Tuesday, July 31, 2012

flipping h2o

The cattle herd has a portable water stand. Moved with them every day, it holds water, kelp, salt and minerals. It also has shade cloth, to provide shade when they are in a sunny paddock without trees.

Made from 2x4's to withstand the pressure of being pushed around by large animals, it is bulky and heavy. When both barrels are filled with water it is not movable by us.

But when empty the herd has a way of letting us know that water is needed. The water stand can only look like this when empty, and is a clear sign that they need tending...

Monday, July 30, 2012

hairy tussock moth

Some things just flat creep me out.

We have a stand of sumac growing, and I hate it. It just looks like oversized weeds to me and it pops up everywhere, so I'm constantly pulling small ones out of the ground. Supposedly poisonous, the cattle use it for shade but don't really eat it.

These caterpillars appeared today. And are eating the sumac like it is candy. Go little caterpillar go!

And those long spikes on the caterpillar? Probably will irritate your skin, as will any spikey looking caterpillar. Eat away at those plants!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a little destruction on the side

After spectacular sunsets...the weather has been beautiful here...with sunny and warm during the day and regular rain showers. Seeds are sprouting and it is lovely at night after the rain collar the air.

And at about 2AM destruction starts. We can hear distress calls from birds, and Homer heads out to track the fox. Snares and traps are set. Lures to bring the things closer to the house.

Beautiful. And challenging. This hole? Dug going out of the fence not in.

If you hear of a large breed guard dog, the kind bred to protect all night on their own we would love to know about it. The farmer could use some sleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

odd shape, delicious taste

Even the beefsteak tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine. We monitor carefully and pull when just shy of ripe so the big tomatoes do not split.

We have several different varieties of beefsteaks growing. A solid yellow, a yellow with red streaks, a red with truly odd shapes.

Most likely these are Radiator Charlie Mortgage Lifters. In the late 1920's/early 1930's a radiator repair man crossed several types of tomatoes to get this massive, odd shape mess of deliciousness. And then, few years later, added the part about mortgage lifting, as sales of the plant in spring and the tomato in the growing season had allowed him to pay off his mortgage. We love the story behind these tomatoes and also love the taste. Lettuce is in the ground and tiny sprouts are up. We hope for cool enough weather for lettuce to grow so we can have BLT's with these big beauties and our bacon. We are spoiled, no doubt.

Friday, July 27, 2012

cilantro in summer

We have had great success growing cilantro in winter months. Under a floating cover it thrives and produces right through the spring. With the heat it bolts, producing flowers, and then does not taste so good.

Cilantro was planted again in the seed starting area. The seeds sprouted, grew nicely (to about 4 inches tall) and then were transplanted to a bed. And it hated the move, it just fell over and looked horrible.

We will have to give it a few more days to see if it is really truly dead. The rain that has fallen might just revive the roots and the tops, or we might just need to replant that bed. Seems cilantro prefers one spot and not so much moving around. So noted.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


We grow vegetables, lots of them. For a 26 week CSA. People ask about our social life in the growing season and those in the know realize that our CSA distribution is our social life! There are pickups that happen here on the farm and others that get delivered.

We pick vegetables like mad so they are fresh upon delivery. Homer devised a system of ice, reusable stacking trays and the natural occurrence of heat rises, that results in fresh deliveries. These photos were taken 3 hours after leaving the farm, and except for the farmers wife sweating in the heat everything else was cool as a cucumber. Summer and full on heat is on. Tomatoes are us!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We have discovered skunk on the property again. They are nocturnal and along with the fox and some other nasty creatures of the night they are all working to destroy our chicken flock. Because, you know, everybody loves chicken.

Homer knew it was a skunk because the back of the farm stinks like them when he is out in the middle of the night, searching for them. And then, in the morning there was a hole in a pen and chickens missing. And it really smelled strongly of skunk.

There are a number of ways these nocturnal creatures can be stopped. Homer gets up and goes out there, sets traps, reinforces pens.

We are currently looking for a dog of an independent, guard the flock type of breed. The kind that sleep all day and chase all night, on their own, so the farmer can also sleep. Scouring Craigslist. Asking around. Better to feed a pen full of chicken to our dog rather then the ones here to take them each night.

Can you see the hole? Barely visible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


We plant a variety of sunflowers in a variety of spots. Some grow as tall as the hoop house while others are small, and a bunch are in between.

Native to this continent, sunflowers are a magnet for many pollinators, as those big flowers make them happy. There are other types of sunflowers from the open pollinated, heirloom types that we grow...F1's and even some that are more genetically altered. We love the depth and breadth of kinds we grow, and like the bugs that join us as a result. We know they also visit all of our different vegetables and pollinate them too. The more flowers on vegetables pollinated the more vegetables, yay!

Monday, July 23, 2012

herbal napping

There is a bed on the farm that has 3 herbs growing in it. Chamomile, anise and sour grass. It smells delicious.

Chamomile is sometimes dried to steep into hot tea. Sometimes used to make a infusion, a cold water drink with the fresh leaves, stem and flower in it, served with a flower or 2 floating on top. A refreshing drink that quenches thirst. It is known to calm the stomach, and as a relaxant.

Anise tastes like black licorice. It Is used to calm the stomach, and is also the base for jelly beans and a number of liquors.

Sour grass has a lemony flavor, and is also used to make a tisane, a cool drink infusion used to quench thirst in hot weather. It is also known to calm a tummy.

It looks like it is working, the dog looks like she is smiling.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Bugs. We got em.

In all shapes and sizes. Some are beneficial, and help to cut down on the bugs that want to eat our vegetables. We are regularly asking for help in identifying bugs to learn if they are helpful or just pests. Turns out much of the time they are quite helpful. Outside. I'm still not a fan of them in the house!

Spider web is 4-5 feet long, 2-3 feet tall. And that paper wasp nest in the ground, near the tree line will take some serious evidence of value for Homer to allow that. Hoping they sting the fox(es)!

We lost a full pen of birds to fox the other night. Now are researching dogs that patrol and protect at nighttime. They exist, and we need one.

We are told the paper wasp nest is actually home to bald face hornets: fierce protectors of their home (stay away!) and voracious eaters of flies! With livestock come flies, so the more things living here eating those the better! The big horse flies are caught midair and eaten by dragonflies. Now that is a sight to see! And the native birds in the flycatcher family are here all the time, feasting.

Even an organic based insecticide kills all insects. By not using them and not overworking our land the natural and native predators are able to do their job.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I'd show you pictures, but it is probably too much information.

The cow, Sybil, is really getting ready to birth her calf. For months we have been wondering if she is pregnant, hoping that she is. There is a way to find out, and it does not involve the little stick with a bit of urine on it: it involves a heavyweight glove that extends from the tip of your finger to your shoulder, and a second person to hold the cow still while the gloved hand/arm feels around for a calf. We did not do that. We watched and speculated and saw her get bigger and bigger. Provide kelp, salt and a mineral lick for her. And some days, at the right angle and time we could see something moving around inside her. With her winter hide gone and her sleek summer coat it has become easier to tell that she has a calf in there.

There are signs that we see now that indicate she will have that calf in the next week or so. Structural changes that must occur to allow a 100 pound (or so) calf to come out into the world.

We can hardly wait. And we hope she drops a heifer. But a gal needs her privacy, so photos will be after all is done, not during. Just the herd for now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

PASA field day

We had such a great time yesterday and only hope the visitors to the farm did as well!

Mostly other farmers in attendance, so it is a different tour than usual. The details of everything are examined and discussed, to a degree that someone visiting to get a dozen eggs would never receive. Then early to bed, much to do today!

And the hens still made eggs...and with the electric off 2 pigs got out and had to be coaxed back in with those eggs.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


We grow a variety of tomatoes here on the farm. It starts with a few small red tomatoes, joined by yellow pears soon after, and now there is a full on range of shapes, sizes and colors. Slicing/beefsteak are just starting to be ready. Bigger red, smaller red, yellow pear, green stripes. It is BLT time!

How do you know when the green striped ones are ready? They turn from green to more of a yellow, and they get softer. We have tested the theory of ripening on the counter, and it works with these.

The tomatoes all mixed together with a little oil, vinegar and cheese with fresh herbs on top...well that just tastes like summer!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

wintertime eats

Claire expressed concern about what we will eat this winter. She realized that our pantry is not yet full, and lots of fruit and vegetables are ripe now.

She visited a local orchard and picked many pounds of blueberries, then brought them back and got them frozen.

There were also apricots available. We ate a bunch, then she made a super low sugar jam with it. Usually the addition of lemon allows for less sugar and makes the canned good safe to eat. With no pectin, the result is an extraordinarily flavorful jam, just concentrated fruit flavor.

We will also purchase cling free peaches in a few weeks, and can them in slices. Tomatoes too, and maybe pickles if time allows.

Then during the cold months we eat a different sort of fast food: pop open a jar and eat it, quick and good. The best birthday gift!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PASA field day!

This Thursday we will host a PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) field day here on the farm. Last October we hosted a field day here, and then in February Homer spoke at a couple of sessions at the conference...it is good to think about presenting what is done here, how to explain and demonstrate all that we do, and why.

Farming with as little equipment as possible, adding and improving each year as we can afford to do so, without a tractor or rototiller or, most importantly, taking on much debt, are all really important aspects of what we do.

We have no desire to grow big. We love the idea of farms like this in cities all over the country, as well as in the country. On Thursday Homer will talk about his ideas, and how he has implemented, ways to grow and transport vegetables. And maybe a little about his $30,000 house, living mortgage free, enjoying sunshine in the wintertime and eating the best food...ever...

So our big room is cleaned up. Emptied. The floor washed, junk that accumulates sorted, pitched, recycled, freecycled. And ready for visitors!

Monday, July 16, 2012

bed of straw

The laying hens are producing eggs like crazy. We had a hiccup earlier in the season but that has been fixed, and eggs are rolling out of the mobile pens like crazy.

The girls love their soft straw beds. We purchased milk crates without a logo on them...it just did not seen right to use them emblazoned with some other farm name on them. After using a variety of other materials we realize that the open bottoms of the crates are perfect: eggs do not fall through the holes, but other messes do.

The hens, who eat a GMO free mix of feed and move across the field in their pens, produce a wide cross section of beautiful eggs. Multicolored and multishaped. And the eggs have a wonderful flavor.

We have been raising laying hens for years. It is easy for us to eat a dozen eggs in a day: in an omelette at breakfast and in some other egg yumminess at dinner. Scientists have told me our eggs will lower cholesterol, yolks and all, because of the consumption of grass, that the biochemistry of the bird is different than a bird in a chicken house.

As the girls move around, scratching in the dirt, clipping grass off and eating the entire blade, finding spots for dust baths, hopping into their beds of straw to lay eggs...they make a lovely sound. A contented little sort of purring sound.

If we had every laying hen we have purchased over the years our flock size would be close to 1,000. We have 200 active layers, and another 150 growing. Some of the hens are 5-6 years old. Some were given to us: people tell us their hens don't lay, drop them off, and the hens begin laying again. We have never butchered a laying hen: every creature loves chicken and over the years we have been attacked by most.

Earlier this year we selected a few and put them in a separate pen, inside the garden. We were certain these hens were too old to be laying, certain we were feeding them just to eat. And they laid eggs! Just like that. And regular since. And those gals lay big eggs, and usually the double yolks.

Their straw beds get wrapped tight, into a nest. A circular pattern every day, which we pull apart to clean, to shake out chicken leavings in an effort to have clean eggs.

Collection is a couple of times each day, to ensure that no one gets a taste for them. Egg eating chickens are not cool.

Must be time for breakfast.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


We eat beans all the time. Sometimes out of a can, sometimes dried beans we soak and cook with, and sometimes fresh.

It is bean growing season now. Peas are gone, the plants grew and grew, we gave out peas in the CSA for about 6 weeks, but now it is all about beans. I picked a bunch on Friday night and will pick more today and again Wednesday.

The little flowers indicate more beans are on the way. As with most vegetables grown now, a farmer can select from a wide variety of any thing planted. In the past we have grown fava beans, but the beans mold before we pulled them. These are a variety called dragon's tongue, a type that looks cool, tastes sweet and will keep growing and producing more beans as long as we pick them regularly. There are other kinds we have in the beds too, bush beans and climbers, each one is the kind that keeps growing and producing until the nighttime temperatures stop them. Not certain what they look like cooked as I just ate some raw, standing in the garden.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

what the farmer eats, cucumber edition

Cucumbers are popping everyday now, all over. One day there is a flower or a tiny little baby cucumber, the next day the thing is massive! We work to pick them every single day, as the massive ones are too weird to eat, it is best to locate while still manageable.

Another thing happens with these open pollinated types of cucumbers we grow. They are not perfect. They have different shapes, not just sizes.

At this time of year the cucumbers are sorted into 3 piles: the vast majority leave the farm in CSA boxes. The few that really get missed for multiple days and grow into freak show produce go to the pigs. And the few that don't look quite right but are perfectly fine are the ones the farmer eats.

None of the cucumbers receive the wax bath that make the hybrid, store variety ones smooth, shiny and spineless. Ours have the little spines, have some bumpy surfaces, and when they flower keep bumble bees, mason bees and a variety of other pollinators buzzing. Combined with the beautiful, multihued tomatoes in the basket these make a perfect summer meal.

Friday, July 13, 2012


When you were a kid, on your birthday, did you go through a paddlewheel? The kids lined up and you had to crawl through their spread legs as fast as you could while each one spanked you as many times as they could?

Today is my paddlewheel day. I have the good fortune to celebrate another birthday, another day to live a life on this pretty spot of earth with people I love. I might skip the paddlewheel as I think the smacks on the back side received when I was a kid appear to be working still...I am a lucky gal.

We used to celebrate our birthdays by pitching the massive family tent in the back yard and having a sleep over. That thing slept 8, had many poles, was made of canvas...and housed many sleepless nights of birthday celebrating. I'm sleeping in my comfy bed tonight! Glad to have it!

My father died at age 50. My mother lived to be older, but an extraordinarily unhealthy end of life for her. My grandmothers and great grandmothers passed away young, as did my fathers sister. My grandfather lived to his late 80's, my uncle is now in his late 80's and my other uncle died last year and was in his 90's! I feel lucky every day, and particularly on my birthday, to get to wake up to such a life.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

no drake

The other night sleep was interrupted with the sounds of ducks quacking. It was a fox, and it got our drake.

Yesterday morning, during the pen move, there was a fox sighting, and tracking. They are small, quick and usually elusive...but this one was watched as it left.

Fence walks will take place and gaps will be repaired. Holes tunneled under the fence will be filled with rocks. And we will need to locate some ducklings, as ducks are a great thing to have on the farm. Mosquito control and general comical demeanor. We have duck eggs in the incubator, but it is getting to be too long a time for them to be in there, if they were going to hatch they probably would have done so by now. Time to check Craigslist.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

bye bye

On Monday these 2 Jersey bulls will go to the butcher. One was our milk cow, Sybil's, first calf. The other came on the farm at about the same time and both nursed from her until they each weighed well over 600 pounds. We are told that beef from Jersey cattle is the best flavor and texture, and that milk feeding really adds to the tenderness.

I see something in addition when I look at these 2. I see beautiful, blemish free hides that can be used to upholster furniture. Our furniture has taken a beating. The fabric has torn, slip covers (which work great if no one touches, or even breathes in the room with them) have been a bust, but a good learning experience. I've learned that Homer will come in off the farm, sit on the couch in farm clothes, and sometimes invite the dog (who can locate the funkiest things ever) up there too. Dirt covers the ill fitting, slip and shift things. A mess really.

We have a friend who is an upholsterer. In DC. For high end clients, political types that Homer watches, in funky farm clothes, on the news every night. Seems appropriate to me that we should get furniture upholstered with our hides so Homer can watch the nightly news featuring the buildings where our upholsterer works...and I can periodically wipe the cushions down, vacuum them off, get the funk out.

And the largest hide tanning business on the east coast is less than an hour from here. Homer and I toured it last year. Friendly owner, beautiful work, stellar reputation.

Our upholsterer will work for chicken. And eggs, beef, pork. The tanner will too. There has been discussion of Homer possibly building the frame for a couch...from wood milled at our local saw mill, wood from the area.

So while some might see 2 head of cattle, hanging in the shade of trees, I see more. Highly efficient mowers. Free fertilizer spread evenly across the entire farm. Meals for a year. Furniture that can be cleaned, easily. And maybe, real leather furniture on local hardwood frames, beautiful and functional, easy to clean, genuine cowhide (no bonded leather here!)...for chickens, and eggs, and maybe a little beef too...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


The past 2 weeks have been more intense then summer months should be. Our in season months are full, with tons of weeding, harvesting, planting, feeding, moving, watering, hauling, packing, unpacking, washing, bleaching and more. Keeping up with bills and necessary paperwork is typically kept at a minimum until things slow down and tax preparation begins. But the summer, usually, is full on, straight up farm work.

The department of agriculture visited and asked us to install a commercial kitchen. We had planned on doing this, just not during the hottest days of the year, and not at the pace we just did.

For a few days tear out occurred. The furnace that had not worked and caused water damage was left at the curb and disappeared in less than an hour. Construction debris was hauled to the dump. Then the build out: insulation, wall board, mud, tape, primer, paint, window hole cut, window installed, FRP and trim on walls, freezers and fridge cleared and moved, plumbing installed, hot water heater, new door, even more trim. More trash cleared and removed. Daily trips to hardware stores, along with repurposing of things found in resale shops, debate on light fixtures followed by a simple solution, and a paint can lid that filled the hole in the tube for the yet to be installed exhaust fan like it was made for it. Water tests.

In my email correspondence with our food sanitarian, he asked if we really had everything functional. Yes, we told him, we are ready. And then the real running! Is it clean enough? Is the door sweep on? Are 20 other details completed? All paperwork printed out, signed, answers correct? Hand wash sign hung? Much nervous energy, and a bit of swearing.

And then the inspector visits. As with so much of the work that Homer has completed over the years: the inspectors enters and says "wow". He had seen the wreckage that was the kitchen in our other building 2 weeks prior, and it was awful. A room we all just ran through because ick, it was bad. As the inspector looked around the room he kept saying "wow" and "I did not believe this would be done".

I've seen this happen before. Homer can see through ugliness and realize it is only surface finishes, and he knows just what to do to change it. Now, when he tells me he is ready for tiles, I know all of the things he also needs, that one bag of thinset will not do the job for 216 square feet of tile, I can (almost) do the math to figure out the right amount of bags needed. And every other little thing needed.

So we passed. We now have a commercial kitchen. No wall oven or cooktop yet, and we will also need an exhaust fan. They will go in at a little more leisurely pace. We will make and install a curtain, outside, to shade the late afternoon summer sun from beating in that window. It felt like being a bug under a magnifying glass with intense, concentrated light and heat, like a person might just burst into flames. A curtain, constructed from outdoor fabric, will hang outside...no need to test the commercial kitchen code by adding fabric inside there.

And then, in the mailbox, a note from our mail carrier that we need to trim out by the mailbox. With almost 13 acres, plenty to do.

Monday, July 9, 2012

washing up

Today we have the kitchen inspected. Sealed walls with FRP, door sweep, lights covered, tile floor, triple sink, separate hand wash sink, hot and cold running water. Sign for hand wash needs to be hung up ( it basically says to wash hands before you do anything, and after too). Freezers and fridges in there, eggs in them. Water test passed.

Now we hope we did not miss a thing so it clears and we can go back to the business of farming.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


There is only one way to describe the condition of the farm right now, and that is crunchy. We had a huge rain a week ago followed by high temperatures every day, yesterday it hit over 100. A tiny and short thunder storm hit here last night, it was so hot that the rain did not cool anything down, and the moisture did not penetrate deeply, where the roots need it.

During the day animals seek shade and pant. The chickens, turkeys, pigs and dog find the lowest shaded spot and get in it.

The pathways crunch under foot. Growth is shorter there, and usually soft under foot. Now each step has a crunch to it, an odd sensation under foot.

This level of heat day and night usually happens in late July and early August. The spread to early July with no appreciable rain is distressing for the farmer...in the last 10 years of growing we have had to increase each year our watering. The draught conditions are usually in place later in the summer, and as a grower 2-3 weeks additional heat stress on vegetable plants, livestock and the farmer means we are using more water than we want to. Our water is "free", in that we do not pay a water bill, but the cost to run the water pump for an additional 3 weeks is not insignificant.

Keeping cool. And every water dispenser working in every pen is keeping us quite busy out here. Hoping for a lovely, drenching rain. Bring it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

farm style arrangement

It seems like every week different flowers are blooming. A few weeks ago it was only asters, fleabane and chicory.

Now daisies are out. Such a happy flower! Here when we moved on the farm, they open up every year about this time.

Homer put this arrangement together. He called it "Mixed Emotions". An artist and a farmer.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Peas have come to an end. Tomatoes are just starting. Beans are not yet producing as the plants are still growing. Cucumbers yes, squash not yet.

We have had regular harvests of carrots, beets, radishes, lettuces, and amazing potatoes. Last fall we planted three times the garlic as in years before, so we have had a good run on garlic. Greens, like Swiss chard, spinach, rainbow chard, collards and kale have been beautiful.

Now the many tomato plants are loaded with not yet ripe tomatoes. Dill, basil, thyme and parsley are ready too!

In this heat, seed starting is a real challenge. Seeds need constant moisture to sprout and the soil dries quickly. Watering with the drip tape will maintain a vegetable plant, but these days of 100 degree weather means watering of seedlings is like watering of the livestock...several times a day, all day, if the plants are going to make it.

And the farmers too! Hydration. Must happen for everything, everyone all day. No rain in sight. Maybe the weeds will not grow?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


For a while there we were getting a tiny amount of eggs. Adjustments were made to the amount of shade and to the roosts in our laying hen pens.

Now we have eggs on a regular basis again. Including this one, which looks to be the size of a duck egg! Homer added a new size to the egg scale for this one!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


For a good while we had cilantro. And now we have coriander.

Fragrant, tasty greens of cilantro. Used in a variety of cooking methods, a wonderful addition. Chicken, marinated in fresh squeezed lemon juice with fresh cilantro (lots of each) and then grilled over charcoal is fantastic.

It has gotten hot so our cilantro bolted, made flowers and dried up. After flowers there are seeds and the seeds are coriander. We will plant some seeds in August, save a jar for us, and give the balance out in our CSA for our members to use in flavoring their food. I just love a multi-purpose plant.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Today in the commercial kitchen the ceiling is no longer raw drywall, the FRP is up and trimmed, top and bottom, the window is in, the doors have the first coat of primer on them.

The pea plants have been emptied out of the hoop house. Pea season is done now that the weather is quite warm and mostly dry. Tomato plants are being redirected from walkways into their cages, and cucumber plants are producing and being trained to their trellis. Beans were weeded, the garlic beds are getting cleared, more beans, okra, squash, melons, peppers, and eggplant will go in. Our eyes look to the last frost free date as some of these seeds or starts go in: will we harvest before the fall frost? When is that fall frost anyway? The USDA revises the dates every few years, to be a more accurate reflection of when it gets cold enough that it kills the mediterranean, warm weather loving vegetables. 2012 map indicates mid-October, which seems crazy late: 110 or more days from now! Most anything can be planted and harvested in that amount of time!

We will work on both the kitchen and the vegetables again today. In January and February we race the days to ensure that we will have plenty of early vegetables, and that the tomato seeds are started. Always mindful of our 40 share vegetable CSA, we work to start and then to be able to harvest enough for all without having too much go to seed. Now, in July, the countdown begins as to how many days of enough sun and warmth we still have and to seed/start accordingly. By mid-August we will start all the cold weather vegetables again, for fall and even wintertime harvest.

No lettuce planted for the next 6-7 weeks. We will harvest most all of the lettuce, with the exception of the heat loving romaine (a variety developed in Israel to thrive in hotter, dryer conditions) and fill in with beans, black eyed peas, string beans, drying beans, etc. 55 days to maturity preferred, a little longer ok too.

At the same time consideration of using the commercial kitchen. Propane or electric? What is best to make and take to market, using what we grow here, complementing what other vendors offer? If it is not well received, what can we eat for days after so it does not go to waste? Planning, discussion, consideration will continue.

216 square feet of tile, paint, FRP. All our water tests were passed easily, with no trace of anything tested. Plumbing today. Inspection soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

killer in our midst

It used to be that any bug that moved needed to be exterminated. Bug sprays, herbicides, pesticides insured nothing was moving, that the outdoors was silent.

Little by little it becomes clearer...maybe the height of summer, and flies on cattle, occurs as the flycatcher birds are commuting from Canada to central America, and in one afternoon eat every single fly. Maybe if we drench the cow in fly killer it goes into their internal system and when the chickens scratch up the cow flop there are no fly larva, no protein for the laying hens...only poison.

Here, on our cucumber plants, is a single, slim wasp. Just the type of bug we would have smashed a few years ago. We would not have dumped poison, but we certainly would have used old fashioned technology like the heel of a boot.

Today we guess it is an assassin bug of some kind. Possibly a parasitic wasp. While we cannot id every single bug we do know each one has a purpose, and these bad to the bone looking creatures are usually good news for us. It is out there, on the hunt, while we are doing other things. If we sprayed down with insecticide we would miss witnessing bugs eating bugs, or laying their offspring in the or a myriad of other things bugs do.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

steady at it

We always joke that farmers have no holidays. Weekends, Sunday in particular, are still very busy for us.

Adding the destruction/construction of a space for a commercial kitchen has meant little time off in the last week. Getting the funk out took a bit of time, and now getting the parts in takes time too.

The walls had to be FRP, fiberglass reinforced panels. The floor must be easy to clean, and we opted for 12 inch by 12 inch tile, installed late yesterday. Now the thinset is supposed to cure for 24 hours, which means the room should sit untouched for that time.

Trim around the doors and windows. Triple sink, a hand wash sink, covered lights, freezers and fridge go in there. Storage, countertops, cooking equipment and gear follow.

No decorations allowed. Only signs about proper hand washing and dish washing are allowed. No pets ever. Photos of pets in your wallet only. Lucky for us we have a beautiful view. And Sunday might have a bit of rest in it. Or not.


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