Pickup will be back at the farm on Potter Hill Rd and back to normal hours of 4pm to 7pm.
After a serious 1-2-3 punch of snow in the fields into April, May drought, and then 4 inches of rain to start June, I was wondering if we might be down for the count. But after some frantic cultivation to stir some air into the muddy lifeless soil, it seems that things are finally taking a turn for the better. And yes, finally, this we week we have green things to offer!
The lettuce is small – you’ll want at least two heads. The bok choi is a perfect size, and we’ve actually managed to keep most of the flea beetles off of it this year – no more leaves that look like they were used for target practice. Red Russian kale looks good, too – bunches will be a bit on the small side until the plants really get cranking. And arugula – also smaller bunches, and only just a little “holy”.
There is no pickup at the Community Barn on Monday (Memorial Day). If you’d like some sausages or other meats for your weekend BBQ, please send me an email and we can arrange for you to get what you need on Saturday or Sunday.
Things are in full swing at the farm. Plants and seeds are going in the ground. All tractors are up and running (for now) in spite of my best efforts at sabotage. The pigs have graduated from Stage II Electric Fence Boot Camp, and they have taken up residence down the hill under a big elm tree. Next week, we’ll start rotating them through 4 acres of pasture. The beef herd has grown by 1 (It’s A Boy!) – Lois and Abigail are both diligently attending to their babes. Lois more diligently than Abigail, as usual.
We do need some rain – we’re all dried up in all but the wettest spots in the wet fields. We’ve had “0% – 25%” of normal May rainfall. I’m guessing that’s closer to 0%. The seedlings are hanging in there, but it’s harder for them to ward off pests if they aren’t growing vigorously. Seeds are going in the ground, but germination is spotty so far. Funny how we went from drought (remember last summer?) to all of the snow in one month and then back to drought. Does look like some wet weather next week, but let’s hope it doesn’t get all monsoony around here.
I read a couple of thought-provoking short articles this morning – one about soil fertility from Gene Logsdon’s blog, and the second about farm-to-table from Harvest Public Media. Both recommended reading. In fact, you should read everything that Mr. Logsdon writes (or has written).
Don’t forget – get your deposits in for this year’s Pastured Pork CSA! This is going to be the best year yet, with a new feeder for 100% ad-lib feeding and 4x more pasture for the piggies. We depend on your deposits to keep things running until harvest time. Beef CSA details coming soon – it will look about the same as last year.
Wow. If you had asked me a month ago where things would stand on the farm in the middle of May, I would have said that hopefully I’d actually be able to get some tillage started. After a cold winter and tons of late-melting snow, I really thought we’d be spinning our wheels in the mud until June. Thankfully, that’s not so. After 2 weeks of summery weather all wrapped up in a July-style drought, the fields have dried out sufficiently for me to get some tillage done in even the wettest places. Potatoes, onions, radishes, leeks, mesclun mix, arugula, carrots, and beets are all in the ground after a busy week of planting. Now we just need a little rain to get those seeds germinating. Just a little… I mean it, OK?
In spite of the droughty weather, our wet hillside pastures are green and growing like crazy. The cows have just moved to the field at the very top of the hill. Feel free to come up and take a look – it’s a nice view with the cows on green spring pasture, dotted with dandelions, and Wachusett in the distance. Check out the pigs, too, for a different view (see above) while they are still in fence training boot camp. Once they reliably respect the electric fence, we’ll move them down the hill where they can graze and root on pasture of their own. And, yes, pigs do graze. Even with a trough full of grain, they will choose to eat grass and clover in addition to digging for subterranean goodies.
If you like the idea of eating pork that was raised locally in an ecologically conscientious manner, with an eye towards animal welfare and good husbandry, then sign up for our 2015 Pastured Pork CSA!
Kind of a gray and rainy day today, but even so… what a difference a week makes!
Last week, it really seemed like all hope was lost, but things are looking up. After a number of beautiful bright sunny windy days, we’ve gone from soupy mud to just plain wet mud around the barn. The grass is greening up, and looks like it’s just about ready to start actually growing. The cows are intent on getting that first bite of green in their small piece of winter pasture, to the extent that they even ignored a fresh round bale for a little while yesterday. The peepers are peeping, and there’s just a hint of a yellow haze on the forsythia. We’re still probably a solid two weeks behind, depending what the weather brings…. but at least now it seems possible that we might get out and do some tillage before the end of April.
Grilled Bratwurst The secret to good grilled brats is to simmer them in beer first. Simmering helps to seal the casing so that you don’t lose all the delicious juices in the coals.
Bring a couple of cans of beer to a boil in a medium saucepan and then reduce to a simmer. Be careful when heating up the beer – it will want to boil over, so pay attention. Drop your brats in the beer and simmer gently for 5 – 7 minutes. Remove brats from saucepan and finish on grill with indirect heat – this should only take a few minutes. Serve with sauerkraut and grilled onions. Do the onions first, they take awhile on the grill.