Farm Week: July 1-5, 2013

My hands are bloodied this week. They are consistently, undramatically bloodied with every slapped mosquito. It is a constant battle that I am losing on every front, the secondary attack of those many weeks of nonstop rain and standing water. There are the constant daytime outdoor attacks, but then there are the night-time sneak attacks, the cumulative damage that two mosquitoes can inflict on a body over the course of a good night's sleep. On the upside, I haven't been seeing as many ticks recently, which isn't a comfort to Dan, who's now a week into his Lyme antibiotics.  

My hands were also dramatically and momentarily bloodied during our first large-scale chicken harvest. We had done a practice-run last weekend of the four biggest birds, so I could relay to Dan the procedure that I learned a few weeks ago from former Chubby Bunny apprentices. So on Saturday we had 22 birds left to dispatch and a heat index in the very high nineties. If I thought flies and mosquitoes were bad when we're in the fields, that doesn't compare to flies when you have buckets filling up with first-rate fly food. We got through it, and now we know that three people is not enough for a fast and efficient chicken processing day. Lesson learned! Boy did that cold stream feel good, even if it is slowly drying up. But as I told my fellow fieldworkers and stream-dippers, I'd rather have to lay down in the stream to cool off than have another week of rain.

My hands were only slightly bloodied in the tomato greenhouse this week, where a mix of tomato sap, pollen, and dirt turned them ghastly colors. We also ate our first greenhouse tomato! There are a handful of slowly ripening fruits, but plenty of big green tomatoes, so hopefully we'll have enough in a few weeks to start sharing the bounty with our members. I definitely didn't mind biting into that blood-red fruit this week!

Thinking about: essential oils, lifestyle choices, the art of storage

Reading: The Greenhorns' 2013 New Farmers Almanac, Selected Letters of Willa Cather

Eating: our own chicken (pieced, BBQed, and shared with two girls hiking the Appalachian Trail), fresh-caught brook trout with mixed-veg risotto, summer squash in eggs and in pasta, so many snap peas