Consecration Acres

"If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy."


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Hay fever continued

It’s amazing how much a nearly-invisible particle (and all its friends and relations) can affect your life.  For us, the pollen has all but banished us to the indoors and we are really hoping we will soon see a decrease in levels.  I am diligently eating as much minimally-cleaned garden produce as I can manage, keeping in mind that this process will take time…  It is hard after all this down time to be patient and wait for this.

For the Garden Report:  the lettuces are starting to wilt and or bolt in the higher heat, the radishes and spinach are well into bolting and I’m not sure that the fava beans are going to survive long enough to produce anything.  I thought that the favas would be heat-happy based on their country of origin, but the package warned that they should be planted as soon as the ground could be worked and we were way past that point when we got that first bed cleared.  Next year…

I regularly have forehead-slapping moments, and I had one today.  I was out watering and lamented to Elijah that the peas were just producing but that one double row was turning yellow and dying.  He picked a couple from a different row and fed them to Joseph, who gobbled them and then went on to pick some from the yellowing row and eat them.  Elijah told him he shouldn’t eat those ones.  As I was thinking back over the varieties I had planted (so as not to plant the dying variety again) I dragged from the mists of my mind that I had planted a pea variety with “golden” in the name.  And so I tasted a pea pod.  They were great—Golden Sweet Snowpeas if anyone wants to plant them.  This was almost the same as two years ago when I was worried about and trying to remedy yellow spots on my melon leaves, only to realize that they were Moon and Stars melons.  Once again, a feature, not a bug.

As we wait to get out in the garden again, I am trying to chip away at inside projects.  Bethel and I moved the first of five kitchen cabinets up 2” to match the newly installed ones (long story) and Isaiah and I finally installed the barn doors to the piano room.  I may do some before and afters as we complete these projects.  I never did very much with the house back in CA.  It was enormous and overwhelming and expensive to do anything to it.  This house is human scale and we were able to avoid taking out a mortgage, so even though it needs a lot more work, I feel much less owned by it and much more content.  It’s a little small for our current family size, but as we begin the process of launching soon, I suspect it will not remain so.

We had an exciting hay development these last two weeks.  A neighbor mentioned that we might be able to sell our grass hay and got in touch with someone who agreed to cut and bale it for half the proceeds of the sale.  Tomorrow evening the bales will be picked up and we should get around $300 just for letting the grass grow.  This may be the most we have ever made from our little farmish efforts.  Huzzah!

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Hay fever

Allergies are always bad when we first move to a new place, but this year, surrounded by our six plus acres of ungrazed and merrily wind-pollinating grasses, we are really suffering.  Elijah helped me disinter the garden hose that was buried beneath all the huge irrigation pipes yesterday and ended up with his eyes literally swollen shut for a while.  I stayed out and watered everything and even with the herbs that I take I am still feeling pretty awful.  NEXT YEAR all the garden/orchard/whatever-else heavy lifting has to be done before June strikes, and our watering must be automatic!  It was a little tricky to keep up before allergy season hit, but now it is really not going well.

Since I last wrote we have put in the second bed of strawberries, some Fall Gold raspberries, three little grape vines, a few tomatoes and some peppers.  My husband bought cabbages and eggplants as well, but I haven’t managed to stay outside long enough to finish prepping their bed so I can plant them.  Considering everything—spotty watering, weeds trying to reclaim the beds, no fertilizer—they are all hanging in there pretty well.  The radishes are really good, the Red Sails and Red Romaine lettuces are gorgeous and the beets and chard have finally decided to pick it up and grow.  The peas are holding eachother up this year (weird!) and are putting out their first blossoms. My purple artichokes all came up, but are being really slow, while only one of my green artichokes came up but it is growing well.  So far my non-red lettuces have made a pitiful show, the spinach likewise, my carrots REALLY need more and really consistent water and I’m getting ready to declare the Brussels sprouts no-shows.  Now if I could just stand to be out there long enough to record my varieties, then this farm journal might really be worth having.

We are working on the fertilizer production.  After mulling various animal possibilities, discovering that one of the Navajo-Churro sheep the farmer wanted to sell was an extremely old ewe, and reviewing our budget and the need for outbuildings to overwinter animals, we decided instead to purchase a Holstein steer from our neighbor.  He is (mostly) happily grazing down our upper pasture and will be butchered in the fall before the snows hit.  He has no name.  We tried for a while, but couldn’t agree on anything, and as he is just going to become meat…  I would say “poor fellow” but he is living a fantastically bovine life out there—eating, drinking and fertilizing the days away.  The only thing he misses are his herd mates when they are grazing at the far end of the neighbor’s pasture.  As he is basically a waste product of the dairy industry in this area, things could be much worse for him.

You may recall my rantings over the price of hay back in CA.  As we are in peak haying season and rain is supposed to hit this week, farmers all over the valley are advertising hay $2-$3 per bale to anyone who will come and collect it.  Good grief!  And now we have no place to store it and no animals that will need it…  Elijah suggested that we could buy some and build a barn out of it.  🙂