We’ve reached the end of the second week of summer camp at The Farm School, and this week’s group of campers has been truly wonderful. They have worked hard in the fields and forests, and with our livestock, and once again they’ve really brought the farm to life. We got the new tent up on Tuesday, so everything was back to normal and we were enjoying meals out there by Tuesday’s dinner. Our previous tent was destroyed in a very dramatic wind, rain and lightning event last week, and we worked fast to clean up the old one and get a new one in place. The tent has ended up being the heart of our summer program, with most meals happening out there, quite a few evening activities, and also serving as a shady place for campers and staff to get together for any reason throughout the day. We felt a real urgency to get the old tent replaced as soon as we could, and it feels nice to be back out under the shade again enjoying meals together.
We got about an inch of rain last weekend, and got over two inches on Wednesday night
and into Thursday this week, so it feels like the dry conditions that we were facing throughout the spring may have finally been broken. Our forecast for the coming days calls for extremely hot weather to move in by Saturday, and we are looking at highs on Sunday and Monday around ninety-five degrees. Hopefully the rainy weather has given our pastures and veggies the moisture and strength that they’ll need to stand up to the heat, and to endure what looks to be an extended stretch of hot weather. We’ll have extra water up at the pigs through this hot stretch, and do our best to keep them comfortable with shade and mud, and plenty to drink.
Our count is up to five calves in the beef herd so far, and with a long move and road crossing on Wednesday of this week, we got a really good look at everyone as they paraded by. The whole herd looks really nice right now, sleek and shiny from all of that good spring grass, with the yearlings from last year growing nicely, the two-year-old steers looking enormous and stocky, and the new calves healthy and frisking around the group. We had twelve calves last summer, and while I certainly don’t expect that many this year, I think we still have a few more cows due to calf here in the next month. We typically put a bull in with the herd around August 15th, and my preference is to have calving completed before he makes the scene if possible. There is some concern out there about a bull being aggressive toward new calves, though I do not share that concern, and I am much more worried about my safety when trying to tag and handle a new calf with the bull looking on.
Alex and the student farmers have been tilling up and planting the last of our open
veggie fields, filling in those areas that typically take longer to dry out from the winter and spring. These plantings are focused on fall crops that will keep the CSA and markets going strong through the fall, so are plants that can tolerate the cooler weather and shorter days that we expect towards the end of the growing season. That cool weather will have to wait a while yet, and I’ll let you know next week how we come through this heat wave.