“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009

The CSA season has wound down, and now I am picking by request for members who want gleanings. There is more left than I had thought that there would be – mostly lettuces, bok choi, and chard. I’ve let Snoopy clean up what remains of the summer gardens, There is not much left, but some greens, spent pepper plants, and a few dried, crooked, corn stalks for her to root through. She’s happy!

A week ago I planted garlic, and covered it with a hoop system to moderate the soil temps for the winter. The hoop system is simple- it is done by placing wire hoops every ten or so feet and hanging a light fabric cover over them. The row looks like a foot high tunnel. I also covered a portion of the lettuce so that I can extend the season a bit longer into the winter.

The chickens are laying enough eggs that we have begun selling to people we know, while still sending a dozen or more to the food bank each week. Most days they have been free ranging, searching the farm for bugs and plant seeds. The hawk migration through the Cape May area is over, so it is somewhat safe again to let the girls out. A few weeks ago we were visited by red tails and sharp shins that patiently waited in the surrounding woodlots to pounce on an easy prey. So far this year, we’ve been spared their hunger.

Thanksgiving morning I placed straw bales on the sides and back of the three bee hives to protect them from the winds and to help insulate them from the cold. The bees are still feeding from the sugar water feeders in the warmer hours of afternoon, and I have observed some bees coming back to the hive with yellow pollen – could be from the sporadic dandelion blooms, left over mums, or whatever – somehow the bees find these things. It amazes me how they do all the things they do.

I’ve opened up another “field” for next year. I initially tilled it in September, and Kath and I have been spreading horse manure and compost over it since. It will be ready for planting for early summer next year.

The horses are really doing well. With the CSA growing season slowed, we have been able to spend a bit more time working with them on weekends. Kath is working with Patrick, training him mounting and riding cues. Zipps is recovered from the popped splint and I have been working with him to get him into better shape and to build up our trust for each other. Louie…well Louie doesn’t need much work. I just saddle him up and we go for walks. Louie is sorta like an older car that has no bells and whistles, but always starts up and gets you where you are going and back home again. He might just plod along, but he never stops plodding along! Mr. Dependable.

As the weeks take us into winter, I will be doing more for winter at the farm. There is always so much to do. Animals and plants and soil are year round….I am glad that it never really stops.

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