Sunday, August 09, 2009

Loon Days and Marsh Walk

Tom, Ed and I took some time on the 5th and went to our local craft show called Loon Days. Loon Days is actually a very well known, large annual out door craft show held in Mercer, Wisconsin during the first week of August. We didn't get to the show until about 1:30 p.m. because of various chores, and fortunately the crowd wasn't bad. I overheard one woman telling another that earlier in the morning you could hardly move for the people. People from all over come to Loon Days and the number of visitors range between 8-10,000. It's fun to watch for the different state license plates. Many of the crafted offerings are made by local artisans. I bought a five pound jug of honey for $18, and I found a Siamese Percussion Frog -- I call them "Money Frogs" because of the frog's association with wealth and good fortune in Asian beliefs -- so I bought one of those. It's not very big but it sounds like the cricket frogs in our marshes. A nice stress reliever.

I've been catching up on house cleaning so haven't been out in the field. I still need to finish pulling the thistles out of the beans. I was supposed to go to the farmers market yesterday because there was the Farm to Chef presentation, but the Bulls Blood Beet greens I was going to donate to the event got eaten by the deer. It doesn't pay to weed because the minute you do, the critters go and eat your stuff. It's so very depressing. The chickens ate my herb garden -- it looks like a desert -- and the good veggies in the garden boxes behind the house, and the plants in the high tunnel, while there, just are not producing anything yet. The only bright spot this year is the eggs now coming in from the layers and the way the free-range chickens tastes. I have to seriously re-think the way I do things here. There is nothing wrong with my farm plan, it's how I execute the farm enterprises that needs re-thinking. My lack of infrastructure is also a major problem. I hate the idea of building fences around every bit of garden space, but it looks like that is what I am going to have to do.

Tom and I walked out to the little lake in the big marsh to try and get an idea of its size before we call the Aquaculture Agent for our region. We would like to put fish in the lake and want to find out what all is required to do so. Anyway, the lake is around 100+ feet long and about 60 feet wide. I didn't realize it was that big. You should see the unusual plants in that marsh. I have never seen plants like these! It was almost like walking in an alien landscape. I would sure like to find out what some of those plants are. There were tiny delicate bright red mushrooms with creamy white gills and stems, heathers, wild cranberries, and these really strange red flowers right near the water's edge. Lots of red and pink colors. When you walked on the marsh, you sank down into the vegetative mat; it was like walking on a sponge. There were no grasses. I spotted a wild bee hive in one of the mounds, and I was very careful of where I stepped because I was so afraid of falling through the mat and into water. The only signs of disturbance in the marsh were our footsteps. Where critters don't walk, I don't want to walk, either! I would like to build a floating deck from the back of the house that would reach the lake. That way impact on the marsh would be minimal. We'll see what the consult says. It would be nice to go in our back yard and catch supper!

The berries are finally starting to come. I picked a quart of raspberries already, and I even got a half pint of red currants from my berry knoll. There were a few black currants, as well, though those plants are recovering from the bear coming though last year. Something got most of the gooseberries already, but at least there were a few. Too bad there wasn't enough to sell. No blackberries or elderberries yet. What's weird is that the leaves on the trees are noticably starting to turn to their Fall colors and we never really had a summer. It has been a strange year.

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