August 10

All right, enough with the rain already. This is way too much of a good thing, at this point is actually a bad thing. So far it has ruined most of the summer raspberries, spread diseases in the tomato greenhouses and melons and a host of other troubling encumbrances, not the least of which is my athlete’s foot that is thriving as a result of spending days on end in rubber boots. But as bad as it gets, it could be worse. There have been some very high winds and hail in some of these localized storms and a few of my fellow farmers have been hit. We have been very fortunate to have dodged that bullet, but the weather pattern looks as though we are not out of the woods this week.

We are still planting certain vegetables on a weekly basis. This week, for example, I will plant beet greens, radishes, arugula and spinach. We have one more planting of broccoli to put out and I will also plant the very last planting of string beans. This final planting is called a “Hail-Mary” planting, in that conventional wisdom dictates that it is too late in the season to to plant them, but you do anyway and hope that everyone else is wrong and you get to pick some beans before the planting freezes. Farming is somewhat of a gamble, but sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.

The problem of the week(s) is red-winged blackbirds. Having just completed their reproductive cycles, both the young and adults are flocking up in preparation for their fall migration. They do tremendous damage to the ears of the sweet corn, and we are lucky if we only sustain a 30-40% damage in our fields. I have seen it 70% and better on occasion. We throw everything we have into the fray to combat them. We use balloons,helium predatory kites, propane cannons and, yes , the old farmer patrolling the corn with a loaded shotgun.The bird sare persistent, aggressive and smart. And they can come in large numbers, as they call in other small flocks to the corn. 15-20 can do a lot of damage, but when 100 or so fly out of the field you know that you have suffered a lot of damage.

Well, at least we dont have to irrigate this week….