We're coming into the homestretch of June and there barely seems to be time to breathe! Everything is happening all at once and the days just aren't long enough.
The last weekend in May I came home to discover that Hope Seeds had come by and planted me a garden. It's alovely thing especially as I always mean to have a garden but never get around to it. They planted me 2 rows of carrots which are actually coming up (anyone who knows me knows I have awful luck with carrots). The beets are looking good and soon there will be salad. A hill of cucumbers and a hill of zucchini along with peas, beans, chard and some paste tomatoes...as I gloat to my friends this year I am the queen of the hill. In exchange for Hope Seed's largesse we have given them some of our certified organic land to plant their seeds on. Andrea is starting a new farm this year and some things are just easier at this timee to plant somewhere else. So thank you to Andrea and Katie for your kindness and this may be the year I actually have carrots.
Here's a shot of my leeks, I actually transplanted them myself and since I'm writing this entry a good week after I took the picture let me assure you my leeks are looking even leekier now. As you can tell I've actually even been out weeding in my garden a time or two.
Of course on e of the most exciting things about June is the beginning of strawberry season. Sadly our patch has pretty much gone to grass but lurking along the edges one can occassionally find a sweet, ripe strawberry.
Let me assure that when you find one they are good enough to eat. There don't seem to be enough for a feed of strawberry shortcake but I find myself stubbornly holding out. When you're use to real strawberries: ones that haven't been irrigated and blown up to the size of golfballs or bigger, it's hard to eat the ones that are more readily available. Hope fully next week will be more rewarding. In the meantime next year's crop is looking good:
And so is next years raspberry crop:
Right now we have a lot of these sticks in the ground. Some have started growing right away but some are more hesitant to start. Everytime I walk through the patch though I find that more of the canes have caught and I get a little happier. Now if only I would get off my butt and finish mulching them. And weeding the already established canes. Hmmmm some of those are in the shade so it's sounding nicer all the time.
Yes in the shade. Shade sounds nice when your making hay. Everyone (should) know that making hay is hot, dry work. We started making hay a week and a half ago. At first we couldn't make actual hay because it wasn't dry enough long enough so we made silage instead. Silage is hay made into sauerkraut or rather hay that is wrapped up into an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment and which undergoes lactoacid fermentation (like cabbage that's made into sauerkraut).
Here's Danny wrapping some hay up for silage but sometimes Eben has been in charge of wrapping and the other night Hannah was taught how to work the wrapper. When there's as much to do as there is right now everyone has to help.
Speaking of work my garlic is sending up it's seed heads. This is always exciting to watch. The buds get sent up and then they curve or loop:
It's quite lovely. Tomorrow night I will go in with a kitchen knife and whack as many of the scapes as I can find ( I will probably have to go in more than once in the next few weeks). I will take those to the Market with me on Saturday because garlic scapes are tasty things. You can pickle them if you want to or use them in place of garlic but I like to buzz them up in the food processor with some parsely or just to saute them with some greens. The scapes are a sign that the garlic is maturing and a lot of energy is going into the making of the bulb right now. In order to encourage this it's a good idea to go in and cut off the seed heads as well as getting rid of as many weeds as you can. Last week I went in and weeded out all the thistles and then earlier this week I went in and weeded the rest of the interlopers; dandelion, burdock, grass, a few more thistles and some less noxious weeds. Because you want as much energy as possible to be available to the garlic plant it is really important to pull out the weeds that are heavy feeders. Anything that spreads easily with rhizomes and travelling roots like grass and thistles, as well as weeds with taproots like dandelions and burdocks must be pulled out. I stand before you a proud woman because I have done this, most years I grow rocks and weeds better than anything else so I do hope I am rewarded for my industry this year. In the picture you can see that the tips of the garlic's leaves are yellow. I don't think this is the garlic dying back yet but that because there was so much rain this Spring the plants got a little stressed.
Rather than get too stressed I think I'll stop and smell the roses for a minute:
Both of our rose bushes are out right now and will be for at least one more week: the scent is heavenly and it is nice to have a reason to pause before going on to whatever job is calling you loudest.
Moving cattle, moving sheep. trimming sheep's feet, mowing, tedding, raking, baling, wrapping hay, weeding the garden, making jam, cutting beef, making sausage, paperwork, cooking for hungry crews, loading hay, piling it in the barns, maintenance and repair, and on and on. The days are full to the brim right now and often go on well after dark. But it's exciting too: all the work we started last Fall and this Spring are starting to come together and it's hard not to get excited as we look around us. Tomorrow I think I'll see if I can't find a quart ofstrawberries in the grass and make us a strawberry shortcake for supper.
Be kind to each other.