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These last few weeks on the farm, ending 8/5/18

Wow, what a couple of weeks! We have had a lot going on, are you ready to learn about it? Hang on, here we go!

First, we have been working to eradicate wild parsnip from our farm and the road. If you don't know what wild parsnip is, I beg you to learn about it. It looks like big yellow dill heads but it is very dangerous. It is photosensitive, which means that if you get any juices on the plant on your skin, and those juices are activated at the sun, you are looking to get burns, blisters or even a change in DNA that makes you more susceptible to the sun. Please learn about this awful plant so you know how to identify it!

Okay, back to the farm. We have been working to get rid of wild parsnip for the last few years, filling garbage bags with the plant. This year we have been able to focus on our roadway ditches, and just when we thought we had it all, some that had been mowed by our township came back. We are diligently trying to dig all of the plants out. To do that, we are using a tool called the "parsnip predator". It's a modified shovel perfect for cutting large roots deep enough that the plants won't come back. It works great on plants like wild parsnip and burdock. We'll keep on working hard to get rid of the wild parsnip, but since the seed stock lasts for four years, we have a long road ahead.

Pulled wild parsnip. Nasty stuff!

Because we don't spray and we have a lot of milkweed, we are fortunate to welcome many Monarch butterflies each year. Sometimes we are lucky enough to see their caterpillars on the backsides of milkweed.

Monarch caterpillar on some milkweed. Do you see where it has already been noshing on the leaves?

We have been patiently watching the garden grow and are amazed at how much things have caught up to our expectations. We have had the good fortune of having our "Provider" green beens start living up to their name. One of the best summer meals is a plate full of al dente green beans with organic butter and some salt. Mmmmmmm.

Our first harvest of green beans. Guess what was on the supper menu?

We have been working hard harvesting our out-of-control mint to make dried tea leaves. One half gallon jar is full and stored for winter and we are working on a second jar. The house smells divine when the mint leaves are dehydrating.

Dried mint leaves for tea. Yum!

Sadly, we had a hailstorm last Friday. The weather forecast didn't even call for rain, but yet here I was, scrambling to put things away before a big severe storm blew in. It hailed for at least 10 minutes. All I could think about were the gardens and the pumpkins/squashes that were starting to grow. We did sustain damage, unfortunately. Hopefully the plants can recover and keep producing some great food!

Hail damage on the pumpkin leaves.

Hail amongst the pumpkin plants.

A rainbow is a symbol, a promise. So, we were blessed with a nice promise after a pop-up thunderstorm to help calm our worries about the gardens.

A rainbow of promise, everything is going to be okay.

Have a great week!

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