Friday, July 16, 2010

Summertime Blues and Highs

Well the highs first. The Triskelion Farm Sailing Club was officially inaugurated with the naming and launch of the PS (Pond Sailboat) Emma. She is a mini Sun Fish and perfect for our 2 acre pond. Not quite up to Aegean and Mediterranean standards, but adequate for an old sailor with a dodgy knee! It does mean we need a dock, as manoevring in and out in two feet of muddy water is inelegant to say the least. Maybe by next year......

It does allow me to repeat one of the few poetry verses I know (from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner - very apt!):

"The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
the furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."

On the blue's side the prolonged drought (we have had less than an inch of rain in the past month or so) and a poor first cut is making our target of at least 1500 bales for the winter look very unlikely. We have already put the cows on round bales, and are feeding hay to the horses as the grass has stopped growing in the paddocks. The heat has also taken its toll on the chickens. I always thought that farmers had a perpetually worried look on their faces, and now I know why! The constant balancing of animal husbandry, field condition and crop potential is enough to wake you up in the middle of the night screaming. Even at the small holding level that we farm at, eyeing the weather and measuring the level of the grass in the hay field are hourly concerns. It's easy to see why so many have given up the land for less stressful pursuits.

On the vegetable garden side it has been highs and lows. The squash did well until the bugs took over, but the egg plants have struggled to get established. A good crop of tomatoes has been spoiled by an aggravating amount of end rot - keeping a constant supply of water at the base being one of the culprits. The early lettuce and spinach were good, and we have some nice water melons, but the potatoes were totally ravaged by beetles. Sometimes it's just hard to be in three places at once!

We learn something new every year, and you can't beat hands-on experience, however good the advice from outside. I'm sure next year will be a bumper year in all respects, although I will still be looking quizzically at the weather!