Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Farm Report 7-26-2018: Shake Your Tail Feathers and Show Me Your Melons!

The Farm Report 7-26-2018: Shake your tail feathers, and show me your melons!

Baby! Shake your tail feathers and show me your melons! Did I make you grin? The 5 new replacement recruites are growing like weeds. We think one, the little black one, is probably going to be a rooster. See his little tail feathers? Nobody else in the platoon has 'em. So.....

Meanwhile, out in the melon patch...the girl blossoms finally showed up, and we have little melons! We have musk melons - or cantaloupes if you're not from here - growing well hidden in the vines. The little Crimson Sweet watermelons are out in the open mostly. The musk melons are 'Papa's Melons' - a seed reportedly from my Great Grandfather Myron Inman's collection. We've grown 'em for generations and they are still unbeatable for flavor.

Up in the bee yard, things are looking a little 'needy' this year. Hive Number 2 pretty much says it all. Unlike the leaning tower of Pizza, we have straightened it up and hope for a better year next year. 

The mornings are now bringing what Joyce always called 'Chinese Mornings' because she thought the Walnut Creek Valley looked like the misty paintings on the walls in Chinese restaurants when the morning fogs settled in. A sign of the changing seasons. Time to pull the onions.

I've added this long shot of the onion row to make a point. Pretty gardens are for magazines. When things are ripening, and the seasons are beginning to grow whiskers, the garden doesn't look nice - but to be sure, it is still a productive patch!

And, we're still battling the dread Japanese Beetle. Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, among others, are often credited with the quote that 'History is just one damned thing after another.' Well so it is with the Japanese Beetles. One story about Bess Truman suggests that when a friend asked her if she could please get Harry to say 'fertilizer' instead of 'manure' she responded by telling her friend it had taken her 25 years to get him to say 'manure.' So when I saw the beetle damage on my sweet corn silks, I thought, Harry was right, it is indeed one thing after another. 

But when I saw the beetles on Joyce's Roses, I sure as the world didn't say, 'Aw fertilizer.' I didn't say, 'Aw manure,' either. 'Aw, $%&* !' is what I said. Out loud and on purpose. So I've turned in my Organic Farming card and resorted to the tried and true. You have to fight for everything out here - or you won't have anything.

O.J. assures me that it isn't good to be upset all the time. The world is still round, and all will be well in the end. Chad's flowers are doing great, and so am I. 'till next time...Try to remember to say 'fertilizer' - when it happens.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Farm Report 7-20-2018: We're Under Attack, But Still Growing

The Farm Report 7-20-2018: We're Under Attack, But Still Growing

The view from my shop window

Click this link to see the photos in the Google Photos Album

 It is gorgeous here at Oakdale Farm right now, as long as you can stay where it is cool. Here is a view from my shop window. Thursday last week was 105F. And what was I doing? Putting up hay, of course.The newly tassled 2d sweet corn planting looked like this just 2 weeks ago. Yes, I think you can hear corn grow at night in this weather.

But we are under attack! The Japanese Beetles have invaded. They have come 'not quietly like thieves in the night, but as raging hordes of cavalry!' They find the sweetest trees and fruit and swarm them like bees. Absolutely devastating....

Japanese beetles don't seem to like Persian Walnuts though. These trees began bearing nuts 2 years ago - after only 17 years of growing. They are beautiful trees. They are Carpathian Walnuts, sometimes called Persian Walnuts, or here in the USA, California or Christmas Walnuts. Can you find the nuts? They are hard to see. Unlike black walnuts which fall to the ground in their messy husks, these nuts will open up and fall free and clean this fall leaving the husks up in the trees. If I can get to the nuts before the squirrels ( a daily task ), they make wonderful 'pecan' pies and pastries.

So if it is too hot to be out, and it isn't time to make pecan pies, then it is time to make sausages! What do you use to smoke them with, I'm often asked? My Grandma Chlorus' favorite - good old Iowa corn cobs. If you've never tried it, tip your nose down from out of the sky and give it a go. I'll bet you never would guess how good they can be.

And for Martin especially, here is Zoey being passive/aggressive. Miss Kitty, the official shop cat, refused to use her new kitty basket. Zoey decided that if Miss Kitty didn't want it, SHE would sure use it-even if it was a little small. Of course, that made Miss Kitty jealous and she wanted it back. Watch the video to see what happens. Hint: Zoey ain't movin'. (You may have to go to Google Photos Album to see the video.)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Farm Report 7-12-2018 May We Order a Bucket of Chicken, please?

Here is the link to this week's farm photos. Click to see them.

May we order a bucket of chicken, please?

My good neighbor, Chris, brought a birthday present - 5 brand new little chicks to replace the lost tribe. Chris brought the new chicks over in an ice cream bucket - not a KFC bucket. It's OK.... Now the 'Two Henriettas' have a new paragraph in their job description: "Mamma Mia!" I think they are warming to the idea.

The bees are 'bearding' which probably means they want to take half the colony and the old queen and fly away to new digs. With this particular hive, I'm just fine with that. This queen lays aggressive feisty bees. Go! And populate the earth - someplace else. On another front, my pride and joy 1952 Henry Ford 8N has been throwing fits and needing hospital attention. And finally, here is Zoey. She always thinks it is safer to keep her frog between herself and the enemy - O.J. the cat.

The 'Michigan State' Carrot project is coming along nicely. The tall grassy stuff is oats. If you look down deep below, you can see the little baby carrots coming up. The oats are the 'nurse' crop. They have done their job, and it is now time for them to exit the stage. Fall carrots! Nothing sweeter. AND, the musk melons are beginning to bloom. These are all male flowers, but they will be there when the girl flowers show up. A lot like real life - the guys are always waiting around for the girls to get ready.... Just sayin'

And a year ago, this is what we saw from the front porch at Oakdale Farm. If you look at the cloud blowing up at the tip of the funnel, what you are really seeing is our neighbors house being blown to powdered bits. Nobody hurt, but WOW! So Carlos, if you're following this from Costa Rica, here is a real tornado, and 'NO' you do not want to experience one!

Weather is hottern' blazes, but as they say, 'There are very few cases of frostbite reported during hay season."