Our garden is finished, and man, oh man, is it productive! We've eaten a few zucchini and heads of cauliflower already, and lots of lettuce. We currently have three ginormous broccoli awaiting picking and a pile of zucchini and yellow summer squash on the kitchen counter awaiting processing (mmm, zucchini bread!!). The dahlias my mother-in-law gave me are almost ready to bloom, and we have tomatoes on every plant. The winter squash have started setting fruit, too. Our beets are almost about ready to pull and process. Yay!
The garden hasn't been without issue, though. We've had a problem with cabbage aphids in the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. The Brussels sprouts are growing well and I'm not terribly concerned, but the cauliflower has been a pain. Nothing says "ick" like raising a forkful of steamed cauli up to your mouth and seeing a bunch of previously hidden, dead brown aphids. Soaking the heads in strong salt water does help, but it's not getting every last aphid. I bought some neem oil to spray, but even though the label says safe to use up to harvest day, Paul's skeptical. We've only got a few of the 12 cauliflowers left before that bed is emptied. We really need to start thinking about success crops or cover crops, because our summer veggies will probably peak quickly, and even though summer has FINALLY arrived (93 yesterday, 90 today, in the 80s most of the week), we awoke to a heavy ground fog this morning, so I know fall is right around the corner. (As an aside, it's amazing how quickly formerly gorgeous petunia baskets can look pathetic, isn't it? Ugh.) We're also not loving the evening watering chores...next year we hope to get water to that side of our property and install drip irrigation and/or soaker hoses to make life easier.
On the farm front, our newest female Highland, BEM Xaralyn ("Sara"), was confirmed bred via Biotracking and is coming home this morning! She was AI'd 67 days ago to a lovely dun bull named LEA Raleigh from LEA-White Farms in Michigan. The pictures of his daughters make me drool!! Sara should calve around March 4th, giving us our third calf of the season after a very, very long dry spell. The rest of the herd has been delightfully peaceful. Paul helped clean out the creek and fix the fences so Roxy, Xoe and the steers could go to the hay field by the road. We plan to repair fences across the driveway in his main hayfield so we can let them over there, too. That land hasn't had animals (or fertilizer) on it for several years and could really use it. The boys are looking good. They're scheduled to go to the butcher on September 29th. (If you're local and looking for beef, we only have two quarters left!)
Summer chores have been put on hold, but some things - like replacement of our rotting (and ugly as sin) pump house - are starting to feel urgent, because we know winter will be here before we know it. (It was in poor condition when we bought this place in 2008, and hasn't been helped by our first calf T-Bone's remodeling [a.k.a. punching holes in the sides] and a wicked, windy winter storm that ripped part of the tin roof off. It's a hot mess.) I've given up on the weeds in the flower beds and driveway (they got too much of a head start), but I've got plans for next year! (I'm also trying to get ahold of a woman who organizes an amazing permaculture-for-home-gardeners project to see if she'll come down to Tenino, so there may be bigger plans in the making!) Other than that, there are fences to replace, some home winterizing to undertake...sometimes the list seems overwhelming. Repainting the barn (or adding metal siding) will have to wait for another year, and so will getting power and water out to the barn. Oh, well.
It's been one heck of a year, one that we do not ever want to feel the likes of again. Here's to moving forward...
|We got our hay in...|
|An amazing evening sky...|