Snakes Out, Chickens In and More!

Big Bee!I am always amazed when I discover that a month has gone by since I posted last.  I guess it means we’ve been busy, and that we have!  After a slow start, the farm stand is getting regular business, and we have a nice inventory: corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and four types of squash and zucchini.  Okra and butter beans are just coming in as well. We pick some things ahead like the tomatoes and okra but others crops we pick as folks ask for it so they know it’s fresh from the field!

We do very little spraying so we find ourselves apologizing for the worms in the corn.  One customer quoted his dad who said that he liked seeing a worm in his corn: if a worm wasn’t interested in eating it, then he probably wasn’t either.  And, I remember as a kid, the corn often has a few worms on the end.  I guess we’ve just gotten so used to grocery store perfect produce.

The baby chicks have done quite well since we got them in mid-June.  We only lost one in the first day or two, which is pretty typical.  We moved them off the sun porch and into the hen house earlier this week.  We lost one to a black snake almost immediately on the first day so I spent the morning trying to snake proof the hen house.  I don’t think I’ll ever get it completely snake tight, but at least I can make it unpleasant enough that he might go for something easier to catch.  I threw handfuls of moth balls under the coop as well. The smell messes with their Jacobson’s Organ.  Naphthalene is the main ingredient in commercial Snake Away and I may invest but for now we had a box in the utility room so I thought I would try it out.

The other challenge is keeping the chicks in!  Chickens may not be the brightest lights on the evolutionary Christmas tree, but they are very good at escaping.  Before moving them, I reinforced the chain link fence of the run with chicken wire but they still managed to tunnel under.  A bit more reinforcement seems to have done the trick for now, but I wander out every hour or so to make sure no one is trapped.

The two big chickens are a bit standoffish: when the chicks are out, they huddle in the corner clucking and pecking at anyone who gets too close.  But there haven’t been any all out brawls so we are hoping for peace in the hen house.

Right now, we are resting inside, taking advantage of some storms moving through to get a bit of a break from picking and selling and preserving. We really need the rain and the week of outrageously hot weather hurt the first Silver Queen corn harvest.  We’re hoping more moderate temperatures and regular rain will make the next plantings a bit more successful.  Nothing brings you closer to the weather than being a farmer!

I’ll share my tomato sauce secrets and a new recipe in the next post, which I promise won’t be another month away!

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