Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hits and Misses

Well, as if anyone needed a reminder with the 100 degree heat we're expecting this weekend, spring is over.  Today we officially ended strawberry season by The Husband spraying the strawberries to kill the plants.  If I could drink, I would toast them Irish Wake style.  It's been a good season, but I have to honestly say I am so glad it's over.  Last year we picked 6 - 7 weeks.  This year we picked 3 months.  Thanks La Nina!

As with anything, we definitely had some hits and misses.  Overall I'd say strawberries were a hit.  Even though for me it's not as fun as the Fall activities (it's a whole hell of a lot more work, and the spring isn't my favorite season since it's heating up and getting humid), I have really enjoyed seeing all our friends from last season and the fall and I have loved making new ones and meeting new families.  Thank you all so much for coming out to support us!  We've definitely had some interesting times, from being chased by the bees to flipping a picnic table over and pulling it across the yard on the Gator (alright so before you judge, these things are really heavy and very cumbersome to move.  It was me and two other girls trying to move it.  I'm pregnant and we had to move it clear across the farm.  There happened to be a chain in the back of the Gator...I figured why not.  My motto is there's more than one way to skin a cat) to dealing with two groups showing up out of the blue one Friday morning, we had plenty to laugh at around here.  I figure if you can't have fun while you're doing it what's the point?  

Below is a lovely gallery of the many uses of our Gator over this past season (John Deere, please feel free to compensate us for this free advertisement on your part).  The (very short) video is of us using it to pull out row covers.
Dragging the field, yes, he is pulling a section of a chain link fence. 

Pulling the table

Pulling the hay trailer

As for the misses...produce was an epic fail.  The CSA has been great.  I love doing it.  I love having the members come pick up their boxes and seeing their excitement as they pull out their sheets to see what's in their box this week and what recipe I've included (on a personal note, as mentioned I have a discriminating palate so I eat pretty much nothing we grow.  Trying to come up with recipes for foods I do not eat is not easy.  I choose them based on three things, a) how hard are they to make, how much time will they take, b) how many ingredients does it take and how exotic are they and c) how awful do they sound to me.  So far I think I've done pretty good, but I'm always open to suggestions).  It's something I definitely plan on continuing next year, hopefully on a larger level (delivery sound good to anyone?).  Selling produce at the stand however, not such a great idea.  We had a lot of calls for more produce, but as with anything else, people wanting things does not turn into people buying things.  It's discouraging to sit down at the Stand all day with only a few if any customers or to spend money advertising to see no result (this is another off-topic rant, but do you know it cost at least $20 more a week to advertise in the classifieds of the News Argus vs the News and Observer...there's just something not right about that!).  So we've cut back to basically just selling the sweet corn and later butter beans and peas.  Of course we'll keep providing for the CSA (don't worry!), but working so hard to be open down there every day (especially when the temps are above 95.  I don't take heat well, and with Sea Monkey becoming my own personal internal heater it's just worse and not looking any better until Dec.) just doesn't seem worth it at this point.

Still, we are looking forward to the fall.  Today we planned out the placement of the corn maze and pumpkin patch and punkin' chunker (I want 2 this year, and maybe, just maybe, a trebuchet) and other new additions we want to add to the farm this fall.  I am really, really excited for the fall (a - it'll be cooler and b - I'll be three months closer to meeting Sea Monkey in person) and corn maze season.  So mark your calenders, we'll be open September 29 for fall family fun on the farm!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I love Pintrest and  Always entertaining.

Alright.  It's confession time.  I got chased by the bees (I think I promised someone a blog about this).  

Anyone who's been on our Facebook or read this blog before probably knows I'm a little fascinated with the insects.  I just think they're amazing with their instincts and social structures and little dances.  With all the swarms and the proximity of the hives to the stand I've felt pretty proud of how brave I've gotten.  I'll walk right up to the hives to take pictures.  I see them in the field and think nothing of it.  Well, on the day of our last swarm, I got a little too close.

Usually I'm not there when they swarm.  This day, they started as I pulled up.  I was excited because I've been wanting to get pictures of this since the first swarm.  it was cool until they started coming close, then my and the girls at the stand ran for our cars.  Two of us climbed into mine and I held my phone to the window to get pictures.  It took a couple minutes for them to pass over us and when they did I started the search for where they went.  I heard them on the other side of the irrigation pond, so after a few minutes when they didn't seem to be flying so much, I decided to find where they pitched.  

The view from my car.  Yes, those black specks are all bees...and this wasn't our biggest swarm.
I could hear them buzzing loudly from at least fifty feet away, yet still I felt determined to get my picture.  I bravely (stupidly) continued stalking them down until I reached the tree on the edge of the pond they pitched on.  They weren't calm.  Some of them had landed, some of them were flying.  I slowly walked to them with a calm demeanor.  Usually, if you don't freak out, they won't attack.  Well.  This wasn't a normal day at the hive.  They were still worked up from swarming, and one (or more I really didn't take time to count) started bumping into me (kinda like sharks do before they eat you, or so the Discovery channel tells me).  Bees will run into you if they find you a threat, and this is a warning for you to leave now before they sting.  Well, my mama didn't raise a fool.  I took the warning and turned around and started walking away (disappointed, because I still didn't have a good picture of the pitch).  Apparently, I wasn't walking fast enough, because I could still hear the bee flying around me and still feel him bumping into me.  That's when reason and rationality left me, and I started hauling a** across our parking lot, shrieking and yelling, phone in one hand, pants in the other (I've been trending to looser pants, but that's another story).  I felt a little like Winnie the Pooh being chased by the swarm (except that there is absolutely no way I am jumping in our irrigation pond.  I shudder to think about what I might catch in there).  All of this is done much to the entertainment of my girls in the stand and the pickers, who happened to be in the field right there (I think I provide a lot of entertainment for them).  It's not until I get to the other side that I no longer hear the bee chasing me and I can stop, and then I stand there for fifteen minutes catching my breath and laughing at how dumb I just was.  Oh well...there's always one.  That day that one was me.  

I did go back later, when they were calm, and got my picture.  All it took was a little perseverance.

30,000 bees pitched on a tree.  At least they all didn't chase me!
So, about the looser pants.  Well, come about December 28th, there will be a new addition on the farm.  We're expecting our second baby!  I guess that means I'll have to come up with a new nickname.  Right now, since we don't know the gender, it's Sea Monkey (just add water and watch it grow!).  I have a feeling that just like The Boy for our son, it will end up sticking.