Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodbye, Mac

Goodbye Mac. The field looks much emptier without our gentle giant grazing. He decided to rest instead.

Karen has blogged about Mac on numerous occasions, the latest being:

Mac helped me better understand why some of our friends rescue animals. We must remember that many people need rescue, too.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weather Views

A friend recently commented that she had visited Taos, London and Vermont. Everywhere, she said, the weather was "better" than here in Virginia. Double-take! "Better than Virginia?" I thought about how wonderful our weather has been this year and then, boom, I realized, some people don't like all the rainy days we've been having.

Virginia says, "I wonder what the farmers near Taos would say."

Well, Virginia, those farmers probably plan and plant for little rain. A lot of water might ruin them.

Here at Elk Cliff Farm we couldn't have asked for better weather (okay, some rotting has occurred, but begging for better would be, um, downright ungrateful). Everyday our gardens urge us to fill baskets. We've plugged in a third freezer. Perhaps we should buy a generator just in case. And we've canned and dried as well.

The thing is, the season's only half over. Our fall gardens have just begun. Here's a bed with fall green beans (Blue Lake), round zucchini (Ronde de Nice), French wax beans (Buerre de Rocquencourt), beets, eggplants, Brussels sprouts, snow peas, and summer holdovers of kale, St. John's wort, lemon balm, stevia, and pennyroyal.
As I carved a Pear melon for breakfast this morning, I remembered I had a blog, so I added a few vegetables some folks might find unfamiliar -- long green beans and a black brandywine tomato (our favorite juicy sweet tomato).
Perhaps you'd like to see where the long green beans live. They grow on the tipi-shaped trellis, right rear here.
Our blackberries have been especially prolific for three weeks. They're finally winding down. Let's see one of the paths I've worn to the interior of our patch.
Looking east toward our house you can see a little bit of most of our beds. Some young parsnips grace the foreground, in our tree-shaded garden with lettuces and Egyptian walking onions. Tall asparagus "trees" block our view of two beds. Mostly corn grows on the left, planted in succession with the intention of providing ears through the first frost. Butternut squash, peas, beets, tomatoes and cucumbers hide underneath.
Oh, I almost forgot, this is the Year of Basil. We have five varieties, but most of all, holy basil has sprouted everywhere like weeds. If anyone wants basil, let us know.

Speaking of weeds, some of you have heard me complain about the rain in this respect, good-naturedly I'd like to think. After all, if I didn't get this exercise, what would I do? Weeds can be good for mulch -- in-ground, pulled and laid on the ground between desirable plants, or later, after aging in a pile like this one.
Of course, rain can't take all the blame. Some fingers point to what else makes a garden grow, gifts of rabbits and goats:
Before we say goodbye, here are a few more pictures.

Thank you, Marion, for the pomegranates. Our grove appears to be doing very well.
Eggplants are coming along.
 Here is a Cambodian Green Giant eggplant.
These eggplants find their home in a thin garden that runs along the south side of our greenhouse.
Finally, credit also must be given to millions of friends, including this Swallowtail butterfly.