June 29, 2008

Today it strikes me as interesting how quickly things change, and move along. At the time of the last post, very little garden produce was ready, and had it not been for your good fortune in running amok at our friends’ blueberry patch, I’m not sure what we would have had for our CSA boxes.

Right now as I write, the refrigerator has at least 40 lbs of apricots with more on the tree, the plums are overflowing, we’ve had some nice nectarines, the squashes are everywhere, and in short, we’re back to mostly having so much that we don’t know what to do with it. So I begin to perceive from this pattern of famine and plenty that a difficult challenge exits as to operating this kind of farm…everything has to be planted on time, and in the face of multiple variables that ensure one’s best intentions might not amount to much. In 3-4 more weeks it will be time to aggressively weed and begin planting the seeds for the winter garden. Sounds ridiculous in the heat of July, but our last crisis of not having enough came at around late December-early January. It’s important to have those plants at a level of maturity so that when the days turn cold and growth slows down (for everything but the weeds, of course), there is sufficient to harvest. To help ensure this, we saved a LOT of seed this year. I’m hoping to plant very large rows for the winter garden, and we’ll just see how it goes.

We’ve begun harvesting roosters, which has taken up a lot of extra time this week. It takes basically 2.5 hours to process four birds completely by hand. Not the most fun job, but hopefully we’ll be able to gain some income back for all the outlay of feed and time. We learned something, too. When you don’t take your birds to a slaughterhouse, 100 is way to many to have come ready at the same time. Heck, 30 is too many. It sounded good on paper, but from here on out, we’ll grow our own and skip hatchery purchases. This experience showed us that when you have a small farm, don’t try to insert "big-farm" ideas into how things are done. It may work fine for others, but we’d rather not have the same fiasco happen twice. So we’re actually glad, in an odd sort of way, that disease and foxes wiped out most of these birds. Success might have been unthinkable. 

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