The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. Time to get out the warm underwear again! I remember when we grew a family garden and the first frost signalled the end of the season. Now with late plantings and cold hardy crops, frost is simply a transition from summer to fall crops. The broccoli and cauliflower pictured here are hardy down to around minus 10 C. We hope to start harvesting next week and should be able to harvest for at least a month and then store for a couple months after that point.
I'm appreciating the shorter days too because we have to stop sooner and can get a longer night's rest.
We are sending Acorn squash in the boxes this week. Here is a picture of a squash that was cut in half, baked and then the seed cavity filled with a rice and sausage filling.
Tonight Bruce asked Kirsten to make a soup with sweet green peppers. Here it is made with carrots and beef chunks cut up from a marinating steak. It was delicious!
The pigs are growing quickly. They love the shade of the trees and are doing a great job of clearing out the undergrowth so the trees can grow better.
The beef herd continues to do well. I like the Belted Galloway calves that were born this year. They are growing quickly and seem to have a calm nature. The calves born last year are pretty wild and get through the fences a lot. We have 8 calves born this spring and early summer and several of them have the distinctive white belt that you can see in the picture.
The time has come for school to start again so our summer students are now gone. The weather still feels like summer but the days are ending earlier now. We have about an hour less work time in the day.
Some of our crops are showing signs of not having had much rain for several weeks. The soil is drying out and plants are starting to show the affects of low soil moisture. For many crops this is not a problem, but for crops that still have growing to do the moisture will affect their size and growth.
I finished seeding most of our fall greens on the weekend. I'm hoping there is enough soil moisture to germinate the seeds or that we get some rain soon. We don't have the ability to irrigate in this field.
The corn season is pretty much over for us. We have one last planting that has a few good ears which we plan to have at our stand, but otherwise the corn is finished. We put the pigs into the patch to enjoy the unsaleable ears and to turn up the soil. The really like the nearby wooded area as well. Pigs are natural forest dwellers and it is rewarding to see them in a setting that is obviously something they like.
Bruce and Kirsten had fun on Monday and made a melon whale. They carved the whale and then made a fruit cup to go inside using melons and berries from our farm. We then took it to the grandparent's and all enjoyed a delicious snack!
Last week we had some pretty cool nights and it was starting to feel like fall but today summer is back with full heat! Other than slowing the ripening of tomatoes a bit, crops did not seem to mind the cooler weather. Winter Squash is ripening up well, pumpkins are turning orange, onions are getting ready to harvest, and the fall broccoli and cauliflower plants are thriving. The photo to the right shows sweet potatoes starting to gain size. I was a little concerned that the cool weather was going to slow them down, but the heat this week is just what they love.
We seeded another hay field last week and then finished making our last hay for the season this weekend. We have a good supply of great quality hay for the winter. It is a good feeling to have this done.
Here is a supper Kirsten made a couple nights ago. The green vegetable in the noodle dish is Romanesco Cauliflower and the orange is a new type of orange sweet peppers we grew this year. Of course the sausage is from our last year's pigs. We still have some sausage left that those who pick up from the bus can pre-order if they so wish. We also have it available at our roadside stand.
For those of you who follow our blog, I mentioned that we have been looking out for Monarch butterflies. The picture I posted a couple weeks ago turned out to be a Viceroy, but this past weekend I did see a real Monarch. I was not able to get too close but you can see by the lower wings that it is in fact a Monarch. I was some excited to find it and hope it lays lots of eggs!
Also wanted to send a quick update on the butterfly photo from last week. Unfortunately that picture is of a Viceroy butterfly not a Monarch. It looks a lot like a Monarch and uses this to it's advantage. Monarch's taste bad due to the fact that they live on milkweed. The Viceroy does not taste bad but since it looks like a Monarch many of its would be predators don't eat it either.
I've included a picture from the internet which shows the difference between the two. We would be eager to hear if people are seeing Monarch's in the area.
Quick update this week. Things are growing along well. Our best bi-color sweet corn is coming in the boxes and is available at the stand. We expect to have it this week and next so I hope you all enjoy this special treat!
We have had a problem with the chickens and they stopped laying. A problem we hope is just temporary. For some pick up locations where we don't have enough eggs we are going to offer melons and/or hamburger or cash back in replacement. The chickens are now in the raspberry patch and doing a great clean up job under the bushes now that the harvest is done. They are slowly starting to lay again and they look really happy so we hope this current shortfall will just be temporary.
Kirsten made some Eggplant fritters and wow were they good. Even though the eggplant fruits were larger than normal, they were tender and amazingly delicious.
We have had people asking us about signing up for our winter program. We normally open up sign ups for winter in mid - September once we have had a chance to assess our winter crops and make sure we will have a good selection. So far our winter crops are looking good so we expect to be able to do a similar winter program to what we did last year. We may even be able to take some additional customers. We will send out a broadcast email when we are ready to start taking sign ups.