If there’s one thing I’ve learned in farming it’s to always be grateful. Things come and go on farms with nowhere near fair warning, if you always focus on what you just lost you’d go insane. When your barn falls down, be happy that no one was in it. When you lose a horse, be amazed by the network of teamsters who call with their condolences and offers of help. Who knew this lost art wasn’t so lost after all? I was so pleased on Monday when I weeded the summer squash and found zucchinis growing, finger sized still, but amazingly on schedule in this wet, cool year. A surprise arrival. Tuesday however greeted us with a deceased pig. No positive verdict on the cause, the vet’s best guess is a selenium deficiency, a chronic problem in the soils of this region that causes a nutritional imbalance in some animals. The good news is that the other pigs have remained healthy and no further problems have be seen.
By 5:30 Wednesday morning a potentially disastrous problem silenced the farm. The overly wet clay soils this year had started to slide out from under the barn we’ve been working on, causing the front wall to drop in elevation and threatening to collapse the entire building. We seemed to all move in silence, as though a loud word might cause the last bit of clay to slide out from under the wall. Peter Gucker was here with his team all yesterday, working with James and my dad to dig, form and pour concrete piers and footers. Work is on-going today with help from Jeff Scott and Kevin Shaw. There is a lot to be done, and many days to wait, until the building is stabilized. While they continue to focus underground, I look to the sky, praying that the gathering grey clouds continue to pass us by.
I am so grateful to have Tyler and Emily here. The three of us can hold down the farm, chipping away at whatever cultivation, soil prep and planting can be done in the wet soil. They tackle all of the animal chores, freeing up James to concentrate on the barn work. The three of us made the hard decision to postpone the farm dinner and tour, the mood seemed a bit too somber to celebrate the bounty of the land. Since James is 100% occupied with the barn, he wouldn’t be able to attend the tour and give a wagon ride. We will be on for next Thursday though, same place and plan. If anyone would like to help out with the dinner please let me know this evening. We’ll still provide the food, but some deviled egg makers or salad tossers would go a long way in helping to get the event together. Likewise, please let me know if your RSVP has changed with the date.
In the veggie share this week: beet greens, basil, lettuce heads, lettuce mix, strawberries, rhubarb, bunching onions, kale, garlic scapes, potatoes, celeriac, black and white beans. Next week: Beets, Turnips and Pac Choi. The carrots are sizing up nicely, they’re a good half inch in diameter by now and the zucs are coming.
In the meat share: pork and chickens. Lard and leaf are always available.
Please fight the urge and steer clear of the bank barn tonight as the soils are touchy and the workers are working.
See you all this evening between 4 and 6.
Full and By Farm
Essex, New York
- Full and By Farm, June 23, 2011 (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm in Essex, New York (essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Haying with Draft Horses at Full and By Farm (rosslynredux.com)
- How would you describe Essex, NY? (essexonlakechamplain.com)