Though not yet ready for harvest, the oats are beginning to turn the right color.
At the weekly farmers’ meeting, the talk was largely of an age-old nemesis: weeds. What's the definition of a weed? Anything growing in the field that a farmer doesn't want growing. At Howell Farm this year, the often means thistle and jimson weed.
-On Saturday, Farmer Ian cultivated the potatoes.
-Ian also noted that the field corn is now beyond the state at which it can be cultivated.
-On Tuesday, Farmer Rob ran the combine through the wheat field. It was weedy—lots of thistle.
-The spelt field, not quite ready to harvest, is overrun with thistle.
Other discussion was of the small but important details of running a farm—the supply of cat food for the barn cat, the price of Skin-So-Soft to keep the flies off the horses, when to schedule the next visit from a farrier, Sunday chores schedules, mowing priorities, etc. etc.
Backing a horse-drawn wagon full of wheat sheaves into a barn is kind of like parallel parking, but harder. Farmer Ian demonstrates good form.
At the weekly farmers’ meeting, usually held on Wednesday mornings, the farm staff gathers to discuss the progress of the previous week and to plan the week to come. Some highlight from this morning’s meeting:
-In the past two weeks, about 700 bales of hay have been cut, dried, baled and put away in the barn. Farmer Ian said the quality of the hay was pretty good.
-Howell Farm’s second wheat field is almost ready to harvest. The quality of this field is significantly lower than the field that was harvested on Saturday—it’s filled with thistle. A 1960s combine will be used to harvest the wheat sometime next week.
-With rain in the forecast—thunderstorms may start this afternoon—it’s time to bring in the 30 shocks of wheat that have been drying in the first wheat field. That job is scheduled to begin today at about 1 p.m. Weather.com calls for a 95% chance of thunderstorms at 3 p.m.
-This morning, Farmer Jeremy started cultivating the cornfield with a team of draft horses at about 8 a.m. It’s going to be one of the hottest days of the year so far—about 92 degrees—so the horses appreciate the early start. Hot days are also a good day for weeding. The hot sun kill weeds that are brought to the surface.
-The potatoes, which are not fenced, have been sustaining deer damage. They are also covered with, as usual, potato beetles. They are due for cultivating and hilling.
The Furrow is the online newsletter of The Friends of Howell Living History Farm. We will be updating this site about once a week with crop reports and other insights into life on a horse-drawn living history farm.
|THE FURROW: The online newsletter of Howell Living History Farm