Friday, March 03, 2006

Gangs and Vandals

I can’t believe it.

Here we live out in the country and there’s a gang of vandals hanging out on our driveway.

In fact just now, I got in our truck, drove past the beehives, past the cemetery field, through the gate, around the bend down toward the creek

And there they were.

All seven of them. Right there in the middle of the road.

Staring at me!

But I better stop right there and instead of telling a story get down to, instead, business...

with this weeks pertinent news from the farm.

Farm News

1. Flower share. Are you interested in a flower share? I will not be growing flowers for a flower share this year. However a friend, Elena, will be. Elena’s flower share will be like the one I’ve grown for the past half dozen years (though she will probably do a better job of it). This year, though, we will only be offering flowers for the Monday and Tuesday pick up. Details will be posted on our webpage. (Briefly, the flower share will be approximately 25 stems each week from mid July until the end of the season. $115).

3. Greenhouse comes to life. We started bringing our greenhouse to life this week. The heats on and we started 20,000 seedlings. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, parsley, herbs. Within the next several weeks over 70,000 seedlings will be coming to life in the greenhouse.

4. This week we also planted several acres of peas. These should be ripe by the end of April and we will invite shareholders to come out and pick there own.

5. Next week we will be getting the hoophouses in shape for planting greens so people can come out and get early salad fixings (mid April).

6. And, of course, there are eggs. I will be around this weekend so if you want to come out and collect your own eggs, you’re welcome to visit. First come first serve.

7. Share payments are due the beginning of April.

Which brings us back around to the gang. Or should I simply call them the vandals?

I’m sure, when we came face to face on the driveway, they were standing there trying to build up their courage to make a raid on our farm.

They were probably discussing what it was that we had that they could steal.

I could tell by looking in their eyes that they were up to no good.

They, obviously, had visions of stolen loot dancing in their heads.

There was a time when they would have strolled right onto our farm and hauled off about anything they choses.

One year they stole $15,000 worth of various vegetables.

I kid you not.

And the year before that it was something like $12,000 worth of lettuce, mustard, pac choi, spinach and okra.

Can you believe they stole Okra? They are obviously southern vandals and not an okra naive Bostonian or New Yorker.

(I’ve noticed, after growing CSA vegetables for ten years, that people from up north tend not to appreciate the pleasures of okra).


But in the past several years we’ve fought back.

I mean, in the past couple years we’ve put up over 7000 feet of ten foot high anti-vandal fencing. And we’ve fortified that tall barrier with another 7000 foot fence, an electrified fence.

And on the inside are the dogs. Andorra and Twain, two 150 pound Great Pyrenees, who take their job very seriously and are constantly out there patrolling the inside of the fence. Always on the lookout for wild intruders.

(right now its after one in the morning and I can hear them out there now, barking at someone on the other side of the fence. Someone out in the dark, night forest).

And besides the anti-vandal dogs, several times a year we get offers from snipers who want nothing better than the opportunity to quietly sit up in a tree, no matter what the weather, with the hope of getting to shoot a wayward trespasser.

So, when I came barreling down the road, and around the corner where I came face to face with the gang I was in no mood for a pleasant discussion of what these critters were up to.

And they obviously felt guilty about something.

Because...

Because we only stared at each other for several moments before they broke and ran.

They took off, bouncing off into the woods. Their white tails quickly disappearing into the distance.

Oh, and for you bird watchers out there. I need some advice. 

I saw this week that the bluebirds were back. They even landed on top of my bluebird house on a post out on the edge of one of our fields.

Unfortunately, they didn’t stay long. 

They, a couple, stood on the house for a few minutes, looked around, peered into the opening of the nest box and then flew off. Disappearing into the forest on the other side of the field.

Last year, about his time, a couple, maybe the same couple, hung out at the bluebird house most of an entire day. But, in the end, decided to make their nest somewhere else.

For the preceding half a dozen years a bluebird couple would come back each spring and build a nest in a hole in our house underneath the kitchen eaves.

But two years ago we had the house stuccoed, which, besides making our house airtight, covered up the bluebirds home.

So, the question is, what do I have to do to my bluebird box to convince the bluebird couple that this is the place to raise their chicks?

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