August Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

Wow!  The request I wrote at the end of my last notes was for those displaced by our July fires to be back in their homes with no lives lost. This hope for our valley here was one hundred percent granted!  Mother Nature just never ceases to amaze. We couldn’t have had a more drastic change in the weather than what we’ve experienced here at the tail end of August, under the tutelage of the Full “Sturgeon” Moon –  also a Blue Moon in Aquarius. From temperatures that nudged 100 FH most every day of July into August, and smoke that pretended to be fog, we received a full night of rain on the 20th.  Since, daytime temperatures have struggled to get past the 70’s!  Blue sky has returned and that fast, it feels more like the deeper days of September. 

The two main fires that started nearby still smolder away to the north and west, but have been substantially quelled. This all is not something most would have predicted for what often is the hottest, driest month of the year: August. I feel many birds left the valley early in all the smoke.  Now, I think some have returned and yet those that are typically ready to leave now, are leaving.  So much activity was viewed from the back porch where the temperature this morning was 38 degrees! Chickadees back, swallows have left. Hummingbirds back, wrens are gone. Hawks, meadowlarks, early ducks and so forth. Bluebirds… the bluebirds this summer around here have been oddly silent. This is one I’ve not quite in understanding with, but the phal of smoke may well be the factor 

Our winter rye and wheat crops that we were able to get off the Big Valley field by the hair of our chins came in with good test weights, yield, moisture content. Idea, actually, for storage and milling. Now, our spring hard white wheat crop has been washed thoroughly by the rain and harvest has been delayed somewhat. Meanwhile, no less than 200 Canada geese gorge on the softened grain there, so I grow anxious to capture the rest. After its harvest, I’m hopeful of drilling in our winter peas. This spring wheat crop is more apt to have been affected by the extreme earlier heat and smoke, although I’ve never noticed our actual crops affected too much by smoke alone. We’ve harvested plenty of our crops in the smoke over the past few years.

Not long after harvest of  Methow Red, we cleaned up a new batch of seed stock so that it can be sown in early September.  We select our seed after screening it all, then taking the dense cut of heavy grains off the top of our Gravity table.  We cleaned a little over 200 bushels of red seed for planting this year. The rest of that crop we will grade for milling purposes over the winter.

Methow Hard Red Wheat Seed

We’ve yet to clean up any of our new-crop winter rye but should get to that soon with good expectations.  Our new crop einkorn yielded well, but is pretty brittle due to excessive early heat.  It is the first of our spring grains to be harvested as it was planted back in early March.

The grain itself is of excellent quality but we have excessive breakage when hulling, and therefore processing time is taking us a fair bit longer on this lot.  This is not what we look for, but what we sometimes have to deal with in a custom mill.   Growing and processing crops – contrary to what some might believe – is not an exact science. Take science into account, but Mother Nature always bats last.

The news you’ve all been waiting for: We’ve broken ground on our new facility! Finally, and at last!  This has been no short process… but the ship has left the dock and we all are very excited. The not so good news: We will be operating one final winter up here on the Rendezvous. The good news: We will only be operating one more winter up here on the Rendezvous! So, we look forward to giving you updates and pictures as the building progresses. 

Meanwhile, with the sudden turn in weather also comes the first days of public school. More teenagers now are in their own vehicles and more little ones on the streets. Please be mindful particularly during certain times in the day. And be mindful to not text and drive…

Up next, spring wheat harvest report. Until then, hello September! We’ve almost made it through summer once more!

Farmer Sam

Bluebird's new processing facility site- 5 miles south of our current location.