Tuesday, March 13, 2012

As Dorthy passed overhead

Finally, a newsletter finished before Friday afternoon.

First -- open house again this Saturday.  Usual time  11-1. This weekend there will be  free eggs for everyone that comes out.

Besides free eggs we'll be doing our usual.  Taking the kids (and those who are kids at heart) into the chicken houses and gathering eggs.

 For the new shareholders (and anyone else who wants to hear me) I'll be giving the usual tour and talk about our farm and CSA.

Of course there is the offer of a walk or hike.

 I'll show you the various trails and gravel roads and maybe even leading a 4 or 5 mile hike down the valley towards the remains of Beverly Mill or to that quarry where they had that day long skirmish/battle back in 1862

(that quarry is the same place where, a few years back when hiking with some shareholders a 500+ pound black bear  rambled past us going in the direction we'd just come from.

When he got parallel to us, less than 20 yards away, he stopped, stood up on his hind legs (at least 7 feet tall) and sniffed the air.

Apparently not detecting us, he dropped back down and continued rambling in the same direction.,  I even had time to snap a couple pictures that are up on the webpage.

Other farm news.

A couple Saturday's ago, with our weather station clocking the wind in front of our house  at 39 miles per hour, (we're at 800 feet) we could hear a deafening roar up above us and when I looked I could have sworn I saw Dorothy's house in those thick clouds that were pouring over the ridge to the North-east (1100 feet) of us and then disappearing over the crest of Highpoint  (that's 1319 feet) to the west.

She must have been on her way back to Kansas.

I don't know what the wind speed is up there (I've been waiting for an owner of one of the half dozen 5000 or so square foot houses that have been built up there in the last decade, to get a weather station and then register its readings with wunderground.com so I can follow it on the internet and compare it with the weather we get down here in the valley.

Here's a sense of how it is up there, though. A few years back we were friends with a couple that built the large log house right on top above Hopewell Gap.  They said that when the wind blew like that,  when it blew so loud we'd hear a roaring donw on the bottom of the mountain,  they would have to batten down all of their doors and windows and hide in an interior room.

They said that during one of those wind storms,  not only could they hear the wind roaring as it cleared the mountain top but even with the shutters pulled and the windows bolted the house would fill with sand and dust.

They have since moved off the mountain  and the long house I think, is being rented out.

But back to the wind.

This happened, the Northeaster, to be at the same time we were getting ready to replace the greenhouse plastic on the large heated greenhouse.

Before we could put on the new  four year plastic the old sheets were taken off and left up in the woods leaving the greenhouses metal frame standing naked.

The new plastic arrived later that week in the afternoon when there was no wind so we quickly unrolled it and tying rope to two corners pulled it over the top and just before dark temporarily attached it.

The next morning just before we set about attaching it right another wind started out of the North East and at 9:10 the plastic ripped off and flew up into the woods.

We spent most of that day  putting it back on and this time attaching it so it wouldn't blow off.

Now that the greenhouse is up we've been busy starting seedlings

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant for the  hoophouses.***

***(As you probably know, we use hoophouses as season extenders. As a way of being able to grow and harvest these vegetables earlier than the ones that grow out in the field).

The greens we are starting now are also destined to grow inside.  this time so you can come out to the farm before the delivery season begins and harvest greens to take home.

Besides several varieties of lettuce we've started Swiss Chard, arugula, mustards, kale and collards.

We've also started a number of herbs herbs and several varieties of flowers that we'll be transplanting into 4 inch pots to give as part of the share during the season.

We've also started broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower in time to transplant in mid April so they will be ready for the June shares.  In the next several weeks we'll also be starting pac choi for June and then everything else that we gets planted in the field as a seedling rather than a seed..

One of the most often asked questions.  What are you growing that's new?

Last night I ordered seeds for half a dozen Asian vegetables I don't usually grow. Asian cucumbers. Japanese sweet peppers, edamame and two new varieties of bitter melon (yes, I know, not everyone likes bitter melon but we're trying several varieties that are popular and not as 'bitter' as the one we grew last year).

Soon we'll be planting a field of peas.  The problem with peas they ripen before the shares are ready.  This year we intend to grow them as a spring pick your own.  Something people can come out to the farm in May and pick.

Last year we didn't grow very much fennel. This year I've bought enough seed for everyone to have several weeks worth.

This year we'll be growing cucumbers inside so there will be more cucumbers and earlier than in the past.

More kale and collards than in the past.

Do you have any other ideas?

So far I've put in seed orders with over half a dozen seed companies spending, I don't know how many thousand dollars.

I imagine that by mid March we will have seedlings growing on just about every available flat surface in the heated greenhouse  (its 32 feet wide by 96 feet long).

Usually, that's in the neighborhood of 70,000 seedlings.

In early may we'll have our annual seedling day where we give away as part of the share just about 10,000 of those plants to our shareholders.  Is there a flower or herb you would like to plant in your yard or window box?

Anyway,  while Saturday is not supposed to be as nice as it is today come on out anyway.  It will still be nice when considering the usual weather for this time of the year.  See what's going on, gets some eggs and maybe go for a walk.ß



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