So many projects in the works, and of course now the blistering heat of summer hits us full force. We harvested a handful of our lovely turkeys today, and it went very well. These turkeys have been doted on for the last few months, every since they were little turkey babies (poults) in a box in our bathroom. We love the way turkeys are in the world, and we also love their delicious flavor. One turkey can go a long way in meals, as well.
The sun came out after the turkey harvest and we got our piglets moved to their new patch of grass to pig-a-till it up for us. They are always excited when they get moved on to a new patch of greenery. We were sweating like crazy after that so we have retreated to shadier spots for the day.
We are working on a DIY walk-in cooler concept, which will simply be a super-insulated small room off the house that we will install a air-conditioner in that will be attached to a device called a CoolBot which fools the air conditioner into running more often to keep the temps down. Hopefully this will work, as the budget grows our enthusiasm dwindles. The room is put together by a hybrid pole-framing method, which basically means it is impossible to work on in a sensible manner. Next time we will go the conventional stud-wall method. Progress report to come.
The pavilion is working as anticipated. We’ve held a number of classes in their and it has definitely allowed us to be comfortable in the shade, as well as have a pseudo-interior feeling to it so that we can feel protected from the elements. We also have a hammock hanging in there that we intend to utilize more frequently.
We’ve learned a lot about our soil conditions this spring, and are anxious for the fall so that we can began to amend the soil in preparation for winter and summer tilling. After much backbreaking work in our gardens, we’ve decided to utilize small machines, namely a rototiller, in order to prepare soil beds with compost. Our friend Angelica from Angelica’s Garden was kind enough to trade her old rototiller with us for some farm goods, it is in need of some repair so we are hoping to get it ready for some work as soon as possible. Our backs and hands will thank us, we know.
The main problems in most of our gardens is goldenrod and some grasses. Other weeds have been manageable to some degree, but the goldenrod is a wild escaped beast which will except no taming. We think our best bet is to rototill as much as possible, cover crop heavily, and plant densely until the soil conditions improve. But as of this moment we have large patches of goldenrod overtaking various vegetable rows, and we know it is a losing battle to weed them. Then the shovels come out and we turn over the whole row, then hoe the clumps, and rake repeatedly to smooth out the soil surface. We’ve learned that planting heavily with oats will crowd out the other grasses, and we do that now around seedlings, and then after the oats are about 4 or 5 inches high we pull them up by the roots and lay them around the plants as mulch. It works really good so far. We are also utilizing our first composted duck poop and straw from the hoophouse over the winter. It hasn’t really composted, but it is aged enough to not burn our small plants, so we have been using it with some success. Again, when the fall comes around, we plan on rototilling it into the soil to increase fertility, planting winter rye in some spots, perhaps around all the asparagus planting, to decrease weed competition.
In other perennial news we have planted Chinese Chestnut, Biomass Willow, Nanking Cherry, Serviceberry, Hazelnuts, English Walnut, as well as horseradish and rhubarb.
Life is very full. And also, last Tuesday we got married under an old oak tree out on our farm savannah. We are blessed to be living the dream out here!