Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Corn 2014

This is Dar's Drought tolerant corn...it's growing really fast.  I think I see the first tassel.

The Isola de Este is almost ready to harvest.   The Kanga Pango is right behind it.  Both literally and harvest wise.
Today we are harvesting the shallots, so that I can get these tomatoes trellised.  Yikes.  The cabbage is looking pretty good, better than the darn broccoli, which the darn gopher is feasting on.

Monday, June 23, 2014


For those of you who aren't used to seeing the farm from the other side, here it is.   Alas, it's burnt.
You can just about see the corn in the distance.  For those of you wondering...half the field, about 5 acres.  And just way to close for comfort.

Corn Porn

Dar's Drought tolerant corn is growing so fast, I can hear it.
And here it is up close and personal.  I think this is going to be a tall corn.

Speaking of tall, here's the Isola di Este.  Tassels, silk, corn on!   I think another 30 days in the field and this will be dry and ready.

What's a little corn without tomatoes & beans?  So here are pinto beans, surrounded by tomatoes, with the Isola & the Kanga Pango in the background.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From a Distance

From on top the hay 2014

Every year when the hay is baled, one of us climbs on top and takes a photo of the farm.  Sometimes it helps to get some perspective.  Look at that corn!  That's the Italian corn, Isola di Este.  How fuzzy the asparagus looks.

How good the creek trees look, how small the traveling chicken house is.  

From this distance, it's hard to see the weeds, the bugs, the voles...or even the kitten monsters.  Below I can see the fallow fields, everything beyond the tree.  Each time I walk by one of these, I want to plant it.  I just cannot get used to how dry everything is.
Fallow Fields.
How small my world is.  A few seeds, a bit of soil, a piece of sky.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


June 1, 2014

Dar's Drought Tolerant Corn

I know it comes to no surprise to any of you that I'm working on drought tolerant crops.  We've expected drought for a long time.  Mostly I've been working with beans and corn.  This is a new corn this year.  My friend from the South, Dar Jones has been working on this corn for several years.  He sent me some this year.  This has literally sprung up in the last few weeks.  It's very healthy looking.  This of course is not a sweet corn, but a hominy, posole and dried ground corn.

Isola  & Pango Kanga
At the same time the Isola & the Pango Kanga continue to really put on growth.  One of these will be a polenta corn and the other hopefully for chicha.

The translation for Pango Kanga is black corn.  It's used to make an alcoholic drink, but I'm guessing it will also make chicha. 

Chicha Morado
1 gallon water
2 cups of dried purple corn (maiz morado)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 large lemons, juiced
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Skin of a fresh pineapple, use the pineapple for something else.

Put everything except the lemon juice into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh strainer. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour over ice and get in a hammock and enjoy.

I'm going to try substituting the Pango Kanga, because Maize Morado is very tricky to grow here.
Pango Kanga also makes a good ground corn.  If there's enough time, I'll plant one more corn field.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

My seeds are coming along.  The peas are just about done and I'm thinking of cutting the water to them and planting beans there.  It's so hot, I'm thinking limas.
Isola di Este Corn

Most of the fields are planted and I'm just working on keeping everything weeded, composted and watered.

Dar's self planting Beans and the Alaska Peas

Another feral cat showed up on the farm.   With her she brought a surprise, I found 4 kittens in the chicken coop, laid very nicely in a nest box.
Spatz the feral cat

Grey Kitten
They'll be ready to rehome in a few weeks.  Anyone who wants a kitten, let me know.  The tally is 2 Classic Europeans, 1 all black and 1 grey.  As soon as she starts to wean these, I hope to be able to catch mom and spay her.  As you can see, she's not exactly leaping into my arms.  They are too young to sex, I don't like to pick them up before 3 weeks.  This little minx was out of the nest box, so I took his photo and returned him to the pile.  They opened their eyes on 5/14.

Look  at the beautiful red iceberg lettuce.  Drat this heat!  I don't want it to bolt.   Another 100 degree day at the farm.  Yuck.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Drought - April 21, 2014

Conserving Water has always been a top priority at our farm.   Over the years we've tried different approaches, black plastic, compost, drip emitters.  Some of these have been very successful.  Others have their own problems.
Planting corn on drip emitters and adding compost to the sides

Although we have found black plastic to heat the soil and conserve water,  as well a reduce weeds, it also has become a habitat for Squash Bugs.   Since the CSA is closed, it's my plan to continue to share what works through this drought.
Mixed plantings

Here is another thing that has worked for us.  We call this a now and later planting.  In this bed there are carrots and lettuce.  About the time that the carrots need more room, the lettuce will already be harvested.  The lettuce is growing on the excess water from the carrots.