with them and they have been bullying the younger ones). No sign of anything amiss other than a splat of awful poop that they emit in defense and only one little duckling. I am guessing fox. The first ones have been spending most nights in the winter henshed, and I have been feeding them in there. This evening I grabbed the remaining little one to lure momma into the henshed with the others, because I assume since the predator had such success it will be back. Normally ducks herd quite well but she was freaked out and I “herded” her around the yard four times before getting her into the henshed. Then she was so freaked that it was at least twenty minutes before she calmed down enough to recognize and accept her little one.
We got 23 Pekin ducklings this week, so I’ll have duck to eat this winter (my favorite meat). They are in the brooder house and will be raised like the broilers. Plan is that after Tony finishes the broilers tomorrow we will move to fresh pasture and put second Miss Muss and baby in with the Pekins out on pasture. We’ll see how if they integrate. Nights are supposed to be cool enough (oh, yes, please) that I will need to string an extension cord out for a heat lamp. But in the brooder house they just get “food”. Outside they will get high protein bugs and goodies that will be good for them. And as far as I know foxes haven’t gotten into the winter henshed, but that has surprised me because there are numerous places they could get in. I will be happy to have them inside electric fence.
Well, I am eating supper as I write this at 10:28 p.m. so that is about all.
Oh yea. Those who got sweet corn Tuesday – I am being so careful to not let it get over ripe that I think it wasn’t really ready. It was OK, but not superb. If yours’ wasn’t good, take replacements this week.
Candy onions are ready!
That and the hoophouse tomato plants have finally taken off and are producing well, and the tomatoes are getting larger. I’ll leave other updates for next week.