November 2, 2007


Every year, something works like no other. Apparently, this year, lettuce works. There it is, 80’x3′ of it, and that’s just my little experimental bed. Off to the left, heads already good to go for harvest are sitting there, waving in the breeze. And thanks to all that seed I spent hours saving last spring, that’s not ordinary lettuce. Those are heirloom lettuces, with the odd names like Bunte Forellenschuss (say that 3 times fast) and Bronze Oakleaf. I spent hours today weeding that patch, since the idea is to be able to come along with shears and clip the young tender leaves off into bags. I have no idea if this is a good way to grow young lettuce, but I’m going to try and see how it goes.

Today I oversowed the radishes and turnips that didn’t come up so well. I had mixed success from using the Earthway seeding tool. I think I may have set the seeds in too deep; clearly there is a learning curve involved in using this gizmo. Because I don’t have time, I’m doing it the hard way this second time around to make sure the job gets done. Already I can see that this part time at home thing is soooo much better. My seed beds look like they should, since I can spend hours weeding and cultivating. Unsurprisingly, the plants grow correctly when they are properly cared for. There is still a lot to plant, but mostly I feel like I’ve turned the corner, and that I will have stuff to sell at the right time.

This weekend we are going to start in on turkeys in earnest. We are getting new orders almost daily, and there is no doubt we will sell out this year, because we have fewer birds available. I am planning to retain the vast majority of our hens for the next breeding season. If we’re going to do this as part of our operation, we need to scale up to having at least 50 birds available for holiday sales, not….15. Still, I don’t see us getting much bigger than that. We have an absolutely premium product and we intend to keep it that way…healthy birds that aren’t crowded, humanely raised. Right now they’ve taken over. There is even one in our bathtub, recuperating from some kind of predator attack. It’s astounding what some knowledge of veterinary medicine and tubes and tubes of neosporin can accomplish. I have seen animals recover from really ghastly wounds, as long as they can be kept clean and awash in neosporin. That thing on the package about "For External Use Only" is, fortunately, entirely ignorable. And frankly, with the state of healthcare, I will admit that I’ve patched up a few people using the same method. Just a few days ago a local farmer stopped by, who got caught up in some machinery. It’s pretty sad when folks can’t afford a trip to the doctor for deep cuts and other injuries. Neosporin is cheaper at Wal-Mart, and now comes with some topical anesthetic in the ointment…..just in case you can’t afford heathcare either….get that item in your medicine cabinet.

The weather has been sunny and breezy and just being outside has been wonderful. All the animals are enjoying the weather. We have a red-fronted macaw that has moved in, it flew here some weeks ago. This is a mostly olive green bird with splashes of bright red and orange, parrot-type. I guess someone lost it, they are probably very expensive. It happily hangs out with the rest of the birds; I have no intention of bothering it. Hopefully it can stand the winter here. And, our little addition continues to prosper. We had one white peachick hatch and survive. Ken named it "Figgy" because it likes figs. We won’t know the gender for a long time. These white peas make an odd, whistling noise whenever they find something they really like. We hear a lot out of Figgy….

Some weeks ago we also maxed out on cats. There was a festival of kitten-dumping in the neighborhood. Out of it, we got Luna and Leda, and our farming partner got Phoebe. Phoebe may get some other name sooner or later, because mostly I seem to call her Kittycakes just to nauseate everyone into picking a better name. Both Leda and Phoebe are suspiciously associated with the sporadic visits of a certain local person. As in, the past two times he came by, a kitten mysteriously appeared. The good news is, all three of these cats are really great pets. Too bad, however, that the jerks who dump them don’t tape two $100 bills on their fur to pay for the vaccines and spay operations that, if they would get done on their own animals, would save other responsible folks the trouble. Ah, and speaking of responsible pet owners, it seems that certain nameless neighbors of ours who continually neglect their animals have found themselves in a bit of trouble with the law. Last weekend, local law enforcement showed up to conduct an inspection of said neighbor’s property, when they were reported for selling sickly puppies. I wish with all my heart that someday my dear neighbors will find themselves in need of care, and that someone will take the same care of them that they do of their own pets. With such care, they will surely languish in filth and misery in no time flat. Here’s to Karma.

Those are about all the goings-on at the farm. Winter is creeping up slowly, the days shorten, and at last the glorious run of summer flowers is drawing to a close. I cut all the dahlias I could tonight, and could barely make one bouquet. It had to happen sooner or later, but what a bounty we had! Enjoy the fall weather….best wishes to all.

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