It’s been a while. Lots to catch up on. Here are photos.
We had a Weeding and Wine Party at the farm a few weekends ago. Such a treat to have the time with friends, in the cool of the evening, together tackling the bindweed and Malbec. Somethings are most efficiently and enjoyably addressed with friends – and the potatoes look so good. Thank you for your help!
The potatoes are now hilled and the beans are trellised. We’re using straw mulch and grass bits to hill the potatoes. The beans in the front are all dry beans (Hidatsa Shield Figure, Bolita, and Jacob’s Cattle), only the Hidatsa’s are on trellises. Like a giant jubilant harp, the bean trellis is tuned to play in a major key. This took some time.
An update on the bees: We just lost Lolita, our remaining hive from last year. The queen had been laying poorly for a while and we were watching the hive numbers grow fewer and fewer. We checked in on the hive last week, there was no queen, no eggs/brood, and only very few bees in the hive. We chose not to try and merge the hive with another because there were so few bees and the health of the hive seemed so poor – we didn’t want to possibly introduce problems to another hive. It is absolutely no fun losing bees.
We have two active hives now, Pygmalion and Bertha Mason – both swarms caught this year. Bertha Mason is the newest hive. She’s named after the wild, violent, insane, beast of a lady who was locked up high in the tower in the novel Jane Eyre. Collecting this swarm was a challenge, and we had thought for a while that we didn’t have the queen (maybe she fell out of the tower to her death – just like in the book?) – but it turns out they are doing alright. There is a queen, growing brood nest, and the ladies are collecting pollen. Pygmalion is also doing fantastically.
Here’s a photo of the propolis in Pygmalion’s hive (we’ve been getting questions about propolis a lot at the farmers market). The bees collect propolis from pine trees – it’s not pine pollen, but pine sap. It’s the sticky goo a pine tree uses to help protect itself from burrowing insects. The bees collect it and use it in their hive to help keep themselves healthy and safe. It’s full of good things.
This year, the early CSA season has been pretty challenging (disappointing, stressful) for us. Due to the cool spring and hail, we’ve been working hard to fill in meager shares, trying to be resourceful. Early on we grew alfalfa sprouts, included jars of honey, and harvested wild spinach (delicious and ever-so good for you, but so absurdly time intensive, no wonder it’s not a cultivar). Our CSA members are being very gracious and are learning to love parsley. We are learning better how to manage the greenhouse space for early season crops. Here are some photos from these past few CSA pick-up days and links to CSA newsletters. June 27 CSA newsletter. Hail, Pygmalion, and garlic scapes.
July 4th, CSA Newsletter. Harper’s Index of Cycle Farm.
July 11, CSA newsletter. The heat sets in and new potatoes, parsley chutney.
July 18th, CSA newsletter, in which we discuss the merits of our weeds. Quick note: CSA members have been coming by to pick up their shares by bike (and on foot!), this is absolutely the most lovely thing.
July 25 CSA Newsletter, chard chiffonade, a white lady bug, and rhizosphere adorations.
Sweet mama guinea hen, Annette Hanshaw, hatched her chicks last week. It’s not exactly the darling, sparkly-eyed Disney cartoon story that I maybe expected. It’s more of the shark attack, National Geographic, Texas chainsaw story. Gruesome. We have a fence up now around mama and her lil’ ones – to protect them from the chickens.
Fruit set on the trees is promising. Pears! We’ve been delivering farm foods to an excellent restaurant in town, Killian’s Tavern. Radish especially enjoys her delivery duties. Please treat yourself to some delicious Spearfish Valley terroir at Killian’s. They support local farms. And bicycles. We are employing the basket weave technique for trellising the tomatoes this year. It’s working well. The calendula harvest is a go. The new herb bed is glorious and delicious.