Friday, April 23, 2010

Sabbath Eve, April 23, 2010

I’ve run out of excuses for not writing online journal entries. So today, after a long hard week I sit at my computer and reflect.

The garden is in and growing. Today I pulled earth to the base of tomato plants with a garden hoe, forming rows so I will be able to irrigate should the rains stop coming in a timely manner. The year has been relatively wet so far and things look good but I’d waited too long to do this task. I’ve tilled the rows religiously so weeds weren’t a problem, but the tomato plants have already filled the space between rows and it was hard to get around them without damaging the plants.

The fall/winter crop is on its way out. Some cabbage remains; most of the rest is packed in jars in our pantry and in the refrigerator in the form of saeurkraut. I’m feeding re-growth to chickens and goats. The spinach is starting to bolt, jars full of it occupy space in the pantry already. Two long rows of onions approach harvest, yellow and white globes, each the size of a softball or thereabout. Garlic bulbs are not far behind, also two long rows, perhaps some 1,500 individual plants. Carrots remain in the ground, beets are long since pickled and canned. Five long rows of potatoes have another month or so before they are ready, but they’re growing fast. Squash, both yellow and zucchini are forming on the plants. Green pinto beans are also beginning to appear as are tiny peppers: Anaheim, Serrano, Jalapeno, and Habanera. Black eyed peas, okra, cucumbers, cantaloupes and watermelons are farther behind but the plants and vines look good.

I planted 170 acres of non-genetically modified, non hybrid corn in our fields. Stalks are between two and three feet tall and growing well but we’ve had to cultivate it four times already. My ass is hanging out on this venture. I don’t think most people care whether their corn is genetically modified and I may have trouble selling the crop. They should care. The variety I planted is white corn, Trucker's Favorite to be exact, and should be suitable for human consumption, as opposed to the godamned yellow Frankencorn 85% of US farmers planted this year which isn't. Corn prices are currently at or below my cost of production if I don’t receive a premium price for the crop. The good thing is, the seeds these plants produce should be suitable for planting and I'll save a bundle next time I plant corn, good Lord willing.

Wheat is heading out nicely, but prices are relatively poor at the moment. Cattle prices are up somewhat, and for the first time in a couple of years, the pastures are green and productive. We’ve already sprayed and fertilized. A new field of Tifton 185 seems to have survived the winter after a late fall sprigging and is beginning to grow.

Hay buyers are calling. We hope to begin cutting and baling next month.

We built a stock to milk cows in after a gentle cow freaked out a couple of weeks ago for no apparent reason, knocked me down and stepped on the calf of my right leg as she fled while I had my attention focused on a pail full of milk. I didn't spill the milk, but my leg turned black and blue and remained swollen from the knee to the ankle for at least three weeks. I’m just now getting over the limp. For a time, the pain was considerable. I still milk two cows each and every morning and make sure three orphaned calves get their share of milk morning and evening.

Leah has continued making cheese on a routine basis. We have around 200 pounds stored and aging in a freezer converted to a portable “cheese cave” with an external thermostat that keeps the cheese at a constant 52 degrees. Another upright freezer is packed with the meat of a heifer we slaughtered and two more chest type freezers are packed with fruits and vegetables.

Leah went to Fredericksburg last week and picked 70 pounds of strawberries. She made jars of strawberry jam that’s to die for—the rest of the strawberries are sliced, frozen, and packed away in the freezer.

We’re building another chicken house for our yard birds, and I have a pen full of roosters that need to be killed and processed.

Come to think of it, we have been rather busy.

No comments:

Post a Comment