Farmer Don checking in to "Hi", and Happy Easter! Hoping this newsletter finds everyone safe and sound, spending time at home with family. Easter for us has always been a family holiday. This year, a little different, as just Joan and I will be together for Easter, with Farmer Phil and his family being sequestered up the road at their farm. For us ham dinner is on the agenda. Maybe a little relaxing celebrating as Farmer Don was born a few moons ago on the 12th.
Around the farm, life has been busy, as the season dictates. Warming up slowly, though if you were out yesterday, as I was, the wind and cold was somewhat brutal. I know 35 degrees and 15 mph winds does not equal January but to me it was brutal. The dogs even said, " Dad, get us back in the warm house! Now!" Chickens are okay with the wind, though not quite as much free ranging. Speaking of free ranging, a lot of clean up around the coop and no real sign of the fox has emboldened the hens to wander out in search of bugs and grass! But, the threat from the sky is always present, and yesterday the dogs and I broke up the hawk's dinner. Our predator was about to enjoy chicken dinner when I can around the corner and forced a fly away. Sorry to say the hen was down, but the hawk went away hungry, Probably not a good thing, as when I do chores this morning, I thinking the hawk will be eating breakfast at my hens's expense. We'll see.
Peas, carrots and beets are in the ground. The seedhouse is a busy site and overflow seeded trays are out in the "holding seed house". Work this week will be on the high tunnel. The farm had a nice drop of composted horse manure two weeks ago, so that will be applied to our fields as well as the high tunnel ground. Tomatoes are scheduled to go into the high tunnel this season. While the farm does all it can to produce vegetable based compost, the amount needed for our fields far out reaches this. So, where we can find some good compost we bring it in. I'm working hard to generate everything here on farm, but with no four legged animals to help, we're missing a key piece of the puzzle. With help from our neighbors, the farm has been receiving a spring cleaning. I've worked hard to get a weeded pasture back in operation and looks like we are there. Now, a few horses, beef cattle, or sheep and the farm will be set. Animals are a lot of work, so have to move slow with this. I'm thinking our Amish friend may pasture his horses over here this summer. Again, we'll see. Peeps are coming to the farm next week. This is one type of fertilizer I can utilize. After 4 weeks growing up in the barn brooder, the birds move out to a field of the farmer's choice. I like to rotate the chicken tractors from plot to plot. So, here on the farm, we have ten different growing "plots". For example, last year, we ran the chickens on plot 5, and didn't use that plot for vegetable production. This year plot 5 will be vegetables, and hopefully some of the nitrogen from the chicken manure got into the soil, to be used for this season's vegetables. A form of regeneration!
So, regeneration. We'll use that to update Farmer Joan and Farmer Don's health. Joan continues to hold her own. Resting comfortably around the farm. Eating as well as she can and staying away from the hospital. Strange days these are. I gotta bet you're feeling the same way. The doctors for Joan have now become a phone call, which is fine with us. The less interaction for her the better. Things here on the farm, in regards to our health battles are very interesting. Joan's path is very convoluted, many branches, much to consider, many meds to take. Upset stomach, headaches. I'm sure many of you can relate. We do our best to get the gut bacteria up, yet the meds say "nope". Kinda sucks but that's what it is for her, she knows this, but bless her heart, she plows forward. I cook the best farm food I can find and hope that some of it makes it in and stays there. You know what I'm talking about? Again, FOOD IS MEDICINE AND THE FARM IS THE FARMACY! My situation is much more linear, in that, "here it is Farmer Don, we gotta do this and that and you'll be just fine". Yea, okay, gotta tell you, sometimes tough to believe. Last week had 8 teeth pulled to prepare for upcoming radiation treatments. I was just starting to eat WELL again, after the neck and tongue surgery. Now my mouth is a disaster area, learning to chew all over again. "The stitches will dissolve", yea okay, hope they have some protein with them, cause I just swallowed some, maybe add some honey next time. So, yea, moving into the radiation part of my regeneration. Guess you have to kill cells to regenerate. Okay, I'll deal. "Mr. Hess, we have to map your head, face and neck." Yea, okay, so what does that mean? " Just breathe, it'll be okay". Last time I heard that, I also heard, through the nitrious, my wisdom tooth crack as it came out of my head. "Just breathe". Yea, okay. So this time, I laying flat on the table, getting ready for a CAT-scan. No big deal. Except, for me, missing 8 teeth, tongue has a hole in it, saliva working overtime, Lake Jean, in my mouth, trying to swallow what I can. "Just keep breathing", Yea that's called living, I can handle this. So, here he comes, Mask time, trying to sufficate me. Full face covering. "Gotta tape it down, just breathe". I know this is important. We have to get a good mask to help pinpoint the beam. Trying to think and breathe at the same time. I'm thinking, "Guinness for Strength" when I get home! Two minutes later the mask is off and I'm still around to talk about it. Knowing many, many folks have been down the road I'm going down, so no big deal. Many of you have, I'm sure. Next up is the official mapping of my head, then the treatments. I majored in Geography at PSU, kinda know mapping, but my head, not so much. Oh well. A chance to make some new friends. Heck, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks, I'll get to know the nurses and doctors over there pretty well. And eating, well, that will become a challenge again, just as it was, post operation. So, we eat as well as we can now, pre-treatment. Can't chew to well, but I can swallow somewhat, so we move forward. All part of the regeneration. On the other side of my mess, and this virus mess, we will all be stronger, wiser and kinder. I'm excited to get to that point, but have to have patience. We'll get there. And we'll get some toilet paper.
Finally, thanks all for the support, and allowing me to share my thoughts, trials and tribulations with you. All accounts should be updated. We are still taking memberships if any family or friends are thinking about food this season. And, our buying club remains open, 24/7. I'm going to add spinach, some escarole, some frizzy endive, fresh herbs, and maybe a little salad mix to the list this week. The spinach looks great, but will go to seed shortly, so I have to harvest. And I want to share the harvest with you, our members.
Be well, friends, stay safe, wash your hands, don't touch your face. Regenerate!