Week 30, 2020｜Kristin Kimball ｜July 24, 2020
Three meager tenths of an inch of rain over the last seven days. Vegetables would prefer an inch per week, but still, on a normal year, three tenths would be an acceptable amount. This year? Didn’t even settle the dust. The pastures are stalled, the clover blown, the timothy stabby. There are yet some nice surprises. Long Pasture, which is often too wet to graze, is carpeted with one of my favorite forage plants, birdsfoot trefoil, a legume that is high in protein, won’t cause bloat and is thought to reduce parasite loads. Like all legumes, it fixes nitrogen in the soil. This farm and other farms in the area once produced birdsfoot trefoil seed for market. I love to see that the seed is still in our seed bank, and the plant still in the farm’s long term memory, filling in its niche when conditions allow. The dairy cows are grazing it now, so you can thank the trefoil when you drink your milk this week.
Dry as it is, Mark’s opinion as of this morning was to hold off on buying irrigation equipment, at least for now. It’s a big investment and we don’t have a water source that is large and secure enough to reliably feed it. And the soil, against all odds, is still holding water at root depth, the fall crops still growing. Next week, we might have a different answer, but for now, we will continue to watch the sky and hope.
Evan and I had our annual dairy cow and sheep health meeting this week with Dr. Roger Ellis, the New York State Veterinarian, and our farm vet, Dr. Martha Jackson, who has taken over for Dr. Goldwasser for large animals. Much as we miss seeing Dr. Goldwasser we know how lucky we are to have Dr. Jackson. She has fielded more than her fair share of questions from me this year about sheep! I love this yearly chance to nerd out on the subjects nobody else (except Evan) likes to talk with me about.
Jane will be learning about milking goats for the next two weeks, down the road at Echo Farm. Despite the fact that we raise nearly every species of livestock except goats (or maybe because of it?) these are the animals that intrigue and delight her. The single goat we have in the sheep flock isn’t doing it for her. She has been strategically peppering our conversations with goat facts, leaves cute goat pictures on my computer, and wrote a listicle about why she needs a dairy goat of her own. I’m grateful to Echo Farm’s Dillon, Taylor and Kirsten for mentoring her.
Thanks so much, local members, for pulling back on prepack share requests. It helps a lot and we all really appreciate it, especially as the quantity of produce ramps up. Now, a new request for everyone. Apparently we find ourselves in a national glass jar shortage. The Ball jars we use are back ordered. Maybe everyone has decided to take up canning now that they’ve let their pandemic sourdough cultures die? In any case, please please return all your glass every week so we can fill it up for you again. The shortage of half gallons is particularly dire. It looks like it’s going to be tight for a while and we will need every jar. Also, local members, please be mindful of one another as you pick up your food. One of our members has been locked in the Distro 1 trailer twice by fellow members who were diligent about closing the door and forgot she was in there.
And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this still-dry 30th week of 2020. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Insta at essexfarmcsa (farm), farmerkimball (Mark) and kristinxkimball (me), or on the farm from a distance, any day but Sunday.