With much trepidation over the weather forecast for the last week, we had been waffling between mowing and not mowing the last and smallest hay field. It becomes an intense workout of being ready to go yet not going for days on end. Finally with the promise (or simply hope and desire) that the weather was going to warm and hold clear for the next five days, Mike mowed down the thick, wet grass during a rain shower that was supposed to be the last one for a good stretch of time. Continue reading
We have finished with the hay harvest on all the fields except the very last 6 acre field. This horseshoe shaped piece is surrounded by the meandering river on all but about sixty yards across the small neck of the field. It stays damp from the effects of the river and grows the thickest grass on the whole farm. It is the field that must have the most sunlight and warm days to complete the drying process so we can only cut the grass when the forecast calls for at least five days in a row with optimum weather.
The equipment is all tucked into the barn for the time being while nature takes time for a cleansing rain.
The mower will be hooked up and can start even while the grass and ground is wet as long as the following five days allow for the grass to dry. In the meantime, we will let the main herd into the fields that we have completed so they can do the cleanup work on the missed edges, where wind whipped the grass out of the wind-rows and around the edges along the fence lines. That should keep the herd busy while we finish off the hay season with the last 6 acre field.
Strawberries are in full swing. We have been enjoying strawberries on pancakes in the morning, mixed into green salads, sliced and marinated in balsamic vinegar for spinach salads and in the evening on a scoop of ice cream. Oh, and several times throughout the day, a walk through the garden for a handful to eat as I go. Continue reading
Mike has often told of stories of his Grandma and what he remembers growing up on the farm. One story had to do with poppies. Grandma was known for her poppyseed cake. It was a cross between a coffee cake and a jelly roll. A firm cake was needed to hold a thick slathering of her secret poppyseed filling recipe while still being pliable enough to roll and create that signature pinwheel look with each slice.
She did not go to the store for the seed. She cultivated the showy poppies in order to harvest the special ingredient, and law enforcement was involved. Continue reading
I noticed the commercial rhubarb fields in the valley are being harvested. Acres and acres of rows are cut off the plant with machetes, the leaves are removed leaving the stem of the rhubarb to be tossed into large totes throughout the field.
The stems are shipped all over the United States. Much of the fruit is made into desserts, jams and syrups. Most of the time it is mixed with strawberries to calm the tart flavor of the rhubarb. My family happen to be rhubarb purists and don’t like mixing other fruits with the rhubarb (other than a little lemon or orange juice crystals added to make the flavor pop). Continue reading
This handful is already more hazelnuts than last years crop! The Stellar’s Jay birds and gray squirrels can pilfered the entire harvest last year.
This year, the solar electronic animal deter device seems to be working. A few Stellar’s Jays have flown in from the far side of the shop and landed in the top of the trees to swipe a few of the nuts, but so far the thievery has been minimal.
I don’t want to encourage squirrels with a bounty of readily available filberts, so the collection of fallen nuts will be a twice a day exercise to keep the tempting nuts off the ground (the dogs will sneak in to get their fill, but they assist in bird and squirrel raids so I will accept the loss of pilfered nuts as their payment for their work). Harvested filberts will be placed on trays to begin the drying process. In my spare time, I will be cracking the nuts to remove the shell and when they are completely dry, will be freezing them to keep them fresh for use throughout the year.
Before I begin this post, a warning is needed.
LOP stands for Land Owner Preference and is the tag that is purchased through the Oregon Fish and Wildlife for harvesting elk that roam on our property. For those who object to harvesting i.e., hunting and shooting wildlife for food, do not continue to the next page. Continue reading