Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is Ready Now?

This morning we picked the first of the blackberries and our very first RIPE PEACH!!! Yeah! I don't think we will have enough of them to sell, but we will be selling blackberries. Farmer Jeff just picked some beautiful summer squash. We are growing 10 varieties and they are all so sweet and wonderful I have a hard time singling out a favorite. Last year it was the pale green "round geode" and this year is the stubby, chubby dark green and pale green striped zucchini-like squash called "bush baby". Yum!

I also picked 2 baskets of cherry tomatoes. They are actually "green grape" and for some reason this year they are very yellow instead of pale green. We also planted another little yellow one that is like a jelly bean and that is so sugary!

The girls are laying eggs after their summer heat break. Production slowed WAY down when it was so hot. I took Madison, the gray Silkie Splash rooster, Anastasia, the Silver Spangled Hamburg female, and Lucretia, our darling Belgian Booted Bantam with me to my interview on our local FANTASTIC radio station, the KRUSH (krsh @ 95.9). They were pretty funny! I was holding Lucretia and she started chatting up a storm which prompted Madison, ever protective of his girls, to start kicking up a ruckus! All on air! I am hoping I can get hold of the interview or direct y'all to a podcast of the interview. It was a lot of fun!

Farmer Jeff came with me to the station and made everyone breakfast! Big, tender, fluffy biscuits, filled with some Eastside Farm Fresh Eggs that were scrambled with some of our very own fire roasted chiles, all topped off with Farmer Jeff's incredible bacon! YUM! He baked off some extra biscuits and we also brought one of our last jars of Indian Blood Peach Jam. Our host, Ziggy the Wine Gal, was snacking on those during the radio break!

Can you tell we have fun doing what we do? Fear not, we also get to do things like dishes, cleaning chicken poop off of Madison's back before the radio show, pulling the dogs out from under the house, laundry, paperwork and THEN playing in the dirt!

Enjoy today. Enjoy breathing, tasting food, walking, speaking. Enjoy life. It is precious!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Farm Update - July 21

We have been working so hard on the farm, I just had to write about it!

We had a farmers' market on both Saturday and Sunday. Right now we have eggs (less when it is hot!), LOTS of summer squash, a few lemon cucumbers, a few Armenian cucumbers, very rare Gravenstein apples, spearmint and chocolate mint. It doesn't seem like much because we are waiting for the show stopping tomatoes to ripen!

Yesterday we got up early (early for me! 6:15 is early!!!) to go tie up tomatoes before it got too hot. It has been getting up to 104 here and I just melt! We tied up tomatoes for 5 hours and then came home. This took place at "Site 3" of our farm which is also known as the "Ruff Garlick Patch". Long story, not very interesting...

Anyway, with long spools of wire and lots of stinky twine we tied up over 100 tomatoes. I guess I need to supply a picture so you can see what I am talking about. Afterwords we came home for lunch in the backyard, and then started building more bee frames. We knew we had to go back into the hives because one was full to bursting and a little more space keeps them from leaving and "swarming".

I had also heard that some bee keepers were noticing that the bees are starving or are out of their honey stores for the winter and this is causing quite a bit of concern. Between folks pulling up everything that is flowering (weeds/herbs) and the drought (no wild flowers bloom when it is too dry) there is concern about how these critters will survive the winter.

Farmer Jeff and I suited up and went into the hives for a look.
We were lucky to see that the bees are very happy and very productive. The best of all was finding that the "girls" are building up stores of honey and started sealing it. This is called "capped" honey.

After we went through each and every frame, we found we were really pissing them off! How do we know? They start moving their wings faster and raising the pitch of their hum...and they try to sting you! We wrapped things up quickly after that...and then went out into the tomato patch on "Site 2", which is thankfully next door. I couldn't believe we were still tying up tomatoes. While tying them up I couldn't help but notice some little ripe tomatoes! Jeff made a wonderful dinner for me with those tomatoes, along with some other yummy food.

Today Farmer Jeff smoked some sausages, we ran an errand to the fabulous garden store, Harmony, and then went back to Site 3 to fix the irrigation system so we could plant pumpkins. That took 3 hours vs. the one hour that Farmer Jeff I tied up more of the tomatoes. I think Farmer Jeff finally "gets" how wiped out I am from working out all day in the sun. That is why, when he went to work, I took some time off from duties and ...watched some TV. Don't tell him, okay?

So, the last of the crops are in. Well, major crops. Now we just have the raised beds to pull apart, mix some sand into it, and then plant it with more carrots, radishes, and whatever else we can think of! At this point, all I want to think about is when will the peaches be ripe?

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Cell Phone Pics

Yes, I can be one of those annoying people that thrust their cell phone into someone else's face to show off their kids, except mine are furry and feathered!

Here is a picture of my sweet kitty, Chloe. Yes, she is sleeping under the covers and sometimes stays there long after I have gotten up. She is the kitty that was feral and then was "caught" by our dog, India, who accidentally broker her leg at the hip.

I also have photos of the of the beautiful landscape where I work. This was taken at Acorn Winery off of Old Redwood Highway.

Of course I have a picture of my Honey! This was taken at a catering job. Isn't he cute?

Here are some pictures of special chickens...

These are silkies. The gray one is Madison and the brown one is Bubbles. Bubbles didn't make it...sad to say.

This is Nancy. She is a Barbanter and has a male counterpart, Sid. Nancy is very inquisitive and is a great security guard. She and Sid, upon spotting a snake, set of a very noisy alert, spread their wings, and then hold everyone else back. It is a very impressive sight.

I also have a picture of my dad. It was taken by my brother, Chris, on his phone!

Last, but certainly not least, is a photo of my beloved and departed, Tyner. I miss you, Sweetheart!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Summer Work and Rewards

Life on a farm is something I once dreamt of, never thinking it could ever be a reality. Now I have chickens and bees and my own rows of vegetables, and am the envy of almost everyone I know. Who knew so much work could be so rewarding?

Some Quick Chicken Notes:
We have lost a couple of our little birds in the last 2 weeks. One was a new girl, part of the Ameraucana clan. She never ate enough and just never bulked up. Another was one of the red sex links. She started with a lame foot and then was picked on by the other hens. I will say no more.

Finally, our beloved Eric, White Sebright rooster, passed away after a long illness. He hadn't been well for close to 6 months and all attempts to fatten him up or give him rest from the group did not succeed.

Fare thee well, Eric. Say hi to Tyner for me.