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I can’t seem to manage any more than once-a-month blog post.  A big part of this is that my computer and it’s uploading style is so slow; indeed, this initial post will be photo-less until I add the pictures at a later point. A larger part, however, is that time just seems to slip away.  Even now in October, the late, slower season of market gardening, my days are full and I have little desire to sit and type for more than a few emails.  Overall, I’m not sure how farm blogging really fits in to my style.  This will be one subject to muse further –and perhaps act–on as the season slows and changes to winter. Deciding how to move forward with media, and with which platforms, will be decisions that I anticipate making this winter. Maybe I’m just a FFBer (a farming facebooker—and I’m not talking about farmville). But I spend enough time meta-farming as it is, considering I write a once-weekly newsletter for my CSA subscribers. Keeping up with email, blog, facebook, and newslettering is a lot.

So what’s been happening this past month?  I am most excited about progress on a few infrastructure-type projects on the farm. I am expanding the existing ‘seedling greenhouse’ to double the workable space, improve solar gain and retention, and generally be more effective and effecient resource for me early season.  My friend and excellent carpenter Dave Swanson has been doing the work, which includes a lot of thinking-on-the-fly to properly install twin-wall polycarb roofing and other elements. In the last days the final structure has really come to life, so to speak. I got to help with the rafter and roof-panel installation; got to learn how to use a nail-gun (must say, am still happier with a hammer); got to monkey around on a splippery steep surface by climbing up the nails; got to glean a bit more of carpentry knowledge.  We are now just waiting on an extra roofing panel since dummy-kat ordered one too few, and then the sleek solarific roof will be complete.  Then trim and clabbording, and interior insulation, the installation and fine-tuning of climate-control units (fans, louvres, and back-up propane heat), and it’ll be ship-shape.

The other project completed is the creation of a stone/gravel pad the length of the Eastern side of the barn, which will be someday-home to the wash-and-pack shed: a lean-to built off the side of the exisiting barn. I’d like to get the boards for it off of the property’s woodlot; maybe I’ll harvest enough pine this winter to be able to get a neighbor (yes, there are more than one with capacity to hand-mill logs here) to mill them for and with me. The end result will be an awesome facility for all things post-harvest, out of sun and rain, and also a great storage spot for wintertime: implements, tractor, tools, and supplies.  All this will be even more valuable when the barn is fully transformed into an animal space, so as to have a seperate storage space for produce and farm products. But who knows how soon all of it will come to be….

A coyote is yipping in the lower woodlot.  It’s been a regular occurance of late, the last two weeks I’d say.  Probably has roots in a mini-chicken massacre night in which I lost 5 henny-pennies all in one raid. Since then I’ve spotted Wiley in the lower fields, in neighbor’s fields, and –most brazenly– in the middle of the main vegetble plot, a few hundred feet from the fence lines, at noon.  Poe and I made a good time of that one, sneaking up on him as close as possible, then jumping out from behind a row of corn and giving him chase through the field into the woods.  It was exhilirating for all of us. I don’t worry about a single coyote too much. What does concern me is if they starting ‘packing up’, for then the sheep become target.  Makes me want to get a shotgun, if only to fire warning shots; or makes me want to get one of those big white fluffy guard dogs, so unlike the Poe dog I have, who would certainly NOT be content sleeping outside under the stars with the sheep.  He prefers the couch.

There was also an awesome rainbow event a few weeks ago. Full arching double rainbow type thing. Plus super spotlighting in front of Ragged Mountain. Images will begin to do it justice, once I get them up.

And now I am sputtering out of posting-motivation, and would rather be in bed.  But first to put away the pesto and baba ganouj I made away. My freezer is almost full for winter!  A lot of chicken and even more veggies.  tick tock.

Since one of the two mountains that this farm gets its name from is Mt. Kearsarge, you bet I consider myself to be in the Kearsarge Area!   Two Mountain Farm will be at the Farmers’ Markets on Thursday the 16th and Saturday the 18th.   Hope to meet you there!

For more information about this great eat local week, go to www.warner.lib.nh.us

Farm Day

Our Farm Day celebration  on Sunday August 15 was a success! Probably because we got a circus tent.

Preparations started with some cooking, including the baking of this monster loaf of bread (as big as my torso, remarked one!) Tables hauled and set, and decorated with flowers-what else!? Poe  dog was really tuckered out from all the work. Next year I’ll  shorten his to-do list.

   

Folks began arriving mid-afternoon, and the fun began! With adults, it’s all about relaxation and good conversation, preferably in comfortable chairs. For the ‘youth’, it’s about stilts,  giant bubbles, and swinging on the hammock and playing tag and generally romping around barefoot.

   

Some adults stretched the boundaries, by constructing a scarecrow, or playing music!

After the farm tour was held (see the excruciating details on the video posted on Two Mountain Farm’s facebook page), everyone got down to feasting. I think there were over 60 people that gathered to celebrate Two Mountain Farm’s  5th growing season!  It was so great to have so many customers, friends, CSA members, and neighbors join in the festivities!

Aside from that bag of doritoes (ahem!), the spread of potluck dishes was downright phenomenal. I was so busy eating (three trips!) that I didn’t take any photos of the sit-down meal, where all chatted and got good and full.

   

This great foursome is in the midst of some serious grubbing.

After supper, some went home and some stayed to enjoy the evening, and the music. 

 

After it all, I was left with a good bit of clean up, and some wonderful garden scare-crows:

  

THANKS FOR COMING TO FARM DAY!  HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!!

August

Finally today, some meaningful rain…multiple hours of it, slow and steady. Good timing, too, because it’s a Sunday and there’s nothing like a day ‘off’ coupled with relaxing, calming, slow-you down, cozifying (new word) rain and a low, grey cloud ceiling. I was thinking this morning, as I put up these wonderful peaches for the freezer, where did August go???

And what was August like, anyway, since I’ve been so absent from this farming blog (almost a month, really….sorry!)? Well, aside from being really nice and summery, complete with awesome sunsets which, when making bouquets in the barn at 830 on a Friday night, are really great to step outside to, August was a lot of water anxiety.

 [subtext: the remaining and original post, which took me about 30 minutes to write, just got *poofed* away by the mysterious internet-connections fairy (GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR), so here is the abreviated version:

Dug Well = Dry . No Water. Haul it in trailer. Hand water. Fun.

Dry.  Planning for future water security = dig artesian well, maybe this fall or next spring.  Successions not taking, like this slow cover crop:

Things wilting. Dying. Dust. Chickens in Dust:

   

Lay eggs despite dust. Cool birds.  Even second rooster, Auracana discovered. Kee ker e kee ! = awkward chicken + puberty.

Below: not slip–n-slide;  prep for more things, raspberries or strawberries not sure

Tomatoes this year: YAY. wish i had planted some varieties in succession, they are so prolific. Lunches have been enjoyable. homemade bread + mayo + heirloom tomato = happy.

peppers funny = heat stress in early july = no blossom/fruit set on upper half of  very vigorous plants. just NOW putting new flowers out, they won’t get very far, esp if my hunch about fall and the other f word (for farmers/gardeners) is right…)

potatoes awful due to lack of consistant water, and potato bugs. everything else, decent.

 

Flowers always decent, especially in simple summary of buckets in cart, better than finished bouquets or in vase, I think.  And to bookend, another lovely august evening sky. oh august!

  

The clouds, and weather in general lately, have been amazing. Here’s a sample:

This is the new location for Wednesday Market. It’s a community space in the front part of the Gross Family’s barn and workshop.  It allows me to set up most of my stuff inside, in the shade, which is just awesome. Also comes in handy when it rains.  Overflow things go outdoors, and there are other vendors, like Huntoon Farm’s dangerously delicious baked goods, Cardigan SoapWorks products, and crafts from the Cilleyville Crafters Co-op.

Wednesday is also when CSA folks pick up their bounty. This was last week (Thanks J for modeling!!):

    

Slip-sliding away…

OK wow, where are these days going!?! I refuse to let an entire month lapse between farm posts, and so here is a hasty one.  Most of these pictures are quite dated, ie. everything is bigger and wilder and there are red tomatoes and flowers everywhere. At the beginning of the month I was prepping for a July 3rd wedding, which was mostly great and fun, except for the vases from hell. There were 6 of these suckers among the other lovely, tall table-top vases. The opening to these were so narrow you could only fit 4 or 5 stems of things in them—rediculous. Luckily, there were enough of the other arrangements that these didn’t stick out like sore thumbs, except to me (note to self for future wedding work where I get to attend the ceremony and reception: just because I am fixating for the entire evening on the length of the groom’s boutonniere stem and how “horrible” it looks, doesn’t mean anyone else gives a hoot).  I hope to share images of the finished arrangements sometime soon. For a peak at the bridal bouquet, go to ARS MAGNA photography site and scroll down to the sneak shot of the July 3rd D & J wedding. 

 

So the wedding happened and I was exhausted and then it got blazing hot. We should also note that it hasn’t rained much here all spring and early summer. A week of hot and dry with temps in the mid- and upper- 90s was rough. The well that I irrigate out of dried up.  I chewed my fingernails and considered finding some old used fire-tanker truck and pumping in water. Most plants held on; the lettuce bolted. The good thing is that this hot streak happened when most successions had become well established and vigorous. If the heat came in the first week of june when many seedlings get transplanted out, it would’ve had more severe consequences.

 

It finally rained, first a ‘taste’ last saturday, and then for real on tuesday night, when we got almost 2 inches. The well is back. The squash are going bonkers. More than tripled in size than the picture above

  

It’s been a great raspberry year. Yum.    The Araucanas (sp?) have started to lay their blue eggs.

Tomatoes in the hoophouse are ripening—will bring the first slicers to market this saturday.  Field cherry tomatoes aren’t far behind. 

 

 Bees are happy in cover-crop buckwheat. They are building out comb, gathering pollen, honey, making new bees—all that good bee stuff.  Oh, and a bear got into one of the top-bar hives. Grrrr.

      

  

On Monday (i worked sunday instead)I went to the ocean for a mental health day with good friends. Oh so restorative.

The battle of the weeds continues. Weedwacking, hand weeding, mulching = keeping up with most of it.  I want to make a DIY flame weeder.

Sleep!