Flowers, Piglets, and Kittens! Oh My!
The incredible variability that each year brings is astonishing. Last year (and the previous three years) have been wet, wet, WET! It has been as struggle to keep things from rotting with amount of rain, but I knew it would eventually stop and then it would be dry and hot. And so it IS but with a twist. We have been pedulum-ing from cold to hot and dry to wet with fair regularity which has kept the average ground moisture about where I need it to be, what a pleasant change! Now of course this May we had the latest freeze ever recorded with snow on May 19th and freezing temperatures three nights in a row May 24, 25 and 26th :( So no peaches, cherries, apples or pears to speak of this year. However, the strawberries and blueberries have done amazingly well, mmmm.
The whole flower farming experiment is going apace, with successes and failures as expected. I have about a 1/10th of an acre in cultivation following the model of Floret flower farm in Washington state and Meant to Bee Flower farm in Oil City, PA. I had dozens and dozens of starts in my basement and under cover and had to hold them for-forever! waiting for the freezing temps to finally pass. The bachelor buttons, larkspur, and sweet peas have done amazing. The snapdragons, bells of Ireland, and poppies have done poorly. The brown eyed susan vine and delphinium were a complete failure. Live and learn, no seriously, LEARN. I have been reaching out to the experts at Penn State for help and sending samples to the plant pathology lab. I want to know why some things aren't working and up my game. I am selling flowers at Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse, in Greenville, Friday mornings and that has been great! Long-term I am looking into next season already and making decisions about bed expansion, drip irrigation and a hoophouse.
We have had two litters of piglets this season. Mama Feeona had seven piglets on June 1st and Tasha had five on June 15th. Two of Mama's piglets had some problems with their mouths which has required supplemental feedings several times a day, though we are almost past that phase. In about 2 weeks Mr. Henry will come to transform our little boars into barrows so that we can run mixed-sex herds without fear of surprise pregnancies.
Speaking of surprise pregnancies, in April, we finally caught one of the stray cats that had been hanging around all winter. She was a shy, medium haired kitty that had been looking kinda pregnant. One day Sophia found her up in the barn so we put a cat crate in front of her and she climbed in. We set her up in a big dog crate with a warm bed and lo' and behold she promptly started having kittens. We ended up with six lovely little kittens that have all since found forever homes. It was exciting and fun to temporarily have the kittens, but a lot of work!
I have created an Instagram account for the farm since that is the easiest way to up[load short videos and pictures while I am out on the farm. Our username is singing_wren_farm. In the midst of the pandemic, being on the farm has felt like an oasis. I work outside everyday, there is so much work to do and it's so beautiful it's easy to forget for a while. But I haven't. In other ways everything has been turned upside down, all my kids are back living at home (which means I am cooking monstrous meals that evaporate in minutes, the laundry transforms from molehill to mountain in a nanosecond, and good grief! how can six people use so many cups?!) and our work at the church has morphed into Youtube, Zoom, uploads, downloads and lots of card writing. All my teaching at the community college and senior center have been cancelled and I just was tested for COVID this morning after coming in contact with someone who has tested positive. But Hey! "Normal" is highly overrated. We've never really tried it so why start now.
Seriously though, I have been in prayer for the world, all those who are vulnerable, and for those who serve. Shalom.