Spelled r-o-o-f, pronounced [ruhf]

New for the CSA shares this week are bulb onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Hot off the vines. It must really be summer now, things are getting juicy.

The last of the plywood is up on the greenhouse roof and over the chicken coop. This upper section of roofing will get a tin shed sheeting over it, while the lower section of the roof will be polycarbonate, greenhouse window material. Having the roof split this way should help regulate temperature in the greenhouse. In the summer, when the sun is high in the sky, the light coming through the lower, polycarbonate greenhouse roof section should hit the floor of the greenhouse, but the back wall will be shaded by the upper section of roof. In the winter time, when the sun is low in the sky, light will shine in through the south wall and the lower section of the roof and hit the back wall. The wall will be a thick mass of cob (think adobe), which will serve as a heat sink and hopefully help keep things warmer during those short days/long nights. The straw bales in the north wall will serve as insulation. That’s the plan at any rate. If Jeremy grows a greenhouse like he grows lettuce: it will all come together wonderfully, especially with his father’s Mr. Miyagi insight, council, and skill. 

Here is a photo of the CSA share this week. And the newsletter is posted online here. It’s a hit. Featuring Cycle Farm adventures and anecdotes, including the Sad Story of the Hubbard Squash, How We Grow, and DIY Cucumber Fresca. Original illustrations. Free.

The sun has set and nearly all is well on the farm. Jeremy and his father have just now climbed down off the new greenhouse roof, [ruhf]. The chickens are all tucked up on roosts in their tractors, bellies full of Crow Peak’s porter spent grain. Two good farm dogs are passed out. I finished the CSA newsletter, but broke the camera (or maybe just the memory card?). It seems completely done for. This is almost as disappointing as the deer getting that gorgeous Blue Hubbard squash …but certainly not so disappointing as losing all the just-ripe grapes to the birds this past week; or hearing the kid stocking cantaloupes at the grocery store yesterday tell me that the Locally Grown signs are “just a marketing thing”, the produce actually “probably comes from Arizona or Colorado or someplace”; or having to bid farewell to the best little predator a farm could ask for: sweet, rabbit-eating, black cat Hogan. Ah well, camera schmamera – not such a let down after all. Whew.

Oh HEY! Everybody get ready! We’re having BREAKFAST IN BED at the farm. A weeding party: breakfast in the vegetable beds. We have lots of weeds, we need your help, and IT’S A PARTY! We’re getting smarter these days, in order to beat the heat we’re going to tackle the weeds early. This Saturday, August 11th, 7-11AM. We’ll provide coffee, tea, juice and delicious breakfast treats. (You don’t want to miss Jeremy’s coffee cake. So good.) If you’d like to bring snacks to share, please do! Bring your family. Bring your friends. Bring a date. There’s no fun like weeding. Especially when sharing time with friends and being serenaded by the sweet songs of a tractor full of young roosters and Jeremy on a zucchini flute. When was the last time you had breakfast in bed?  Hope to see you Saturday, give us a call if you have questions.

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Turn up the beets.

July is hot and furious on the farm. Wow. Things just keep getting more and more pretty. We’ve spotted our first little tomato fruits, broccoli heads, and squash blossoms.  And the blue corn is knee high, as they say.

The bees are constantly a source of smiles. Seeing them throughout the day, busily working on the mint and chicory, they are good farming companions. A couple days ago, as we were headed in at the end of the day, we noticed Anna Karenina sporting a thick, burly mountain man beard. All the bees seemed to be hanging out outside the hive, right by the entrance. They don’t usually do this. It was alarming until we realized the hive is just doing a little temperature regulation. Together the bees create a lot of heat. Think of the friction generated by thousands of little feet scurrying around and wings bzzing inside a small wooden box smack in the middle of the sun. Usually the inside of a hive is around 90-95 degrees F, which is optimal temperature for rearing brood. Worker bees will fan the hive and bring in droplets of water to regulate temperature and humidity, to keep things comfortable for their queen and babies. And when it’s just too hot, they’ll cluster outside the hive instead of heating things up inside. So smart.

We are Week Three into the CSA season. Here’s a photo of the farm share this week. 

Turn up the beets! Our CSA share this week included beet greens and baby beets, thinned from the beet rows. The beet greens are delicious. And absolutely gorgeous. Amy Goldman does those photo heavy books of really sexy vegetables like squash and tomatoes. She ought to write one on beets.

And to top it all off: the greenhouse is growing! Marcus, Jeremy’s diligent little brother, has been coming over nearly every day to help dig out post holes for greenhouse footings (thank you, Marc). On Tuesday a concrete truck came in and we set the pilings for the greenhouse pole-barn timbers (thank you, David and Kyle and Derek). We’re really excited about the greenhouse and we wrote a little bit about the design in the CSA newsletter here.

And finally, mark your calendars! We are having another WEEDING PARTY at the farm, next Saturday, July 14. From 9AM to noon, with a potluck lunch to follow. We have rows and rows of vegetables that need weeded, and we need more hands. It’s a great chance to catch up with friends, meet your neighbors, share ideas – it’s BIG FUN. If you can’t make it in the morning, please come to lunch, feast and visit with us at noon! We look forward to seeing you on the farm!

May 19, the afternoon in photos.

We checked in on the hives yesterday afternoon and managed to remember the camera – then I went trigger happy and took loads of shots of.. well, here you are, with brief descriptions.

Jeremy and Anna Karenina’s hive. A topbar with a full comb. Capped brood, brood (if you look closely at the comb in the lower photo, there are big, juicy white larvae – baby bees. Cuties), and honey (sparkly, top of the comb).

Fava bean flowers. Potato sprout, this one is an All Blue. Garlic about to get their scape on. What the field looks like these days. Grape vines are growing leafy.

Peeking under the hoops and row cover at newly planted lettuce, napa cabbage (with bok choi behind), and dinosaur kale.

Honey bee sipping water from the lettuce tray. Jeremy checking in on tomatoes. Chard.