I am a hermit. I probably have always been a hermit but how we live now exaggerates my hermit like tendency to a new level. Before the CSA started I was maybe seeing 4 or 5 people a week at most. And that was usually all in one go. And one of those people was Meadow. If I could handle having long hair and a bushy beard I’m sure I would quickly slip even further down the hermit pass. Now with deliveries I’m upping my interactions to maybe 6 or 7 people. But the real bump in my numbers just happened to start the same week as the CSA. Every thursday after I make the drop off in Rutland I head over to Giorgetti park and interact with maybe 20 people. After its over I head back up the hill to rekindle my hermit vibe for another week.
We have sent off more than half of the piglets to their new homes. And the rest will hopefully be picked up by the end of the week. It will be nice when they are all off and we will have once less group to manage. Having so many different ropes pulling in different directions certainly is the hardest part of the spring for us. All sorts of baby animals, vegetables that need starting, ground that needs prepping, tree and bushes that need planting and others that need to be cut down and moved to open up more land. With the piglets gone there will be one less tug and that will free up a little time to manage the other ropes that may have been dropped, misplaced or outright ignored. Usually by late June everything starts to come together and we manage to focus on single tasks much more efficiently.
Speaking of making life easier we have moved to milking everybody once a day. And man does it make life much easier. Being able to both be away in the afternoon/evening is a real game changer. The cows still produce a lot of milk. Each one gave a little over 5 gallons of milk today. 10 gallons is enough for all our piggy and personal needs. And soon the calves will be weaned off the milk and there will be extra milk freed up to keep our piggies nice and chunky.
Next week we are renting a bulldozer to speed along some field clearing. The animals have been doing a great job but there are some stumps and old logs that have to get cleared out to make room for new plantings and pasture. If we have enough time there are two pond spots that we would really like to put in while it is here. Having more water storage in different spots on the farm will open up a lot of possibilities for moving the animals around and will give us a chance to capture more water when we get these heavy rains that seem to be happening more often. Besides the functionality of the ponds the ascetic landscape they create is hard to beat.
We had some pesky bugs show up on our tomato and eggplants a few weeks ago and needed to take care of them before their little bites became vectors of disease. The plants that were still in pots got a hit of very diluted soapy water. This coats them and stops them from being able to exchange air and the kick the bucket. The stuff planted in the greenhouse didn’t get this treatment because I didn’t want to hit our beneficial insect buddies with the stuff. So we had to wait it out a little bit but our first batch of predators arrived in the mail a few days ago. We have two different white fly and aphid predators that come in eggs ready to pop. Once they hatch they start feeding on the juvenile form of our pests. For the next three weeks we will get a new shipment of the eggs. As long as there are a small population of pests left over they predators will be able to keep on breeding. Its a strange thing to think about. We don’t want to complete eliminate the problem because that will eliminate our predators. But a small amount of pests isn’t a problem. Its healthy and it makes for healthier food because we don’t use harsh chemicals that nuke every living creature in the soil. The good guys help get food to the plants and help protect them from other diseases and fungus that would love to take over.
This is one of the over arching themes of the farm. Striking a balance between the good the bad and the short term and long term. It is sometimes hard to fight the urge to try to save our short term goals like tomatoes that have a disease that could be slowed with a fungicide. The fungicide doesn’t care if its a good guy or a bad guy. It just kills. And unfortunately the bad guys tend to come back faster. The long term problems that doing something like that is just not worth it. With healthy soil critters brings healthy soil and that leads to healthy plants and healthy people.