Monday, July 20, 2015


    This last weekend Jess and I took a break from the farm for a few days and went down to Seed Savers Exchange just outside Decorah Iowa. If you are not familiar with Seed Savers Exchange it is first and foremost an organization dedicated to allowing gardeners and farmers to preserve heritage varieties of plants. The do this first by establishing an exchange where members can exchange seeds of heirloom varieties of plants. They also offer catalog sales of some of these varieties as well. I encourage you to get to know them and become a member.

    They have an annual camp out and conference at the amazing farm in Decorah. They have a number of speakers every year as well as seminars relating to many aspects of small farming and homesteading. This year I attended sessions on cider making,garlic types,isolation structures and perennial plant propagation.I plan to talk more in depth about these in future posts.
Jess was particularly impressed with her lectures on preserving food via fermentation and solar drying as well as a talk about Mohawk native food traditions.
We both came home excited to put our new knowledge into action.

   First thing to do when we got back to the farm was to see how well the plants and animals had done while we were away. I first went into the corn field as I knew it was going to have grown quite a bit in the heat. I wasn't ready for it to be quite so tall. I am 6ft tall in boots and i can not touch many of the tassels if I stand in the garden. Some plants appear to be pushing 10ft!

I then checked on the orchard to see if we had any damage from the storms over the weekend. I did see that many of the apricots were ripe and that some had fallen from the wind. I gathered the fallen fruits up and brought them to the pigs.

The pigs have grown so quickly this summer that it can be a bit overwhelming even if you just don't see them for a few days. They loved the apricots and apples. And I am sure it will improve their flavor. They really are starting to get to a size where you can envision how the meat is shaping up and look forward to meat on the table and yet also feel the slight sadness that their last day on the farm will bring.
In the garden everything has gone a bit wild. July heat and plentiful rain has lead to things running each other over. The big dogs of the garden have taken to pushing the little ens about. Cucumbers have begun to colonize ground in earnest. The climbing beans have reached the top of their trellis and are attempting to take to the sky. Sadly the weeds are likewise making a play for domination.

So back to the weeding and the tending.
I still have a fair amount of wood to split and stack in the pole barn as well as everything else as well. But for now at least I am refreshed and inspired again.

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