June saw the garden go absolutely bonkers! Day after day we brought in 20-30 lbs of tomatoes. It was a challenge on days we worked off the farm, for all that produce must be dealt with. I gave our share members a good portion, took some to work and canned, dehydrated or froze the rest. I feel so grateful for all that we were able to grow this year. Towards the end of June the daily temperatures started reaching 100+ degrees, at which point the tomatoes will not set fruit. So, the plants were pruned and now we wait to see if we can get a fall harvest from them.
July has been so uncharacteristic for this area, though there are no complaints after the drought we experienced last year. An year like 2011 will make a person giggle when they have nothing but mud! And that is exactly what we have, it rained 10" in 24 hours one day last week, and I think the monthly total is somewhere around 15". TOTALLY unheard of! The rains have brought the temperatures down too, so I am once again on the lookout for tomatoes, though the peppers and flowers are all happy. It is a soggy boggy mess with an overgrowth of weeds, but no worries, the weeds will eventually get pulled and things set to right again. We have not had to water (a 2-3 hour chore) for at least 2 weeks, another sweet silver lining. I'll post the June garden pics in a separate post.
The cows, pigs, chicks and ducks are thriving. The little peepers we got in May are about ready for their own tractor and pasture bug catching. The ducks have been joined by 6 more ladies. Peace and harmony in the hen house where the ducks and young pullets live, with the exception of one young cockerel who can no longer blend in. He is a strong candidate for the stew pot once he is bigger.
The cows are doing well, Party is consistently giving 4 gallons a day and the share members remark on the exceptional taste of the cream. I personally think it is the grass, but am perfectly ok if others think she is super wonderful!
Louise has been in dry off for a month or so, originally we had her calf Lennie with her (wearing a weaning ring), but he figured out a way around it and was caught in the act of nursing. He is now pastured with Party and Phineas, all of whom are doing well. Louise was AI'd and is due in February.
The pig chapter is coming to a close. We have/are selling all the breeding stock, the pair of GOS are going to a friend with a barter agreement for future piglets. That way we can raise up weanlings for the freezer without having had to feed the parents, siblings, etc for such an extended period. They also do not eat grass, (which is an abundance this year) but, we would prefer the pastures have cow access (would have been a great place to put a calf that needs to wean!). The feeder piglets we have now will be going to freezer camp next week. We just picked up 3 lambs grown by friends from a butcher we have not used before--we will be taking the pigs there. It is a very nice place, and they have a meat counter to sell retail! Their pepper crusted bacon is fab, as is the jalapeno & cheese sausage.
We have a few new barn kittens, good golly we had forgotten just how entertaining kittens are! One evening I asked Dave if he wanted to go in and play cards, "No! We have Kitten TV out here!". They are great fun.
Another thing that has been going around my brain lately is related to personal health, look for that in another post.
We wish you a wonderful summer, and trust me, if the dog days are too hot and making your head swim, just go inside! Peace!