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In case you don’t have a chance to visit the farm, here’s a look around via the camera.

My sister and her family visited us over the 4th of July weekend!

Finally, we got some nice weather. We also got a gift of some hoof-in-the-bucket-type milk from my favorite dairy goat farmer — I figured the pigs would love it, and they didn’t disappoint me. In the 2nd clip, I started taping before I got to the pen because usually they’re excited to see me, and then done bouncing around by the time I get the camera out.

As usual, I’ve not quite finished transplanting the “hot crops” — tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, melons, cukes, eggplant — and it’s time to start CSA share distributions. All that’s left is transplanting the eggplant into the hoophouse; I couldn’t do that until the peppers were out of the way. We have some sweet corn to transplant, too, but other than lettuce and some Brassicas, we’re getting close to done with transplanting!

I know I shouldn’t take photos on dreary days, but that seems to be when I have time to do so. I did get a few pics of our tomato plants before heavy winds and rain turned them into some pretty sad-looking specimens. It seems like every year, no matter when I transplant the tomatoes, there’s a big storm shortly thereafter. This year’s field tomato plants were not spared a rude introduction to the open air, but I’m hopeful that they’ll prove to be as resilient as the tomatoes have been every other year.

The hoophouse tomatoes are putting on some healthy new growth, the onions look pretty good, and everything else is perking along, albeit slower than I’d like. I’m thankful we had a few sunny days last week in which we got a lot done. Maybe now that it’s officially summer, there’ll be more sun?!?

On Saturday, I treated the piggies to some stale nuts my mom found in her cupboard — I think they like ‘em. The pigs kept chewing on videographer Elden’s boots (they might like shoes and boots almost as much as nuts), so I kept trying to distract them while focusing on not getting my hands bitten off. (There probably should be one of those “Do not try this at home” warnings on this video.) I should also note that yes, I was wearing my winter hat on June 20, because that’s how cold the wind was in the fields here.

I noticed a ton of dragonflies in the orchard yesterday evening, and realized, “Of course, they’re feasting on the mosquitoes!” Yes, it’s that time of year, and we’ve certainly got plenty of standing water right now for the annoying bugs to breed in. We’re chugging along at Stone’s Throw Farm as best we can . . . when it rains every few days or rains 2.25 inches at a time, much of our soil never quite dries out enough to work. For the most part, the plants we already have in the ground are doing fine, though. The first snap peas I seeded rotted in the ground, but the 2nd planting is coming up strong and the 3rd planting is sprouting. We had such a good pea crop last year that I suppose we were due for a little trouble.

We were able to pick up and move the “garoophouse” — a canvas garage frame that I’m using for a hoophouse — into its new spot with the tractor, and got it all ready for our second round of greenhouse tomatoes (the first round is doing fine in our #2 hoophouse). The field tomatoes are ready to transplant, but we only got their beds partially prepped before all the recent rain. I’m sure we can keep them happy in their pots until we can get them into the field, though. My mom helped me rescue the radishes, greens mix, lettuce mix, and beets from extremely thick weeds, and we’ve done some hoeing in the Brassica plantings, too. The spinach is next on the list to rescue from a carpet of weeds, and the carrots are up. The pigs are, of course, packing on the pounds. My dad spent a ton of time mowing around the fields and trimming under the fence and so forth this past week, so the whole place looks freshened up.

In summary, we’re about where we were last year at this point . . . please forgive my lack of enthusiasm at that announcement!

Room to Run

Pigs are so funny when they run because they land on both front feet together, then both back feet. What is this gait called, a gallop? Whatever it is, I think it’s hilarious, especially when they’re not going too fast — they’re just kind of bouncing along. Our piggies are pretty lazy during the day when it’s warm, but in the evening when their pen gets shady, they get up and get busy rooting and running around.

It’s been a busy few weeks at Stone’s Throw Farm, and we’ve even had a little company. One of our farm members, Guy, and his friend and mentor, Roy, set up two bee hives last weekend, which will be great for our pollinator-dependent crops and the general health of the farm. Guy and Roy checked on the bees this weekend and said they’re doing great; the queens are laying eggs and everything was as it should be. Then farm members Alisa and Don visited yesterday to see the piggies, which are now set up in a pen just north of the orchard. The pigs were happy on the trailer but seem very glad to be on the ground. This is the first they’ve encountered dirt, but they know what to do — dig! Alisa and Don also took a stroll with Elden and me on our little trail through the woods, where we currently have a carpet of what they helpfully identified as Spring Beauty wildflowers. They also pointed out a Jack-in-the-Pulpit growing right on the path.

My dad, Craig, has been taking care of the pigs and inhaling gas fumes non-stop while preparing the fields for planting with the tractor. He also seeded some oats and field peas that we hope the pigs can forage on later this season. My mom, Jean, has been faithfully watering our pots and trays in the hoophouses, pulling masses of chickweed and other enemies out of the field, and getting her perennial and flower beds in order. Elden has been out on the weekends getting his welder set up, improving the pig feeder roof, cutting firewood, and so forth. I transplanted the onions and then a ton of Brassicas — cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Napa cabbage, and Pac choi — as well as our first round of beets and lettuce. I finally was able to seed radishes and salad turnips, greens mix, lettuce mix, spinach, and snap peas, too. Most of these beds will be a weedy mess in short order since the soggy conditions didn’t give us a chance to kill the weeds before planting, but the weeding work will keep us out of trouble this summer.

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