Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!
Welcome to Week 11 of our 2020 CSA. Week 11 is an egg week.
Clouds! The farm has been in the clouds for the last few days! The real meteorological clouds! I have been joking with my family members that we have slipped right from summer into a winter pattern. Think January or February when it seems to be cloudy every day! I know we will still have warm sunny days this fall, but it has been a noticeable change in our weather. Starting last night and continuing into today we have been getting some really nice showers. Just what our farm and our neighboring farms need. Probably too late for the corn and soybean growers, but we still need the rain to bring up our water table and to help get us through the winter months.
So, I need to start this email with some additional thanks to the behind the scene people who have made the 2020 CSA season a reality.
First I want to thank all the people who volunteered early in Don's treatment to help clean up the farm, help take care of our chickens and for visiting with Don when he was in the hospital. I especially want to thank his sister Gail. I know I have thanked her in the past, but she seriously needs to be thanked multiple times! Gail left a warm and sunny Florida to visit in the early spring of Pennsylvania. We were still getting cold temperatures and snow! Gail helped with transportation, moral support, our dogs and even did chicken chores for us. She basically became an honorary farmer here at Dancing Hen Farm. I don't know how we would have made it those first few weeks without her support. Thank you Farmer Gail!
I also need to thank Lori. Lori has been with us a number of years and works one evening a week helping to pack your CSA boxes. This year her time with us was short, as her other job at Bloomsburg University started early this year. Thanks Lori, what can I say other than you are now part of the family!
The other day I swore we had a chinchilla on farm! Yes you read that right a chinchilla! Rest assured it is not that unbelievable that we would have a chinchilla show up on farm. Some people do keep them as pets and unfortunately our farm ( and most farms!) become the target for the disposal of unwanted pets. We have acquired multiple animals this way, including a dog, cats, a rooster and even a cow! So you can see why, when I saw this strange creature hanging out under our birdfeeders I thought chinchilla! Ok, so maybe you don't see it, but bear with me. I got the binoculars out to get a good view of the animal. So, you guessed, it was not a chinchilla! But, I still could not determine what it could be. I was secretly worried it could be a giant rat! But nope -- thankfully! Then it climbed a tree and hung out where I could get a better view. I was finally able to determine it was a tailless squirrel! Just to assure you I have not lost my mind, several other people have reported seeing this squirrel. It seems to do ok, hopping along in the grass and climbing trees even without being able to "swish his bushy tail".
Our canning kitchen officially opened the other week. I canned some slicing tomatoes. I can these in quart jars using a hot water bath canner to process them. And I have to tell you many of these tomatoes came from Farmer Phil and his family's garden. And I am proud to say all my jars sealed!!! This week we will be freezing sweet corn. Freezing sweet corn will bring back memories of growing up when my family and some of my relatives would gather to freeze hundreds of ears at a time! Funny, because I do not remember eating that much corn growing up! Later in September we will make some tomato sauce, hopefully paste tomatoes will still be available and not blighted by this cool rainy weather. Tomato sauce will be followed by applesauce. My sister and I have been working on perfecting a mix of apple varieties to get a really good tasting unsweetened apple sauce. Peeling all the apples is a huge chore - but so worth it when you crack open a jar for Christmas Dinner! Or just as a treat in January.
In the fields Farmer Don is finishing up for the 2020 growing season. He has planted some late season greens and is planning on pulling the tomatoes from our high tunnel and replanting it with greens or carrots to overwinter. We should begin harvesting winter squash soon. Greens should continue to be available and hopefully tomatoes will hold on for a few more weeks. Peppers are looking good and we are close to harvesting some tomatillos. Thanks again for your support and understanding during this difficult and trying growing season.
So this is proving to be one of my longer newsletters, I should stop here, allow you to rest your eyes.
Please say a thanks to the powers that be for providing us with this much needed beautiful rain!
And always, we will be forever thankful to each of you for your support of us, our farm and local agriculture. Buy Fresh, Buy Local! And please remember not to drop your pet chinchillas at the local farm!
Be safe, Be well and Enjoy those veggies.