Friday, September 23, 2011

The Roselle is blooming!  I've been drying bunches of it.
It's the first year the Roselle has survived long enough to produce anything.  And it really has survived.  I haven't watered it at all since the rest of the summer garden died back, I think in late July.  And then when the animals were in I had put up a strand of non-zappy electric netting fence to keep everyone off the Roselle and just eating the weedy old garden.  But guess where we found Miss May's head stuck every single day they were in there?

Every day we would come out and hear a miserable "Maaaaah!" and see May stuck, once again, in the netting around the Roselle, surrounded by luscious green things to eat on the outside of the netting, but determined only to entirely devour the forbidden plants.  (She's lucky it wasn't electrified!)

One day she peed for nearly 5 minutes after we had struggled to free her little empty head from the layers of fence, I guess she hadn't been able to all day while she was stuck.  You'd think she would have learned, but no.  Weeks later we put the animals back in just for one day because of a crazy fencing problem we were having, and sure enough, May was stuck again.  She managed to strip a bunch of the plants, but they came back and are blooming, along with the unscathed ones.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dent Corn

 This was the dent corn harvest.  It's not the loveliest corn.  I think it needed to be in larger blocks, away from the sprinklers and needed more calcium...and is it boron that is important for the kernals?  I can't remember.  This year we grew Blue Jade, Strawberry Popcorn (the cute little red ears at the top right), Oaxacan Green Dent, Daymon Morgan's Kentucky Butcher corn....and I think that was it.  Memories of the summer garden are fading fast.  And then there's the massive Attack Zucchini on the left.  They look like jewels in the light.  I was hoping to grind them and make corn bread, etc, but unfortunately a scourge of weevils came into our house on some brown top millet and cow pea seeds I had bought from Alachua County Feed and Seed.  (We call it Alachua County Toxic Exposure)   I was shocked that weevils could survive the atmosphere of ACTE, where stacks of pesticides are kept handy by the register, but that probably means they're Super Weevils and are immune to everything.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Fortress

Mirin and Rose spontaneously made a hobbit hole in the mulch pile the other day.  They've been playing in it ever since.  

They even used fence posts and made a roof.  They later piled more mulch on top.
It was a little snug, but a respectable shelter nonetheless, especially for a 6 and 3 year old to design and build themselves.  I agree with Ethan that it was a better shelter than anything we saw built at the Earth Skills gathering at Finca Mycol.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Toadstools and Fairy Rings

The rains have brought the fairy rings dancing all over the pastures!  I really want to re-name the farm Fairy Ring Farm, but Ethan thinks it's cheesy.  I've never quite liked Fox Grape Farm.  It was just the only name we could agree on.  Generally I liked to think of magical-type names and Ethan liked good and sensible (boring) names.  Fox Grape Farm reminds me of the story of the fox and the grapes, but the fox never got the grapes, and I am definitely in this to get the grapes.

It reminds me, I MUST set-up the garden oyster mushroom kit I had bought from Fungi Perfecti ages ago before it croaks.  Some day (when I have more time) I want to learn how to grow all sorts of mushrooms.
( Rose also thought they looked like boobies).

More Cucumbers, More Melons

 I promise that I'm running out of vegetable pictures.  I just think they're so pretty, I can't help posting them.

This is some of the Blue Jade corn.  It's a little dwarf corn that only gets about knee-high, and the cobs are only about four inches tall, but they're so cute and pretty....and they also were decently sweet and tasty--better than the neglected Golden Bantam, that's for sure.

And more melons!  I'm convinced you just can't have too many melons.

I wish I could have painted this.  Maybe next year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mid-summer Harvest

Again, these pictures were taken months ago (maybe in November I can post the photos I just took of our baby winter garden!).  That was a very good watermelon, I remember.  In the foreground is a Silverline melon, next to a Collective Farm Woman Melon.  Behind that is a single Ice Cream melon, with lots of the Golden Jenny melons.  Mmmm....I miss the melons.  I need to find a better way to plant them.  Every year the weeds take over and I lose melons because I can't find them.

This was one of the pumpkin harvests.  Lots of little lemon squash still, although these were too old to really eat.  The Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins were heavenly.  I still have one, although it's looking a bit old.  The Black Futsu pumpkins were a bit disappointing.  They were so tiny, and I guess they kind of tasted like hazelnuts, but not enough to be worth it.  I think they didn't like Florida, either.  The salmon pink warty pumpkins are the gorgeous Galeux Des Eysines ( I hope I spelled it right).  They are one of my favorite pumpkins.  I made the "Squash Cooked in a Light Broth" recipe with them from this book for when we were studying the Mayans for home school.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet Corn

We did get sweet corn again this year, mostly the Country Gentleman.  It's shoepeg corn, so the kernels are not arranged in rows.  It was nice and sweet.  The Golden Bantam corn, unfortunately, I picked too late and it was chewy and not so good.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Tomatoes

These were the tomatoes from the last big tomato harvest, probably in June.  Tomatoes are kind of a pain to grow--they must be started so early and coddled through the cold of the late winter and early spring, and then all sorts of things like to eat them, but I think it's worth it.  They are so lovely.  I was dreaming of huge, beautiful harvest of lots of different kinds and colors of heirloom tomatoes ever since we started growing things out at the farm.

I had planted Matt's Wild Cherry again this year.  I do like it, but next year I'd like to try a different red cherry tomato.  Matt's are so small, they are hard to pick.  No one wanted to help me pick them, because it's pretty tedious.  The Beam's Yellow Pear tomatoes are a different story, however.  Everyone liked picking those.  

This weekend we are putting in our winter garden.  The summer garden seems so far away now, and I have even forgotten exactly what kinds of tomatoes these all are.  I have the names of all the brassicas and sweet peas we are planting in my thoughts instead.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mirin and May

As ornery as she may be, Mirin has decided that May is his goat.  (She is tied to the tree in the photo because back when we were keeping Paisley she would rip through the electric fencing and run along to eat all the food in the milking stand before Paisley or I could get there, the little devil).  While she's certainly not the brains of the operation (that would be Ellie), she is a dear little goat and still doesn't mind being picked up and snuggled.  Mirin is hoping to be in charge of milking her after her first kid(s).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Geranium's Surprise July Baby

I promise I would have posted much, much sooner, except that Ethan had all the photos on his phone, and it apparently takes two months to remember to put them on the computer (ahem).

When we bought Ms. Geranium, she was supposedly bred to calve in April. However, she had been transported first from Vermont to Wisconsin, and then after a few months was transported to Florida (That's a lot of travelling for a mama cow). When I wrote to her original owner, he was worried she had miscarried during her travels. I had no idea if she was pregnant or not, since she is a rather wide cow to begin with, and I don't know how to palpate to see if they are pregnant (I honestly don't think Geranium would have stood for that, anyway).

April rolled around, and the baby failed to appear. We kept on expecting through May, because there is a 20-day window in which a mama cow could calve. Into June, however, we had lost hope and were talking about having her bred in the fall. Then, suddenly, very close to the 4th of July, a new baby magically appeared. Ethan was the first one to see him. It was one of those very rare days when I was not out at the farm (of course), so I missed it.
He was small, but has grown fast. We began calling him Sebastian, but after getting to know him better, Ethan now refers to him as "Meat-head." He had to carry him (twice) out to pasture because the little booger wouldn't just follow the herd (or his mom). And he was peed on, so I can't really blame him.