Summer, summer, summertime! Admit it. If you were born in the late 70’s or early 80’s you likely sang that didn’t you! I sure did! Sorry DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince but here it is NOT – I REPEATE – it is NOT “time to sit back and unwind”! Summer is time for putting away the harvest and preparing for Fall on most farms. Things have been a little out of the ordinary this year for us with a little more of the same.
The new females chicks that we added to the flock back in June are doing quite well. They are so stinkin’ cute! Even at month old they are retaining their adorable nature. I have noticed that some of them have a cute little tuft of hair on their heads, a mohawk if you will. From our research it seems that these should be the Olive Eggers. If you’ll recall the mix up at the store… so this is our somewhat educated guess. It may well be next year before we know for certain. However, for now they are happy and healthy. They have been moved from the brooder coop and into the bottom half of one of our larger coops. They will remain there till the 19th of this month at which time they will be moved to the teenage coop from which the current inhabitants – Hope, Peace, Faith, & Patience – will be migrated into the coops with the grown folks! It’s a process folks and with the limited space we have it has to be pretty precise. We hope to get a flock video update done this month so be on the look out for that.
Sonny and Cher have completely settled in! They are at home-sweet-home! Sonny is the ham of the two ALWAYS in need of attention and Cher is getting used to the attention – wanted or not. She so food motivated! She really loves to get fresh garden treats and who doesn’t?! We just speed the breakdown of our garden goodness by pushing it through their little bodies and out comes pellets of gold! We have their fertilizer available for purchase over on our online shop. It works!
Well we have gone and added yet more animals to our little farm. If you follow our social media then you are well aware of our newest additions. For those that do not know, I have long wanted Silkie chickens. I finally got some! We were given a rooster whom we have named Elvis. His girls are Anita, Dolly, and Gladys. They are the cutest little bunch! They are tricky little escape artists and have had us chase them ALL AROUND THE PROPERTY! We work fast to get them back into their runs because hawks are always nearby. I just like to sit and watch them under the shade trees in the morning with my cup of coffee. They really are an entertaining bunch, living up to their names. They are laying small beautiful cream eggs. Since they are pets we are not sure that we will have them Certified Naturally Grown although they are partaking of the same delicious Certified Organic feed. The thing is, these girls love to hide their eggs! It is an egg hunt everyday and we just aren’t sure we can guarantee the highest quality of freshness of their eggs for the public. However we are using them for ourselves. They are the perfect size for pickled eggs. It has been a while since we dropped a recipe over on our recipe page but rest assure a pickled egg concoction is coming soon!
We finally got around to butchering Kong. I was a little sad. Our son took that task on while our daughter and I handled the remainder of the processing. This time went much smoother than the first time. It felt so good to put that meat in the freezer! We will continue to rotate through our flock as needed but we hope soon begin to grow birds exclusively for meat production for our family. Although I personally have ceased eating land dwelling animals I really would consider reintroducing it into my diet if there was a steady supply of home grown available. Again much planning is on the horizon in order to achieve that. Perhaps by 2023 we will be in a position to do so.
The End Of Summer Farmer’s Market Season
July marked the end of Summer Farmer’s Market season for us. Man it was extremely hot! Next Summer we plan to be a tad better prepared to deal with the heat. We are researching now some personal fan options as well as some battery powered options. SOMETHING has to give! While we were not able to attend the last scheduled market due to COVID exposure we still celebrated as a family. This season taught us so much about how to really use what we grow to help our own family and our community! While many of our cash crops for the Spring & Summer did fail we had an oddly successful year with herbs and flowers. Play the hand you’re given right? We thus learned more ways to use those to make spice blends, spiced sugars, infused vinegars, infused oils, and potpourri – all of which will be added to our shop page as we restock our supplies. We also used our herbs to craft homemade breads that were a real hit with the community! It makes a lady feel good to know her baking is enjoyed by others!
We have tossed the idea around about joining a market for the Fall but it is not too likely. Although no one in the family has outright said no, I can tell we are all just tired and need a break. If we decide to take on the markets for the Fall we will inform you where and when. Whether we attend markets this Fall or not we have big harvesting plans as you can see from the aforementioned planting list. If we do not attend markets you can purchase these items via our shop page individually or you may choice to get our farm sampler baskets.
Our Summer pumpkin harvest is being preserved this month for use in those Fall recipes we all love! And you know we are definitely going to craft some new ones. How about a pumpkin spiced flatbread or brioche bun? Oh – THAT IS HAPPENING! We are deadheading echinacea blossoms weekly for teas that will most definitely come in handy this cold and flu season! In addition we are making a final push to plant, harvest, and preserve as many herbs as possible to create more spice blends before the first frost is here! These make excellent gifts! No, these hands aren’t resting one bit!
We shared with you last month all our disappointments with our tomato crop in the high tunnel. I wish I could say it stopped there. This season has spiraled into one that will truly induce depression if I so choose to focus on all that has been lost. Currently the high tunnel is nearly empty. Roselle, long beans, strawberries, a few eggplants, and peppers remain. Grasshoppers decimated the okra. Thankfully they left the roselle and we should be able to harvest calyces soon. Long beans are just putting on flowers and beans. Is it fanciful thinking to think the grasshoppers will leave these for us? The good thing about the Hoopty being empty is that she can be prepped to receive Fall plantings and our last hope for tomatoes for the year. Our tomatoes that we started for Fall harvest are ready to be set out and we will be doing that this week. Among that planting will be broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, cabbage, collards and various herbs we need to stock up on the spice rack.
Learning From Failures
A lot of our crop failed this Summer. It is a fact that this Summer season is the worse one yet for our farm and at such a terrible time. Groceries are at an all time high and if you hadn’t noticed we are in fact in a recession. Our freezer will not be stocked as it was last year. There is no way around it – THIS IS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! However, we have learned so much in just these last 7 months. I subscribe to logic and logically if you learn and grow from failures then I steadfastly believe they do not have to be viewed as failures. Instead could it be training? If so, then the Spring & Summer 2022 growing seasons have been training sessions like no others for the Bain family farm. We have learned the ways of the ever developing farmer-gardener! There is no class to graduate from as we are always learning from God’s beautiful creation & from each other. We have learned to network among our fellow farmers. We have learned how to aggregate more goods from even a meager harvest and merchandise these to sustain our farm financially. These very items too have saved us money at the grocery store because we no longer have to buy what we have the skill and ability to make. We have learned to take what we have in abundance and use it in various ways to benefit us and our junior livestock. We have learned to use rabbit manure effectively. We have learned to feed our rabbits off the land we live on, understanding what is safe for their consumption and what will make them happy. We are improving butcher by butcher our technique of harvesting & processing our chickens. We have mastered turning their manure into useable compost that will feed our beautiful fruits and vegetables for a whole season. We have been reminded yet another year that for every step we take towards self sufficiency we have rich blessings from above amplifying our efforts. Even when these do not quite measure up to what we hoped today they are still more than we hoped for many yesterdays ago, before our eyes were opened to such a wonderful way of living. After praying it out, after crying it out, and talking it out with Mr. Bain Home Gardener this is my take away. If you have had a disappointing season as I know many have, take your training to your next season. Whether that be Fall for you or Spring of 2023 just take it with you and share it with someone else.