"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to the Grind

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.


polly's path said...

ack! My comment just vanished!
I was trying to say that taking a day off after vacation ALWAYS works miraculously for me.
Also, I am amazed at your success with craigslist and encouraged to try and find a few things I need on the farm, plus get rid of a few extras.

Keri said...

Hey, what a great blog. Love all the photos and your writings. Happy I stopped in and will be bak. Keri

Aimee said...

thanks Keri! I like yours, too!

upinak said...

I love reading about your little farm. It gives me inspiration for when I finally get a house with some land... but not as much as you.

To help your clay dirt... if you drink coffee, keep the grounds in a bucket and work it into the clay. If you also use a little saw dust (a cup is all you need per mound) and work it in with the coffee grounds.. it will help break up the clay and you can compost on it pretty well. If you are able not to have to use that land for a year.. you will have awesome soil for plants the year after that.

Also I saw your friend with her parrot. It is a yellow naped amazon. I use to breen them when I was a teenager.


The Idiot Gardener said...

It's always the way; you turn your back for a short time, and it all goes wild! I'm currently trying not to look in one corner of the garden, because it's so overgrown.

Olive said...

Aimee, I'm green with envy over your pears, the type I like the most. Sadly I think you will have to buy some netting for you fruit. It's most annoying that the birds eat a little from each fruit and don't leave many without the big hole in one side. It happens here too. WE have even had them eat from the weeping cherry tree which does bear some fruit, not a lot, but definitely INEDIBLE. The sour cherry that hangs over the fence makes excellent jam (jelly to you)