State of the Farm

Our Post Traumatic Drought Syndrome

As of May 6: We are suffering some post traumatic drought syndrome here. April was dry with only a ½ inch of rain and as of this writing, rain has passed above and below us, missing us with what would have been only slight amounts anyway. Accompanied by high winds and unusual heat, April and early May are too reminiscent of last April. Our nerves are starting to jangle a bit, but we are staying stoic despite watching the spring grasses start to dry up and die from lack of water and too much heat. We are bolstered by the knowledge that our 22 year rain records give us, which is that of the 3 spring months of March, April and May, one of those months is almost always dry. We are further comforted by the disappearance of the dreaded La Nina, the meteorological tramp that triggered the 2011 drought in the first place. I will tell Clay to start the irrigation up if we do not regain a wet pattern by May 15th. I hope we don’t need it - electricity (to run the irrigation well) is expensive in the country and we do not have the option of alternate sourcing like in the urban areas. It’s 16.5 cents per KWH with no opt-out provider.

As of May 9: Whoopee. We got an inch of rain. Have not relaxed completely because our rainfall was better than most of the county. The Brenham airport reported only .31 inches. But heavier rain is in the forecast. Keeping our fingers crossed and our prayers ascending.

As of May 11: Feeling much better as I lay awake during the early morning hours listening to thunder and hard rain. Looks like another 1 to 2 inches fell last night, putting us back on track.  Relieved!

The Orchards: The peaches continue to grow toward maturity.  Picked our first one for testing May 12 and let it sweeten on the sunny porch until evening.  It was close to perfect, suggesting that our first harvest stage will be the same day you receive delivery of your May meats.  The rest will ripen over a 3-4 week period.

While peaches grow fruit quickly in their development, apples need time.  2010 saw our 4 apple trees set a total of 3 apples, none in 2011.  This year we have over 50 set and all seem to be doing well.  We think the trees will really take off in the coming years…

Pears and figs remain in developmental stage, but showing real progress.

For the newer customers, our orchards’ primary purpose is to provide dessert for our forested pigs, supplementing their wild nuts and berries and their grains.  No wonder the pork tastes so good!

JVF