Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Birds and the Bees and a Whole Lotta Love

June has been a crazy-busy month. A partial list of the things we have been doing the past four weeks include:
 Not one not two, but three amazing weddings! Tori and Izaak...
Amy and Aaron...
 and  Shannon and Christian.
Each wedding had a totally different, delightful character. Shannon and Christian decorated the reception tent elaborately with vintage linens and hung swags of lace from the tent.
Their wedding was especially intense for us because we prepared appetizers,  followed by salads and wood-fired pizzas for the reception.
It is truly an honor to be an integral part of the most meaningful celebration in a couple's life together.  But now, we are looking forward to no weddings for a while, and just focusing on ordinary  farm life,
Such as...
Weeding the garden. Weeds had a heyday while we were focused on weddings.  And appreciating our wonderful  WWOOFers (Kathleen and Ira, both of whom have now moved on to their next adventures, but more will soon arrive) and our aMAEzing summer intern, Mae.
Farmer's Market (which we managed to bake for every week except last Saturday when we  catered  Shannon and Christian's wedding!) Here Kathleen is serving up samples of sourdough at market.
Bees. Our assistant farm manager, Ruth, located another of her hives in our farm apiary.
We  increased our farm's livestock count by about 30,000 head of bees.
But then, one of my hives swarmed, the morning of the wedding, so  we did not have time to try to capture it. Back down about 30,000 head.
Up one canine- our daughter's  sweet dog, Luna, is staying with us while Cadence bikes from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean.
Also up a bunch of new chickens. A hen surprised us with a new batch of chicks, plus our 16 mail-order chicks, who are starting to get their feathers.

However, we are down a number of older chickens. There was a bit too much roostosterone around here, so we harvested a dozen roosters. And then we lost a few old girls to a nasty bird respiratory infection that must have come in on wild birds.  The cycles of life and death, growth and decay, plant and harvest, love and more love, are unrelenting on a farm!

Friday, June 10, 2016

How Hot Is It?

It is so hot and humid today that LaFonda is spending the entire afternoon cooling her hooves in the  kiddie pool.
It is so hot today that even the  chickens are contemplating a swim.
It is so hot today that the tropical hibiscus tree looks native.I
It is so hot today that when I came back from getting a quick bite of lunch the  big bowl of bread dough I had set out to rise in the barn kitchen had overflowed as if in an I Love Lucy episode,
It is so hot today that building a 500*F fire doesn't really seem to make the kitchen any hotter.
 Nothing more inviting than wood-fire smoke pouring out of the barn a on a sultry day.
It is so hot that my health-nut WWOOFers are enjoying decadent ice cream sandwiches.

Come get some of our wood-fired breads and delectable pastries at the Farmers Market tomorrow! We bake yummy stuff so you don't have to!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Big Wedding Scrum

The farm is looking  pretty stupendous, if I do say so myself, but not without a Herculean effort  from all of us!
We had so much to do to prepare for last weekend's wedding and first Summer Sunday pizza & music event, that we decided to try  a technique Rog uses at work, a Scrum Board. We pulled down the  big movie screen and used post-it notes to organize our  tasks. Jobs were color-coded (pink= buildings, green = garden & yard work, etc) in three columns (Backlog, In-Process and Done) and  posted under each of our names (Blue post-its)  as we tackled them. This was the chart when we started- I wish I had a photo at the end of the week- the third column became a dense mosaic of post-it notes.
Many rolls of sod were laid, as well as truckloads of gravel and  mulch.
The stockpile of plants on the patio got planted.
Our Food Forest planting session got interrupted by an injured fawn - which we patched up as best we could and released back into the woods for his mother to find. (Mae got to check "rescue baby fawn" off her bucket list!)
Six loads of cardboard were retrieved from Menards for deep mulching of the veggie garden.
The embarrassingly overgrown Granary Garden was weeded and mulched and made beautiful. Much harder than it sounds because a dense mat of mint had invaded the entire garden. (But it smelled great to weed.)
So much mowing and trimming. And cleaning up of cow pies from the pasture.And windows washed,  rugs shampooed, barns vacuumed, sticks picked up, trim painted, patios power-washed, a section of fence replaced, junk hauled away, decks stained...
and the burn pile was burned. (And then we foolishly all stayed up past midnight singing around the fire.)
I installed blue-tinted lights in the fish gazebo pond for a romantic glow at night.
The aquaponics green wall obliged by blooming enthusiastically  for the wedding.
Of course we still had to harvest and pack the CSA boxes
And bake breads and pastries for market (Mae is getting to be a master of these apple rose tarts!)
I found a luna moth in the yard one morning! I haven't see one of these in many years, but this poor battered moth had a torn wing and could not fly.
I found some instructions on a Monarch Butterfly website for repairing a butterfly wing, so I attempted moth surgery. The results were not very elegant, but the moth was able to fly away. (This task was not on the scrum board, but one must have one's priorities!)
 The night before the wedding while Rog was baking, Mae and I attended an art opening of women's works in which I had this painting, titled "Embrace."  Nothing like a deadline to help you actually accomplish art-making!
The wedding day arrived with  crazy weather and intermitttent thunderstorms, which made for uncertain celebration plans, but beautiful lighting for photos.
A downpour at the start of the ceremony had everyone scrambling for the tent, but the rain ceased a few minutes later, we dried off the chairs, and the wedding commenced beautifully.
Tori and Izaak were successfully wed!
Such a sweet couple.
One of the delectable dessert tables.
After the wedding ceremony, the couple was treated to a lovely rainbow --that has to be a good omen for starting a marriage!

A gigantic THANK YOU to Mae and Ira, our delightful WWOOFers and to our assistant  Ruth, who all worked so hard and with such good nature to whip this farm into shape!

Now we have head start for the next two weddings this month!