Bluebird Grain Farms

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To be sure this October has been fine as any I can recall. Following the sowing of our winter peas we received a good ½ inch of rain here – our first, really, since May.  And after some mountain snows and blustery early October weather, the high pressure settled in. For almost two weeks now we’ve had carbon copy days of “Indian Summer” weather wherein the nightly lows in the high 20’s, soar up to daytime highs in the 60’s with nothing but blue skies and the countryside dappled in orange, red, purples and tans. Glory be!As mellow and lovely a landscape one could ask for.

This is the weather that might make one want to just lay down on a grassy slope, mid-afternoon, and stare up at the hawks and harriers soaring above.  Or listen to the late season crickets and the rustle of birds scratching up fallen seed and squirrels gathering up for the northern winter.

Scores of robins awaken and each morning just after dawn, and fly about the creek and rose-hips and what’s more, we’ve seen gatherings of western bluebirds and their unreal blue dot the now crisp shrub-steppe seemingly far later in the season than usual. These birds apparently enjoy the extended weather as much as farmers.  At dusk, one might here to hoo-hoo of the Great Horned perched in the aspen above the creek.  The owl’s low and steady voice surely puts an end to the purring quail talk as they get ready to roost.  Sometimes there are no sounds at all; the hum of silence perhaps the most profound.

I’ve applied our microbial straw digesters on the grain fields, and disked in the heaviest of our straw and sown the winter cover crops. To date, the peas have poked up and the warmer afternoons are giving them a good kick and hopefully they will reach 2-3 leaf stage before the ground freezes, and/ or it snows.  I’ve more field work to do if time allows, such as chisel plowing and a few other tillage activities.  That said, we’ve been most consumed up here at the granary where orders have been fast and furious!

Our new crop emmer continues to clean very well, and we are getting big cuts of #1 whole grain emmer when we hull. No sweeter aroma than fresh hulled emmer and custom milled emmer flour. The cooler mornings have our daughters requesting emmer pancakes often these days, and so “quality control” of our Bluebird goods has come front and center.

Yesterday I received the first load of hard white spring wheat from our grower Tom Stahl in Waterville. Once again, the wheat had excellent weight and falling numbers, and tested over 14% protein.  So, way to go Tom!  Even though Tom grows under dry land conditions, he uses similar fertility as we do at Bluebird:  Green crop rotation (generally peas) liquid fish and some pilled soft rock phosphate and calcium blend. The kernels look beautiful and I’ve little doubt that it will mill up into fine, yellowish whole grain flour good for baking just about anything.

As daylight wanes this time of year, shadows lengthen and this is my favorite time to be out on the land. I hope that all of you get the chance to enjoy this hallowed time of year. Be careful of the gloom spooks!  And all the little tricksters out there emerging from the great pumpkin patch! Now that I think about it, was that an owl after all??

Yours, Farmer Sam