SPRING TIME IS ENDING!!! I’ve constantly been humming the bambi song “drip drop drip little April showers” and now its the end of May and we are getting closer to the 90s in temperature than I would like to admit on the hotter days. In the high tunnels it feels like 100 degrees, so I am really looking forward to experiencing the high tunnels in the summer time!
Our group has finally started to feel more like a family. We eat together often, and I must say, Jamie can cook one delicious pork tenderloin! 🙂 Life off the farm has started to become more planned and routine. Wednesdays I have choir 🙂 which always brightens my week. Although I absolutely love working on the farm, their is something nice about going home after work and doing something familiar like church choir, it makes me feel like I am just a little closer to home and family. We have also had the chance to meet our awesome neighbors and could not have been luckier with our apartment situation.
Life on the farm has been very busy, and our arch nemisis “Dr.Nutsedge” has been invading our happy farm making weeding very very VERY difficult. Just last week we spent a good portion of our Friday picking out all the nutsedge from our garden spaces only to see the evil weed come back over the weekend as if we did not even do anything. It is truly eye opening to see how powerful a weed can be and how hard it can be to maintain organically sometimes. We have learned that organic farmers have had to suspend their organic certification for a few years and then later come back just in order to contain certain weeds. It is really crazy to see how much labor it takes to battle such a invasive and fast growing weed. On the brightside, even though we lost a portion of our spring field, and our summer field is COVERED in nutsedge, we have managed to produce lots of delicious produce. I’ve really enjoyed sharring some of our food with the local community, including our neighbors and community projects.
Speaking of community projects, I am becoming involved with the Goldsboro Library. They have a BEAUTIFUL garden that has been filled with all kinds of summer goodies just starting to blossom in time for the first day of the junior master gardeners program that will start in June. It’s looking like we will have a large group of children. Donna has tasked a group of folks (including me) to be part of the task force for planing activities for the younger children up to the fifth graders. I am really excited at the opportunity to share the things I’ve been learning with the children.
Right now on the farm the biggest producer we have these days are the cucumbers. We have donated hundreds of pounds of cucumbers just from one days harvest to meals on wheels. I’ve enjoyed all the cucumbers myself and have discovered an amazing Thai Cucumber Salad recipe that has me addicted. Marisa was especially excited over the cauliflower, and last week I got to do a mashed cauliflower demonstration for the cooking class at the extension office. It was actually pretty good! Teenagers came back for seconds, so I figure that has to mean something.
Pests have started to show themselves now that the weather has warmed up. Cucumber beetles, potato beetles, flea beetles, cabbage worms, groundhogs (he really likes our pointy head lettuce), and a mouse (who keeps finding its way into my lunch during the day time before lunch time…)
The experience so far on the Small Farm Unit has been eye opening and simply amazing. Marisa has done everything in her power to make sure we have a balance of classroom learning and hands on experience. The rest of the CEFS staff have all been wonderful as well. I have really enjoyed my Twice weekly time on the swine unit playing with the baby pigs and feeding the mothers or soon to be mothers. The staff really enjoys sharing their knowledge and they go above and beyond what they are required to do in order to make sure we learn as much as possible. They are really great people, with generous hearts and respect for the world around them.
Stay tuned for my next blog!! It should be exciting as my fellow apprentice Jessica and I work with the Bee clubs president (Summer) to learn care and maintenance of the CEFS bee hives!!! I seriously can not wait!!!