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Blessed Rain


farm update

Farmer Jon here, thought I would update you on some of the farm happenings. 

We finally made the decision to castrate hogs. It ended up being a one man operation but it still worked well. I'd say the average time on each pig was around 1-2 minutes to catch, tag, and castrate.

It's definitely one of my least favorites parts of the job but it's something that needed to be done to ensure that they didn't breed. Being able to choose the best boars and sows to breed allows us to select the ones that are thriving and avoid the ones that aren't doing as well. Which will ultimately make for even happier and healthier pigs. This took place a few weeks ago and they are all doing great!
(I had a call out of the blue looking for a boar to buy as breeding stock. Of course, I had to tell him that I just castrated all my boars except one! I couldn't believe it. I've had these hogs for over a year and I get my first call for breeding stock, a few weeks AFTER I castrate for the first time...)

I finally replaced the batteries in our off-grid system. It was a little intimidating reading and hearing from installers/gurus about how you had to be very careful or you could cause an explosion...

But I followed their guidance: no metal zippers or buttons on clothing, wrap tools in electrical tape, wrap ends of cables, don't set tools on the edge of the battery box. And here is the finished product. FYI, those dang batteries are heavy (100lbs+).

 Do you know what a musk thistle is? It's an awful weed that is on almost every state's noxious weed list. Which means you can get in trouble for having them on your property. Or at least for not actively trying to manage them. We have a BUNCH of them around the farm and since we aren't using chemicals we have to use good ole fashioned manpower to take care of them with a spade. Here's the dam right next to the driveway, covered in thistles. Dam thistles...

It didn't take long to clean up the east half but I quickly lost steam after that but we did finally get the dam taken care of. Although a handful have popped back up again already.

And, of course, Jamie and Clara have been very busy themselves. Here they are weeding in the garden.


Finally I harvested something!

Yummy...first mixed green salad of the summer from my OWN garden.  I'm pretty pumped to actually be eating something from my garden, especially since my last post was so woe is me.

Combine this with a shredded chicken breast, feta cheese, snap peas, roasted golden beets from Robinette Farms and a little olive oil/balsamic vinegar and I had one tasty meal tonight!  I love summertime meals!


And first Farmer's Market done!

Wooweee....that was fun!

I have a confession to make...I was not really looking forward to our first day at market.  My garden has been an utter failure this year and I didn't feel like we would have anything to sell.  I've been focusing so much on my garden that I completely forget we have great meat and egg products to sell!  We sold ground beef, pork sausage, chicken and ducks eggs.  It was so much fun to meet everyone!  I had a total blast and can't wait until next week.  Thanks for everyone who stopped by to buy meat and eggs from us or even just to say hi!  We really appreciate it!

And now on to the garden.  I had such high hopes this year and what I've come to realize was unrealistic expectations of myself.  I underestimated the amount of work that I had planned for myself and overestimated my abilities to grow.  Combine that with the fact that I've got a six month old to take care of and actually manage to cook some meals now and then.  And let's not get started on the laundry...  It's tough, because the really good growers make it look easy.  And it's not.  There is so much to learn about soil fertility, planting schedules, pest and weed management.  My hats off to you experienced growers!  But we all have to start somewhere and this year is my somewhere.  For every seed that I plant, I gain experience.  For every time I lose a planting to bugs, I learn.  And every time I look at my garden and want to throw my hands up and quit, I have to remember what kind of lesson that would teach my daughter.  It's easy to quit, but it's harder to persevere in the face of inexperience and adversity.  So, I'm doing it.  I'm taking the lessons I learned from my Community Crops class and moving on.

Here's what we've got going on in the garden:

I've got some baby leaf lettuce and spinach over on the left that I'm trying to salvage from a flea beetle attack.  The next row over are my tomatoes and peppers.  The row after that is half beans/half sunflowers.  And all the way over on the right, I have some multicolored corn, three types of sunflowers and Zinnias.  Oh....and lots of weeds.  You can't miss those suckers.

Here we have some head lettuce that I am bound and determined to eat.  Three little heads is all I have left after transplanting over fifty.  Note to self: transplanting fragile head lettuce transplants in 30 mph wind = not my smartest move.

And here are my two remaining heads of Romaine.  I will eat those things!

And here's the best explanation for my lack of garden work...

I've got an ankle clinger all ready! :)


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