4/6/06 Vol. 3 #4

The one good thing about a drought, the weeds don’t grow very fast!  This week has been busy with a combination of cultivating for weeds and then setting up the rest of the irrigation in the newly “weeded” beds.  Cultivation can mean a lot of things when describing the process of growing crops but for us it means using “stirrup” hoes.  Like a stirrup on a horses saddle, the blade slices just under the soil surface no more than a inch deep.  The perfect timing is just before the weeds come up or have just germinated, otherwise it is a lot more work and less effective for those weeds that now have large root systems.  We joke around here that I am the straight line police because all of the plants run in exact parallel rows, usually three to a bed.  The main reason for the straight rows is that it makes the cultivation much easier than if everything was a crazy zigzag.  Our secret weapon is a Swiss made “wheel hoe”, this is the Ferrari of wheel hoes.  Made with multi adjustable handles on a small pneumatic tire it handles like a dream.  Attached to this can be may different implements but the best is an eight inch wide stirrup.  A person can walk up and down the rows and cultivate with ease.  If the rows are straight and the timing correct a person can cover a quarter acre in hour or so.  Rett is the king of the wheel hoe around here, no bending over!

As Betsy now says in Italian “I bambini tacchini sono aravati ieri mattina!”  The turkeys arrived yesterday morning!  This first batch are all the slower growing heritage birds.  This year we decided to do all Bourbon Reds as we like their ease of handling.  The handful of Blue Slates that we have had the last two years have been “a handful”.  While they generally get to be a few pounds larger they have always been the bad actors, flying out of the fence, showing the others how to misbehave, you know smoking cigarettes and hanging out on street corners.  It is still always hard to believe that they were hatched two days ago, put into a box and sent in the mail.  They have enough reserves inside them from the egg yolk to not need food or water for several days but they can’t go too long.  We notify the post office which day they will arrive and we have them call us as soon as they come in.  Usually the call comes about 7:00 a.m. and one of us rushes up to retrieve them.  As soon as we get them back to the farm we put them into the prepared and warm brooder house.  Each bird gets its beak dipped into the water and then plopped down into the feed pan so they begin to learn where their feed and water is.  Everyone asks are they really dumb birds.  My reply is if you were taken away from your mother at birth, without anyone to show you how to do things, you might look dumb too!  Once they have done something once then they get the hang of it, I’m not saying they are rocket scientists but…

Picture of the Week
Eating, Drinking, all singing, all dancing

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