Farm Update 08-01-19

Can you believe it’s August already? As the saying goes, the tide waits for no man, and in this case neither do the days passing by. The work on the farm is continuing as usual, and the backlog from the springtime is being trimmed down and should be fully eliminated by next week.

Since the rain a couple of weeks ago followed by the heat, the weeds have all turned into mini Jack and the Beanstalk monsters. Despite plastic mulch being used selectively around the field, the weeds are still taking over far more than usual. The funny part of dealing with the weeds is that they know I’ve planted something. I’ve tried experiments where I will set up a row, provide fertilizer and irrigation and virtually no weeds appear in the row for weeks and weeks. If I do the same thing, but plant a crop, the weeds grow immediately. Ah well, what are ya gonna do.

The chickens are generally doing well. They are adapting as best they can to the wild swings in temp, and egg production is holding steady at levels just off peak production. If it stays a little cooler I’d expect it to fully rebound in a couple more days.

This season has been pretty difficult for growing, and in addition, quite a few things are running late. Talking to other farmers, they are experiencing the same things, with most all crops running at least a little behind schedule. Please be sure to check out the What’s Available page to see this week’s offerings.

Hope everyone has a great week. See you at the farm stand.

Farm Update 07-25-19

What a difference a week makes. Just look at the temps this morning versus last week’s. It’s enough to make your head spin, and certainly enough to have an effect on the plants. The chickens are thoroughly grateful for the major drop in temps and as I thought would happen, egg production during the week dipped quite a bit, but is starting to recover.

The work around the farm, as always, continues unabated despite the weather. I mean it’s gotta get done, right? Anyway, the changes certainly keep life interesting and add a certain extra challenge. For those curious, I have begun cutting the backlog of work from the spring, as there is no way for me to make up any of the extra time at this point. What this means is eliminating certain plantings, and scaling back on others. There’s been a lot of field maintenance type work that’s been on hold that will now be the main priority.

As I said above, the chickens are much happier with the cooler temps and egg production is coming back to normal. I let them out of the pen yesterday, since I was working right nearby, and the had a great time scratching around in the tall grass and weeds in search of bugs, worms, and other treats. Sadly I can’t let them out more often, but there are just too many predators about.

Time for me to get back out to work. Be sure to check the What’s Available page to see what goodies you can find. My thanks to all who came by the stand and helped support the farm. Hope everyone has a great week.

Farm Update 07-18-19

While I find it’s amazing how quickly the weeks are ticking by, the routine on the farm continues. As I’ve been explaining to people about running three weeks behind schedule, there comes a point where tasks are simply scratched from the list of things to do, as they would no longer be required, desired, or needed.

So, as a result of the weather-induced late start, a number of plantings have been removed from the schedule. While I will continue to put as much into the ground as I can, I do know there are some things that simply won’t be ready in time, or, in some cases, plants that have been in the greenhouses too long.

With that said, I should still have enough either already in the ground or still going in to cover most demand, with any additional being filled in with stuff I get from other farms through the wholesale market. The exception will likely be Cut Flowers, which are still going to be in short supply due to the overwhelming demand this year. I’m still pushing the plants along as quickly as I can, and will cut as many bunches as I can per day.

For this week, I was able to get some more excellent fruit from the market, with Local Blueberries being the new addition. I was also able to find more of the fully ripe, large-sized Peaches that people seemed to like so much. As I’ve been mentioning to people at the stand, the fruit has been quite good this year, with the berries being the real star of the show. Please be sure to check the What’s Available page, to see the complete list of what I’m currently picking, as well as all the goodies I was able to get at the wholesale market.

Lastly, egg demand has remained quite high. The ladies are laying at full speed now, with most of the eggs weighing in at large size. There are certainly fewer XL and Jumbo this year, as compared to last, though I’m not exactly sure why. I suppose the swings in temp could be affecting it somewhat. And, if the current forecast holds for over the weekend, I do expect the predicted high temps of around 90F for Friday and Saturday to slow the chickens down for a couple of days. Production should come right back when the temps drop back down. And to anticipate the question – yes, egg production slows with radical swings in temperature.

So, I suppose that’s about it for this week. My thanks to all those who came by and supported the farm last week. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-11-19

I’ve been sitting here a few minutes just staring at the screen, wondering what to write. In some ways, doing this is a bit harder than doing the field work. It seems like I’ve said all the things you’ve been reading in the past newsletters over and over again, and I certainly don’t want to do just that. At the same time, what I have to tell you is basically the same thing as those previous newsletters, with maybe a little difference here and there depending on which calamity occurs when, or what cunning plan the chickens devise to have an adventure. Ah well, since I don’t know what else to do, here’s the update.

Planting is continuing at the fastest pace I can manage. As I’ve been telling people, things are running about 3 weeks late, and that hasn’t changed. The work I’m doing now should literally have been done 3 weeks ago. Still, it’s continuing in hopes things will grow out (they should), and also because there is stuff for fall that has to be put in.

For those who have been waiting, I will be picking Snap Peas starting this week. Not sure how much there will be to start, but I will be picking them every couple of days going forward. The Cucumbers and Zucchini are not quite ready yet, but they’re getting really close. And as an added bonus, I will have a very small amount of my own greenhouse grown Tomatoes. Field tomatoes are still going to be a bit yet.

I’ve also been pushing the flowers to get more stems, so with some luck there will be more than a few cut flower bunches this weekend. Gladiolus are still growing, and not yet showing signs of sending out the flower stalk.

Based on the experience last weekend (yes, I know it was a holiday, but still), it seems the two best days to get eggs will be Thursday (when I have quite a few from the previous couple of days), and Monday. I’m a little surprised I sold out as quickly as I did last weekend, but they are really tasty eggs.

Looking at the time I’m going to wrap this up, as I have to get back out into the field. Thanks to all who came by last week. Your support of the farm is greatly appreciated. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-03-19

Finally got a chance to sit down to get the update out for this week. It’s not going to be a long one due to how late it’s getting and how early I have to get up.

Anyway, I’ve decided to get a good selection of stuff to help fill out the stand for the holiday weekend. Please be sure to check the What’s Available page to see the complete list. For those who can’t wait to find out, I was able to get just a couple of flats of Local Strawberries. Get them while you can.

Around the farm the work is continuing at the fastest continuous pace possible. Things are still running about 3 weeks behind. I’ll explain in next week’s update what exactly that will mean going forward.

The chickens are doing well, though they do not like the sudden heat. This will likely cause a minor slowdown in egg production over the next couple of days, until they can adjust to the warmth. Until then, I’m making them as comfortable as I can, with extra water and a fan to help keep a breeze on them. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine as they had enough energy to stage a minor jailbreak. I got them rounded back up and put back in just as the turkey vultures arrived.

I want to thank all those who came by last week. Your support is greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful 4th of July.

Farm Update 06-26-19

Hi everybody. Can you believe how fast time is flying by this year, that it’s almost July 4th weekend. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not all some sort of Groundhog Day situation. Then I think back to the winter, and… yup, time is just chugging by.

Anyway, things on the farm are coming along. Things are still running about 3 weeks behind in a number of areas, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing most people will notice, and I’ve worked hard to keep the plants growing even though they are going in the ground late.

There is, of course, a reason for this and it is without the doubt the rather poor weather conditions. Due to the rain/mud, coupled with the late start due to the frozen ground persisting well into the spring there has been some rearranging of plantings, a few losses (timing and conditions), and eliminations of some plantings (insufficient time for plants to grow). So far, the early potatoes have taken the worst hit, with losses of about 75% of what was planted.

Still, work continues and more and more will be available over the next few weeks. Besides that, the chickens seem rather happy, albeit somewhat demanding of treats. Egg production has hit full swing, and egg sizes are now in the “normal” range.

Also, please note that the stand schedule has now gone to the 5-day hours, which are the same as they’ve been the last few years:

Thurs – Sat — 10 – 6
Sun — 10 – 4
Mon — 10 – 6
Tues & Wed — Closed

Can’t think of anything else, though I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Hope to see you all at the stand soon. Have a great week.

Oh, I just remembered. I was unable to get Local Strawberries at the wholesale market, due to the rains preventing harvest. However, I am still trying to arrange to pick some up on Friday, so there is a slight possibility that the stand may open a few minutes late on Friday morning. Thanks for your understanding.

Farm Update 06-21-19

Ok, people. Let’s rundown this week’s update checklist.

Seeds Sprouting – Check
Plants Growing – Check
Chickens Chickening – Check
Rain and Mud – Ughhh

Things are moving along, though a little more behind schedule due to the “liquid sunshine”. I will have Local Strawberries again this week, along with some Sweet Corn that looks pretty good. I will also have my own lettuce, scallions, and kale. Be sure to check out the What’s Available page for the complete list of stuff for this week.

Despite the weather, most crops are still on track to be available at the usual time, though there may be limited availability for a bit longer than usual. Still, at least we’re not in the mid-west, where many farm fields are underwater or so saturated that they can’t be planted at all.

The schedule for the stand will be changing after this weekend, and be going back to the 5 day schedule as of 6/27. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to remind you again.

Anyways, I guess that’s about it for this week. Hope to see you all at the stand soon. Have a great day.

Farm Update 06-14-19

The word of the day is – STRAWBERRIES!

I was finally able to get hold of a couple flats of locally grown berries. They smell awesome, and it’s all I can do to keep from chowing down on them, as I LOVE strawberries.

Anyway, back to non-strawberry reality. Work on the farm is chugging along. The weather, as usual these days, is far from cooperative, but it is what it is. More and more crops are going in the ground despite the conditions, with only the most fragile being held back. Why, you ask. Well, just a couple of days ago the morning low temp was 38F. That’s more than low enough to seriously damage a good few things, and stunt others.

By the way, have I mentioned how much I like having greenhouses? Just thought I’d throw that out there. Not that anyone asked, or anything.

As those of you who came by last week saw, I was able to start cutting some flower bunches. I should have at least a few more this weekend as well, and even got a few more trays of flower starts from Kerns to meet future demand. Also, for those who follow flower info, the Gladiolus have started poking out of the ground. It’ll be a while before they are ready, but figured I’d give people something to look forward to. I’ve also pre-started a bunch of sunflowers, but they’ll also be a bit yet.

The chickens are clucking away, laying lots of eggs. Average egg size is still getting bigger, and is finally approaching “normal”. Thankfully, the predators have been keeping a distance. I guess significant amounts of gunfire (yes, I do still routinely have to shoot at predators) will do that.

To answer a specific question I’ve been getting in regards to predators, given the Memorial Day weekend sighting of the mountain lion up the street – I am FULLY capable of defending myself from predators, and have had to do so on far too many occasions over the last few years. I have basically stopped recounting my encounters with the wildlife due to the frequency of occurrence.

Getting back to farm info in general, and it looks like a good few crops will be on schedule, and a few will be a bit late due to the late plantings. Please be sure to check out the What’s Available page for the most up-to-date list of goodies.

Hope to see you this weekend. A big thanks to everyone who came by last week. Your support is truly appreciated.

Farm Update 06-07-19

Hi all. Just a quick update this week.

I found myself saying f-word quite a few times this past week. No, not that word, rather “frost” and a few times “freeze”. On Monday morning there was a light frost, which was not totally unexpected. However, the Tuesday morning event was a good bit worse than the forecasts. The temp hit 32F and stayed there for just under an hour. There was a solid, but not quite killing frost, and just a hint of freeze (ice forming in standing water) in a couple of spots. I’ve been expecting a tumultuous spring, so I hadn’t put a whole lot in the ground. The lettuce that I had previously planted did take a bit of damage, and I’m pretty sure the peach and apple trees took a hit too.

Have I mentioned how much I like having greenhouses?

Aside from that, things are moving along pretty well. Field work continues when it’s dry enough, and there are now quite a few more things in the ground. Overall, I’d say things are going to be running about 2 weeks or so behind schedule due to the wet and cold.

The eggs the chickens are laying continue to get bigger day by day, so there will be a few more Large, XL, and Jumbo sized to choose from.

I still have not been able to secure any strawberries, even from regional farms, though I’m hopeful that some will be available by next weekend. Please check out the What’s Available page to see what I am able to harvest and what I was able to find at the wholesale market.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you at the farm.

Farm Update 05-31-19

Hi everyone. I want to thank all those who came to the farm stand this past weekend. I sincerely appreciate your support.

I hope all of you are doing well, despite the day after day of gray, overcast nastiness we’ve endured this past week.

Work on the farm is moving right along, in spite of the weather. Though, with the forecast for the beginning of next week, I’ve decided to hold off on planting anything really fragile in the field. Current forecasts call for lows in the low 40’s, and that could easily drop here in the valley down into frost temps. Have I mentioned that I’m really happy I have greenhouses.

As you can see from the What’s Available page, I’ve gone ahead and started adding a little more selection to what you’ll be able to find at the stand. I’m planning to try adding even more stuff as time progresses, so keep an eye out.

Again this week, there were no Local Strawberries to be had. All of the farmers I’ve spoken to about this are saying the weather is just too cool and cloudy, and any that have been able to get some to ripen have far too few to wholesale them off. Hopefully that will change soon. I did find some very nice Peaches for this week, and while they are coming from down south, they looked too good to pass up.

The chickens are almost in full swing now, with just a few holdouts. Egg sizes are increasing, though the majority of eggs are still in the Medium size range. That should increase to Large and Extra Large size in relatively short order.

Before I finish this week’s update, I want to mention a bit of news. On Monday I was made aware that a mountain lion was spotted a little ways up Scribner Hollow Rd, on the opposite side and not far from Beecher Rd. As far as I know, this is the first sighting of one in this valley. If you go in the woods please be aware it is around, and exercise a little extra caution. Helpful tip – NEVER turn your back to and run from a predator, as this invites an instinctive attack response.

That’s it for this update. Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you at the farm.