Friday, June 26, 2015

Change in Plans

Oh, the predictably unpredictable life of farming.

We won't be selling our (delicious) chicken at the farmer's market this year due to licensing requirements.  It's long and complicated, and I see the reason behind it, but we aren't big enough farmers to eat the cost of the license right now.  Maybe in a year or two.

Our onion crop is nearly a total loss.  Between the baby, the warm spring, the wet May, and our other projects, we don't have much to show for all the onions we planted.  Hey, it happens.

The potato crop currently stands at 240 pounds, split equally between red and white potatoes.  This may be our best crop ever, despite the weeds.  I spent two early, early mornings digging on my own, as the wee ones can't be trusted out at Purgatory Ranch yet.

Purgatory Ranch will probably be allowed to lie fallow next year.  Getting out there to weed has been nearly impossible this year, and we must spend our time as best we can.  Maybe, when the babies are bigger, we will return, but for now we must reduce.

Strawberries are growing, but slowly.  The heat has slowed down the formation of berries.  The new strawberry bed is planted, drip hose laid, and mulched.

All our long term projects have taken serious time away from the current garden.  The above new strawberry bed as well as 50 new grape vines will pay off in the future, but this year, we are simply behind.

I also forget that no matter how lovely our baby is, between her mobility and needs and her brother's developmental issues (a story for another day), we are behind.  I can't tackle my usual projects, which leaves more for James, and he can only do so much, as heroic as he is.

Garlic leaves are browning, so it's time to gather in that harvest as well.  I hope it does not disappoint.

This probably reads as a long, drawn out complaint, but I don't mean to complain.  We have been blessed abundantly by our Creator this year, as in past years.  There will be plenty of produce to gather; and we are all healthy; and our farm is just changing!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


The first harvest of any food is always so exciting to me.  With the rain and my other work these past two weeks, I haven't been in the rows looking for food.  This morning, it struck me that harvest would arrive soon, so I moseyed along and discovered these beauties!  Called Eight Ball Zucchinis, these small round zucchini are perfect for one or in a vegetable medley.  There are many more to come.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Farm Life

When the rain stopped, the heat rolled in.  After days of sweltering 90+ degree highs, the deep cracks have already reappeared.  I am not made for the heat.  My face turns bright red, I sweat profusely, and I can't drink enough water.

The June-bearing strawberries have pretty well concluded their season.  We had a successful first year offering pick-your-own, which was lovely.  Another 400 plants have been planted and hooked up to the watering system on a plot of the neighbor's land.

James managed to plant 50 grape vines, and only five show no signs of grown.  That's fabulous, given that we planted in the worst of the clay mess and days of rain.  Now most of the posts are up and only a few still need cement.  Next will be the wire and strings.  All in good time.

James has also tackled the weeding of the main bed and refilled where the corn didn't come up.  Thanks a lot, pantry moths.  I despise pantry moths.  We'll plant sorghum for the chickena and see if we can provide some winter snacks for them.

I think we'll skip radishes and beet next year.  We don't eat them, and we're not ready for market in June. We might skip the greens too, as I'm the only salad eater.

I can't remember if I mentioned our bush sweet cherry harvest was over in one day.  The cherries were small, probably due to the dry, unusually warm spring.  Our kids and friends picked all the cherries and enjoyed every last one of them.  It was beautiful!

Our chickens have really ramped up egg production.  We gathered 25 eggs, including one from Soup in her new coop.  The pullers should begin laying in late June or early July.

The meat chickens arrived a week late back in April, so they weren't big enough by the butcher date of June 2.  This reality makes me slightly sick to my stomach, as the massive amount of feed required each day clogs up the barn and is hard to obtain.  What's up with no chicken feed in the stores?  The meat chicks will be gone on Tuesday, so not much longer.

Laundry, spilled milk, books, and chaos fill our days.  The weeds are growing to race the crops, but we're up for the challenge!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.