Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kurtwood Farms: An Update

    Last week I was away from the farm for a short vacation.  My first extended time off since the first cow arrived here four years ago.  As much as I love it here, cherish my animals and never want to leave, it was great to be away.   
    It is also great to be back.
    The seasons have flipped while I was off the Island. When I left the cows were grazing on verdant, albeit short pasture, the warm weather vegetables were in the ground but just relaxing and the raspberries were small, rigid lumps.  All has changed.  The pastures really cannot be termed pastures at this time. Maybe dusty weed patches with the odd green patch.  The cows have switched to alfalfa hay brought in from Eastern Washington now and will continue till the rains return in a few weeks.
The tomatoes, squash, beans and corn have all shot up miraculously.  Little starts a couple of weeks ago are now full fledged plants, ready to fruit.  The raspberries are ripe for the picking and delightful.
    It is odd that I spend most of my time in the trees rarely seeing the forest.  I really thought nothing was growing; that the pigs were permanently small, the hens stuck in adolescence. After a week of absence you come back and see the forest for what it is:  a dynamic place, full of change and growth.
    This is also the time of year when I start to cut my losses and focuses on my best bets.  In the winter and spring everything in possible.  Grandiose plans of cultivating every inch of ground for a variety of crops make perfect sense in May.  The ground is moist, the weeds haven't come up and the weather is blissfully mild.  By this time of year, late July, everything has changed. Weeds have taken over some sections so entirely that they must be abandoned.  What was easy to manage when it is 65' out is a chore and impossible when it is 90'.  I would love to chat about how everything is perfect, but the reality is that sometimes the weeds win, the heat of the day wilts the fragile plants.  
    The good news is that work on the cow barn continues.  The foundation has been poured, the footings set.  The sidewalks connecting the milking parlor and the barn ready to go.  Soon Frederic will arrive and begin the process of assembling the timber frame that will make up the structure of the barn.  

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