Monday, July 26, 2010

Murder and Mayhem

Patience was lost and measures were taken.  The gopher problem started with an echinacea and then a penstemon.  We were irritated, but not enough to do anything about it.  Then there was the loss of a cantaloupe, which prompted the retrieval of the gopher trap.  The flower gopher was caught first; we couldn't find the melon gopher's run.  Then he ate a watermelon.  The next day, he was caught.  Now there's one in the squash.
The deer, meanwhile, stroll through sampling the wares.  They are particularly fond of lettuce and chard at the moment.  They may be nibbling the beans, or someone smaller may emerge from the wheat for a few bites.  These losses are tolerable, but I fear the day when an almost ripe tomato has a large bite taken from it.  So we resorted to peanut butter smeared on aluminum foil attached to the electric fence.  Cruel, I know, but I figure we give them 330 acres on which they can do what they want, so I should be able to defend my garden space without guilt.  Hard to say whether it worked or not; one was just gone, one licked clean, and others in various stages of in between.
The war with the potato bugs seems mild in comparison--a quick death by squishing or a long death by drowning.
The winter squash started blooming and some larger tomatoes are turning.  The basil is looking quite good if I do say so myself.  Market went well, except for the car accident where someone mistook their break for their accelerator; luckily no one was hurt, although three cars were involved.
The big news of the week was that garlic harvest started in earnest.  Teri was a big help as she and Shawn and I waited until the hottest part of the hottest day of the year to get cracking.  We started with Georgian Crystal (568 heads), then moved on to Premium Northern White (419 heads), followed by Romanian (420 heads).  Then I had to do some other things, but they kept at it and finished up the Thermadrone.  I didn't get a count on that, but, boy, did its heads look amazing.
Warning: this may creep you out.  Occassionally we ponder how many times we touch other people's food.  With the garlic, if we start with the harvest, it's taken from the ground (1).  Then it's grabbed and most of the dirt is shaken/rubbed off the roots (2).  Then it's put in the wheelbarrow (3).  Then it's put into groups of ten and hung up (4).  Then it's left alone for a while to cure, at which point its top and roots are cut off (5).  The extra papers are rubbed until they fall off and any extra dirt is also removed.  The head is put in a bag of eat now, sell, or seed.  If it's sell, it's put in and out of the bag/bin as many times as need be until sold (?).  If it's seed, it's broken apart into the individual cloves (6) and planted (7), only to go through the whole process next year--so the number could go up exponentially if you count across the generations.
The internet wasn't working so well Sunday night, so now it's Monday night.  The carrots and cilantro came up today!
The truly exciting news is that tomorrow we leave for vacation.  We will not be at the market next week, but will be back the following.  The garden will be in Teri's excellent care and she has plans for much garlic harvesting.

The marvel of the Marvel Stripe.

 One large cantaloupe (that survived the gopher).

 A ladybug shows its carnivorousness.

 Teri gets the bulk of the dirt off the garlic.

 One wheelbarrow full of Premium Northern White.

 The garlic shed.

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