Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Farm Update: July 3

I haven't done a farm post in nearly two months. I have various excuses: rain, rain, and then a bit more rain. A wedding. The outrageous heat. But truthfully, I had energy for one blog, not two. There you have the unvarnished truth.

For future reference, here are a few stats:

*3 chicks survive from the May clutch. I think two are hens, but unsure still. They are nine weeks old today.
*Ethel is broody on four Ameracauna eggs, one week in. 
*It's a bad tomato year. I have about 25 plants in the garden, but the Mini Orange plants are performing badly because of excessive rain - rotten fruit. The 2 plants in pots with drainage did better.
*Matt's Wild Cherry tomato plants are doing okay. The 3 plants that overwintered on the porch have done extremely well. I should try that again. I had abundant cherry tomatoes all through June, which is early. The rope trellising is not a good solution for tomatoes. We need a new plan. Cages are too short for vining varieties.
*Cucumbers are bearing very well. The pickling variety turn yellow quickly. But the rope trellising is perfect for cucumbers. We will do that each year.

*I started my Blue Lake bean plants too late. I have 8 plants in a bed fenced against rabbits. Difficult to weed. Pepper plants also in there, and growing well.
*The greens bed was fabulous. We could not eat or sell even a majority of it.
*Babies' Breath and Chamomile did not grow well. Heavy rain destroyed the first and heat/weeds destroyed the second.
*Carrots appear to be growing well. No sign of orange root yet. I sowed seeds on March 29.
*A good year for onions, which were put in as sets last fall. At the end of June their tops were down enough to pull them. They're curing on the front porch. Then I think we'll store them in the frig.

* Each year our potato harvest improves. Adam harvested them today. He'll brush off the dirt and we'll store them in the spare bedroom.

*I've had decent farm sales at the market, selling nearly everything. 
*I have so much tomato sauce left over from last year that I'm cooking it down and turning it all into tomato paste, which Adam uses most readily in cooking.
Reduced by half, after simmering for a day

*We ate some peas this year, but did not freeze any. We don't tend to remember what's in the deep freezer, and garden produce sits there for a long time, uneaten. Need to improve on that.
* I made a batch of tea tree soap in February, one of lavender in March, and just made a mixed batch last week. I've steadily made batches of Healing Herb Ointment, Bee Balm, and Insect Repellent Lotion Bars, all of which sell well. I'll make a bit of ointment for ourselves today because we use it so often.
*Herb beds are doing very well, if weedy. I made a large batch of herbal tea (mint, lemon balm, tarragon, lemongrass), and sold the first tin of it at the market on Saturday.

*Adam's willow tree starts are doing extremely well. Thicker wands have grown better than thinner ones. 
*My seven loofah vines are looking very good. They won't bear until autumn. I sold almost all of my last year's loofah scrubs.

I think that's about it! If you want to know more about what's happening in our lives -- the roof, the wedding, the dogs -- skip on over to my other blog, Through a Glass Darkly. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Those potatoes look great. Nice to see the different colors.

  2. I have the opposite issue -- no rain. But that is "normal" for us, especially end of June and July. Your potatoes are beautiful. Which ointment do you use most at home? The Bee Balm is my favorite, but I'm about to do a plantain salve soon.

    1. Jody, I use the Bee Balm as my everyday lotion for healthy skin - twice daily as a facial moisturizer, and on any dry skin (like legs or feet).
      I make a "fancy" plantain salve/ointment with: plantain, yarrow, dandelion, olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, grapeseed oil, almond oil, ess. oils: tea tree, cedarwood, lemongrass, lavender. I sell that. It's AMAZING. I am shocked at how well it heals so many minor skin abrasions. It sells better than the Bee Balm now. It's intended for minor skin conditions: burns, scratches, ant or mosquito bites, irritation from gardening, poison ivy. Works best when applied immediately. It removes sting and pain.
      Yesterday I made a new batch for home, and decided to focus on the plantain, which (I think) is the healing ingredient. So -- only plantain and a bit of yarrow, infused into coconut oil, with beeswax added for solidity and a little tea tree oil. I applied some last night under a bandage on a spot that felt like poison ivy. Healed this morning :)

  3. Thanks for the update! Always interesting to see what y'all are accomplishing. I'd still like to try making some ointments, but I seem to have too many interests and not enough oomph, lol. I'll live vicariously through your blog for now. ;)

    1. Lisa, read my reply to Jody above. I think you could easily make that ointment for home, and for Micah. I bet she would love having some!

  4. Phew, I can see why you don't have time for writing blog posts. Your farm is so productive. I still remember when you moved in and started from scratch. Amazing.

  5. Wow, you must be so busy! So many harvests to deal with! Shame about the tomatoes that went rotten!


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