Tuesday, July 1, 2008

another beautiful day.

Today we harvested all morning, packed CSA boxes, and then I drove the van to the distribution points in the city.  Upon returning from freeway traffic & so-called "civilization", I was struck by what an amazing piece of ground I live on.  A brief afternoon thunderstorm had passed through while I was gone, and it lowered the heat (85 degrees today) a little, but soon the hot sticky humidity was back, and the golden setting-sunlight made the air just visible.  I took advantage of the moist soil to cultivate (wheel hoe & hands) my row of beans.  After a few minutes sweat was rolling off my nose, chin, back, dripping onto the soil.  I wiped my soil-clogged hands on my brow & swatted flies off my arms.  Oh, summer.  I will remember this moment in December, fondly.

The melons are really sprawling out now, reaching for their neighboring rows.  Remember that melon plants have roots that reach out even further than the surface vines, intertwining with eachother & mycorrhyzal fungi & earthworms & rocks. 

And the first melon-- a cantelope.  The size of a quarter.
And this spunky little watermelon.  May you grow up to be a juicy sweet capsule of water.
The buckwheat Dave planted as the "harvest lane" in the melon patch is huge!  A foot tall already.  And you can see, with this dense planting, how they quickly shade the ground so that no weeds even have a chance at making it. A very efficient cover strategy-- like a blanket, but growing.  And then you can till it in, and have lots more organic matter to improve the soil!
Pests are starting to show up in greater numbers & diversity.  Japanese beetles are among them.  We may set out traps for them soon.  Here are some, mating on an eggplant leaf:
Peppers are big already, but not red.  Not even yellow yet.  (I tried one green anyway, I couldn't wait.  It was good.)
And the first eggplant!  It's about the size of a pea right now.  This variety is an asian eggplant.
And a sneak-peek at the tomatoes.  They are hidden in the middle of the vines, which are quickly sprawling and need more string to support them.
These tomatoes are sungold cherry tomatoes!  They are more lanky in their growth habit, but I think we'll see ripe ones first here, and boy, are there a lot of flowers:
Here's my long-beans, just barely reaching the trellis.  They sure are taking their time.  I hope they grow really fast to catch up, so I can harvest beans for a decent amount of time before the frosts come.  
Scarlet runner beans.  Showing scarlet, and starting to run:
And the prize-winning climbers, the Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans:
You can't see it too well, but the field I plowed last week is breathing up thick steam into the setting sun.  It's almost supernatural.
These are the first batch of baby chicks, looking (and eating) like adult hens these days.  Actually quite a few of them are roosters I think.  No crowing yet.
And the sheep are still enjoying the lush growth of the grasses (and poison ivy) around the farm.  I move them every day to a new spot.  I provide only a bucket of water & they are quite content.  I need a strategy for giving them shade though.  I bring them into the barn during the hottest part of the day, or set up an easy-up tent.  They're quite spoiled actually.  But this would work better if I had larger fields (more sheep) with trees on the edges that I could enclose in the fences every time.  Or if I was grazing them in an orchard, which I envision myself doing in the future.  
A barefoot walk around the farm just before dusk:

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