Thursday, March 08, 2007

I’ve been really remiss in newsletter writing lately.

Sorry!

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. There’s the weather, of course.

Farmers can always write about the weather. But this winter has been remarkable. The word, I think, to describe this winter is 'chaotic'.

Record hot weather. Record cold weather. Record high winds. Wind storms over and over and over again.

I could also write about the wild animals. The three hawks that sit in trees overlooking the chicken tractor.

The fact that coyotes have finally moved into our valley. The one coyote that leaves tracks most nights circling the electrified chicken fence.

The fox that, two nights ago, squeezed under the chicken fence and absconded with a chicken.

(is this the same fox that gets its picture taken on our wildlife camera most nights. If I put out a live trap for him could I relocate him to your back yard?)

Then there is the latest honey bee disaster. I think they are calling it the ‘lost honey bee syndrome’, or something like that. No one knows what’s causing it but beekeepers all over the country are going out to their apiaries only to find their bees gone.

No live bees. No dead bees. The bees are just gone as if they flew off into the night.(this isn't bees swarming, its bees disappearing).

We have friends over in the next county who have almost a thousand beehives. This is what they do for a living. How they pay their mortgage, pay for their food.

This winter they went out to their apiaries only to discover all of their bees gone.

A thousand hives full of bees. Gone.

Talk about disasters. It makes my uninsured greenhouse fire seem trivial. A stubbed toe compared to a broken leg.

But let’s stop looking at gloom and start looking on the bright side.

Number 1! We should finish rebuilding the greenhouse today. There are only a couple hundred feet of water line left to run to bring water into the greenhouse and then we are ready to start planting.

Everything else is ready. The flats are filled, the seeds have arrived. The heat is up and ready to fire. Plastic on.

In fact, tomorrow we should start planting seeds for our June vegetables.

Broccoli and cabbage. Cauliflower and pac choi.

After that we’ll begin the peppers and eggplants. Tomatoes, basil, and all the other herbs. Hopefully by this time next week we will more than ten thousand seedlings peeking up out of the soil.

And besides the greenhouse we also finished rebuilding the wind destroyed chicken house yesterday. As you might remember one of the big wind gusts of chaotic weather took the chicken house this winter and picked it up and smashed it to the ground. Fortunately landing on only half a dozen chickens in the process. It could have been a lot worst.

Which brings us around to the subject of wind. And Wind storms.

I haven’t looked yet, I have a weather station that records such things. High and low temperature, wind speed and rain. I’ve been keeping records for the past half dozen years. Anyway, I haven’t looked yet but don’t remember this many high wind days in the over 20 years of living out here.

For that matter, I don’t remember a hotter January or a colder February/March either. This winter has had the most chaotic weather that I can remember.

And now for people who have toiled this far through the newsletter a brief look at subscriptions.
We are filling up quick. This year is a little bit faster than normal. I don’t have the exact numbers right now but we’ll probably fill up by early April.

Anyway, After April 1, I look to see who has paid and who hasn’t. After the beginning of the month I start reissuing the shares of those who haven’t. So, if you haven’t sent in your check its getting to be the time to do so. If you have trouble paying by then, send me a note. We can surely work out some plan.

And that’s enough for this week. I see in the weather forecast it’s predicted to get up in the upper 60’s next week. Sounds like nice weather for a hike in the country. If you want to come out and see the farm, you are invited. E-mail me first so I can plan on being around.

Leigh Hauter

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