Hotness, more rain

7/18 heatwave

We set up our only boxfan for the baby turkeys brooding in the horsetrailer. There was one baby who didn’t make it through the night. It is so hot, and the air so still, that we’re worried about losing them from heat stroke. Poor little things. So insane to go from using a heat lamp to a fan to keep them comfortable.

Andrew’s sister’s family came to see us after camping up north. Their kids had just come from 2 hours of air conditioning in the car to the heat of the farm. The beads of sweat began to appear and the poor little things reminded me of the animals having a hard time too. Little bodies seem to feel the heat more intensely than bigger beings. When your body likes to be at 98 degrees, and it is nearly that temperature outdoors, this makes for everyone feeling miserable. So hard to be comfortable, and the air was so still. Not even a breath of breeze to give a touch of relief. We wandered down by the pigs, told the kids about how smart pigs like to coat their whole bodies in mud to cool off. The kids wished they could crawl in there with the piglets, but dad said no. Don’t get too close because they’ll splash the dirty mud on you. When we walked by the turkeys I heard the sweetest exclamation from one of the little girls about the white turkeys looking like clouds, and one “looks just like CAULIFLOWER!”

After they headed out, I went into the basement to cool off. The wonders of underground, where it is constantly around 55 degrees. Stared at my remaining canned goods. Did pretty good last year, we have just a few quarts of tomatoes left, 5 precious jars of salsa, some peach halves in sugar syrup and my 2 pints of ridiculously horded huckleberry syrup. What is the point of saving something for a couple years because it is too good to use? Canned foods can go bad, or rather, the flavor can degrade over a couple years. Speaking of which I have a lot of jams I made one year which need to get dumped into the pigs’ slop bucket. Don’t make something you don’t even like to eat! Neither of us have sweet tooths, so why make a ton of jam?

The nearly 40 cases of empty canning jars, waiting to be filled, promise a fall of hard work. Soon, we’ll have hundreds of pounds of tomatoes to put up for yet another winter of comfort foods. I like to can tomatoes simply- just cut into chunks, skin, seeds and juice- it all goes in the jar. Andrew purees the tomatoes once we open a quart, transforming them into luscious sauces.

I headed back upstairs to start a batch of chevre. The directions say to warm the milk to 80. What do you do if it is 85 in the house? Does that mean the cheese won’t turn out? I am about to find out.

With the heat has come phenomenal growth on the tropical plants we raise for food; tomatoes and peppers. There are flowers on the 6 different kinds of peppers, each plant growing inches a day. The tomatoes are setting fruit like crazy, but I noticed some blossom end rot on a few fruits, so time to give the plants some calcium to try to prevent this from continuing. Oyster shells and egg shells will have to do, spread around the tomato trunks coming out of the ground.

7/19 the big town

Nearly every Tuesday, I make the 1 1/2 hour trip into the big town. Delivering a carload of goods from our farm, fruits of our labor, toil and perseverance. It feels really amazing actually, this is what it is all about for us. We could be an island out here, but what’s the fun of that? Sharing our wonderous products helps us to make a living farming & instills pride after our days of working hard.

I woke up at 5am, got eggs packed, Andrew focused on gathering vegetables around the various garden plots. Luckily we didn’t “put all our eggs in one basket” in terms of just one garden. We have an assortment of places all over with different things coming to harvest at different times. This also means we can lose track of veggies if we don’t communicate. That’d be me- I was the renegade guerilla gardener this spring, sticking seeds in here and there, anywhere there was dirt to plant in. I’d mention it to Andrew, write it down in the farm journal, but how is he to remember everything I did? Despite this, we had a nice assortment of beautiful vegetables collected, washed and bagged for our CSA. We’ve been delighted to make artfully gorgeous bags with big squash blossoms on top of the bags to greet the eyes of our customers. The Dragon Langerie Beans are also stunning- pale wax yellow, with violet stripes streaking down the pods. Aesthetics are important, it is half the enjoyment of eating.

After the morning rush around, the veggies go to chill in the fridge, I go out to tether the goats, and Andrew makes some breakfast. When Trixie and I went out to the tethering area, we must have disturbed a ground bee or something similar. It swung around my hair and face, I swatted at it, thinking it was a horsefly. Then after it landed on my shoulder, I saw it was a bee and it promptly stung me. I ran through thistles as fast as I could in my stupid falling apart croc-rip off shoes, the bee on my trail… in my hair, buzzing very loudly. Such a weird feeling! Nearing the house, it lost interest and I made it to safety. I ate my duck egg sandwich and had some coffee, whining to Andrew about the bee. Aspiring to be uber productive, we then went out to weed for an hour before I took off.

At my first delivery, the restaurant asked if I made soap they could sell in their Farm Direct Market Store, and I was delighted to say yes indeed. I had a bar of Rosemary Tumeric Soap in my handbag and showed it to them. They loved the rustic look- my soaps look like chunks of cheese or bread, and smell lightly from savory essential oil combinations. I hate sweet smelling soaps, and there are enough girlie-type soap makers out there. The chef was the one who came out to ask about the soaps, he always makes me nervous and say stupid things, he’s a celebrity. He’s also been a great supporter and account for the farm for several years now too. Oh well, I am just human. At least he adores our duck eggs and puts up with me!

After dropping off more eggs and the CSA shares, I got to meet up with a cousin who was in town from Germany for business. He’s an awesome guy, we had Thai food and talked about sustainable energy systems on a large and small scale. He’s part of a group of investors who maintain a windturbine, and I am fascinated with this concept (we live in a pretty windy area.) It was nearly 100 degrees out, and the Thai food cooled us down for a bit. Cities hold so much heat, with their massive stone structures eminating oven-like temperatures. It was brutal.

On the way back, I was full, overheated with no AC, but happy to be going home to the farm. Nearing home, I saw a lady driving towards me run over something big in the road. It had been laying there, and she just drove her minivan right over it. I pulled over and imagine my horror to see it was a dead GOAT in the road. It was dead, and had been for at least 15 minutes. There was severed rope tied around it’s horns, this was a little pygmy goat, a poor little girl who must have wandered up from the farm down the hill. Poor thing. I put my hands on her and said a little blessing, then pulled her body off to the side. The minivan lady had driven on, but then I heard her coming back. She was one of those gross Americans, no need to describe. Rolling down her window, not getting out of the road or her car, “what IS that?” Now if I had run over a roadkilled something and someone else pulled over to help the animal, and I found out it was a goat, I personally would have freaked out. She just grunted and said, “oh well, must come from that farm down there, I’ll go tell them.” No remorse or pity. Not that she killed it, but wouldn’t that be a shock to you? Jeez. Poor little goat. Who ever ties up a goat by the horns shouldn’t have goats in their keep. I know there is so much abuse and horrible animal care everywhere, but this experience really was so sad all around.

I drove on, and saw an enormous dark cloud front over what looked like our farm area. Yeah! Some relief! The trees were swaying in front of the road, I took in the coolness and felt the rain must start any second. The sun was completely gone, overcast by the giant front moving through. Two tiny skunks scrambled across the road in front of me, now that is a sweet sight! When I pulled in the driveway, it had just downpoured and I was just in time for milking. The rain came again as I milked May and there by my foot was a monster-sized fat toad, sitting right by the drip line of my milking lean to.

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