Haying Season

We’ve finally reached one of my favorite times of the year: haying season.  I was a long time coming because of the rain, which has been messing with everything this year.  This has caused the fields to become overgrown and unruly.  One thing I most appreciate about hay cutting is the feeling I get when all the bales are being driven to the barn loft for stacking.  Looking back over the field, everything look so clean; together with smell of the baled hay, and you really have a rich feast for the senses.  .  I liken it to vacuuming your house or even getting your hair cut.  For just a little while, all is in order and you can sit back and appreciate.

Sylvia’s photo of front hayfield

We actually have a lot going on in the fields and pastures this year.  In our front hayfield we currently have 5 pigs who will be assisting us in working up the field.  If there’s one thing hogs like to do, it’s rutting in the ground.  Since we’re running out of space for produce, we need to utilize that field, which probably hasn’t seen anything other than bromegrass for about 20 years. I’ll first chisel plow the field and later we’ll let the pigs loose on it!  Nice thing is that they fertilize while they work.  Starting this spring we now have a family milk cow in the back pasture plus a calf – exciting because bovines are new to us.  Throw in the bees behind the barn and our small flock of sheep, there’s a whole lot of life going on out there!  Like the pigs working up the front field, the key to all these animals on a vegetable farm is that they integrate well into the operation to support the fertility of the fields so plants are healthy, and, in turn, the crops feed the animals.  It’s a beautiful thing.

In the box:
Basil: Please don’t refrigerate unless you like black basil.  There are two schools of thought to keep basil.    One, treat it like a flower; cut the end and put in a shallow vase.  Two, wrap in a damp paper towel and    keep in an open plastic bag to retain moisture.
French Breakfast Radishes
Snap Peas: These are edible pod peas, so don’t shell them, just eat them
Strawberries: These aren’t the prettiest of berries, but I think the flavor’s there.
Dino Kale: A nice dark green kale…my favorite which Mar will make into kale chips – great.  See recipe  below from Simply in Season
Zucchini Summer Squash
Green Onions
Green Leaf Lettuce
Kohlrabi: Funny looking bulb.  Many simply peel, slice, and eat raw…can be added to salads like a radish.

Savory Kale 
(page 203 for those with cookbook)
1 onion, thinly sliced: In a large frypan saute in 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat until brown and crisp, not just soft.  Remove to a serving dish. 
1 bunch of fresh kale or swiss chard: Stack leaves, roll together and slice about 1/4 inch thick.  Saute in frypan for 1 minute. 
Several tablespoon and 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste: Add, cover, reduce heat and steam until tender.  Add water as needed.  Kale cooks in 10-15 minutes; swiss chard cooks a bit faster.  When greens are tender, drain in colander.  Return onions to pan and heat to sizzling. 
1 T tomato paste: Add and stir.  When this mixture is hot, return the greens to the pan.  Mix, heat through, and serve.  

Disaster Strikes Again!

July 4th typically brings some fanfare…fireworks, that kind of stuff. This year I thought I would just get an interesting show of lightning as I
watched the bolts scrawl across the night sky on my driveway. But when I was sleepily moping my way down to feed the chickens just like I do every morning, I had a quite a surprise when I looked past the barn to our high tunnel all torn apart by high winds. This was soon followed by me kicking a couple feed buckets and words I won’t repeat here.

Although not the best development of the season, after I cool down, I always find the positive side.
1. The frame of the high tunnel didn’t get blown away or damaged.
2. No hail. Maree and I thought hail would be a real possibility when the front hit.
3. Generally the crops are looking good this year-that’s what matters. Even the plants in the high tunnel weren’t damaged.

I fully expect I can repair the plastic with greenhouse tape, a strong and clear tape used in situations just like these.

Otherwise the rest of the week was fairly normal. I did spend last night haying our few fields with my neighbors even though I really should have rather been picking peas for the box.  But when bales need to come in, they need to come in.  It’s all ok with me, regardless, since it’s a job I always love doing.  It’s one of the toughest jobs on a farm physically, but a person just feels good getting the bales stacked in the barn and nice and dry.  A person also sleeps really well too.  I told my neighbor Marv that I think anybody who currently needs sleeping pills for a good night’s rest find some baling party they could help out with.

In the box:
Mammoth Melting Snow Peas
Arugula: The ones that look like little oak leaves.
Packman Broccoli
Napa Cabbage aka Chinese Cabbage: I thought I’d throw in a recipe video (below)…you really can’t go wrong with this by sauteing it.  I like a basic recipe which is only cabbage, sugar, rice vinegar, and cayenne or red pepper flakes.
Green Onions
Red Sails Lettuce
Green Lettuce
Zucchini: Hey, first of the year.
Braising Mix (colorful bunch of greens): Some last week, but this stuff is “ready” and wouldn’t last another week.

Chinese/Napa Cabbage Video Recipe:

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