Saturday, June 1, 2013

In the Merry Month of June

June kicks off the busy summer season here at Hope Mountain Farm. Just sheared the first two sheep. I use the manual shears because it keeps them calmer and I don't cut them as badly, but it's a struggle anyway, and after two, I'm done for a spell. The benefit of a small-holding is the scale is right for this kind of careful, time-consuming work. Here's a funny thing, the lambs don't recognize their moms and when they're done getting shorn, they spend hours bleating at each other trying to figure it out. The lambs are about six weeks old now and have formed a pack, somewhat like unruly teenagers, running up and down the hill from the barn and finding any crack in the fence to get out and into trouble. Ah, the animal kingdom of which we are a part.

The first victims:


 Some lambs and a ewe inspecting shearing station:




The apple trees have a very good set this year, and for the first time I think I've figured out an organic system for keeping the dreaded plum curculio at bay. (See last year's post for the misguided and ill-fated venture into chemical farming in this regard.) It involves constant spraying from first petal fall onwards of kaolin clay and the use of pyganic, (made from chrysanthemum seeds), on cherry and plum trees as traps.

Northern Spy:



The garden is doing its usual great after plenty of moisture and now the first summer heat. We are behind though, with two more beds to be dug over and manured for tomato, eggplant, corn, etc.

Here some potatoes are emerging from leaf mold mulch put down just last week as a cover to protect from the last frost of the year, hopefully:


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