Last month’s poem “Rain” worked as our first, and last, good rain of the season followed. Looks like I better come up with another rain poem quick as June already rolls on! May did remain mild to complete one of the gentler springs I can recall. It never was hot, but it never got cold either. Truth to tell, it was about right for getting the grains up and going. We finished sowing on either side of June 3rd’s Full Moon and indeed, the grains all showed strong emergence. Every one of our Einka plantings popped in just 6 days. Even with the emmer we anticipate 7 days between sowing and emergence in most cases. And our early May grains are all growing fast!
Sweet June came in on a gentle note and then during the second week here Bang: Hot- that fast! From our mellow 70’s and 80’s to near 100 degrees for three days running. We scrambled from just finishing planting to making sure all our irrigation was laid out and running. Some of our smaller fields remain under hand line irrigation and had been neglected so it has been full-on irrigation catch-up since. As well, we’ve been applying liquid fish on our earlier crops to give them another balanced hit of sea goodies at mid-growth. I love standing in the fields and breathing in the smell of the ocean. It is a fresh and healthy smell, particularly during these hot, windy days. I can fairly hear the grains say: Ahhh…
June, sweet, sweet June you will return, right? The month of growth – the cooler, wetter of the summer months, no? A couple days of rain certainly would not break this farmers heart, but still and all the long daylight energizes. And those first, cooler minutes of daylight are all about birds, as are the evenings. We’ve swallows, meadowlarks, flycatchers, wrens, goldfinches and yes, bluebird fledglings all within sight of our back porch. Uncompromised delight, I say. It makes those early sips of coffee all the better. In the lower pond here, I’ve seen ducklings of mallard, redhead, and teal – both blue wing and cinnamon teal to go with the green wings. The blue wing and cinnamon are not near as common around here. Oddly, I’ve yet to spot any new fawns but know they are nearby; well hidden and obedient to Mamma’s wishes.
Orders keep the granary crew awake and happy. We’ve been pleased how last year’s crop has held up and here we are with harvest only 2 months away and we’re now into our final lots of grain from last harvest. Interestingly, our final lot of emmer seems like one of the best! It appears our supply will last and as I say, harvest should begin by the 3rd week in August. But hold on a minute…
There is a lot of growing to be done – most of it in many cases. After all, the growing is the fun part! It is such an intense, 60 day cycle and with some grains already half way thru, we’ve got to keep tending and tending. We’ll irrigate as needed and supplement nutrients as tissue tests dictate. Another round of fish will go on some fields, and we likely will add some other goodies at boot-stage: Kelp meal, plant based nitrogen if needed, and our winter peas should give us a good nitrogen hit also. Funny thing, the heavier the crop, the more grain you must support properly to get the high quality we like. At this point, we can do no more except hope that Mother Nature gives our crops the real love. In the end, she always has the most to say. After last summer, we are all a bit edgy here in the Methow.
Meanwhile, school is out for the summer!! Please be careful as there will be a lot more kids biking, walking, playing around day-long. Full of summer ideas, kids may not always be watching for cars. I hope this finds you all ready for some nice summer activity as we near the years fullest light. Mountains beckon; trout streams, swimming lakes, ball parks and.. work!
Oh, and how about American Pharro winning the Triple Crown!!!
Yours, Farmer Sam