Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! Welcome to Week 6 of our CSA. Week 6 is NOT an egg week.
What would a newsletter be if I didn’t talk about the weather? And wow, the heat has been on lately! But it is summer and we do live in Pennsylvania, so heat and humidity are to be expected in July. This kind of heat for us on the farm brings on its own set of challenges. Animals are very vulnerable during these heat waves. We need to check chickens and pigs multiple times a day to be certain they have water. We try to encourage our dogs to remain in the house during the real heat of the afternoon. Rosie, this year, has discovered how cooling a dip in the pond can be. Often during the hottest days you will see her heading off across the yard, only to return dripping wet. She has yet to really swim, but loves to wade in up to her neck. Shady, our other dog, hunts frogs in the pond. Frog hunting, Shady style, involves standing perfectly still in ankle deep water staring down a frog. She will literally inch her nose closer and closer to the frog, until she is almost touching it. Of course, when the frog jumps the game is over. I have never seen her try and catch one of the frogs, once one jumps away, she just moves on until she finds another to stare down.
Speaking of the pond, like Rosie, Farmer Don also likes to cool off in the pond. We often spend a bit of time in the evenings by the pond with the dogs. Farmer Don jumps off the dock a few times to cool down, Shady hunts frogs, and Rosie searches for the perfect fetching stick. Our pond does not have fish, but does have a lively frog population, as well as turtles and water snakes. Not being a fan of water snakes or snapping turtles, I generally spend our pond time safely seated in a chair on the bank!
We had a few storms move through this afternoon and evening and I am waiting for the predicted cool down. Tomorrow is to be absolutely beautiful! I am planning on doing laundry and Farmer Don is planning on planting, planting and planting. The push is always on to get things planted. The fields are due for another round of salad and cooking greens and some more beans. We will continue to harvest greens and beans through the season. In the fields both summer and winter squash plantings are looking good. We should have a nice supply of summer squash through the summer and our winter squash is already fruiting. We will most likely have spaghetti squash going out first. We are starting to harvest our greenhouse grown sungold tomatoes, just as our greenhouse grown cucumbers come to an end. Field grown tomatoes and cucumbers are growing nicely and should be ready for harvest in several weeks. Our peppers are starting to grow and with any luck, they also will be ready for harvest in the coming weeks.
This weekend we will be attending two farmers markets. On Saturday, from 9 to 2, Farmers Don and Phil will be at the Back Mountain Library Market. This market is now at the Dallas Elementary School. On Sunday, Farmer Don (and maybe Farmer Phil) will be at the Mountain Top Farmers Market. This market is from 9 to 2 and is in the parking lot of the Crestwood High School. If you visit either of these markets, please stop by our table and say hello. Farmer Don really enjoys meeting our CSA members! At both markets we will be selling free range eggs, pastured chicken, apple orchard pork and organically grown vegetables. Our eggs sell out fast, so if you are looking for eggs, be sure to get to market early. Our laying hens have free range of our organically managed farm and are also fed certified organic grains. This year’s meat chickens are some of the best we have ever produced. Our first two batches have been 4 to 6 pound birds. We offer both whole and half broiler chickens. Our chickens are raised on pasture, with their grass diet supplemented with certified organic grains.
Well, time for me to print this newsletter for Farmer Don to proof read and then move on to making supper. Tonight we are having sausage sliders and cherry tomato and cucumber salad. I will most likely also cook some kale or green beans, which ever are harvested and in the cooler.
Have a great week!