Saturday, June 27, 2009

Farm produce

Here's whats going on down on the farm

First up, I took the last ham from last year's feeder pigs out of the freezer to defrost. I need to get the freezers emptied and ready for the new year's crops. This was a big one, so it must have been Hamlet. It looks like it might take a couple days to thaw. I'll cook it up on Monday or Tuesday, whichever day looks to be coolest. It's no-see-um season in Maine, so we had to close all the house windows for a week or two, and no-one wants to cook a ham in summer with the windows closed.

No-see-ums are the North American version of the British midge. They are perhaps a little smaller, but just as annoying. For me at least, their bites irritate for longer than a mosquito bite. There was a big hatch this year because of all the wetness, and one night we got hundreds of them in the house. The next day I was cleaning them of the windows with kitchen towel and Windex, and the windows have been shut tight ever since.

They do have some advantages over midges in that they go away during the daytime, and they never seem to appear in clouds. But i don't remeber midges ever coming in your house and biting you while you're trying to get to sleep. Brits don't even need bug screens on their windows.

Then there's this year's hams, still firmly fixed to their owners, rooting away in the compost we make out of the sheep's winter bedding. It's already breaking down, but the constant rain lately has made it smell pretty bad. Anaerobic compost is not a good thing. The pigs are helping out by turning it over with their snouts, letting some air in.

If farm animals had any idea of how they would end up, they wouldn't root and play nearly so happily.

The garden is looking green, especially the cool weather crops, potatoes and brasiccas. The brocolli is almost ready to eat.

We had to dry our sheep's fleece this year, the first year we've ever had to do that. Still, it was a good excuse for cleaning out the hay loft, which will now be ready for hay next month, if ever the rain stops long enough to make some. This fleece will be spun into yarn by a local mill. We will then sell the yarn, no doubt giving some of it away, much as we do with all our produce.

Eventually we plan to get a knitting machine and make some sweaters. Like most of my ilk and kin, I like British-style heavy wool sweaters for hiking and farm work in late fall, winter, and early spring and you simply can't buy them in the US where everyone wears cotton. It never used to be this way, and in fact there was a mill just down the road in Brooks for decades in the 1800s turning out woolens, but things have changed, and few people actually need to work outdoors in inclement weather anymore.

Finally, there's my motorcycle, mostly in one piece, just waiting for it's needle valves. I don't think it looks too shabby for $300.Aimee thinks it's a complete waste of money.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
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