The activity at the farm continues with a flurry of plantings going on. In the past week, we have planted and transplanted many crops into the field including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons and several crops in the Brassica family. The melons get row covers for extra heat and insect protection and the peppers get them to prevent unwanted cross pollination of the different breeding lines. The brassicas get row covers for protection from flea beetles and woodchucks, and the corn get them for protection from crows. Lots of row cover out and many feet more to go.
We're working on finishing up laying poly for the year; so far we have laid approximately 120,000 feet and have a few thousand left to go. We'll wrap this up this week and move on to other exciting activities. Lots of cultivation for the next month and lots of thinning and weeding too. The tomato trellises are going up and tomato pruning will start shortly.
Most of the crops we planted are up and growing; a feat in itself as it's been quite dry. We've irrigated the main trial field three time so far, but with this week's rain we pulled the pipe so we can do some cultivating today and tomorrow. The weeds never stop growing. I did some cultivating last week, on the newer Ford, but I still prefer the Farmall 200; it's the tractor I started out cultivating with and still find the best, for my tastes anyways. I find the newer tractors to have comfy seats but not a lot of legroom like I need. Many of the older tractors weren't built for operator comfort but had a longer wheelbase and had plenty of room.
The birds are all back now; most have nests and many a chirping noise is heard wherever I walk. A robin has built her nest between the meter boxes on the side of our office/warehouse building - about 4 feet off the ground - but she doesn't seem to mind us being around her. Phoebe and swallows are busy with their broods as are sparrows and starlings. I know, I've heard it before about starlings but as a friend said once "they've all got to live somewhere". I have three nests of starlings under the eaves of my henhouse and we watch them every night. They are the industrious ones whom make steady trips out to get fresh food for their young ones.
I've had a few turtle sightings; a couple of snapping turtles laying their eggs in the sand on the side of the road, but mostly I've seen painted turtles. Two painted turtles at our pond hanging out and quite a few walking across the roads; most make it I think. I'll stop sometimes and relocate them to a quieter pond than let them take their chances crossing busy roads. I've seen other people shielding them from traffic letting them get across the road without being hit.
The water in lakes, ponds and streams seems mighty low for this time of year. The flow of area streams looks a lot like August and not the first of June. Some of the lakes I fish have low water levels for this time of year and I wonder what they'll look like in mid-summer. Hopefully the weather will hold and we won't have a summer like last year.
Until next week, Brian