July Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

It’s been a busy month here at Bluebird. All the young birds have fledged, even the natty little house wrens that seem to always take up a nesting spot on the porch rafters of, well, our house!  Right above where I sip my morning cup as the sun works its way up the back of Ramsey Peak, where it likes to pop out these days. Young bluebirds flit about the apricot tree, sometimes dipping to the birdbath there while at others, they swoop back up to their box. Robins and robins and robins hunt around the watered lawn. I marvel at their deftness as they pull worms from the ground and never, ever have I seen them break one!

I can not recall a July as cool and pleasant as this one. We’ve even had a few showers and it was just the other day that temperatures rose to 90 for the first time all season!  Fine with this farmer, and I believe most. Perfect weather for growing grain and perfect, cooler weather for our basin here where we had below-average snowpack.  On our later planted grain – the emmer we put in June 1st – I never turned on the irrigation until the second week of this month. Now, with the emmer all heading out I’m watering deeper but will be shutting the water down for good by the month’s end. Very little supplemental watering on that crop could be a good thing?

On the earlier planted einkorn, I turned the water off for the season a week ago. As it tosses about on thin stalks in the recent wind – acting more like a spring-full river than a field of grain – it is beginning to turn color from an almost lime green when it begins to head, to a slow tannish tint as it begins to ripen. A month from now it should be ready to reap. So far, the crop looks really strong.

We mowed and grew out our winter peas well into this month, finally just taking them down a week or so ago. Lots of available nitrogen there, where I’m thinking of sowing an older variety of red winter wheat this year.  Our spring pea cover crop we worked in as well, and I let it go a little further than I wanted so I’m backing that cover crop up with a mid-summer crop of buckwheat plow-down.  Here, I’ll sow our killer winter “Treebeard” rye…late August.

Levi and Tanner, our two new hires, have been doing well here at the granary where the summer lull of orders has been somewhat welcome so that these guys can get their feet on the ground before the usual pick-up in sales beginning next month.  So nice to have some solid help here, again! And help that takes initiative. Thank you, guys!

And young Clyde is trucking along in the fields, in the streams and generally getting the “lay-of-the-land” with some help from ole’ Tucker.

We are headed on our annual pilgrimage back to my “homeland” in New England. This will be the first trip for us when both my parents will be gone. During our visit, we will be having a mighty celebration in honor of their lives.  In true fashion, we’ll be having it out behind one of the barns – known as “Uncle Fred’s” barn –  in one of the pastures that have been farmed there for 200 years. I guess this “farm thing” has been in our family a while.

Upon return, I’ll be getting the Gleaner all spiffed up and suspect we’ll be ready to harvest the first of our grains mid-late August. This, of course, is very weather dependent. For right now, we’re all very grateful that we’ve no big fires around here yet, and we’re “smoke-free.”  So…

Please enjoy the turn to the second part of summer!  It seems to be going by awful fast.

Yours, Farmer Sam