Late summer bounty

Garlic is harvested. Onions are harvested. The potatoes are coming in. We have been using herbs and kale all summer. The beekeeper has taken off the supers for the first round. The yellow summer squash are hard to keep up with.

We picked green beans, peppers, and squash today. I dug some of the russet potatoes. The beekeeper dropped off some honey when he took off the supers on Tuesday.

We picked green beans, peppers, and squash today. I dug onions and some of the russet potatoes. The beekeeper dropped off some honey when he took off the supers on Tuesday.

We had too much rain in June, however, and so we were a little lucky to get a decent garden crop.

This photo of my garden from upstairs in the house shows my PV array and the garden beds. The area between the beds is full of water from the excess rain we've had. As of today, August 10, that array has produced 1.44 mWh of power in 2014.

This photo of my garden from upstairs in the house shows my PV array and the garden beds. The area between the beds was full of water from the excess rain we had up to June 30. As of today, August 10, that 6-panel array has produced 1.44 mWh of power in 2014.

 

Weather is probably the biggest uncertainty in agriculture. Farmers everywhere in the world watch the skies daily and listen to the weather forecasts since their livelihoods are dependent on the sun, the wind, and the rain. One way to have some control in this situation where farmers are at the mercy of mother nature, is to increase pollination by bringing in more pollinators. That is the reason for honeybees (and the fact that we get a sweet product from them). On August 5 the beekeeper came by to check the hives and take off the honey in the supers. While honeybees do not benefit all crops, they do benefit from some. I have even seen honeybees on soybean flowers 1/2 mile away from the hives this summer (honeybees regularly work up to 2 miles from their hives and can go further). We started in April with 20 hives, later on two went bad so we were at 18 hives for June and July. Now I see that we are at 16 hives since August 5. The hives have either swarmed and moved away or weakened and died out.

Beekeepers are working my hives on August 5. They took off the honey-laden supers and left the hives to continue making some honey over the next month or so. The beekeeper's main objective, in addition to making honey, is to have strong hives that he can take to California in the winter to pollinate the almond groves.

Beekeepers are working my hives on August 5. They took off the honey-laden supers and left the hives to continue making some honey over the next month or so. The beekeeper’s main objective, in addition to making honey, is to have strong hives that he can take to California in the winter to pollinate the almond groves.

Zucchini and tomato salad

zucchini tomato saladThis is basically a Jacques Pépin recipe, from his book “Fast Food My Way!”

2 or 3 5-7″ zucchini

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, oregano or cilantro

olive oil, lemon juice

optional: pablano pepper, diced; 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, diced; red, green or yellow bell pepper, diced

With a vegetable peeler shave the zucchini in thin slices the long way. When you get to the seedy center, pivot the zucchini and shave the other sides. Throw out the seedy center. Put shavings in a non reactive bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Add the rest of the ingredients. Toss together and serve. Serves two.

You will not believe how good this tastes, and it was ready in 5 minutes. There is no reason to serve zucchini any other way. Of course Jacques has a recipe for zucchini and tomato gratin that I want to try.

 

Smells wonderful, looks pretty good too

bee working on apple blossomsThe applLilacs bloominge, pears, peach and cherry trees are blooming now. As well as the lilacs. It is all pretty amazing considering we had snow 2 weeks ago.  Do you see the bee on the white apple blossom?

The bees have arrived

bee hives May 11 2013Twelve bee hives were delivered to our farm last night. It is a little chilly and windy for the bees today, but the sun has been shining and I’m sure they’ve found all the dandelions and cherry blossoms. The apple and peach trees are just about to burst into flower — so the bees are here at the perfect time to pollinate them. We will have the bee hives all summer. It is fun to watch the bees come and go. They drink water, and it is fun to see them at the sheep waterer, or at any bowl of water that we leave out for them.

Snow on May 2, 2013

Garlic in the snow on May 2, 2013

The garlic is looking a little cold in the snow!

Our garlic is hardy, but this is ridiculous!

A welcome sign of spring

A beautiful crocus blooming outside our front door.

A beautiful crocus blooming outside our front door is a welcome sign of spring. It is amazing that such a beautiful flower is so hardy — it will bloom even before the snow melts!

You can’t help but smile when you see this crocus blooming, even when it is 40°F and should be 63°F!

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rain gauges, one isn’t enough!

2.1 inches of rain

The farm rain gauge showing 2.1 inches of rain. The farm rain gauge is 1/2 mile from the house, but often the rain amounts are different between the two locations.

Our farm got some very welcome rain this past week. This was the first good, soaking rain we’ve had since July 2012.

We have two rain gauges – one at the farm – and one at the house. The farm is only 1/2 mile away, but as you can see it can make a difference! The rain gauge at the farm is showing 2.1 inches and at the house we had 1.9.

It is all welcome!

Rain gauge at the house showing 1.9 inches of rain.

The rain gauge at the house shows 1.9 inches of rain after 4 days of very welcome on and off rain in early April.

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