For the most part, our dairy cows -- Daisy and Aurora -- are pretty passive. They spend their days eating the grass and hay, chewing their cud, watching us walk by, and lowing every once in a while. Basically, they are docile and pretty predictable.
So imagine our surprise last Saturday when we were all in our van driving away from our farm for a family outing when we saw them meandering down the dirt road! We hadn’t even noticed they were gone.
The best we can tell, it was simple a case (as the ol’ motto goes) the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Now, you might recall that Daisy is about to give birth so she isn’t all that mobile. But they probably smelled the rich new grasses springing up all around and were tired of the fodder we were providing.
How far would they would have gone is anyone’s guess – probably to a neighbor’s yard or nearby field. We’re just glad that their jail-break jaunt brought them to the road as we drove away.
If you would like to see video highlights of our efforts to wrangle them home, click HERE.
First CSA Delivery – Two Weeks Away
Despite all our best efforts, our first delivery has to be rescheduled for June 8. Although some things might be ready earlier, we think you would rather receive a bountiful share rather than a substandard one.
We are sorry for the delay. Remember, you will still get your full 20 weeks of deliveries, and we think you will definitely be please once you see the beautiful and zesty red radishes, the deep green kale, the flavorful spinach – all packed with nutrition – coming in two weeks.
You can just see it in our garden as the rows and rows of plants continue to spring up and flourish – it is so pleasing to see and experience.
Making Rain Can Be A Pain
As the sun continues to climb a little higher, we are enjoying the warmer weather. We are also experiencing a bit of a dry spell. And to sustain a vibrant crop we have begun to use our irrigation system.
As we improve the soil in the garden, it will hold moisture better, but even in the best situation, long dry weather spells slow down crop growth. What we have noticed is that our current well doesn’t quite maintain enough water pressure for us to irrigate the entire garden at the same time, which means we have to continually rotate the sprinklers from one section to another. That is time consuming.
At some point we hope to drill a new well so we can increase our watering capacity, but that project will have wait and we will just have to deal with our irrigation irritation for now.
The Craft Of Cultivating (A Fancy Word For Weeding)
If you’ve ever had a backyard garden then you’ve probably experienced how quickly weeds can take over. Usually that means getting down on your hands and knees and painstakingly pulling them all before the garden looks like a jungle.
While our newly distributed compost significantly helps suppress the weed development, weeding is still one of the “must do” tasks on our list. Thankfully, we have learned some “tricks of the trade” that make it a little easier.
The first thing in dealing with weeds is to be on the offensive. As soon as we see the “blush” of green as they emerge through the soil – it is time to act! At that critical point you can wipe out the most weeds with the least amount of work. If you wait too long, the weeds get entrenched. No one wants the task of backbreaking, shoulder-straining pulling – so we act early and show no mercy!
The second thing is simple -- weeding while standing and walking is a lot easier. What that means is using the right tools can make a big difference. We have hoes on wheels, hoes with interchangeable heads, and hoe-heads that are differently shaped. Each one allows us to hoe in different situations. With a little practice (which we get a lot of) you can walk along, quickly slicing just below the soil surface, damaging the weed roots while avoiding the crops!
By using the right tool at the right time in the right way, the battle against those pesky invaders is made easier while taking less time so we can leverage our energy to tackle other projects.
Stewarding The Soil, Repairing The Pasture
If you haven’t seen Joel’s newest “pasture update” video, you can click here (it is just three minutes long). It will show you and your family the significant impact that simple pasture management can make on the food we eat – providing higher quality nutrition for the animals and better food for you! That’s agro-ecology at its finest!
Music From Megan … Minorbirds
You might think that Megan’s schedule is already pretty full with taking care of their four daughters (one born in February!), working with Joel to create a nurturing homelife, and overseeing the meal preparations for the entire farming team! But Megan makes sure to nurture her own creative self, and along with a good friend Brooke in a band called Minorbirds they wrote, performed and produced an album of original music. The self-titled album is a collection of 12 songs, and was released digitally earlier this year. You can listen to it, and if you enjoy what you hear, we would be pleased if you purchase a digital download HERE.
Additionally, Megan and Brooke decided to wait for the warmer weather to celebrate the release with a live show so they could share the evening with friends. The event will be at the Vintage Pub in Askov, Minn. (not far from our farm) on June 5. Hard copies of their album will be available for purchase there as well. You're all invited!
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Only two weeks until our first delivery – so there is still time to join our CSA! We are so excited about what we have already accomplished – but to expand our efforts and provide our friends with more fresh and flavorful food, we need more members who support what we do. So please, share your enthusiasm for Abraham’s Table Farm with your friends – and let them know they can get nutrient dense food grown right here in Minnesota! Please pass our name along!
Joel, for the entire ATF Team