It's been a scorcher, and will be warm for awhile. The crisp sweet greens don't like it very much, but the flowers do!
I try to find ways to keep everyone, including me, hydrated and cool. This mainly means some shade, some water, and maybe a few tasty treats.
It is a big harvest of spinach, salad mix, and head lettuce this week (with the usual microgreens), so make a quick stop into the market to grab them up before retreating to your own shady hideaway! The eggs are a little minimal as the hens focus on keeping their bodies cool instead of making their daily golden yolked goodness.
If you missed the first farm dinner, don't despair as there are two more this season, each with their own special menu and scenery as we move from summer through fall.
As long as I can keep them hydrated, the flowers love the heat! This might be a good Zinnia year for me. A crop I have almost given up on since it is usually just to dang chilly in my little valley. The Lupines have gone to seed (which I am saving of course!) but that means it's time for the Foxglove to shine!
Trying to keep the younger lettuces cool so they don't loose their head and bolt! So I built them a little cabana from their frost cloth and the awesome rectangular Hoop Loops. Finish with a light sprinkle of cool well water and they get their own shady cool spot to ride out the heat so they don't get bitter at the world
The precious Ranunculus also got their own shade treatment tall enough to not squash their growing blooms! So far so good as an ever-present min/max thermometer in there with them shows it staying below 90F in that deep dark shade bounded by tall AF weeds on their south flank, behind from this angle (yep, even the weeds are good sometimes!)
The 1st Farm to Table Dinner was a great time as we all sought out the shade, kept the cool water flowing, and enjoyed the delicious food prepared by Mandy and her awesome crew at the Gracious Table! There are two more this season so you still have a chance to experience a wonderful seasonal meal, meet the happy Hens and Hella cat, and see where all those beautiful blooms and veggies are grown!!!
The Hens stayed healthy, happy, and hydrated with some cool, crisp, juicy, and sweet watermelon treats every afternoon! If you happened to see a person pushing a Costco shopping cart full of them this last weekend, that was me! It's the best way I've found over the 13 years I've had chicken friends to keep them more comfortable when the heat gets turned up!!
As the relief of evening comes, I find myself wandering through the rows, field, and forest seeking out those little moments of surprise, like a beautiful grass with it's gloriously golden 'flowers', a special moth, or a tiny wildflower hugging the shady ground. What are the special little moments of surprise you look forward too?
What's available this week?
As some of the summer's first flowers begin to bloom, the last main push to plant the remaining flowers continues so they will have time to bloom before the heavy frosts return in September. Sometimes farming feels like existing in all time frames at once - I need to plant now to harvest in the future weeks and months and also compile the past patterns to try to predict what today, tomorrow, and the far away tomorrows will be like in temperature, precipitation, wind, and more.
All my past effort is finally paying off with the first harvest of big Kale (both curly & black), Basil Sampler, lots of Radishes, heaps of Salad Mix, and some special wild greens that are a gift from the Wilds.
And Hella was very helpful in the field this week even if I would prefer her to pay more attention to the gopher holes than to the planting holes.
I'm super excited this year to really focus on enjoying a lot of the wild, native edible plants and fruits that cover the land!
Right now you can enjoy a lot of greens, including Lamb's Quarters (which will be available at the markets this week!) and Miner's Lettuce (most of which is still growing), but also to the coming berries, like Chokecherries, Hawthorn, and Serviceberry (all just behind the barn) as well as the Huckleberries, Thimbleberries, and Currants, but I gotta go hunt those ones down!
Foxglove in bud! You have to be patient for these. 1. Plant them from seed in flats or pots now. 2. Grow them into healthy seedlings. 3. Transplant outside about 1 month before heavy frost so they can establish. 4. Let them overwinter. 5. Hope they come back up in the spring. 6. Watch as they grow bigger and bigger and finally bud. 7. Enjoy the tall spires of blooms 1 year after planting
The water dragon (aka hose) is in full tilt use as it supplies water to the Dome, the main Field Plot, and the new Orchard Plot. I leave it where it first lays out in the spring and mow around it so the grass gives it a UV protective cover. Alternate sides of the lawn get mowed separately so the dandelions and clover can recover and the bees stay fat and happy!!!
The Robins are working on their clutch of eggs as are the Barn Swallows. The Violet Green Swallows first clutch is already fledged and they swoop and dive around like a small pack of hoodlums as they work up strong flight muscles and learn the air currents. The fawns fill the field as the does run back and forth to feed them, feed themselves, and make sure nothing nefarious comes too close.
What's available this week?
The rows are filling up as the bulk of the spring planting is nearing it's end!
The main problem now is to try to find a space for everything that's gotta go in now as well as make sure some things will be done in time for future seedlings to take their place.
It is an ever changing, weather-dependent game of what-goes-where!
At least the field harvests have begun with more head lettuce and salad mix moving on out to eventually make way for the new ones.
Everything, including me, survived the heat wave and the thunderstorms with (so, so thankfully) the hail passing us by!
And as the days keep getting longer, the hens stay up later and the flowers begin to bud and bloom, so I just get up earlier to harvest and wait up to close the crazy clucks at night because who am I to disagree!
These two very beautiful and very different flying friends visited the farm.
My research shows the left one is the Ranchman's Tiger Moth and on the right is the Ceanothus Silkmoth!
The Tiger Moth's came in a pair that I found in the greenhouse before the heat wave so I moved them outside so they wouldn't be stuck in there. The Silkmoth was the size of my hand (!) and so majestic that I was awed that is sat so still in the evening light to let me get as close as I dared.
And look for those bright but kinda pale yellow Wooly Bear Moths so you can congratulate them on their graduation to flight!!
Watching plants grow is kinda my thing!
And with the fancy Dahlias bursting forth, the Basils recovering from their slug invasion, and the Raspberry canes fighting back from the late hard frosts it all makes me so happy and helps remind me why I like to help things to grow even if a lot of farm work can feel like drudgery ... it also reminds me that I need to get a low tunnel up over the Dahlias before they are too tall for their frost fabric, that the Basils need pinching, and I need to install the trellis for the Raspberries 🙄
This teeny tiny seedling is very special. I've waited to see them for many weeks. I've spent a few in despair, a few in annoyance, but most filled with hope and anticipation. Behold, the most precious and wonderful Sweetgrass □ Almost never grown from seed as they dislike germination, these spent the first few weeks under the lights in the attic before I sat near them and decided they would rather be out in the sun than under some silly grow lights, so I kept their pots sopping wet and in the full sun out in the wind, rain, and frosts, under cloudy skies and starry nights and now I have 12 (so far, out of 20). They have taught me that even the most difficult to germinate can thrive with a willingness to listen and adjust, some patience, and a bit of hope and shared dreams
What's available this week?
It's been a busy and both short and long week for me as I got a rare late spring vacation for a few days to camp in the woods and do some trail work with Wild Montana and a hike with Friends of Scotchmans Peak Wilderness as well as getting more lettuce planted, the microgreens managed, and all the usual chores done.
But I couldn't have done it without my parents hunkering down and keeping everyone, plant & hen & Hella, fed, watered, frost-free, and happy!
As well as finishing out the week of markets for me!
They were very happy for me to return so they didn't have a pre-dawn wakeup call.
This week I will have all the microgreens in renewed abundance as well the first batch of salad mix, head lettuces, some greens, some radishes, and some rhubarb! I won't be able to get it all available on the website for preordering yet but it will be at the markets.
And if we're lucky, I'll have some bouquets back with the first Lupines and Columbines, but no promises! 🤞
It was a great time to take a mini vacay to see some of the beautiful mountains that are so near yet so hard to tear me away from the farm to see, and they did not disappoint!
Being away in the woods for a few days also meant being away from Hella kitty. And she let me know I was very welcome back with lots of meows and cuddles but also that I shan't leave again with a few ankle bites and a bit of blood drawn. That's part of why I always keep lots of band aids at hand as well as some handy soothing Dragon's Balm!
What's available this week?
All your microgreen favorites are back and the Tulips are nearing their end!
There is still time to get some of the potted Ranunculus into the ground so you'll be able to see the wonderful blooms in your own garden this July.
And if you come to the markets, you'll get to see my mom, Donna, in action as she will be closing the Farmers Market at Libby for me and doing the Troy Farmers Market as well while I do some volunteer trail work in the woods (since the perfect mini-vacation from working in the field is to go work in the woods!!)
And don't forget to sign up for the Spring Farm Tour & Dinner, the spaces are filing up and seating is limited!
If you want to enjoy these beauties in your own garden, there are a few options available for the potted Ranunculus that are ready to go into the ground and start working on blooming these wonders (but if taking care of plants aren't your thing I'll have these in bouquets and bunches available in a few weeks to take home and enjoy with minimal effort on your part!)
The tomatoes are trellised and growing taller by the day as the Dragon Dome heats up to tropical conditions in this heat, which also means I make sure that everything has enough water because just like animals, plants can take a lot of heat if they can stay hydrated!
The full variety of microgreens are back this week with some lush basil, crisp mild mix, and zesty spicy mix!
What's available this week?
I'm Farmer Megan with a life full of cackles, clucks, quacks, weeds, crazy kitten, and one tiny, senior, blind dog.