Week 27, 2020｜Kristin Kimball ｜July 3, 2020
You want the good news or the bad news? Bad first, to get it out of the way. The rain missed us almost entirely. That’s the way it goes with these spotty summer storms. Just across the lake in Hinesburg they got an inch and a half yesterday. Even three miles away on Jersey Street they got a measurable soaking. And Monkton VT, less than fifteen miles from here as the crow flies, got hammered with five inches of rain. So the good news? We’re not Monkton. Also, the plants here are still making it, and, with the exception of the potatoes, still look quite good. Here’s to healthy soil and early planting. There’s rain in the long range forecast, so we have something to wish for. The hay fields and pastures are stalled out, no regrowth to speak of, yields at 50% of average. We have 500 bales of the 2000 we need to get through winter. I’m so grateful for the oat/pea cover crop, which fed dairy cows for a while and is feeding the sheep now, before we turn it under with the new speed tiller to feed the soil. The field peas are filling out now and the oats are heading in most sections of the field. It’s been fascinating to watch what the sheep go for first when I move them to a new paddock in the morning, because their favorite bit changes so quickly, as nutrients shift in different parts of the plants. Lately they go right for the peas, which make a satisfying popping sound when they bite them, making a sunrise chorus of munching and popping.
We are in transition from leaf to fruit. The tenderness of spring is hardening, a concentration of sunshine. The summer squash is coming along, the tomatoes are fruiting but still green. Meals are such a pleasure now because the best thing you can do to food this good is get out of its way. No forethought? No problem. Send a knife through that head of cold crispy iceberg lettuce and throw it on the table. Raid the fresh herbs, use them with abandon. I’ve been loving all the leafy greens, alternating daily between kale and collard, sometimes treating them as a main course when cooked with hunks of pork belly or ground lamb and loads of chopped garlic scapes. And of course the strawberries. We made some jam last weekend and now I wake up thinking about my daily treat: a little dish of sour cream drizzled with strawberry jam.
We are waging the annual battle against the crows for possession of the sweet corn crop. The outcome is uncertain, but so far we’re winning. There is an unusually strong and bold hawk picking off laying hens and pullets, sometimes feasting on them inside the fence, sometimes dropping them on the side of Middle Road where they advertise our failure to every passer by. We have no guard dog to put in with them right now and the guard geese aren’t enough. Still looking for an adult LGD that is ready to work and also some pups to start. Word in the region is that there are fewer coyotes than usual this year, but more foxes.
Three cheers to the Animal Team for getting the first batch of piglets castrated yesterday. It can be a stressful job, but they had a good plan, and it was well executed. We had another litter born yesterday, as well as a pretty Jersey heifer from our dairy cow, Wiley. We are on the hunt for a four wheel drive farm truck that is road worthy, so please get in touch with any leads. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this strange 27th week of 2020. Happy Independence Day and find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on the web and on insta at essexfarmcsa, kristinxkimball and farmerkimball or on the farm from a safe distance, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball