Monday, June 20, 2011

Back in the thick of things

   I made it back, 1000 miles there and 1000 miles back, through the jungles of the Atlanta airport and the fields of destruction in dry dry Georgia. I have to say that my vacation was WONDERFUL and I had a great time with my mom. South Georgia farmers are really suffering with the dry weather down there.
   Their little fields of corn are crisping up, big areas of fields are toasted. And the cotton was looking spindly. But they were harvesting cabbages and the tomatoes were coming close to picking time. We picked up some really delicious white peaches and blueberries at the farm store along the road. I also saw fields of squash that were looking pretty good. They do irrigate a lot of areas so that helps. It made me glad that we have had enough rain here.

Dry fields

Cabbages coming to town

What I love about GA - tall pines, blue skies, fluffly clouds

   Before I left, on Sunday May 29, Surprise had her baby calf. A boy. We got to watch the whole birthing, took her about 45 minutes total. And he is doing really good now. Will decided to milk Surprise (three times a day) and feed the little guy using a bottle so he is friendly. I have to say that Will is doing an excellent job at it and I'm really glad it is him and not me. The name? Hey Bud. At least that is what Will calls him. We aren't naming him as he will be food for us next year.

Surprise encouraging Bud to stand
   His big sister Dini was not happy. She is two years old now and we'll try to breed her in another month. She stood around and watched the birthing, was very calm, but later she tried to push him around. We separated her from them with a single fence. After a few days Will put Surprise and Dini back on pasture and now brings Surprise up to the barn to milk. Dini bawls like a baby until Surprise comes back.

Dini not looking too thrilled with the whole thing
   With all the rain we are having (a few times a week) we are having to start a large weeding regime. We try to weed a few hundred up to a thousand feet of crops every day. Some days we get it done, some we don't. Yesterday we cleaned out the east hoophouse and replanted both of them. It took all day. Now they contain everything from peppers, cucumbers, mini cucs, herbs, bulb fennel, greens and tomatoes. A squirrel got in and nipped off all but five of our rare peppers - I have yet to catch the bugger! - so we replanted peppers and put crates over them until they are too big to munch off.
   On Saturday we had our Chef friend Deb from Frontera Grill/Topolobampo come for a donation luncheon. Deb runs the test kitchen at Frontera and we had donated a "tour of Spence Farm with lunch from Frontera" for the Frontera Farmer Foundation last year. The Frontera Farmer Foundation is a not-for-profit that gives grants to small farmers for capital improvements, helping them get on their feet the first couple of years or helping with special projects.
   We had recieved a grant for Will's syrup business start up and also one for the Iroquois White corn project. Our way of giving back for all they do for small farmers is to donate a day on the farm for their auction. It usually brings in an okay amount for them.
   Deb made delicious meals...absolutely blow out delicious! We had two visitors come for the tour and luncheon and we all had a great time. I have to say thanks to Deb for all her hard work, thanks to the people who support the Farmer Foundation with their purchase of the package at the auction, and thanks to the Frontera Farmer Foundation for all they are doing to help small farmers! to do chores and harvest for the Wednesday deliveries.