It's week 16 and I was really hoping to write a happier newsletter about working tillers, new kittens and better weather but at midnight last night a PC sheriff's deputy hit and killed Betty. I was asleep when he knocked on the door to inform us and than he walked us to her body apologizing profusely. He's a nice guy and I wish we had met under better circumstances (of course, we usually meet the cops out here under bad circumstances involving car wrecks and property damage. At least such things are rare considering the lay of the road). She had gotten out through a hole in the fence (there are several, usually made by cars running into the fence) along with Nate (who is just fine but in deep mourning as he is a very sensitive dog). Betty had become a great happy force in our lives and now she is gone just as she was becoming a great protector of the farm. RIP Girl. Because of all this we have not gotten much sleep so if the shares have missing items you have our apologies ( I don't think this will happen but I know this is going to be a rough day).
Dogs are very important to our operation because without them the deer will eat virtually everything in the garden in just a few nights (as will the rabbits, mice and voles). So instead of going out and spending $20K on deer fencing to surround the property we choose to deal with the problem with dogs. the dogs are on the farm to run off all critters who may do damage to the crops and livestock (chickens) when we have that going on (not this year). They may appear to be pets but in reality they are here for a job. And Betty was shaping up to be a great farm defender and she was not even a year old yet. With all our past dogs it has taken well over a year (in the case of Nate 3 years) for them to learn the ropes of living on Boulder Belt Eco-Farm. So this is a blow in many ways-we lost a dear friend and the garden will suffer from this.
In far better news, Eugene figured out what was wrong with the tiller, ordered the part, put the part on and now it works better than ever. So he spent the evening tilling up beds for fall crops (with Betty following him as she loved tilling). I call them fall crops but they all must be planted in August so getting the tiller repaired was becoming essential. he said it was a simple repair once he got the part. getting the part was not so easy as this is an Italian machine and has an engine that is no longer made so finding parts for it can be a hassle. The place we have been going to for repairs and parts told us they could not get the part for the machine and to call either Boone's in Brookville (where we bought the thing) or Earth Tools in Kentucky. We called both and Boone's wanted $35 more for the part than Earth Tools. We suspect because that is who they would order it from and marked up the part before selling it to us. So we saved some money and the tiller is alive again.
I mentioned a kitten. We have a stray kitten, about 10 weeks old living under the store. Eugene spotted it about 10 days ago and we have been feeding it since than. Neither of us could get close to it but since last Friday I have been working on getting it to accept us and last evening it came right up to me and let me pet it, pick it up and sit in my lap. It's a boy and he has a nasty wound on his right cheek that needs attention but the would looks amazingly good considering he's been living under a building for at least 10 days. So we will be dealing with a new kitten in the house in the very near future and hopefully he will become an A-one mouser/voler. Now he needs a name.
The Market garden is having ups and downs. It looks like the melon crop is going to be smaller than expected as we are getting hit badly with some sort of virus that is taking out whole beds of plants over night. One day the vines are healthy and the next morning they are all wilted. Fortunately this is happening to plants that have melons that are either mature or close enough that they will ripen off the vine so this is not a complete loss. This is the first time this has happened to us in about 10 years. Fortunately the winter squash planted in the same are seem to be doing well. But they could get the same virus and poop out as well which will mean less revenue in the winter season for us. And the way our luck has been running we are now expecting the worse (but the worse likely will not happen). I will say the peppers are looking good and you should start getting green peppers next week. The tomatoes also look good and seem to have avoided blighting out this year. And soon we will be planting more greens and other things for the fall/winter garden
Next week is our big 127 Yard Sale event starting Thursday. If you like to shop come on up and see what our various vendors have to offer. I know we will have the Tie Dye guy back again as well as the Knife Lady. New this year are two different vendors selling antiquey stuff and a guy selling whimsical yard art. The madness starts Thursday at 8am and goes through Sunday afternoon. Also if you plan on picking up your share after Wednesday it will be chaotic and parking will be hard to find (we got over 10K people through last year).
Okay due to circumstances, once again there is no recipe this week. But I would make a salad out of the onions, cukes, basil and tomatoes with a simple vinaigrette. Some chunks of the melon would be really good in such a salad.
What's in the Share
Eggplant-3 kinds Galina, a black eggplant (the biggest of them), Casper, a white eggplant that is second to none and some sort of Asian eggplant who's name escapes me.
Blackberries-you will get at least one box. until last weekend all the blackberries were wild. Those have stopped and now the domestic berries are coming in. these tend to be bigger and sweeter
Chard-you can use this just like spinach in all sorts of dishes like omelets
Templeton Melon-this is an orange honey dew and something we have yet to try as this is the first time we have ever grown them. I would urge you to wait until the weekend to cut into one and eat it as the plants are dying so we have had to harvest them under ripe. But all melons will ripen up just fine off the vine if kept in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. when they begin to smell from the blossom end they are ready to eat.
Ailsa Craig Onions-more wonderful sweet onions, around 2 pounds
Cucumbers-another week of pickling cukes. you will get 4 or so in your share
Tarragon-it's a bit late in the season for tarragon as it is best in spring but the plants look good for late July so i am cutting some for you all.
Scallions-a bunch of very nice scallions
Garlic-2 cloves of garlic, probably German white
Basil-another largish bag of fresh basil. this is very easy to dry
Cherry Tomatoes-yes! the tomatoes are beginning to come in. Next week you will definitely have large pink maters in your share but this week you get what we call the rainbow mix of cherry tomatoes-pink cherrywine, red broad ripple, and fargo yellow pear
Jalapeno peppers-several hot peppers (but the one's I had a week ago were not all that firery)
The shares should be ready after 4pm. Any shares not picked up by 6 am Saturday will be donated to the Choice Food Pantry in Oxford. Know that the door to the store is open 24/7 so you can pick up your share(s) any time. Also know the store is now air conditioned so please shut the door tightly upon entering and leaving