Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 29th and Sept 2nd

Good-bye Irene!
Well thank goodness that is over!   Coming from Ohio, I already have a slight fear of wind and being surround by large trees made me a little nervous this weekend.  We lost a lot of limbs and some big trees, but no damage.  The animals fared just fine, in fact the pigs are loving their new wetland.  The worst was the the wind and wet blew late blight through the tomatoes and soon they will all die.  I was looking forward to a great tomato harvest, had lots of nice sized ones on the vine...

Zach's mom lives in Sweden and sometimes she sends the most wonderful photos.  She lives in the country, very simple and sometimes travels further into the country with a friend.  This is the traffic they faced...moooove over!  Check out that copper pot--gorgeous!  And the "rack" for the aluminum pots.  So sweet.  I was just visiting Sarah Spring's new creamery room for her cheese...I think her inspector would have a fit with this Swedish cheese room!  But I think Sarah would much prefer her space to have the look and feel of this.

The gardens are shifting for the seasons again.  This may be the last week for green beans and cucs and numerous squashes and zucchini.  (Some of you are probably cheering).  I will be trying to keep the diversity up as much as I can as we move into fall.  I am quite disappointed in my broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower this year as well as my onions.  The midsummer drought really affected those crops.  Bear with me though and soon we will be looking at winter squashes and edemame soybeans!

This Week's Loot: cucs, zucs, summer squash, beans, chard, tomatoes and corn

New This week:  Perpetual Spinach--It is in the chard family but has a little lighter taste like spinach.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23rd and 26th

The Early Worm gets the Tomato

The tomato hornworm, note its little red "horn".  These fellows (yes, all pests are masculine) can do serious damage in a tomato patch quickly.  Not to say that I want many of them, but I am always happy to find a few each season frassing around.  I find them very intriguing...

...colorful and so strong!  Pulling them off the tomato plant sometimes results in a small battle including mandible clicking, full body waling and sometimes even pinching (all done by the worm, not me). 

They are not small. Well, they start out small and rapidly grow to five inches while they devour entire leaves and halves of tomatoes.  You would think that a 5 inch long worm with a horn and a girth of your thumb would be easy to find, but actually it is a bit like a "Where's Waldo" book while one is searching for these extremely well camouflaged worms.  It is generally their frass (poop) and/or the clicking of their mandibles that give them away.  These are the once "insect" pest that I will not squish with my hands.  Crushing them under foot is the method of choice, but beware, they have a lot of pressure built up inside those tight bodies!

Okay, on to tastier photos.  (Although you may not be happy with these either as they are not actually a part of the share.  Sorry!)  But they are sooo beautiful and Zach and I are excited as this is the first real harvest we have gotten off these 5 year old trees.  YUM!!!

This Week's Loot: corn!!! radish, greenbeans, cucs, zucs, ss, chard, beets, carrots, peppers, onions, potatoes and herbs...

A small note about the corn...speaking of not be alarmed if you find a small colorful corn ear worm at the top of your corn.  Last year I had to cut the tops off of every ear because I had so many.  This year they are not so bad, so I am leaving it up to you...


Monday, August 15, 2011

August 16th and 19th


These pigs are the craziest pigs I have ever raised!  They acted shy at first but I think it was all an act.  I had fun taking photos--they ALL wanted to get their nose in...such hams

And then there is this guy...he just lays in the trough and eats!  This actually what I feel like at the end of the day..."eat? or sleep? Aha!  I can just do both!"

This weekend we at lobster at a friend's.  The pigs LOVE lobster so we brought home all the leftover shells.  It was actually good timing to have this special treat as a lure to get the pigs into the trailer.  After several hours of coaxing (and one awesome pig tackle by Zach!), we finally moved all 11 pigs to a new spot.  It is out past the hoop house...don't forget about them, they would love to nibble..I mean see you :)

Ahhh feels so wonderful to have this bit of moisture!  Some plants are beyond being able to use the extra drink, but others are responding nicely.  I am hoping this late rain will boost the fall crops like cabbage, winter squash and onions.

CROWS...I don't remember them paying for a share this year but they sure have been indulging.  They have been enjoying lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon and most recently corn.  Grrrrr!  They are very smart.  Very very smart.

This Week's Loot: cucs, zucs, summer squash, green beans, cabbage, baby carrots! and radish

Gotta love those zucchini and summer squash--they won't last forever: )

Zucchini Pesto:
Summer Squash Salad:

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 9th and 12th

It's a Lily Fest!!
Be sure to check out the pick your own garden for fantastic color and fragrance to add to your home. The lilies are still in full swing and the gladiolas are just beginning to open. They are best to pick when the bottom two flowers have opened.
CHERRY TOMATOES!!!! are starting to ripen. They are in a little patch right next to the hoop house. You can graze now, soon there should be plenty for picking to bring home. Tomatilloes are also there, but they are not ripe yet. We must wait until they fill their paper shell.
Diving into the zucchini patch!!
I don't know how many of you know this but most cucumber, summer squash and zucchini plants have tiny spines on the stems of the plants (and on the fruit themselves in the case of the cucumber). Picking them helps to build my pain tolerance level! Today it took me 2 hours to harvest 800' of cucs, zucs and summer squashes, amounting to 250 pounds. I suppose a few whences and scratches are worth it ;)
This Week's Loot: ss, cucs, zucs, green beans, broccoli? peppers? cabbage, chard, beets and fresh garlic!
I will apologize for the short blogs these last few weeks and the lack of color and formatting. Blogger seems to be having a mental breakdown, or maybe it is me. But for some reason the basic formatting is no longer working for me. If anyone has any suggestions...

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 2nd and 5th

Summer has Come!!!
Summer is marked by the crunch of a cucumber as far as I am concerned. From now on each day is filled with harvesting; cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, green beans and soon tomatoes and melons. I try and do each of these every other day and split them up so I am not harvesting all of them in one day!
I realized yesterday that this week was the last week that I will seed in the greenhouse for the year. It is amazing how fast the time flies--August already!! The growing season is almost 2 months shorter here in Maine than where I started farming in PA and I can't say that I have fully gotten used to it yet. This year, more than ever, I am seeing how "living in the moment" is a very difficult task for a farmer. The shortest seed I have is a radish which is about 30 days. This means from the moment I drop the seed into soil, it will be approximately 30 days until I am able to harvest. Most of my crops however are, on average, 60 days--2 months and on up to 110 days. I am continuously thinking about 2-3 months down the road and sometimes even 10 months--I seed the parsnips in June and don't harvest them until April the next year!
Here it is: the mark of summer, the cucumber, and all I can think about is what I need to sow for the fall and winter harvests, what I need to bed the empty spots down with so they aren't bare for the winter, etc, etc, etc...I don't know who ever said that farmers where dumb. I mean here is a job where you have to be on your toes at every moment; it's a business, a brain twister, a scheduling/planning/logistical game all while teetering on the whim of nature. Oh and it would be nice to have some marketing and mechanical skills under your belt as well : ) It's tricky I tell you. There is never a dull moment!

Green bean it up! Extra green beans for sale at pick up$2/lb
Be sure to check out last year's post for the descriptions of all the summer squash...