State of the Farm

Mother Nature and her spring flush is back, thank you!  Wildflowers are jumping out of the soil in all their mosaic majesty and the birds are so happy they can hardly contain their song. All plants and creatures great and small are reveling in this return to normalcy, ourselves included.

  • Peaches: The past weekend marked the first pruning-out of young  peaches in the peach orchard, a job for men only because a mother's instinct will not allow her to cut short the life of anything (so “she” balances “he” as our natural roles play out as well). I worked alone in pruning over 500 young peaches in our 45 tree orchard. Hard to do even for me, but necessary so that the others may have room to grow into sweet peaches for the pigs and the jellies and just the eating off the tree. How many peaches did we grow last year? Zero. What a turnaround! We are loaded with peaches.
  • Figs: Our oldest of the 10 fig trees on fig lane, a great great great great great grandchild of a cutting from a tree at our first marital rent house on Sheridan Street nearly 40 years ago, is putting on figs earlier than usual while the young ones are finding their legs after going in the ground preceding an icy winter followed by the hot drought of 2011. This is the young figs' first season to experience anything approaching normalcy and they too are responding with foliage and growth.
  • Pears: We began planting our extension of the pear orchard which will complete itself when we plant the 13th tree sometime this month.
  • Melons: We also installed our first watermelon and cantaloupe beds of the season well ahead of their usual planting time due to the mild winter and early spring temperatures.
  • Birds The Purple Martins are finding a home for the first time in the farm's new 24 bird condo and that thrills us not only for their song and their flying acrobatics but for their addition to the farm's natural harmony. The Martins are intrepid eaters of the grasshoppers and crickets that at times over-populate our meadows, eating more than their fair share of the grasses that our livestock depend on. The Martins are one more of the many elements that bring harmony  to Jolie Vue, elements that had been left behind but are now returning in this celebration of natural fulfillment.

In short and as the old song goes, the fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high (or in our case, the grasses) and that all goes to put a big smile on the faces of the cows, their calves, the grateful piggies and all creatures great and small.  Summer in Texas is about hard work and survival.  The Fall is about rest and transition and Winter is about repairing, taking account and planning ahead. But the glorious Spring is about renewal and the celebration of life. This springtime of 2012 is particularly sweet. It will long be remembered.

Changing Rain Pattern?

The last two April rainstorms have missed us, passing mostly to the south, acting more like a summer pattern where the rains tend to hug along the coast only. I suppose that should be considered normal since everything has happened early so far. No reason to worry yet- we’ll continue to enjoy our renewal, but watching these temperatures and now seeing a briefly different  rain pattern naturally raises an inkling of concern among us post-drought stress syndromers. We'll keep an eye on this and let you know how it develops as we move toward May, June and July. The coming three months will tell the tale on whether our summer will dry up again. We will not be bitter if it happens, only thankful for the respite we enjoy now.

JVF