I was sitting in the dressing room before my show last night 980 miles away from my farm and feeling every square mile of it. My sister and I were as normal digging through one an-others make up bags and suit cases seeing what the other may have brought we haven’t seen before. It is our little ritual…we get it from our mother. Hey’ when did you get these pants or can I wear those shoes tonight? All that…anyway, my sister was looking at my battered finger I broke a couple of weeks ago when the extension ladder came crashing down from the top run taking my finger with it…every last run…the brake has healed or is healing fine but left behind is the dark smashed finger nail that does looks pretty bad. My sister who works managing my mom spends more of her time on the cell phone then any garden crinkled up her nose at my beaten up finger and said…”Peggy you need to paint your fingernails…your hands look ….I broke in and said like someone who works on a farm? Well, yes she said.. We both laughed a little at that…it is always kinda weird how different but alike we are…the twin factor. For years my mother and my sister gave me such a hard time about being a farmer…calling me little doo after my dad who was a farmer. And it is true I do have a lot of dad in me…just ask Mark…I tend to be a do-it-yourselfer to a fault and a bit of what we nicked named” Bob”. A Bob is a girl like me that likes to do well more guy stuff…I do like tools…I do like building stuff…I do like my tractor and I do like the outdoors. I tend to light up when talking about a good nail gun or waterproof matches then the latest nail polish colors. I don’t spend a lot of time playing with hairstyles and much more time looking for the perfect garden hat or muck boots. Although I will say I am still my mother daughter and like to drift into the va..va..boom when I do slip into a dress or girlie clothes. My mom call that my Za Za..look. one extreme to the other. I have been that way all my life you see. One minute I am in old jeans the next in high heels and lipstick. Keeps life interesting for me. It’s almost like a stranger…I don’t recognize but I like. Over the past few years my mother and my twin sister have lighten up on me about being a farmer. My mom will even tell people now “Peggy Jean has a farm and she grows the best garden…she gets it from me”. And it is true I do get a lot of it from her….but “Bob”that is dad all the way. I was looking at my sister sitting in that small dressing room before the show and all the stuff that lay before her in way of the latest and greatest makeup…hair styling tools…all neatly packed in her designer bags…her new blackberry buzzing like the farm’s honey bees in her Louie Vuitton handbag….And all I could think about was wow… that handbag costs as much as a good riding mower….and its not even leather…it’s vinyl! Me, I can’t even find my cell phone…or my baby backpack I use as a purse…they just don’t hold much meaning to me. Now a good weed hoe…that is something I would definitely covet.
The farm….we are in desperate need of rain. We are on the edge of losing crops due to the heat and lack of rain. It is that way for several farmers right now. The farm has seen less then an inch of rain since the end of May. The trees and grass are turning yellow and crunchy. I spent 5 hours watering the field before I left for the road on Wednesday just to keep the plants alive in hopes we see some rain later in the week. This is also the time I really miss working the farmers markets where we farmers get together and talk about weather and what each of us is going through when the day at the market slows down. It just sounds winy..when I hear me talking about. I had a farmer email me the other day asking how I am germinating seeds crops in this high heat and drought? He had planted 2 100 ft rows of beans and nothing is coming up. Same goes for his pumpkins. When it is this hot top soil temps being well over 100 and the soils water table being so low seeds will bake and dry up and won’t germinate. I wrote him back telling him the why his crops weren’t coming up and the only way I have found is to use shade cloth and drip lines to water the beds. His beds being so long this is going to be an expensive bean crop to grow and a investment in lots of man hours putting up a hoop system to cover his rows. I know I have to do it myself in our field when I get back on the farm. Once you install the shade cloth over the low tunneled hoops and run your drip irrigation lines you will have to baby the crop for the next few weeks slowly introducing the plants to the full on effects of the sun and heat. Not much different then hardening off small plants in the spring that you grew from seed. If you remove and expose the seedling from the shade cloth too soon they will go into shock and some will parish from the harsh exposure. You can’t leave the shade cloth in place for the plants do need and want full sun once they have been slowly introduced. You have to pick and chose which crops you are going to invest this much time, money and effort in though for you can’t cover the whole field.
Mark and I went for a little vacation at my family’s ranch/farm last week and low and behold the corn is high and just about ready. As soon as I saw it I jumped out of the truck and picked an ear to test it. Now this field I was in is growing field corn…not sweet corn.. I grew up eating field corn which I like better then sweet corn. Some sweet corns now have so much sugar in it I feel like I am eating a piece of candy not a vegetable. Field corn is nuttier in flavor and hardier tasting on the dinner plate. This field corn is left on the stalk to harden then it’s harvested to make into feed for animals and other corn based products. We country folk know if we people want to eat field corn you have to pick it when its just ripens or its too tough to eat. So as Lucca and Mark looked on I torn a cob off the stalk to sample the ear. Lucca’s mouth watering all the while. Not yet I announced maybe next week it will be ready. I took the ear back to the truck for Lucca to try. I was laughingly joking as I got into the truck telling my husband and son this is what we call fast food in Hurricane Mills Tennessee. Over 1000 acres in corn is grown this season on my families farm and I will be right there in the middle of one of those corn patches next week singing as loud as I can….Thank God I’m a Country Girl! Not to mention bring a big bunch of corn home for the CSA and Farm Market…oh yes…My little farm may be on the verge of a dust bowl right now…but the corn grows high in the land of the three rivers:)
CSA News & Update
Weekly Shareholder Pickup this weekend at the farm. I won’t be there with you this weekend, Old farmer Mark will be tending the market and CSA baskets for ya. The market will be slightly bare of baked goods and such with it’s cook out singing for her new weed hoe…but in your baskets this week are carrots, just pulled and yummy…squash, peppers and cucumbers and tomatoes…oh yes they are coming in like crazy now.
Be sure to return your CSA baskets each week along with those little plastic containers. We are see a few missing baskets with folks forgetting to bring them back to the farm.
Farm Market and workshop update
I will have to reschedule the cooking workshop for Saturday I didn’t realize I would be traveling 980 miles back home tonight. So I won’t be back on the farm until late Sat. I will reschedule the workshop for July 31st.
Jane will be tending the market as she does most Saturdays. If you want to cut flowers she can set you up with cutters and a bucket for that.
See yall soon on the farm!