Wild Plum Tree

While looking through the brush where the goats are clearing we found this tree. It has some wild grapes on it. Looking closer we saw that it was some sort of fruit tree. Inside the fruit we found plum pits. So we have a wild plum tree!

Fruit Tree Quiz

Do you know your fruit trees or bushes by their shape and look? Let’s see!

What did you come up with? Below is a pic of the fruit with its name.

Most of these are not ripe yet. And as we only have a tree or two of each, they will just be used by the family.

Animal Power to our Benefit – Goats

We have some brushy areas that we would like to reclaim. Goats are perfect for helping us in this venture. Goats like to eat grass and hay. They especially enjoy supplementing it with browse – leaves, twigs, other plant matter. So we have moved the goats and their houses into this brushy section.

The goats live in this overgrown area nibbling here and there over several weeks. In time we hope the area will get eaten down making it easier for us to get a brush hog in and finish the process of reclaiming this area.

Yellow Flower – Be Careful with this One!

This time of year we have a lot of this yellow flower. It is wild parsnip. In the ground is a root that we could harvest in the fall and eat. It might be smaller than domesticated parsnip, but it is still parsnip. And the yellow flower is pretty, sort of resembling a white Queen Anne’s lace.

The part to be careful of is the sap. When the square stem is broken, it lets out a sap that will burn or blister the skin when exposed to sunlight. The skin gets clear fluid blisters that are itchy. The fluid from the blisters doesn’t spread the blisters. And repeat exposure year after year doesn’t increase the blistering, like it does with poison ivy. To treat the blisters, we find it best to avoid itching them and to dry them with witch hazel.

We commonly get the blisters on our feet and ankles. Why? Well, we are mostly always in our bare feet. After wild parsnip patches are mowed or weed wacked, the sap is still wet. When we walk through these areas, we get the blisters on our feet. It takes a while for the blisters to heal. After the skin is healed there is still a discoloration left behind that takes several months to go away. If we were to break and weed these with our bare hands, then we would have the blisters on our hands. That would be really painful!

Several years ago I was talking to a native friend who remembered harvesting these in her teen years with her aunt. When they harvested them, one of the instructions was to be careful of the stems and the sap from the stems. My friend didn’t remember any other explanation – Just be careful!

Wild parsnip patch in the middle of the pic along the fence row

Views from the Farm – June

Here are some recent views from the farm:

The bees are going in and out of the hive, supporting their colony and making honey that we will harvest.

The Bros recently reclaimed a junkie area:

Remember the serviceberry bush? The fruit came and it was delicious! The berries are blueberry size, cherry consistency, with a serviceberry flavor, obviously! It is sort of apricot-ish. We had enough for us and the birds to all have a taste.

Here are other plants growing in the garden:

Making Hay while the Sun Shines

Cutting Hay

The Bros have been doing this recently. What does that literally look like? First, you look for a 3-4 day stretch of dry, warm, sunny, windy weather.

  • Dry – the less rain you have falling the better your hay will cure.  You can have some rain at certain points in the process and still get decent hay.  No rain is best. 
  • The warmer the weather is the faster the hay will dry. 
  • Sun helps the hay to dry. 
  • Wind helps to pull the moisture out and to dry the hay.

Next, fresh grasses (orchardgrass, timothy) and legumes (alfalfa, clover) of the hay field are cut usually with a sicklebar mower or a disk or haybine after the dew has dried.  We use a sicklebar mower attached to an Allis Chalmers B. The grass is laid out and can dry. [A disk or haybine would put it more in a row. It might also have a crimper on it. Crimping cracks the stems so that they can dry faster. After a day, it would be tedded, which is spreading and fluffing it, to help it dry out. We don’t have a crimper or a tedder, so it can take longer for our hay to dry out.]

After a day or two of drying, we use a rake attached to the John Deere Model M to turn the grasses so that the underside gets dry.  We usually turn it after the dew has dried on the top.  Then we rake the hay into rows so that the hay is all together for the baler to bale.

The baler, driven this year by a farmer friend/neighbor, comes through, picks up the hay, cuts it and packs it into slabs, strings them, and throws the resulting bale out the back into the hay wagon.  Finally we pull the wagon into the barn and stack the hay from the wagon onto pallets.

A load of hay for the barn

Summer Plans

We’ve planned our gardens and ordered our seeds. We watch the weather and the warmth of the ground and have planted the cold weather crops – potatoes, garlic, onions, pac choi, beets, carrots, Swiss chard, ….and have started the plants we want to transplant – eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. We have watched the pastures and moved chickens, cows, and pigs out of the barn and into the fresh air and sunshine. Everything is growing as it can given the cold spring.

How can you get our items?

We use a weekly system in June – October.

  • You subscribe to our Currently Available email list and receive a weekly email about what we have available that week.
  • You let me know what you would like to purchase that week from veggies and/or meats.
  • You let me know where you want to pick them up
    • Fayetteville Farmers market (June-October),
    • Westcott Community Center (July-October),
    • the farm (all the time).
  • If you are reluctant to be around the markets, we can do curbside pick up at all locations.
  • You pay for what you want in the quantity that you would like, based on what we have available.

So make us part of your summer plans! Sign up now!

Serviceberry Shrub

The Serviceberry Shrub (also called the Juneberry) bloomed around May 3 this year. Folklore has it that once it blooms the ground is warm enough for the cold weather crops – potatoes, peas, cabbage, broccoli, Swiss chard, tatsoi, pac choi, winter lettuces, beets, carrots – those sorts of things. Once it stops blooming the ground is warm enough for the warm weather crops – beans, basil, squash, corn. Here we see it in April, not blooming, and then in May blooming. This is late, but we work with what we have. Happy planting!