Farm update: July 8

Hail 04 sml

This is not some sort of newfangled organic fertilizer.

Welcome to high summer. It’s hot, dry and crispy here at Quiet Farm…except when it’s hailing. We’ve had three significant hailstorms so far; the one pictured above did some pretty severe damage to our vegetables. Between the late start, our overwhelming whistle pig infestation and this extreme weather, we’ll be thrilled to harvest anything this season. Growing food is not for the faint-of-heart.

Summer CSA wk1 01 sml

Thanks to other farmers we can still eat well!

Late last winter, our local farm advertised their summer CSA. In a shockingly prescient comment, N suggested we sign up “just in case things don’t work out with our crops.” Turns out this was a wonderful suggestion, and I’m so glad I listened to him. And as he also pointed out, our weather and pest misfortunes are great news for their farm, because we’re pretty much guaranteed to keep buying from them! Our summer CSA has started, and we’re thrilled once again to receive delicious organic vegetables from farmers who actually know what they’re doing.

Silkie 01 sml

The origin of the phrase ‘nesting instinct.’

One of our Silkie hens has gone broody. This means that she sits on the nest all the time, with only a break of about fifteen minutes for a quick meal, drink and dust bath, because she thinks she is hatching a clutch of eggs. Broodiness has been intentionally bred out of most modern layers; the trait isn’t desirable because these hens stop laying and also prevent the nest box from being used by other hens. (We have seen the larger hens actually sit on top of her to lay their own eggs. She doesn’t seem to mind much.) But in certain breeds, such as Silkies, the trait remains strong, and so this little lady will remain in the box for about three weeks, or until she thinks her chicks have hatched. If we do choose to raise chicks without an incubator in the future, we’ll want a naturally broody hen like this one to hatch the eggs.

Cherries 01 sml

Tastes like summer.

Our local cherries are ready! The season is about two weeks late, as is true for all crops this year, but the fruit is spectacular. We drove up the hill to our favorite orchard last week and harvested thirty pounds; I spent the afternoon of Independence Day hand-pitting the cherries on our sun porch. Most were frozen, a few pounds went into the dehydrator and many were eaten fresh. It’s so much work to preserve food, but the reward is well worth the effort. Cherry season here only lasts about three weeks, so we’ll definitely go picking again before they’re gone for another year.

Fox 01 sml

It’s fantastic Mr. Fox!

And finally, we’ve seen this gorgeous creature a few times recently. Perhaps word has gotten out on the Wild Animal Hotline that there might be a chicken dinner or two to be had at Quiet Farm? We haven’t had any trouble yet, but we’re paying close attention to the birds and whistle pigs – they always sound the alarm if there’s a predator in the area. We aim to know our land and know our animals, and hopefully prevent predation before it happens.

Have a great week, friends – and go hug a farmer and thank them for growing food. (Probably don’t hug them really. They might not want to be hugged. But do say thanks.)

 

 

This week in flowers

There are lots of amazing aspects of living where we do now, but one of the most rewarding has to be watching the farm change with the seasons. Since we’re still learning our land, we’re constantly surprised by plants or blooms or bushes that appear seemingly overnight. Summer is here, and we’ve got lots of lovely flowers all over.

QF Flowers 07 sml

‘English Munstead’ lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), fragrant and bee-friendly.

QF Flowers 03 sml

A gorgeous pink shrub rose, variety unknown.

Garlic Bed 02 sml

Fava bean plants (Vicia faba) have beautiful black-and-white blossoms.

QF Flowers 04 sml

Cheerful yellow blooms, probably in the daisy (Asteraceae) family?

QF Flowers 05 sml

This arugula (white flowers) and mustard (yellow flowers) have both nearly gone to seed; we’ll let the pods dry on the plant so we can collect and save the seed for next spring.

QF Flowers 02 sml

We’ve found volunteer sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius) all over! The chickens particularly like nestling under the plants for shade.

QF Flowers 08 sml

Another tenacious shrub rose, putting out splendid blooms without any intervention from us.

QF Flowers 06 sml

The beginnings of our pollinator-friendly perennial wildflower garden (thanks, Jim!)

Have a lovely week, friends!