June 22, 2006

I wrote another post about ten days ago, which is why I was very surprised to find out two days ago that…there was no post. Which is really too bad, since I recall that it was long and very informative. *SIGH*

So with the sense of deflation that always comes with realizing that a nice piece of writing is lost forever, I’ll try to recap.

Our solar system is installed and operational. Yesterday was the longest day of the year and we generated 25 kilowatts. We have a new meter, a digital one. We can watch the numbers go forward, and backward. It is great fun to watch the meter run backwards. It is also educational to turn various electrical devices on and off and watch the speed at which the meter changes.

We are in fox hell. There are 3-4 red foxes which have become very active recently in our neighborhood. They have wreaked havoc for a week now. So far we have lost 3 hens and a turkey poult. A neighbor lost all 15 hens. We, and a whole lot of other people, are working to put a stop to the problem. I don’t mind wildlife in my back yard, but I do mind when the wildlife feels that everything we have worked for has a KFC sign hanging overhead. Ken and I have been up earlier than usual the past days, trying to stave off disasters as the turkeys come down from the trees at dawn. Gee, just what a farmer needs, less sleep!

Our second hatch of Beltsville turkeys is underway; thus far we have 10 chicks with 7-9 eggs still unhatched. Yesterday an egg hatched in my hand. It never ceases to amaze me how all that bird fits into the egg. Once the body comes out of the shell, I don’t think it could go back if it tried. We expect more Narragansett chicks to hatch soon as well.

We are in the throes of boysenberry picking, always the worst on account of the thorns. The very first of the wonderful blackberries have come around; the weeks ahead will be full of berry picking and Farmer’s Market.

The heat has moved into the above one hundred degree range very suddenly, which is never fun. I always feel there is something wrong when the temperature on the hot tub is cooler than what is happening outisde. I am trying hard to keep all the plants watered. The garden at Drew’s has yielded the first cherry tomatoes and the first white cucumbers. The plants look incredible and once the tomatoes start ripening, they will be nearly impossible to keep up with, I expect. The market garden at our farm is wonderful. Drew’s irrigation design, which I would not have known to do in a zillion years, is saving huge amounts of labor by keeping the weeds suppressed. The irrigation is buried in underground trenches, so that the water seeps most of the way toward the surface, and then is shut down. The desired plants get water at their roots, and the weeds don’t germinate because they never get wet. The insects don’t know that this garden exists yet, so instead of little headless seedlings I have row after row of young plants. This garden is almost making me feel like I have a chance against the forces of nature this year, but I am not stupid enough to jinx myself by saying that out loud. I still have to plant a row of melons and some pumpkins; I’ve learned not to put the pumpkins in too early because somehow, no one wants pumpkins in August.

This Saturday’s forecast for the Farmer’s Market is 107 degrees. Are we having fun yet?! Admittedly some aspects of this lifestyle aren’t the best, but that bowlful of fresh berries with premium vanilla ice cream and Scharffenberger chocolate sauce goes a long way toward knowing that for the most part, it’s the good life.

Oh, one last thing. We’ve started the Rodent Tally for the summer season. This is where we tally up every little body that the cats bring in, just for our own curiosity. The best one yet was waking up on a weekday and finding a gopher casually belly-up on the bathroom counter near the soap. I suppose the cats thought it just looked better that way.

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