Saturday, May 29, 2010
I don't know if you know it or not, but we are farmers. Sure, we are sophisticated urban types, but we are farmers nonetheless. (You did see my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek when I wrote of my sophistication, didn't you? I AM of course, but I work very hard to not overwhelm you with it on a daily basis.) In fact, we are currently working our collective buttocks off growing hay.
This is an arduous task involving making sure there is enough water on a regular basis. Our needs in this area have been met through rainfall, so our dancing has paid off. We must also wait for it to grow and not mow it down. This, too has been done. It might sound easy, but our place really looks better mowed and we don't get nearly as many ticks embedded in our flesh and that of our new puppy when the grass is low. This is an unpleasant thing to find on yourself and removing them from others is also unpleasant, so we don't cut at a great sacrifice. Now we are waiting for a local farmer to cut and bale it for us. This is nerve wracking as he has to cut it at the right time and we have no control over his coming, so a lot of stress for us.
In addition to growing hay, we are also engaged in growing blackberries. When we first moved here, there was so much growth everywhere it was hard to see what we had. We spent a considerable amount of time clearing and now we have to keep it up. We are waiting to see that which is to be hay and then we will cut the rest, EXCEPT where there are stream beds running through our property. There doesn't seem to be any water in these beds, but there ARE tons of blackberry bushes. Not the nice plump berries you see in the market. Ours are the wild kind with thorns and bugs and a bazillion seeds. But they STILL make a great jam. I didn't make any last year, but I am going to THIS year.
Now, those are the crops we have currently. In addition to these that we have in abundance, we have just planted a veggie garden. I would like to extend it, but it may not be worth the work. It is completely fenced and we don't have a problem with deer and rabbits, so the existing fence determines the size of our garden. We just planted tomatoes, basil, yellow squash, zucchini, rosemary and mint. The mint is for mojitos!
We have our small orchard, too. Unfortunately one tree was a victim of peach leaf curl, due to my negligence. The times I should have sprayed we were too snowed in to think of it and then spring came and I got busy with other things. So nothing there for another year. We would only have had a few anyway as it is still growing, but there were 10 or so small peaches that will not be. Next year, as God is my witness, I won't forget to spray!
I am unhappy with the state of our blueberries. The guy from Gross' Orchard, where we buy our plants, said to put sulphur on them and we did. We have a few berries, but not a lot of foliage, so I guess we will wait another season or two for them, too. I may have used too much compost, but it is old and the soil where we planted them is so rocky, thought it would be OK.
We have a few apples growing and that should be fun. All of our trees are young, so we can't expect too much of a crop for a few more years. I would plant a lot more, but each tree has to be fenced to keep the deer off and then we have to mow around them and round up inside the fence line, so we will stop with what we have and see what we get in a few years.
I don't suppose our 10 fruit trees will be a crop that we can sell, but I can make pies and jam and that is what I want them for. I would like to cut more hay and have a pick-your-own blackberry farm, but that is for the future. I'll keep you informed of the progress on that front.
Our current best crop is the compost, or processed hay, we get from the horses. It is the source of any success we might have with any of our other "crops"!
My wonderful daughter-in-law told me about another "cash crop" I am considering. It is called Air BnB and users sign up to have a spare room or house or even castle (assuming you HAVE a spare castle, which I currently do not) be listed for travelers to book a room, etc. and if you like them you can have visitors come and pay you as though you are an established bed and breakfast. It sounds fun and I am going to look into the notion. A "farmstay" in the country! Any thoughts or suggestions?