The headline event for this week was our wonderful neighbor, Kyle Rohr, bringing his tractor and brushhog out to mow the farm. Normally we would bale the hay, but his baler wasn't working and we didn't want to mess with finding someone else, so he agreed to just mow it instead. The farm looks so much nicer with all the growth knocked back AND we can confirm to the county that we are continuing to follow our plan to prevent the lespedeza from multiplying.
The garden has started to really produce now. We dug all our potatoes this week - yukon gold, red pontiac and white nordland (I think) - and came away with about 100# of spuds. It isn't our best harvest, but it also isn't our worst. We only planted 3 beds this year (we've been planting 6) so not a bad showing all in all. We're also harvesting blackberries, currants, goji berries and our first ripe peaches! The peach tree we planted way back in 2012 is completely loaded with fruit this year. It is also infested with moth larvae. Its so disappointing to see such beautiful peaches and know that almost all of them have worms in them. Then, tonight, I also saw June Bugs munching away in big clusters on the ripe fruit. Sigh. I did some research on the moths and I think next year I'll put up some sticky pheromone traps to see if I can limit their damage. I'm also picking up all the dropped and caterpillar infested fruit to feed to the chickens. If I can't enjoy the peaches, at least I can enjoy the eggs! I've read about a molasses trap for june bugs but haven't tried it yet. Maybe I'll give that a whirl this week. Learning how to manage not just an organic orchard, but a no spray orchard is a priority for the next couple of years.
First squash, blackberries and a peach!
bed #1 potato harvest air curing
The same neighbor who mowed for us has a couple of piles of cow manure that we're steadily moving into the lower garden. We picked up 2 trucks full yesterday and got one of those unloaded. There were SOOOOOO MANY GRUBS! I swear that every shovel had 2 or 3 grubs in it. We collected all the ones we found as we unloaded and dumped them in with the chickens. They were in heaven! And, yes, between fruit, scraps and grubs our chickens are totally spoiled.
scoop of manure being dumped into the truck
Chickens going to town on a pile of grubs
A host of other farm stuff got done this week too. Beds were weeded and mulched, we got 2 loads of cardboard to continue doing sheet mulch in the garden aisles and we harvested SO MUCH SQUASH! I picked a 5 gallon bucket full on Friday evening and we still had squash left from the last time I picked. Everything we eat must have squash in it so that we can keep up. Normally, we would be coming into ripe tomato season too and most of this squash bounty would find its way into vegetable soup that we enjoy all year long. Our tomatoes are way behind though, so we just have the squash.
It was also time for our regular battery maintenance on Saturday morning. We have to monitor the water levels in all the battery cells to keep them running at their best. In the summer time we're finding that we need to monitor them every 2 or 3 weeks. In the winter, it is less often. We pull each of the white caps off and top off the 3 battery cells underneath with distilled water, then replace the cap and go on to the next cell. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes. This time, while we were working, a tiny toad hopped into the ratchet set! He was too cute not to take a picture.
Jacob topping off batteries
A froggy friend visiting our work
The most amazing thing for this week was that I got to spend all day Saturday on the farm. There were no errands or functions or anything else to take me away. It was a solid day of working in the garden, spending time with Jeremy and focusing on doing the work I love to do. I need more of these days. It is good for my soul and body to do real work that I can see, to connect with this piece of the earth and to connect with my family.