Week 8: Horsefly Catcher

purple cabbage8

This week in the pack we expect to have:

edible podded peas; 2 bunches of carrots; salad mix; large basil; zucchini; a choice of dill or cilantro; cucumbers; garlic scapes; strawberries.

** Don’t forget this week we have an alternate pick up location for Victoria Park customers: 1187/5 Queen St around back.  It is on the corner of Queen and South.**

This week on the farm we were cleaning up after post tropical storm Arthur but we were very fortunate to get away with minor damage.  Some crops got thrashed around, part of the cattle shed blew off, a number of trees blew over or cracked, and the chicken coop window got blown out.

Coop window

Coop window

There were some very tense moments when we wondered if we should take the plastic off the hoop houses!  The crew had to make a few adjustments, but in the end, there was no damage.

Hoop houses after the storm and after mowing the buckwheat around them

Hoop houses after the storm and after Bruce mowed the buckwheat around them

We lost electricity on Saturday morning and got it back on Sunday around noon.  Somehow the cattle knew it was off and they decided bust through their electric fence to go wandering down the boat house road, and into the marsh.  I was happy for them, and they looked like they were enjoying their freedom, but by Sunday evening, I was worried they’d wander into someone else’s garden, or worse, into traffic.  So, I grabbed a bucket of grain and with David and Peter bringing up the rear, I called them.  My insane ‘here boss!!’ call.  They all appeared, and actually followed me back for about 1 km.  It sure saves a lot of work if they follow the call.

Cattle looking like they are swimming in the marsh grass

Cattle looking like they are swimming in the marsh grass

At one point, they got ahead of me, and I worried they’d go right on by their paddock and onto a road with cars.  Much to my surprise, they turned right into their paddock.  I sure like obedient bovines!!

I took this blurry photo while running after the cattle

I took this blurry photo while running after the cattle

This week was very special for two reasons:  David’s parents visited us from Boston, and Nona Fuller’s son Peter came to live at the farm for 4 days.  Peter fit right in with the crew and he worked really hard.  He’s going to come back for most of the summer and help out more.  Yay!!  What a delightful guy.

Bruce and Peter packing basil

Bruce and Peter packing basil

Peter's first harvest morning on Tuesday.  It was wet.

Peter’s first harvest morning on Tuesday. It was wet.

Peter disappearing in his t-shirt.  It happened a couple of times

Peter disappearing in his t-shirt. It happened a couple of times…

David’s parents told me that when he was a little kid, he would hang out in the kitchen with Danny, his father.  That’s where he learned to cook so well.  His mom, Hannah, also told me he didn’t really play with toys.  He just played with whatever was around him.  She said he played with beans on the floor a lot.

Now he likes to play with toys!!  I should say tools.  Like the tractor, tiller, thresher etc.  The newest one is the rotary power harrow.  Finally!  It is a special piece of gear that goes on the BCS and gets rid of weeds without pulverizing the soil like the tiller does.  We are really excited to use it on all the raised beds ready to plant.

Rotary power harro

Rotary power harrow

David is cleaning out the cattle shed and building a manure pile right now.  A fundamental operation for building soil fertility and tilth.  Here is Frank, the manure pile.  He’s probably grown since I took the photo.  Frank has a great view of the river.

Frank, the manure pile

Frank, the manure pile

We’ll cover Frank with a black tarp and he will shrink.  Little red wiggler worms will turn him into rich compost for next spring.

In general I like little critters.  But I really can’t say I like horseflies.  I don’t like the way they bite into us, and I don’t like their creepy green eyes.  So I’m in the chicken coop collecting eggs the other day and I notice one of the hens jumped up on the nesting box, which is tricky because it is slanted.  She makes her way up to the screened window and proceeds to consume about 15 horseflies in 3 seconds!  She waits around a bit longer, one more appears, she grabs it in her killer beak, and then she hops off.horseflyhunter

I also noticed in the evening that the hens will stand in the coop and kill mosquitos on its wall.  Tap tap tap tap tap.  Ecological pest eradication!

See you all soon!

Jen, David, Bruce, Marshall, Benjamin, Lori, Nadege, and Peter

 

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