Sunday, July 02, 2006


The first question people ask is, “how did you make out with all that rain? How are our vegetables doing?”

And my answer is, “I don’t know, yet.”

I mean our fields drain pretty well. We’re up here in the rocks on the side of a mountain and only one field, the highest field up on the hill side, has an awful lot of clay. All the other’s drain pretty well.

But 8, almost 9 inches of rain in a week is still a lot of rain. How much snow would that have been? (a lot).

Wenonah says the last time this valley got that much rain was back in 1972 with Hurricane Agnes. She says, back then, the road to the farm washed away. That her father had to park his truck over two miles away and walk over the mountain to get home.

(and now that I think about it, that must have been the source of ‘the great road fight’ that I've always heard about, where the guy -- now long gone --- who lived the furthest back in the valley, rebuilt the road with his own design and money before asking any of the other people that lived in the valley -- back then I think there were 5 homes -- to pay their share of the cost.

I’m sure you can imagine the politics of maintaining several miles of road without any sort of agreement. And I can imagine what the four other homeowners said to someone asking for money to pay for a road that they had no part in designing and building, even if they did travel on it).

But back to the rain.

We seem to be fine. The damage, if any, to the crops are not the obvious sorts. The kind with vegetables swimming in a pool of water or seeds washing down the hill side.

We had more of the ‘cauliflower turning purple’ variety of damage (the cauliflower variety we’re growing, when stressed with too much water, gets a purple tinge to it. No difference in the taste, though.

And a number of the squash plants couldn’t take all that water and stopped producing.

And the weeds sure started growing with all that wholesome rain water.

But besides that, I think we’re doing OK.

It is putting us behind schedule in planting fall and late summer crops. We have several thousand seedlings that need to go in the ground now, especially the watermelon, but the ground’s too wet to work. Hopefully it will dry up some over the weekend.

On another note, as you’ve no doubt noticed, the seasons are changing. The solstice has passed. The days are now getting shorter. Instead of all those greens we were getting just two weeks ago the summer vegetables are ripening up.

Eggplant and cucumbers have started appearing in the shares. I saw a number of hot peppers out there (and on a less robust growing season you would probably already be getting some in your share) even the tomatillos are starting to ripen.

Usually, though, you see the first ripe tomato by the 4th of July but while there are a lot of tomatoes out there on very healthy plants, no ripe ones yet.

Maybe the rain slowed down the tomatoes from turning ripe. That makes sense. Not very much sunlight for a week while it rained. Hopefully we’ll see a ripe tomato or two in the next week.

Other farm news.

Bird news. Remember those chicks from several weeks back? People have asked about them. “Did you ever find out what they are?”

The answer. “Well, not really’.

They haven’t told us what they are. But I suspect they are baby grouse. I would put a picture up on our webpage but I don’t have much extra web space (any suggestions on a good host which offers a reasonable amount of space?) One of the chicks died over a week ago but the other three are running around our large flagstone floored room. (well, sort of flying as much as running) and doing what birds seem to do a lot of. Making a mess.

Up until the ‘making a mess everywhere’ started, Wenonah seemed to want to treat them as baby humans (a week ago she would tell me when I wanted to put them outside: ‘no, I didn’t want to be them put out where a cat or snake could eat them.’)

But now that they are making a mess of her house she is more amicable to my suggestions that they be let out in the yard, at least in the daytime.

I imagine in a week or so they will be actually using their wings enough to move more than four or five feet at a time and will be able to escape obvious predators on their own.

Wenonah suggested that we put them up in the chicken yard where the electric fence would keep away the predators.

I’m against the idea. The fence might keep them safe from predators but they wouldn’t be safe from the chickens.

I don’t know if they would survive the ‘pecking order’ rites of the chicken yard.

If we put the baby grouse up in the chicken pasture every passing hen or rooster would feel it was its obligation to take a peck at them, just to teach the baby grouse its ranking in the barn yard world order.

What other species act like that?


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