07 October 2008

Life on Our Farm

It's 8:00am and I am home now. I just dropped our daughter off to school and she'll be home before I know it...the days go by so quickly, don't they? I've been wanting to write about what it's like here on the farm for so long. Nothing like the present. My daughter reminds me of that every so often by saying things like, "I'll be driving soon Mom!" Mind you, she's only 10 and she's been saying that since she was 8! Don't rush it kid! That's my advice..enjoy childhood while it lasts. My husband has been driving since forever...that's what it's like on a farm. The boys learn how to drive the tractors....probably as soon as they hit double digits, maybe even before that. And the farm trucks too...but only on the farm. So I think they are able to do that just because they are boys! Our daughter has not learned yet how to do those things. She knows how to drive the quad, but she's only allowed on it with an adult. She always tells me too, "Mom, you worry too much." Isn't that what moms do? Anyway, here on the farm, we will be harvesting until we get a hard freeze. We planted beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, swiss chard (chard grows forever...until we get that hard freeze), melons and peppers. We were hit pretty hard with hail earlier in the year and lost our first crop of beans. The hail also hit the tomatoes and cucumbers hard, to the point where we had to replant all the cucumbers. The tomatoes fought back, but were late coming. We've also had excessive moisture this growing season, which has affected the crops adversely. But all things considered, I feel we are lucky! We have a friend who has hundreds of acres of apple trees. The spring hail destroyed probably 80 percent of his crop. He can sell the bad apples for juice, but that's usually only pennies a pound. We've recently started having some colder weather now. The growing season here in New York is so short. We had some frost this morning. We harvested most of our beans yesterday because they wouldn't make it through the frost unless we covered them. Market prices are up now for beans, so it's a good thing. The guys are usually out in the field pretty early, picking whatever needs to be harvested for the day. The eggplants have a pretty good leaf canopy over them, so they'll do fine in this weather. We pulled most of the peppers, and there is a newer planting of Swiss Chard on the farm...that should be fine as the frost wasn't too heavy. The melons are done, as are the cucumbers and tomatoes. We only harvest a small amount of cucumbers and tomatoes in comparison to last year because of the wet weather this summer...all that rain made it very difficult to get into the field to take care of those crops. Today, I will be freezing beans so we have them for the winter months. I have peppers in the freezer already, but will be doing more, and I also need to freeze eggplant after I'm done with the beans. Then I'll so some Swiss Chard. The farmer around the corner from us raises turkey, chickens, beef and pork. They are delicious, and do not have any fillers or "enhancing solution" added to their meat products. We been exchanging flowers and vegetables for the meat, but will probably buy half a cow from him as well to stock our freezer. We also get milk from another farmer friend. I can't stress enough how important it is to buy local and know the grower/farmer you are buying from. For starters, it is less expensive to buy direct from the farm rather than the grocery store. It's great if you have the freezer space to purchase half a cow, or a pig. Also, in this day and age, with terrorism always a threat, it's better to know your food is from the U.S.A. rather than overseas. In addition to that, you'd be surprised to know that many of the chemicals and pesticides that have been banned for use in the U.S. are very much used in other countries! And that produce is imported into the U.S. for our consumption. Gone are the days when we ate only what was "in season." Since importing produce is such big business, we can have any type of fruit or vegetable we want, whether it's in season or not. But at what price? Well, I hope that's enlightened some of you. One of my goals when I started this blog was to educate the public on farming and agriculture. I'll write more again. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them. Have a great day!

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