Day before yesterday I started cutting the grass in the orchard and was very nearly eaten alive by sand flies. I was surprised at how dry the field is despite our cooler temperatures and the rain we have had -- the most I've seen since we moved here. Anyway, I was really happy to see how well the trees are doing. Most of the hazelnuts are hanging in there, too. I'll have to re-order native plums though next year, and I think instead of pushing the native juneberries, I'll buy some cultivated varieties. I'm looking forward to getting the grafted plum trees from St. Lawrence Nursey this Fall.
Yesterday, I was so sore from getting back into the field that I stayed in the house and canned peaches. Then, this morning I got up before dawn and canned peach butter, cranberry sauce, and cherry jam. Then I took care of Lara and headed out to the field where I finished cutting the orchard grass and started cutting the hay outside the fence. I did that for most of the day until I got some wire wrapped around the mower blade. After that I decided to call it quits for the day. We are supposed to get rain tomorrow so I'll wait and see what the weather is like before I decide what to do. I would like to weed the garden -- it desperately needs to be weeded -- and spray everything with Liquid Fence. The potatoes need to be hilled, too. The deer have chewed my beans down to almost nothing. Most of what I have is in the high tunnel.
I do plan to be at the farmers market in Phillips on Saturday. I will have Wong Bok Chinese cabbage, some Forellenschuss lettuce, Bull's Blood Beet greens, spearmint, catnip, St. Valery carrots, curly leafed parsley, Genovese basil, and rhubarb. I am going to check the garlic and see how that looks. Beyond that, I am waiting for everything else to simply grow. Everything is just sitting in the ground; I've never seen anything like it.
I have decided to stop killing myself. I am going to build at least three 5' x 20' raised bed garden boxes that I will double cover a la Eliot Coleman ( and put them in back of the house where I can keep an eye on them and be able to give everything enough water. Out in the field I will extend the orchard. The section in front of the high tunnel will be for hops. There will still be enough room left over to pasture either chickens or pigs if I want. The fruit bushes that I moved in front of the house are doing much better, and I will need to get bird netting if I want to have any fruit as the birds have all followed the fruits' move from the field.
I am tired, but I don't mind working hard. I am learning a lot. I am confident I will find a successful gardening method. I have to say I am disappointed in the poor germination of a lot of my seeds this year. I think I will try purchasing seed from some different suppliers next year. I'll try to take some pictures for you tomorrow.
Here's a link to the Eliot Coleman article I referred to earlier: http://mofga.org/Default.aspx?tabid=833. If you click on the title to this post you should be transferred to the MOFGA web site.