Goodbye hottest July ever!

Tomato Time

Despite the extreme heat and drought, the tomatoes are coming on strong.  One plus of the dry weather is heightened flavor and nutrition.  Hope you are enjoying the 50 different varieties we grow.  Let us know if you would like extras for preserving, and please specify if there is a kind or color you prefer.  The cost is $20 for a 15 pound box.

Chickens nearing harvest time

We are just a few weeks off from our first chicken processing.  After we solved the raccoon problem (with electric fencing), the birds have sized up well.  They eagerly await being moved to fresh pasture every day.  While most pastured poultry farmers raise one breed, the Cornish cross, we have two different heritage breeds, White Rock and New Hampshire.  While the Cornish is ready for butchering at 6 or 7 weeks of age, we will not begin harvesting our chickens until 12 weeks old.  The Cornish cross is something of a freak of nature: beyond 7 weeks old, its breast may outgrow its bones and make the bird  unable to walk; it is so lethargic it can hardly exert the energy to forage for food; it is prone to heart attacks and other unnatural maladies.  So, while our chickens may not be the most economical choice, we are proud to have hearty birds that don’t make us feel like Frankenstein.

We will do all the processing work and sell whole chickens, ready to eat.  We do not know exactly what weight to expect, but the price will be $3.50/pound.  Let us know soon how many you would like; they will likely be snatched up quickly.  We’ll keep you informed as soon as we determine the precise date we plan to harvest.

Farming for sea shells

In a completely unprecedented move, Courtney, Clark and I took a vacation to the beach during the middle of July.  My family has gone to Hilton Head, South Carolina, every year for 15 years, and I had not gone in 9 years.  Courtney and Clark had never gone.  The plan, up until a few days before the trip, was for Courtney and Clark to go on this year’s trip without me.  As their departure approached, the brutality of this Summer was weighing heavily upon me.  I was having trouble seeing how I was going to make it to the end of the year.  Thank goodness I was able to be persuaded that it was possible for me to go; I can’t imagine now not having been there to experience Clark’s first trip to the ocean.  It was a perfect trip for all of us, and it could not have come at a better time.  Thanks many times over to Ronnie and Lori for being here, for all the working shares who helped make the CSA deliveries come together, to my parents for showing us such a great time, to all of you who were so supportive of me going for it.  I came back renewed and refreshed, ready to push on through to the end of this growing season, whatever ungodly weather may come.

A scarcity of eggs

Every year as the days grow shorter the chickens slow down their egg production.  This year’s intense heat has further contributed to the slow down.  And then there were a couple of puppies that wandered onto the farm while we were away.  Their cuteness kept people from running them off.  It took us a few days after returning to realize that one of the dogs had developed a taste for chicken and was quietly killing them.  When I caught him in the act, it was clearly time for them to take their cuteness elsewhere.  All of this has left us with too few eggs to go around to all of our egg shares.  Our goal is to try to get eggs to everyone two weeks out of three.  Don’t worry: you will not be paying for eggs that you don’t get.  It will just take us a little longer to fulfill your egg subscription.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Halfway through a historic year

Over half the country is mired in drought, perhaps the worst since the 1930s.  Trees are dropping their leaves, commodity farmers are plowing in their corn, cracks in the earth grow large enough to swallow small animals, and even the weeds are suffering.  We feel fortunate to have so much food to share despite the awful weather.  The new irrigation system has really saved our season so far.  But we still have half the season to go, and we need rain badly.  I’ve sown many of the Fall crops on the back of the farm, where we are not currently able to irrigate.  The seeds will just sit there until they make contact with water.  So in order for us to have a bountiful Fall season, we’re going to have to get some good rain sometime soon.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.  I’ll try to get the next newsletter out before another six weeks have passed.


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