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Archive for June, 2010

A Summer Soak

Flooding on the farm.

With the cold front came a huge amount of rain two days ago. We received .75 of an inch in under an hour! Jake, aka Bazooka, and I were both caught out in the rain… He was bringing up feed to the barn and I was out in the garden then closing barn doors to keep the sideways blowing rain from reaching the stalls. Of course our drainage path also clogged and so we both freed up the water’s path in the midst of the downpour to keep water from backing up into the main barn. Thankfully our curing hay was tucked away safely and the rain was blowing in the perfect direction so the hay did not get wet. This is especially good because today we will be putting it up in to the hayloft! Or, “in the mow” as Bossman recently said.

Jessie is getting a bath.

Yesterday was beautiful. Only 85 degrees with a slight breeze. I will still take the hot summer air over the 3 feet of snow we had any day! Since it was so pretty both Michael and Jessie (our retired work horses) received a bath. The calves were very interested in what we were doing and tried to get involved once or twice. A good spritz with the water managed to keep them away.

And speaking of more water-related news, our ducks hatched out nearly 30 ducklings over the weekend! Their bathtub is as full as it has ever been. We had to make a couple of ramps to help the ducklings get in and out of the water.

Ducklings out for a swim.

On another note… no calf from Luna yet. This is like watching water come to a boil. A second cold front moved in last night and the temperature will be around 80 at the most for the next few days. So perhaps I will finally be able to post the good news!

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It has been a busy couple of weeks! We picked up around 500 to 600 bales of hay from our fields, half still needs to be put up in the hay loft. The crazy thing is that this time last year we were not even able to start cutting and baling the hay because the weather had been so wet.

Also, this time last year our garden was no where near where it is now. In just a few days we have filled the farm’s refrigerator. The plan is to sell our produce on Thursday nights during our free concerts throughout the summer. Last week was the first time selling the produce and everything except a few clippings of rosemary sold.

Another thing about this time last year was that all the babies were born (at least all the ones due before August). Currently we are waiting on one more cow, Luna, to give birth. We have been watching her closely. Luna’s udder has been showing slight changes and today she arrived for breakfast but was not very interested in eating. Tomorrow evening there is a cold front coming to the area. Maybe that is what she has been waiting for. It has been awfully hot and I wouldn’t blame her for waiting on cooler weather to give birth to a calf.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the summer plays out. Much of what we do will depend on the weather. Hopefully it will be a productive summer!

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I am super excited to see everything in the garden growing well. We started a lot of the plants by seed and those are doing the best. Our companion plants (marigolds and petunias) seem to be keeping the bug population in check. The leaf mulch has really helped cut down on weeds. In some areas we put down two layers of newspaper as another weed barrier under the mulch. So far weed control is equal (comparing leaf mulch to areas with both leaf mulch and newspaper) but it will be interesting to see if that changes as the summer progresses. One thing is definite: where there is no leaf mulch the weeds are flourishing!

Anyway, without further ado here are some photos from the garden.

All 2600 square feet!

The very first tomato, already ahead of schedule from last year!

Marigolds were placed near the tomatoes and at the entrance of the garden.

Petunias are near the sugar snap peas (pictured here) and our bush beans. Bossman put up some nice looking netting which makes picking the peas much easier.

Bush beans, petunias, rosemary, sage, and a glimpse of the cantaloupe and watermelon.

Our vine cucumbers are looking awesome! Last year we couldn't even get them to grow.

We are going to have more squash and zucchini than ever!

The first planting of corn was done at the beginning of May. In front (dirt area with no mulch) is our second planting which should germinate next week.

Tomatoes, basil, marigolds, and peppers in the back (left side of the square).

The goal this year is to produce enough to be able to sell some of the vegetables at our late nights on the farm every Thursday this summer. One of our volunteers which is a chef/professor at the Art Institute had a great idea to pickle some of the vegetables that might not sell so they aren’t wasted and can be sold at a later date. Whatever we do, I know I am looking forward to eating some of the tasty vegetables!

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Brittany, our Hereford cow, surprised us this morning with a beautiful heifer (girl)! The little one is a Hereford/Angus cross sired by our bull Dennis. She is absolutely beautiful, all black with a white face and white socks. I am looking forward to seeing her grow. She is a bit smaller than Micky and Bobbie were born but she is still just as cute as ever!

Next birth should be by our cow, Luna! She is due this month.

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