Monday, April 27, 2015

Planting History

NOT Datil pepper seeds. Leftover milkweed.....

I have been reading this blog pretty much since we got on the Internet...certainly most of the time that I have been blogging. From its author we have learned a great deal about all things Florida. He is the science teacher the rest of us only dream of...field trips out into the Gulf, snake excitement, birds, gophers of the reptile kind, exotic plants and all, with a friendly pack of incredibly literate Labradors thrown in as well.

Florida simply fascinates me. You know, from out of the far far north and all....They have different birds and plants and critters. Pure Florida feeds that.

For years FC has been offering Datil Pepper seeds for sale...He grows them himself; pure heritage, heirloom in the most literal sense of the word, seed stock.

This year we finally ordered some.

I planted them today, along with a bunch of assorted sweet basil. Now I am crossing my fingers for success. If they come along all right, all you Northview people who drown everything I cook with the hottest hot sauce you can buy are in for a treat. 

He sent recipes too. You should go to Pure Florida and search "Datil peppers" to learn how the tradition of growing them has been passed down in the family for generations.

Thanks so much FC. This planting history business feels like a fun project.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Stills.....Cows

Neon Moon
A wee skirmish over who is going to stand where


We wuz only foolin'


Thanks, Ed, for this fun challenge.

For more Sunday Stills.....

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Shooting Bison in a Barrel

I wish I could tell all the people who milled around terrifying the loose bison yesterday that they probably contributed to the problem. Bison are wild animals.They wouldn't run up to a lion or tiger waving cell phones and taking selfies would they? 

Maybe they would.

Liz actually saw a post from a  news channel urging people to go get photos and selfies. It has since been taken down....

But maybe if people had stayed home and not run around chasing them waving cell phones they might have calmed down enough to be captured. Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, reading the comments on various news stories raised my blood pressure beyond the safe point. All those instant experts damning the family that owned the animals, the police, and anyone who dared make an intelligent comment. 

Wow. Do they talk to their mothers that way?

I saw suggestions that the owners should be shot too. That they were Nazis. Monsters. Bad business people. Liz went to school with some of the family members and none of those awful things are true, but all of them are hurtful.

There were lots of urban fencing experts too. Obviously in the utopia where they live, trees never fall on fences. Animals never panic and run through fences that would normally stop a train. I have seen a German Shepherd dog eat through the wall of a HOUSE!. It weighed a lot less than a bison. 

I had to stop reading. I mean, who you gonna trust? Cornell experts? Farmers? People who work with bison? Or people who never stepped in manure, but sure know how to pile it?

We once had a valuable, but overly nervous....kinda crazy really...Holstein heifer, jump a fence and head for the Thruway in the middle of the night. The same Interstate the buffalo were on. Call us monsters and/or Nazis if you will, but we consulted with the state police and together decided that if she got on the Interstate she would have to be shot.

The officers went out on the road to look for her and do the deed if necessary.

Luckily she was found and brought home before she got on the highway, but it could have ended very differently.

I don't care how good you build your fences. Trees fall in storms. People open gates. Stuff happens.

However, I fear that social media will soon remove our ability to keep animals at all, no matter what our motives, no matter what our methods. When the people who equate uninformed opinions and cliches with actual knowledge use comments as a courtroom, much damage is done. Common sense isn't going to help. It is too hard to find. 

Oh, and in NY, if someone had been injured by those animals, the farmer would have been preventing that from happening was probably a good business decision.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On the Land

Road trip yesterday. We needed to go to Sunnycrest to get some Slendrette bean seeds. Although we grow half a dozen varieties of snap bean, Slendrette, or Slankette, its other name, is my favorite for filling the freezer. It is an easily picked, prolific bean, that comes back all season, over and over again. 

Becky found a little filet bean last year that bore right up until frost as well. That one was not a freezer-filler, because of the tiny size of the pods, but oh, so tasty. Alas I don't remember the variety, so I am going to have to have her look it up for me if I want more.

For a gardener, Sunnycrest's greenhouse is like a visit to a spa for a girly girl. What feels like miles of vivid geraniums flanked by smiling pansies and hundreds....thousands...of other sunny, happy flowers. Herbs. Succulents in little dishes.

Honestly I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. It has been a LONG winter, and really it is still hanging on. Cold and clammy this morning, with snow all around us. I came away with a nice spearmint plant and a yellow and brown coleus that caught my eye. Of course we also got a half a pound of bean seeds and a bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes.

Then we toured down little country roads, some of which we had never seen before. I guess the boss was happy to get his hermit down off the hill because he obligingly stopped at Bowmaker Pond, where the Canada Geese and Tree Swallows were whooping it up.

I tried hard for some photos of the amazing hill country down between route 20 and Cobleskill, but the rain made it impossible. Tried for duck ID in Bear Swamp too, with the same problem. No light. Lots of water falling on us.

We drove well over fifty miles, through what has always been dairy country and saw three viable dairy farms. Three. And all three were pretty down at the heels. Of course nobody looks their best in April, especially after a winter like this past one, but could just feel the hard times rolling off them.

It is easy to recognize farmhouses that date back to Revolutionary War times. This is a historic area after all. However, far too many of these stately former farm homes were surrounded by five acre lawns, a few tumble down buildings, and brush. There were a few farmers on the land, more Amish than English. It was sad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

On farms, large or small, they are all earth day. Whether it is the biggest corn producer in the Midwest or the smallest organic farm on a rooftop in NYC, farmers live with and care for the land. Even the crop protectant products with the most complicated names are intended to do a better job of producing food sustainably.

Here at Northview Earth Day is peepers in the horse pond and Killdeer in the heifer pasture. Baby birds and animals everywhere. Green just peeking through on the hillsides and the first daffodils...Ice Follies....down along the driveway.

 It is a small farm in the grand scheme of things, but hosts over 70 species of birds each year, many of them breeding in our woods and fields and hedgerows.

Tomatoes are up in the spare bedroom. Over a hundred of them. By the time I get them planted I know I will be wondering....what was I thinking!!!

But we love tomatoes and I love gardening, whether on the scale of vegetables for the house, or helping out with miles of acres for cows, or nowadays hay fields for our customers. I even miss driving the chopper and raking hay for the boss back when we had the cows. There is no place like the seat of an open station tractor on a sunny July day, with Barn Swallows swooping in to scoop up the insects from the wind rows, and Kestrels stooping to grab field voles. Wind in your hair and sun on your shoulders...that's Earth Day indeed!

Anyhow, Jade has one garden ready to plant so I'm thinking peas maybe? It may be warm enough.