The Farm Report

Such as it is!

In the spring I planted three gardens: the large back one, and two raised beds out front.  I’ve had varied success.  Out back I planted three kinds of potatoes, butternut squash, and corn.  I’ve never planted potatoes before, and in my inexperience I didn’t get as good a harvest as I could have.  I now know that when you start to see them poking out a bit from under the dirt you should put more dirt on top of them, unless you are ready to harvest them.  Instead I harvested them all.  Some were just fine – the red potatoes ended up mostly being the right size, but I also pulled out quite a lot of very small ones that could have given me higher yields had  I left well enough alone.   The fingerling and yukon potatoes?  Not so much.  I think I got maybe three usable yukons, and the fingerlings never produced.  I think it may have gotten way too hot way too early in the season for them.  Either way, next year I will know better.

The butternut squash was victimized by both the extreme heat (record breaking, in fact) and the fact that I had planted squash in that same location two years running, with the result that I ended up with hordes of squash beetles that wiped out my entire crop.  Next year the squash will have to go out front.

The corn did very well at first, with about 30 big green stalks looking rather majestic on the back 40, if I do say.  I got about 6 nice crispy ears off before the heat crispified them all to hell.  Even regular waterings were no match for weeks of brutal 100+ temps and full – on sun.

Out front my success was marginally better.  The arugula and black seed lettuce did spectacular.  It over – produced to the point that it went to seed, as I couldn’t keep up with it.  The snow peas flowered and then died.  In the herb garden the heat claimed my cilantro, but my tarragon, dill and rosemary look great, and the sage and thyme seem to be recovering.  I let my basil go to seed because I didn’t know any better, and trust me, I will never do that again.  I worship pesto far too much to be lacking one more summer in its goodness.

I’ve ripped out the weeded- over lettuce and arugula and have planted some late – harvest beets and acorn squash.  Hopefully they’ll work out.

The chickens continue to produce a nice cache of eggs daily, apart from Muriel who was been sitting on a lone blue egg for the past few weeks.  I allowed her to have that one, in hopes that it will hatch out as an Ameraucana hen.

Meanwhile our earlier hatchlings are frolicking the days away out in the front pen.  Or rather, around it, as they refuse to stay in.

Honestly I’d prefer to have all of my chickens free- ranging.  They don’t do as much damage, you don’t have to feed so much grain, and it’s fun watching them run around with the kids.  There’s always the danger of them running off, though, or getting eaten by a predator or roaming cat or dog.  I really need a fence.   I am impatient for a real farm where we have room for our chickens and goats and llama and sheep to roam and not be penned in.  They’re much happier and healthier that way.

Emily has named the three we think are females. They are Fran, Sylvia and CC.  The two boys will have to be given away.  We’d probably try and use them for meat, but Emily would never allow it.

The goats are doing well and today I’ll be giving everyone a dose of de-wormer.  Milkshakes and the boys get theirs orally, and it’s relatively easy.  Jerry gets his via needle.  Should be fun.  The boys continue to try and nurse from their mama, even though they are practically the same size as she is.  It’s made it tough to keep weight on her, but it’s kept them nice and fat.  Hopefully we can solve that soon and get some weight on her by fall so she can be bred again.  In the spring, bottle babies and chevre.  Hooray!!!!

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