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 06-21-19

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 05-16-19

Hi folks. I wish I could say that the weather has been behaving and that everything is on schedule. I can’t.

For those of you who do not live in the area, it snowed this past Sunday (Mother’s Day), with temps hovering around 35-38F and then rain for days on end. I still have not been able to get back into the field to prep it for plants. As a result of the weather (not just this most recent storm but a colder, wetter spring in general), there will be delays in a number of crops.

I’m really glad I have the greenhouses.

On the positive events side, the chickens have already begun laying eggs. As usual, it’s a few tiny little eggs a day to start, but I expect that the number per day will build quickly. Also, this season’s jams are all pretty much done and include:

Strawberry
Raspberry
Blueberry
Strawberry-Rhubarb
Peach
Cranberry
Orange Marmalade
Cherry

Now to answer the big question – The farm stand will be opening for the season on Saturday, May 25th, and be open Saturdays and Sundays for at least the first few weeks. However, due to the Memorial Day holiday, the stand will also be open on Monday the 27th. I’m sorry if this is a bit confusing. Here’s the breakdown:

Memorial Day Weekend Hours
Sat 5/25 — 10 – 6
Sun 5/26 — 10 – 4
Mon 5/27 — 10 – 6

Spring Schedule (starting Sat 6/1 and until further notice)
Sat — 10 – 6
Sun — 10 – 4

That’s about it for this update. I’ll be back with another update as soon as I have some more information to share.

Farm Update 11-15-18

So this is the last weekend the farm stand will be open for the 2018 season. It’s been a long run this year – almost a little too long. And for the big send off, Mother Nature has decided to provide a wonderful blanket of snow. I’m not ready for this much snow, or the extremely cold temps that have been hampering outside work this past week. It’s just too early.

AROUND THE FARM
Despite the weather, I was running about the place this week, trying to get everything put away and secured before the storm. Did what I could and dealt with the most important stuff, so I can only hope that it’ll warm up again for a while so I can finish getting stuff put away for the winter.

IN THE FIELD
Was doing as much winter prep this past week as I could. Still lots to do, with about one full week worth of work to have it the way I would like it for over-wintering. The veg I have this week is pretty much all brought in from farms off the mountaintop.

FROM THE COOP
There are two bits of news regarding the chickens.

First, Spunky, Little Red, and Squeaky were sent off to live with a family that has a small flock of chickens that they keep as pets, where they can live out the rest of their days. I’m rather happy about this, as I had been taking care of those three for so long it would have been very unhappy to do what will be happening to the rest of the chickens shortly.

Second, I was finally able to get my Poultry Processing Certification and insurance for retail sales all sorted out. This means that if I decide to, I will be able to sell on-farm slaughtered and processed poultry. I still have a bunch of stuff to figure out, but if you would like more information please feel free to contact me (by text is best).

OTHER GENERAL INFO
Given that this is the last weekend open for 2018, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came by the farm this season. I truly appreciate your support.

The current plan for next season is to run for basically the same amount of time as this year, with a rough estimate of starting the 2019 season some time mid to late May. But that is still a ways away, I have loads to do and figure out before then, and even see what new things I might want to do for next year.

In the meantime, since I’m not sure I’ll be posting any more updates until some time in 2019, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas and holiday season, and a happy New Year.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon, or some time in the spring. And thanks again for making it another successful year on the farm.

Farm Update 11-08-18

Getting close to the end of the season now. Just two more weeks and then I can finally get stuff fixed up, cleaned up, and put to bed until the next season. It’s been yet another busy week, as I try to accomplish as much as I can with the shorter days. There’s still just a bit too much to do each day, and that doesn’t count when something unexpected (see the From the Coop section for an example) happens.

AROUND THE FARM

It’s still work, work, work for now. It’s not just field stuff either, as there are many projects that I would really like to get done before the winter is truly upon us. The planning has also already begun for next season, for those who wonder about such things.

IN THE FIELD

As far as growing stuff goes, it’s all but done at this point. With the exception of potatoes, that I need dry weather to dig, and some special order cabbage, I just have a few odds and ends to which I must attend. The low temps that have visited the mountaintop have seen to it that most all the plants are done.

FROM THE COOP

This is the aftermath of an owl attack that occurred on Tuesday evening, just after dark.

I happened to be in the coop, refilling waterers and feeders, when there was a terror-stricken shriek from outside and just around the side of the coop, where I often let the chickens stroll around inside the electric fence, but outside their secure pen. Anyway, in the mere instant of time for me to respond to what I knew was something drastically wrong, I rounded the corner to see the owl trying to drag the chicken under the fence.

Apparently, the owl spotted the chicken and swooped in from the driveway side, not realizing there was not only the electric fence wire, but also welded wire garden fencing between it and the chicken. Despite the owl slamming into both, it still managed to grab the chicken and start to pull it under the fence. The owl obviously didn’t realize I was there, and when I came running around the corner it immediately dropped the chicken and took off.

The chicken was visibly injured and somewhat covered in blood. I scooped it up, figuring it had been seriously, possibly fatally wounded, and brought it into the garage where I normally tend to chicken problems and keep the medical supplies for them, and started cataloging and treating the injuries. Surprisingly, most of the blood was not from the chicken. It appears the owl, not seeing the two layers of fine wire fencing, seriously injured itself in the attack. Aside from the chicken losing a whole bunch of feathers, as you can see from the picture, it suffered some scrapes, deep scratches (not quite true lacerations), two minor talon punctures (one in the right wing and the other centered on the back), and one actual bite that took a small chunk out of its backside (the worst of the injuries).

The chicken is now being kept in the house due to those injuries and the fact that I know if I put it back in with the other chickens that they will peck at her wounds and kill her.

Aside from that bit of excitement the chickens are still generally doing well and adapting quickly to the cold.

OTHER GENERAL INFO

Please remember that the last day for this season is Sunday, November 18th, so if you want jam that’s your deadline. If you miss it, please understand I will be very difficult to get hold of after that date, though the best way to try is by text.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 11-01-18

Yet another brief update to keep everyone apprised of happenings on the farm. The season ending is now officially set; the last day of the 2018 season being Sunday November 18th, with the Friday – Sunday schedule remaining the same.

Don’t forget, Daylight Savings time ends this weekend.

AROUND THE FARM
Lots of general works continues. The temporary farm stand/greenhouse is now finished and was moved into position on Wednesday. I have also added in solar-powered lights for those days when it’s real dark and nasty, and also figuring that as we go forward into the winter season that the end of the days on Friday and Saturday could get real dark before 6pm.

IN THE FIELD
There’s still not much going on here, with just a few things left growing or waiting to be harvested. The weather has caused me no end of problems with trying to get Potatoes pulled out of the ground this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better now.

FROM THE COOP
The ladies are doing well and adapting to what were colder temps. Actually, I think they’re a bit happy that the temps came up a bit as it will give them a little more time to get used to overall colder temps.

For those of you who have been following the story of the chickens, and know what is to become of them, I have some good news. With the aid of a regular customer who has been following their stories, a few of the chickens that I have had to deal with all summer, specifically Spunky (the special needs chickens who I still hand feed once a day), Little Red (the sweetest chicken I’ve ever dealt with), and another hen-pecked chicken named Squeaky (who was so brutally attacked that her comb was permanently damaged), have been found a home for them to move to in a few weeks where they can live out their days.

Regarding the other chickens, I have obtained my Cornell Cooperative Extension slaughter and processing certification letter and am waiting to hear back from the insurance company regarding product liability coverage.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
For the jam lovers out there, be sure to stock up soon. Given how close to the end of the season it is, I do not think I will be making any more preserves this year, unless there is a special order for a whole batch, and acceptance of any orders will be based on whether or not I think I will have the time to make them.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 09-27-18

It’s been a very busy week so far. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work around the farm, as well as dealing with other farms in order to get some new items and fill in some stuff that I should have, but don’t due to issues with the weather.

AROUND THE FARM
I am finally attending to all kinds of work that had been put off over the course of the summer. Most of it is small stuff that wouldn’t be noticed unless you were around the buildings on a regular basis, but it is work that I’ve wanted to get done for some time now.

The new poly tunnel greenhouse is now built, though I do have to finish installing the equipment. I was waiting on some components until too late Thursday evening, so I’ll get them put in as soon as I can. I think the weather will stay warm enough for long enough that it won’t be an issue. I also managed to move one of the other greenhouses to a temporary storage location.

IN THE FIELD
More of the summer crops are coming to an end, so please be sure to check out the What’s Available page, as well as looking in the General Info section below to see what Locally Grown items I’ve been able to get for this week.

It looks like the Gladiolus are coming to an end. I am hoping to have some for this weekend, but I don’t think they’ll make it to Columbus Day. As long as we don’t get an actual frost (we came real close last week), there should be at least a few bunches of Field Flowers available.

There should be a few more Cantaloupes this weekend, and if I feel confident enough in picking them out, even a few Sugar Baby Watermelons. I found one the other day that had a soft spot, so I figured I’d try it to see if it was sweet. Short answer, yes it was. Been quite a few years since I’ve had watermelon.

FROM THE COOP
The chickens are chickening. Well, I’m sure you know what I mean. They are just being normal chickens, without too much added drama. The flock of wild turkey that wander about the property have been coming closer and closer to the pen, I’m guessing to check things out. Or maybe they smell the feed and want to see if they can get some too. Either way, the chickens aren’t quite sure what to make of them and usually start squawking in alarm while retreating into the coop.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
As I stated above, I’ve been working getting some items in from other farms to help fill out the selection at the stand. These items will all be labeled as “Locally Grown”.

For this week, I was able to get an additional size of Carving Pumpkin, as well as a very few White Pumpkins. The farmer who I’ve been getting the other pumpkins from was kind enough to hold some of the white ones aside for me. The same farmer also had some decorative Indian Corn bundles, which I also decided to get for the stand.

I got some Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, and Spaghetti), Broccoli, and Cauliflower to help fill in the selection of fall items.

For the fruit lovers there are several pieces of good news. I was able to get 1 flat of the last of the season’s locally harvested Blueberries. Like my Peaches, when they’re gone, they’re gone. And the last couple of items I was able to get are Hudson Valley grown Apples (Fuji and Cortland for this week).

The schedule is still the same as last week:

Fri and Sat 10 – 6
Sun 10 – 4

This will change next week due to the holiday, when I will also be open on the Monday, but more on that in the next update.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.