“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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21, 2010

I really wish that I had more to say this time around…but the heat has quieted the summer to the point that everything around here is in what I describe as a heat induced hibernation. The sun has ground the farm down to still life…

For the most part we have not had a break from the 90 degree plus heat for almost two weeks now. We have had over 30 days above 90 degrees since June.

Basically, all the animals are laying low – keeping inactive and staying in the shade as much as they can. We have fans running in the stables, and ever since Louie got overheated a few years ago, we give him a “blue” Gatorade every day (spoiled Lou doesn’t like the “red” flavor”). When the heats been really tough on the horses, we hose them down to cool them off…same goes for Snoopy. The chickens find shade, and keep their wings slightly lifted to ventilate their bodies. Egg laying has dropped off to say the least. (no, you cant hose off chickens…at least not easily enough to make it worth either mine or the chicken’s effort)

Even the bees are having a time of it. In the evening about half the colony comes out to rest on the outside of the hive, draping down like a black curtain. A thousand or so others perch at the hive entrance with their wings going a mile a minute, fanning cool air into the hive. It’s a hard life. Bees never really stop working. Ever.

I was able to dig onions of late, and have them hanging up to cure. The tomatoes are coming on, as are the sweet and hot peppers. The potatoes are beginning to die back. I have pulled away at the straw in places to find a few good sized tubers forming – so I am hopeful that my first try at potatoes might at least yield as many potatoes as I used for seed. Anymore potatoes than that would be a success! The soybeans like the heat and are about a foot tall with light purple flowers, which will bear edemame pods in a few more weeks. The acorn squashes are pushing out vines to everywhere, and the butternut squash has gone crazy. There is going to be a lot of butternut!

The most exciting crop this year is the Dutch heirloom Dragon Tongue bean. These beans date way, way back to long ago. They have a yellow background colour, with purple streaking the length of the bean. The Dragon Tongue is juicy, crisp and sweet and has been bearing prolifically. It has become the CSA favorite.

Earlier in the year when I made the decision to plant heirloom seed instead of hybrids, a local gardener gave me a funny look and said sarcastically “good luck with that!” as if to say I was nuts. I keep thinking of him – it’s been my best cropping year ever… I am not looking back! I still wonder why he thought it wasn’t such a good idea.

Tomorrow they are forecasting the high to be 95 degrees, and temperatures in the 100’s by the weekend. It’s just been unbelievable and I don’t see any change to the long term forecast. We will all have to just do our best to hang in there.

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