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The Heat Wave of 2012, Firstfruits, and More

The Heat Wave of 2012 – As I’m sure everyone as noticed, it’s been a little hot outside.  We’ve cleared 100 for three days now, with another likely tomorrow and mid- to high-90s throughout the week.  Yesterday and Friday, they tied the record for hottest temperature on record at RDU of 105.  Obviously, temperatures like this aren’t good on a lot of counts.  First, it makes it a little tough to get much work done during the meat of the day.  It’s hot for anyone, but my Pennsylvanian/German blood wasn’t made to see 105.  Secondly, most of the vegetables we’re growing, even though they’re summer crops, can only take heat to a certain extent.  Tomatoes and many other vegetables won’t set fruit at temperatures this high.  The upside of having everything be late this year is that a lot of things aren’t in bloom yet.  But that doesn’t mean that another heat wave won’t be right around the corner.  Finally, the chickens…chickens, like dogs, don’t sweat.  They regulate their body temperature through panting, drinking, and lifting/flapping their wings.  For that reason, our #1 priority and duty for the last few days has been keeping all of our chickens alive.  We’ve been trying to spray down the dirt in their shaded areas and give them fresh, cool water in their drinkers every two hours.  We’ve also gotten two box fans, one for each flock.  Unfortunately, we’ve had two casualties.  We found one of our young flock dead on Friday morning, before the brutal heat fully set in.  We’re not sure if the heat was the cause or if it was something random.  Today, we lost McFly, one of our backyard laying flock who we’ve had since last year.  We also had to scramble to implement emergency measures to save two of the other backyard girls who were behaving very strangely and obviously not coping with the heat too well.  Losing any animals is not fun, but the loss of one of our backyard flock is tough.  Those girls are more pets to us than they are farm animals, and with only six of them, we have gotten to know their individual personalities quite well.  Today was a decidedly bad day.  Rest your chicken soul, McFly…

Firstfruits – On a more positive note, over the last week, we’ve gathered our first (small) harvests of tomatoes and potatoes.  The tomatoes are an early variety from Burpee that yield small red fruits ranging from about twice the size of a golf ball to baseball size.  Some of the Amish Paste tomatoes are coloring up, so they should be just around the corner.  Amish Paste are a roma- or paste-type tomato.  They are ideal for saucing, as they have a higher ratio of flesh to seeds.  The flavor is fantastic and they work for anything else you would like to use them for in addition to sauce.  We had planted a large number of Amish Pastes because we love using them for sauce so much, but we lost many in our showdown with early blight.  Hopefully we’ll still have enough to share.  The other heirloom varieties (Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Kellogg’s Breakfast) have green fruits but we’re several weeks out from them being ready.   In the potato department, we’ve got some red-skinned, white-fleshed potatoes dug and more ready to be dug soon.  Soon after those, we have four other varieties that will be coming up:  German Butterball (brown skin, yellow flesh), Yukon Gold (brown skin, yellow flesh), Mountain Rose (red skin, red flesh), and All Blue (blue skin, blue flesh).  My original plan was to have red, white, and blue potatoes ready for 4th of July potato salad.  We’ll likely be a bit late for the Fourth, but hey, isn’t any day a good day for red, white, and blue potato salad?  All of the potato varieties are delicious and the reds and blues are neat because they keep their color really well during cooking.  Some colored potatoes will dull to a drab grey after cooking, but these come out just about as bright as when they are raw, making for some colorful cooking.

Orders – With out vegetables now yielding, we’re only a short time away from selling the fruits of our labor!  We’re anticipating being able to offer some potatoes and tomatoes for the week after 4th of July.  We will also have some other things available in small quantities (basil, garlic).  The squash, cucumbers, beans, and peppers are still a ways away, but you can look forward to them by late July or early August.  The way order will work for now is this…we will send out an email at the beginning of the week with what we have available.  You can place your order by replying to the email and we will arrange a pickup time and place.

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Oh, Lord, won't you buy me, a Mercedes Henz.... Love it! Great work you guys are doing. Can't wait to see the farm.

Blessings! Jim

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Melnyk

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