Friday, December 4, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 12/02/09

December already!

I don't know what's new at the farm; I've been on vacation. By looking out my window I'd say not much is new; in the fields anyways. The warm weather this fall has allowed the fall cover crops to grow more than they would usually. Several crops that I thought may have been planted too late look good as we approach winter.

One bad thing about this warm weather is the fact that ticks are still out and about. We don't treat our dogs with flea and tick killer so finding them is nearly a daily event. Peggy is really good at pulling them off completely and destroying them by incineration or sending them into that whirlpool the flush makes. The hens and the guineas get most of them off the lawns but I think the dogs pick them up in the tall grass next to the pond. One good freeze and they'll be just a memory until next spring. Next year I think I'll increase my guinea flock, from the current five to twenty five or so. That should help keep the numbers down some. Keeping guineas is an acquired taste.

Lots of rain last week and it's a good thing we had so many cover crops planted and growing. On my weekly walk around the farm, I saw little evidence of soil erosion. There is lots of standing water in some of the fields, but that's to be expected with all the rain we've had lately. And the pond is full; all the water we used in fall frost protection has been replaced.

The field work is done for this season; a season we are all anxious to put behind us. Weeds, weather, insects, critters and diseases are all things we can relax about now. Not forget, but relax. Part of successful farming is always keeping these issues in mind and thinking about them throughout the off season. We'll definitely have plans in place for next season for unexpected surprises like late blight. And what plans can we make now for the possibility of a late blight issue next season? The biggest plan we can make is to leave spray rows. And the second biggest plan is to plant our tomato productions in fields closer to home; that will save us some travel time. This year we had to put them in fields we could get on as we had very wet conditions and had to jockey crop locations around a bit.

We've got time to do a few more projects outside as the weather has been warm and the ground is still not frozen. We cut some bushes a couple of weeks ago and still need to pick up the brush. We've got a popular tree broken nearly off and perched to land on our new deer fence; we'll have to get rid of that one today. There are some more branches to trim; they seem to reach out and whack the tractor mufflers. With some mufflers costing over five hundred bucks trimming them back can save us some major money.

The pumpkins are melting nicely in the field now. After repeated freezing and thawing they melt; they rot and flatten out. In the spring they're just like Frisbees. The turkeys and squirrels will spend the bulk of the winter digging them up to glean the seeds. I hope this helps them to survive through the winter; it seems like such a waste to waste them. To many people leaving crops in the field seems like a waste of resources, but after many years I've come to realize we're not wasting the resources but rather recycling them. The nutrients simply get recycled back into the field season after season.

Until next week, Brian

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