April 7, 2011

Hungry Hearts

Thomas bedding up sweetpotatoes for slips

For us on Puzzle Peace, March seemed to come in like a lamb and out like a mangy son of a beast. The early warm weather had our spirits high and ambitious. Early in the month, we went to the RS Central Farm and bought a great little pig, Bradley, at their annual auction. Bradley is half Birkshire and half Hampshire, white with a belly that is ochre, I’d say, and hams like we’ve never seen on a piglet that small. We were brave and put him in the rotational fencing with some real hogs, Veronica and Hoagie, who are a week due from harvest There were lots of squeals and running wild for a few hours, especially as Bradley was having his first electric fence experience. By the second night, Veronica and Hoagie were snuggled sleeping with Bradley nestled in between.

Middle of March brought 550 asparagus crowns (remember, ambition is the key word this month) followed closely by 50 day old chicks. Shortly thereafter, we got the gumption to put tomatoes in the ground a full month before the “last frost date”.

We’ve been concocting organic fertilizer tea recipes, all of which so far, smell like the ocean and not in the good way. But it does seem to perk the plants up.

Oh yes March and April play this trick on us every year. Anything is possible. Our energy is back and we’re working 12 and 14 hour days, eating dinner sometime around 9 or 10. The field and the new rows are so nice and neat with just slight weed germination, and the mulch is really working! Reality sets in at some point. With us this year, it came with the cut worms on the new sprouting asparagus, tomatoes, and broccoli; with the wild turkeys munching the kale, the 4 wheel drive going out just as we were getting reliant on it. And then a root rot thing we are still dealing with. A cold snap came and we lost about half our tomato plants in the field. We thought we were prepared for that one. Good thing there are 300 more waiting in the wings.

Thomas has been glued to his mushroom I.D. books as the wet weather at the end of the month sent him out searching for fungi. He returns with samples from various patches and starts the spore prints. No tasty edibles so far but there are some trusty spots we’ll wait for.

Cutting rows on the contour in our "bowl shaped" field to
keep beds sturdy and drainage steady.

First sprouts from our purple asparagus crowns.
Other miscellaneous happenings…We’ve been digging up wild elderberry plants down by the creek to transplant in a wet spot in our field in hopes the water loving plants will alleviate our issue along with providing wonderful fruit… We were fortunate to salvage some farm infrastructure from a farm that moved across the country. Translated, we will be renovating a sweet mobile hen house to suit our needs; much less work than starting from scratch. And we acquired the material to construct various other mobile shelters. We can’t help but brainstorm about other endeavors… goats, turkeys, rabbits. I don’t see how farming could ever get to be a bore. So many possibilities.

Jersey and Weezy are ready to pop any day now with kids and sweet milk! Our struggle to find interns has proven fruitful. We hope to have at least one person by mid April, 2 by the first of May.
We’ll have fresh pork for the Charlotte market on April 16th, along with spinach, radishes, perhaps kohlrabi, turnips, and salad mix, sweet potatoes, and maybe some wild edibles like poke salet and green briar shoots. Its been so long it seems.

Hope to see you soon.
Pray for rain… but not too much.

Puzzle Peace Out,
Thomas and Lindy

1 comment:

  1. Once again, I really enjoyed reading your farming journal...I know that just keeping up with the things I do in my yard..is never ending hard work...so can't imagine farming..I do recall snatches of spending summers on my grandparent's tobacco farm and we did literally work from dawn to dark..but of course I was only eight or nine and it all seemed like such a great adventure to me..I'm keeping you in my prayers..hoping the hail last night did not do much damage.LoveMara