Farmer’s Market

We’ve had lots of goodies at the farmer’s market the past two weeks.  I didn’t remember to get a picture yesterday, but here’s Cherie helping set up our booth last week.

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She didn’t have on her signature apron, because she was heading out to another civic event and couldn’t stay for the market.

It’s encouraging to find more and more folks who are choosing locally and organically grown food.

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Finally Cutting Hay

It’s after 9:30 as I sit down to write this, and I have to be up before five to pick the things we’re taking to the farmer’s market tomorrow.  Even during these long days, there just aren’t enough daylight hours to keep up.

I was finally able to start cutting our hay, nearly a month later than I would have preferred.  It’s just been too wet.  We need a minimum of five dry days to get it done.  I’m gambling that it won’t rain for a while.   But at this point I don’t feel I have a lot to lose.    If it spoils, I’ll just try to do better this fall.

There were plenty of great photo opportunities today, but alas, I forgot to take my phone (which is also my camera).

I rousted two fawns, and innumerable rabbits and mice.  The fawns had been hidden in the tall grass by their mothers and only ran when the mower was dangerously close.   Fawns are very pretty, but I’m not happy with our resident deer these days.  A couple of them walked through my cantaloupe garden, eating the tops out of many of the plants.  Having spent many long hours working that garden, and being fond of the melons, that greatly annoyed me.  Then this morning I discovered they’d done the same thing in my okra patch.  I can’t recall ever having deer eat okra and cantaloupe plants.  It’s not as if there isn’t anything else to eat these days.

After the farmer’s market it’s back to cutting hay.  Then in a couple of days (hopefully) I’ll start raking and baling it.  It will be nice to have it behind us.

Harvesting the Pond

I read a comment from a farmer recently who said a good fish pond is like a garden you don’t have to plant or till; you only have to harvest it.

We have a good fish pond, but I don’t spend enough time harvesting it.  With so many other tasks piled up this time of year (my to-do list has 106 items on it), going fishing seems something of a time-wasting luxury.

But yesterday I decided to spend an hour, during the heat of midday, at the pond.

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For the first 55 minutes, though I had some strong bites, I had nothing else to show for my effort.

But just as I was about to call it quits I snagged this one.

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That’s a couple of fine suppers right there.

A Fox Guarding the Henhouse

Over the course of the past 30 years, the prevalence of childhood obesity has nearly tripled. Nearly one in three American children and adolescents today are overweight or obese….  Nearly a third of our nation’s young people are at risk for preventable diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Preventable diseases have serious consequences – which is why health experts tell us that our current generation of children may well have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

USDA press release, May 1, 2013.

The subject of the press release was some new school-lunch program.  One might read this and reasonably conclude that the USDA is helping to prevent childhood obesity.

But the reality is that the USDA is complicit in the causes of the epidemic.  It promotes and implements an industrial food system designed to generate cheap, fattening, nutrient-free processed food.  The things that are fattening and killing our children (such as candy-coated breakfast cereals, soft drinks, fast foods and processed snack/junk foods) are made primarily from government-subsidized commodity crops.  Because so much of the cost of those items is prepaid by taxpayers, they appear cheap in comparison to whole natural foods, whose producers are not receiving government handouts.

I overheard someone talking about the prevalence of obese kids these days.  He said something like, “Remember when there was usually just one fat kid in the class or in the school?”  It made me think of Fat Albert, a cartoon from my childhood.  In those days, childhood obesity was a rare thing (and more likely to be caused by genetics than exclusively by diet).  Today, with 1/3 or more of all American children obese, it’s becoming the norm.

We are feeding our children a diet that fattens and ultimately prematurely kills them.   That diet, combined with lack of exercise, is producing a nation whose children are as fat as its adults.

And even as the USDA might be saying the right things, it’s handing kids “happy meals” and bags of cheetos while saying them.

Election Day

There is a very important election in our community today:  the Republican primary for House of Delegates.  There is no Democrat running so whoever wins this election will be our delegate.  Turnout will be very low but the consequences of this election could be very significant.

You wouldn’t know it from looking at or listening to the candidates.  As far I can tell they publicly agree on every issue.  Both are very conservative, fiscally and socially, as any candidate with a chance of election here would have to be.

But lurking beneath the surface is the biggest issue this county has faced in over 150 years–whether the moratorium on the mining and milling of uranium should be lifted.

Both candidates say they oppose lifting the ban.  But can they both be trusted on that issue?

Les Adams and his family are friends and supporters of our farm.  They are members of our CSA.  They recognize the value and importance of agriculture for our community.  Les is the 6th generation of his family to live here.

His opponent, Mr. Bowman, moved here a few years ago to take a job heading the county’s economic development effort.  A couple of months ago the county Board of Supervisors fired him and, presumably with nothing else to do, he decided to run for delegate.

While in his previous job Mr. Bowman was flown to Canada by the uranium promoters to see and inspect their operation there.  The Board authorized the trip, on the condition that the submit a report of his conclusions.  He took the trip but never wrote the report.

During the last session of the General Assembly we were in grave danger of having uranium mining forced on us by legislators from other parts of the state, many of whom had received hefty campaign contributions from the uranium interests.  Our delegation was firm in opposition.  But some in Richmond questioned whether our community genuinely opposed lifting the ban, citing the fact that the Board of Supervisors had not passed a resolution on the subject.  So our delegates, Danny Marshall and Don Merricks, urgently asked the Board to pass a resolution, showing our resolve.  It was vitally important to their efforts.

Cherie and I attended the meeting when that resolution was adopted.  Our Supervisors passed the resolution, with only one vote opposed.  That dissenting vote prevented our delegation in Richmond from saying that the Board was unanimous in opposition.   That vote was cast even though it was certain that the resolution would pass.  That vote was cast by someone who advocates allowing disposal of uranium milling waste in our county.  That vote was cast by Mr. Bowman’s wife.

Now I realize it may seem unfair to impute to Mr. Bowman the political views of his wife.  But can we really trust Mr. Bowman on this under the circumstances?  Why take that risk?

If any of you are residents of the 16th District, I hope you’ll go to the polls today and cast your vote for Les Adams.

Rain

The brunt of Tropical Storm Andrea was to our east.  We got another two inches of rain from the edges of it, but it could have been much worse.

Still, another couple inches of rain fell on our already soaked soil.  The gardens remain too muddy to cultivate.  The soil is too wet to till.  And it’s been impossible to cut and bale our hay.

And this morning as I look out the window, thinking of the CSA shares I need to go pick, I see that it is raining again.

But all this rain has been great for the grass, not all of which is growing in places I don’t want it.  And as I’ve mentioned several times, our spring brassicas are loving it.

Whenever we have sudden heavy rains I worry about erosion.  I try to lay out rows, buffers and drainage ditches to protect the gardens, but they don’t work perfectly and we lose topsoil during the worst of it.  I hate that.

Repairing our roads is also part of my post-storm routine.   The rain turned this road, which leads to our pond, into a ditch.

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I use a box blade to try to shape it back up, fill the holes, and direct the water to the proper ditches.

What a dramatic change from last year’s drought, which brought a different set of worries and problems.

Even though I’m getting tired of tramping around in mud, I think I prefer too much rain to too little.