Wednesday, May 16, 2012

April BGF News

Its been a crazy month and in addition to a number of other omissions, I forgot to post the April newsletter that went out on April 30. 

Blue Gate Farm News – Volume XVII, Number 3  –  April 2012

Weather notes:
Precipitation to date this month: Rain  3.9”
                                                Hail: golf ball-sized

What’s up on the farm? 

For one of us at least, the theme for the season may be “Tuck in your flappables, Mabel, storms a-commin’!”

We were lulled into a relative sense of complacency this spring.  The weather was warm and mild.  We were able to get into the gardens earlier than ever to start prepping the beds and sowing early seeds.  The fruit trees bloomed with crazy abandon and even though they were about three weeks early, the weather continued to be so agreeable that we almost thought we were going to escape a freeze.  Almost.  Then the weather returned to a more seasonable normal.  The immature fruit on most of the trees was lost.  No apricots, plums, nectarines, mulberries or pears this year.  The peaches, oddly enough seem to be holding on.  The jury is still out on the apples.  Even the asparagus froze to the ground, although it recovered days later as new spears broke through.

We were making exciting progress on the barn, too.  The new main floor has been poured, complete with drains and plumbing connections and the electrical work was moving out into the lean-to, where the new walk-in cooler is to be built.  Ah, the electrical, which tends to be run high on the wall and require ladders for installation.  Sean was working on the electrical project late on April 11th when he fell about five feet off a ladder.  He broke his left humorous and fractured the left side of his pelvis in a couple of places.  Jill got him quickly to the Knoxville ER who did x-rays and started IV pain medication (they also had to cut away his Carhartt jacket and heavy hooded sweatshirt – oh well).  Transported by ambulance to DM Mercy Hospital for more intense care and an MRI.  Fortunately no surgery needed, able to travel home Friday afternoon, and expect full mending within eight weeks – then PT.  Sean can slowly move about the house with the aid of a cane.  New routines around the house with Jill as chief nurse and on the farm with Jill and her dad picking up much of the slack. 

On Saturday night, April 14th, it was windy and raining on and off until shortly after Sean’s brother pulled into BGF from Chicago.  Suddenly the north wind increased, the rain fell harder and golf-ball sized hail pounded the farm.  We thought our northern windows would break given the weight and velocity of the hail but alas no window damage – several friends in the area did suffer multiple broken windows.  Our damage was hail pitting on automobiles and hundreds of punctures on both layers of the two high tunnels roof plastic (thankfully all insured).

So we are now trying to find our new balance.  The regular chores of the farm continue on, as do the escalating duties of spring.  The large high tunnel is in full production, in preparation for farmers market.  The onions, leeks and shallots have all been transplanted into the garden, as have 200 pounds of seed potatoes.  This week we start on the cabbage and broccoli transplants.  The garden peas, head lettuce, radishes, spinach, mustard, beets, turnips, arugula and kale were all seeded in the past weeks and are up and growing nicely.  Nearly every flat surface in the sunroom is filled with tomato, eggplant, okra, peppers, cucumber, squash and herb transplants.  Everything is growing like crazy, including the weeds and the grass!  Jill’s dad and Sean’s brother have tended to all the hives on the farm and most of the colonies are growing big and strong.  Honey supers will go on soon!  Our target is to keep about 28 hives this summer.

The DM Farmers’ Market opens it 26 week season on Saturday, May 5th.  Hours from 7:00 am to 12 noonLook for us at our new location on the NW corner of Court & 2nd.  Once market opens, weekday egg sales at Ritual Café will cease for the summer.

Last minute update: This newsletter was supposed to go out yesterday, but there were complications with Sean’s recovery and he was shuttled from his doctor’s office to the local ER then via ambulance to a Des Moines hospital. He was in a great deal of pain and they were anxious to deal with some blood imbalances to alleviate the problem. So we’ve had a bit of a hitch, but expect to work through this one as well. Our attendance at the opening market on Saturday is a bit up in the air as of today, we will try to keep folks updated as we are able. Please don’t be dismayed or alarmed if we are a little delayed in responding to any correspondence for a few days.

2012 CSA Season
Statements to all members were e-mailed out over the weekend.  Please let us know if you did not receive a statement.  The full balance for all CSA members is due May 1st unless other arrangements are made with us.  We anticipate the first delivery of the 2012 season to be the first week of June, weather-depending.  Prior to the first delivery we will hold orientation meetings for our new members – more info later.

That’s about it this month, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)
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