Can faster! Freeze faster! Process, dry, and store faster!
Week Thirty-Two : Score one for Certified Organic
Kemper arranged a visit from the NRCS, who informed us that we would qualify for an EQIP grant for high tunnel, as well as a boatload of other projects as long as we got certified organic. He said there are mountains of funds going unused because there aren’t certified organic operations claiming them in Valencia County. And THAT is the first real motivation we’ve had to get certified. We’re going to pursue the hoop house and at least get IT certified.
Gala apples sold well at market! We brought home the wormy ones and peeled and froze them. We also pickled a ton of banana peppers, gherkins, and cucumbers from Tyler & Veronica.
Week Thirty-Three : Adiós, Peralta!
We high-tailed it up to Lyons, CO for the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest and left the amazing Callan in charge.
Week Thirty-Four : Swimming in Fruit!
Took a great big harvest of Gala apples & peaches from King Orchard at market (and a big basket of grapes that we kept and froze.) We did a ton of freezing and canning this week, but not much else — except be thankful that school is starting and we can get back to having grown-up lives.
Week Thirty-Five : I <3 Molly
Field trip to El Cerro to repay Molly’s labor! Callan and I cruised down there Wednesday morning. It was cool and overcast and perfect for pulling weeds. We got the tour of her sweet property and fell in love with the greenhouse she built. Met the three dogs, two cats, sixteen chickens, rabbits, and one-of-two gigantic ducks. And perhaps my favorite part: discovering she’s got crazy monstrous intimidating miserable bindweed like ours. We were untangling it from strawberries and chard and it was pretty gnarly. Her soil is so different up there on the hill! All sand. The weeds were so easy to pull! And lots of really different weeds, too. Many more spiny things.
She also introduced me to an assassin bug — pretty cool little guy. And we saw all manner of creepy crawlies in the few hours we were there: beautiful giant yellow and black garden spiders, a jumping spider eating a black widow, two enormous horn worms that became duck snacks, and a huge centipede. (And one of her cats caught a little bird.) It is amazing how dramatic and vibrant and rich the life of this place is when you spend enough time to witness it.
Week Thirty-Six : Alpacas!?!?
I was contacted by the Southwest Llama Rescue, who are trying to place five alpacas being thinned from a herd in Pojoque. And my mom is willing to sponsor the construction of their shelter, so we planned it out using mostly materials on hand. We’re going to write up a budget this week for the remaining materials and hopefully build it this weekend! We’d like to take two or three. We discovered they eat bindweed, kochia, and elm seeds, so now we can’t get them here fast enough! And adding manure will be HUGE for our plant health.
The chickens have been moving there eggs all over the place and I was constantly convinced that they were laying in places I’m wasn’t finding. And finally the place they started laying that I wasn’t checking was back in the nesting boxes in the coop. Go figure. I ordered some wooden eggs to keep in there so I can collect the eggs without sending the chickens scrambling off to their next secret hiding spot. One wooden egg has already disappeared — I cannot keep up with this circus!
Today we planted all the remaining annual starts that have been hanging out under the fruit trees for months. They probably won’t have enough time to produce anything before they freeze, but at least they’re no longer neglected and root-bound. When Kemper picked up one of the trays, he revealed a tiny little nest full of about nine baby mice! They were so cute we didn’t have the heart to call the chickens over. We let them be, and they burrowed down into there cozy little hole. We might regret that when they decide to move in a few months from now…