Almost There

Well, my hopes for a more relaxed post this time were, as usual, unfounded in reality :)  The last two weeks have been  pretty crazy on the farm, but we have had a WWOOFer intern since the 14th, so that's been very helpful.  It's actually been partly such a whirlwind because I've been pushing really hard the last 2 weeks to get ready to leave the farm with the boys for 6 days for a family get-together in Pennsylvania (which is actually where I am now), and since this is a really busy time of year, there was an awful lot of stuff to do first!  

For starters, I've been making pasta at least every day, some days 2 batches, often before breakfast or after dinner, to get stocked up so that I can have that lag-time during and after my trip, and still fill market orders.  

I've also been trying to get the garden in and out for the spring-to-summer change, and am getting close to being done.  The kale is still going in the hoophouse, but almost done, and I've been drying as much as I can of that for future pasta-making purposes.  Even though the spring carrots are just now sizing up nicely and I've started selling them, the last bed of winter carrots is still there, but quickly emptying - I put them on half-price until they're gone to try to empty the bed - and the radishes are finished and out.  I got the corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, and okra planted in the empty spots in the hoophouse, and some more melons in the yard.  We got a huge bed of corn planted in the outside garden, and just before I left our intern got the pole beans started in there as well.  

Last week, the strawberries came in strong.  I don't know how many plants we have, but each 12x24' bed originally had about 400, and we never did get around to cleaning out all the baby plants from last year, so if someone told me there were 1000, 2000 in each bed I wouldn't be surprised.  The intern mentioned that we should put an aisle down the middle so there's access for picking - we said actually, there were 2 aisles, with very neat rows in between of 3 plants a foot apart to start with - the babies annihilated everything!  The first picking was a large bowl.  The second was 24 quarts...  I think they're so crowded that we won't get quite what we could off that many plants, and with the crowding comes a lack of air circulation so there's a lot of them going bad before we get there, but it's still a LOT of berries.  Because of this trip, I skipped the Thursday farmer's market, so we've been picking every two or so days, but only selling them once a week.  That left several batches of jam, and a lot of dried strawberries to make! 

Right about the same time, the garlic started scaping.  The seed stalks that make the hardneck garlic have a hard neck come up about two weeks before harvest, and they have to get broken off to prevent the plant from diverting energy from the bulb.  If the scape stays on, the bulb doesn't size up, so I have to break those off of a few thousand plants.  If I do it carefully, I can often pull them out from deeper inside the stem, and get a blanched, tender section that is fantastic eating when roasted like asparagus, with some olive oil and maybe some balsamic vinegar drizzled over it.  We've been harvesting those - and then trying to convince customers at the farmers market to try them :) - and of course that means my garlic harvest will start in just a couple more weeks!  

The WWOOFer and I got some soap felted, and we dyed a bit more wool to do more felting, but I didn't get all the soap made I wanted to before I left, so that's still on my slate for the next week or two.  Over the last 3 weeks, the 2 stores I sell soap in on commission pretty much sold out (that included graduation week) and between the two of them had a single bar of felted soap left.  I've got to stock up on that, and I believe some is getting felted while I'm gone :)  

Finally, the goats have finished kidding! We were down to two left, and one finally went something like the 11th or 12th (I was too busy to write it down).  She had a little girl, very healthy, we found her up and nursing which is always great.  That left just Esme, and then a few days later, Caleb found 2 dead babies behind the hay bale.  I couldn't believe that they were Esme's, she's several years old and I just didn't think she'd have any problems.  By the next day, it was apparent that they were actually from Katydid, the milking yearling we bought last fall and didn't think was bred.  I think she was still early, and don't know what went wrong. The full ramifications, though, are that I am now milking 3 goats rather than 2, and one of them twice a day since Katydid doesn't have kids to use up her day's milk.  The plus side is I'm getting a gallon of milk every two days, the down side is I have to make cheese every 2-3 days, and I have to milk in the evenings, which were pretty tight time-wise already, with Caleb working until 7.  The intern has really helped with that, but I'm not sure what I'll do when she leaves on Wednesday.  I''ll have to keep milking, especially Katydid since she has no kids and simply has to get milked twice a day, no excuses, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to waddle out there!  I guess we'll find out :)  Anyway, Esme finally kidded on the 22nd, two beautiful brown little boys (only the third of the 30 mamas to not have a girl this year), so we are done - much later than I'd hoped, but done!

When I get back from this family trip, I'm going to be taking it much easier - I'm really starting to feel being 7+ months pregnant, and those 5 am to 8 pm workdays were getting to me!  I'm hoping to be better about posting here once I start "taking it easier" - but to be honest, I haven't cleaned the house in months (seriously, I'm not exaggerating) and it's really about time I did!  I also really, really hope to get some fiber time in these next couple months as I get more and more ungainly, and have an excuse to just sit around spinning or skirting fleece :)  We should have a series of short-term WWOOFers through June and July, so I'm looking forward to that help these next few weeks!  


safe traveling!

Great report, wish we could help eat up some of those wonderful strawberries.

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