Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I took one full day's rest before getting back to the summer farm routine - well, of course I milked the goats, but other than that. Yesterday, it was back on track, full steam ahead!
The first thing I did was walk the property and take mental notes. The grass is awfully high, and the mower is still broken, but I made Homero use the weedeater to clear a space around the fruit trees and to whack down the poison hemlock, which is flowering even though it has been mowed twice already. My little garden is almost lost in the high grass. I see that many of my plants are a dead loss - I think the problem is my heavy clay soil, which bakes into a brick when it gets hot and dry. I did mix in a lot of compost, but that didn't do the trick, I guess. My beets, for example, made nice big leaves but no beets at all. Same with the carrots. Squash and beans, on the other hand, are doing very well. I have harvested three zucchinis and have more little ones which will be ready in a week or so. Potatoes look good. Tomatoes not so much.
The trees all look good - man are we going to have a lot of pears. There are so many pears on that big tree we'll probably have to make cider. Or, as pear cider is called, Perry. One of the small pear trees also has a few dozen pears on it. The Ranier cherry bore fruit, and I was looking forward to eating some, but when I got there the birds had eaten most of each cherry, without taking the cherries off the tree, so it looked like they were still good from far away. Bummer. Net next year, I guess.
However, I did harvest a big ol' bowl of cherries - pie cherries from the neighbor's trees that lean out over the fenceline. These cherries aren't very sweet, but we still like to eat them out of hand, they are juicy and bracingly tart. When we had eaten our fill, I used the rest to make a cherry cordial with vodka. I'll keep it in the freezer and come christmas put it into pretty little bottles for my friends who drink.
I also made some fresh cheese (although the cheese I left in the fridge to age is doing so deliciously) and am making more today.
I checked through the bee equipment to try and put together two honey-supers (the small boxes you put on top of the hives this time of year to collect extra honey) and realized we didn't have enough frames. So I put an ad on Craigslist and immediately found someone willing to lend me ten frames in exchange for half my surplus honey - if any, of course. I explained this is my first year and I might not get any. She understood and was willing to take the risk. So, later today Rowan and I will put the supers on.
The farrier is coming today. The ponies have lost their halters somewhere in the field so I have to try and find them and go buy new ones if I can't. They haven't been handled in a few weeks, of course, and Rosie especially is as wild as a deer. I'm sure the farrier will have a wonderful time. He just loves Rosie - NOT.
Also it is high hay season and if we want to stock up on reasonably priced hay now is the time to go buy it off the fields. Of course the pickup truck is out of commission, so I'll have to either borrow somebody's truck or pay to have hay delivered.
Oh I forgot to mention yesterday I also took the kids out to the raspberry fields to pick berries before the season ends. We came home with four gallon-sized ziplocs full, two of which are already gone. Raspberries are my favorite berry, and I want to pick as many as I can this week for the freezer.
As you can see, I have my work cut out for me, so I'd better get off my butt and get to it.