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Lorraine's Observations

Aphids and Ladybugs

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It is the time of year you start looking for the ladybugs.  Looking at the fava plants we can see the aphids have arrived, now we need a good health colony of ladybugs to keep the aphids under control.  The weather the last couple of months has been so up and down, I have no idea what will happen.  Last year, even with all the rain, I saw a good amount of ladybugs fairly early. Out in the fields this year, I haven’t seen any yet. Nigel felt that if you start spraying (even the organically approved products) you run the risk of eliminating the good bugs along with the bad ones. He chose to rely on the natural predators, in this case ladybugs, hoping we could achieve a natural balance on the farm.  That doesn’t always work, so it is a gamble. But in a world where we are daily throwing off ecosystems, perhaps the risk is worth it. In the meantime, the rows of favas and peas are looking quite nice. Now that everything has been well watered by Mother Nature, we can add in warm sunshine and get a crop soon.

Finding My Voice

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And yes, the van is stuck in the mud.  This has happened twice in the last 2 months.  The first time Cameron got my car stuck on his way out to deal with the wild dogs, and the second was yesterday when Maysam and I were going out to deal with the Nest that had blown over in the storm.  Both times I expressed my concern, saying it probably wasn’t a good idea, both times I was told it would be fine.  Both times I was right.  Believe me, this is not about me being right, because ultimately I was wrong.  I was seriously wrong for not being comfortable with telling someone “no, I know better”.  When you take on a life running a business you have to learn to be strong and understand when you need to be firm, and when you say no, you mean no.  How is anyone else going to understand that if I don’t?  Hopefully, the lesson has been learned, and even though vehicles got stuck in the mud, I no longer will be. 

Little Lettuces

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Seems strange to me that these sweet little lettuces grow so well during these past couple of weeks of cold nights and days, but they have.  And they keep giving all winter long.  Often the guys cut the center out, rather than taking the entire plant, and new beauties grow back.

Winter Crops

This time of year, it amazes me that Jose and the guys can get as much beautiful produced out of the fields every week as they do.  We are in a bit of in an in between time, many of the crops we were harvesting over the past few months are looking tired, and old.  Many are in full bloom or about to.  In this picture you can clearly see how many of the greens are moving on to their next phase in life, which if we let them, would be reproduction.  Lots of beautiful yellow flowers popping out of beds of greens we have been enjoying. The blossoms are really quite tasty but obviously we can’t fill a box with pretty yellow flowers.  And of course this is all just another example of the seasonality of a farm like ours.  It is also the reason we plant the same crop over a period of several weeks.  Farming is a lot easier if you are just growing a few things to harvest all at once, but we have boxes to fill 51 weeks out of the year, and that takes a lot of planning.

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A Different Way Of Looking at the Farm

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When Nigel and I would walk the farm, we saw everything from very different perspectives. He saw crops and yields, I saw dishes and dinner. I was reminded of this as I was walking back to the house and passed a field of leeks and fennel.  My first reaction was Oh, I love roasting fennel and leeks together, yum! I am sure Nigel’s would have been, looks like we are getting to the end with these crops. Fennel is beginning to bloom, leeks are looking a little weak. I wonder if I will ever become a farmer first, cook/lover of food second? I doubt it.

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