Thursday, June 30, 2016

Closer to Harvest

View of things on June 30

This is the 3 acres of Turkey Red on the North side of the field.

Some of the Turkey was knocked down.  The Turkey on 8 mile was all standing perfectly.

The Marquis on Spring Street is looking great.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Crop check in

Weed management in the garden is very good this year.  I attribute this to hard work in years past, so that the overall weed bank is down.  Also, much of the soil has good tilth now so it is much easier to pull up weeds and work the soil.  I am getting a  good balance and I don't think I will have the weeds I have had in years past on the South side of the garden, which is furthest from the shed and used to always get the least attention.
Here is the Spring grains section.  Funny, I could have sworn I planted two rows of Marquis, but it looks like I planted Turkey by mistake.  It is coming up with beards so it can't possibly be Marquis.  It will be an interesting experiment to see how Spring Turkey turns out!
Poor planning.  Here the basil is really going to get shaded out by the op sweet corn.
Even worse, that lodging winter wheat is creating all kinds of havoc.  Here the swiss chard is almost covered up in places.  The USDA barley is really getting shaded out, and the Sturgeon Spring wheat is also well covered up.  I have to plan ahead better next year!

The Marquis on Spring Street is looking good.
The Red Fife on 10th Ave is very thin.  I don't know if I will get much of a yield here.  The Marquis looks thicker to me.
Another view of the 10th Ave Red Fife.
Back in the garden, here is the Bacska, which along with the Wisconsin No. 2 is standing better than just about any of the other winter wheats.
Long overdue--building up wooden hoops for the portable hoop house.  I really hope to have this baby running well this winter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Get Combine Ready

I pulled the combine out this week to get ready for harvest.  Installing the new apron was pretty straightforward, although it was tricky in one or two places.  I was confused by the apron connecting system until I found this information online.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Best Bread Yet

I baked on Monday in the brick oven.  The dough was in the fridge an extra 24 hours, for a total of at least 36 hours.  Wow!  It's chewy and smooth like you wouldn't believe, and it still bubbled and rose up.  I'm going to try this again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Putting up Hay

That 15' wide strip of red clover is really growing nicely.  This week in our area is "hay week," just about every hay field is being cut, dried, and baled right now.  I cut the clover with my scythe three days ago, and flipped it over once with a pitchfork.  It's not 100% dry, but I think it's dry enough to put up loosely.  Anyway, Sebastian & I took three cart loads out of the field in the early evening. 
Sebastian is really getting good at working single, although he does get antsy eventually.  He also does not have a lot of hot weather experience.  At any rate, he did an excellent job.
There is really not room for all the bales I'm going to put away plus loose hay, but I really wanted to try putting some loose hay up in the loft.  It was very easy to flip it up there with a pitchfork.

A couple views of the garden.  It really looks good this year!

Spring Stir Fry

My sister asked about my procedure for making stir fries.  I make them almost every day during the summer.

Chop your allium!  Here I have one baby onion and a few garlic scapes.
Take the smoke detector off the wall and put the burner on high.  Get the oil hot first.  I am using olive oil today.
Get the allium glazed and maybe a few brown corners.
Throw in the greens, roughly chopped.  Today I have beet thinnings, which are the entire plants just yanked out of the ground, and baby swiss chard.

Use a cover if you have one to get it steamed and wilted ASAP.  1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and soy sauce, each.  Get it off the pan as soon as it is ready.  The above is almost over cooked.  If you sprinkle some water or white wine in at this point you can de-glaze the pan and get some more flavor.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

June Overview

Lodging in the winter wheat is pretty bad, at least in this one section.  I think some of it may even die.
The East strip is doing OK.  This land was opened up just 14 months ago, so that's actually pretty good.  There is quite a bit of buckwheat coming up as weeds, but in general the fertility is adequate to grow things.  The beets are doing the best.  I am thinning them every day and eating the thinnings.
Facing North.  From right to left, spring wheat, potatoes, a few celeriac, tomatoes, beans, basil (unseen), corn, and garlic.
Facing South.  From left to right, garlic, popcorn, flint corn, red clover.
The cucurbits are coming along, and the sunflowers and flint corn I planted last week are coming up.  Today I hand planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans to make a three sisters planting.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New motor on the mill

I have been limping by with a 2 hp electric motor on my 600 mm stone mill.  Normally these stones are installed in mills with 15 hp motors.  Since I am using a 9.6:1 gear reduction, I can't really capture 15 hp, but I do need more than 2 hp.  I have been running the 2 hp at 15-16 amps, and full load amps on the 2 hp is 13 amps.  I have been biting my nails and hoping not to burn out this little motor.

Anyway, my dream motor has always been a 5 hp, but single phase motors in this hp range are actually kind of rare.  3 phase is much more common once you get past 2 hp.  So craigslist is full of 3 phase 5 hp motors for ~ $100, but never a single phase.  Until last week, when a brand new, in the box, single phase 7.5 hp showed up on craigslist, for $150.  Score!

It's an absolute beauty, and a TEFC enclosure to boot.  I had to spend a day learning about couplings, though, since the new motor has a larger shaft.  The newer type jaw couplings are inexpensive and more tolerant of the grid coupling that I had been using.  The one I installed runs very quiet and smooth.

I did the first run on Thursday and found I was running around 19 amps.  According to the power curve specs, this should be around 4 hp.  Which is perfect, since the gearbox has a max hp of 4.65.  I did not mill enough to get a good measure of speed, but I think it was milling over 200 lbs/hr.  This is a good rate, being about as fast as I can feed the hopper and bag the flour.

It's hay season in this part of the county so I cut the rest of the red clover on Thursday.  I can't believe people ever did acreage of hay by hand.  The clover is very hard work, and a lot of it was knocked down which made it go three times as slow.  I plan to rake it up and store it in the barn for the herd.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Oats and Khorasan heading out

Wow--that was quick!  The naked oats and Khorasan wheat are both heading out.  That really seems fast.  It's been less than two months since planting.  The red fife and Marquis are no where near this far along.

The Khorasa is also just plain weird!  It has a very distinctive look about it, different from anything else I have seen before.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Garlic Scapes!

I've been waiting 11 months for garlic scapes, and they are finally here!  I'm so happy.  They go in everything for the next 6 weeks--in my scrambled eggs, on pizza, and in stir fries.  I did all three today!

I am harvesting onions and getting small leaves of swiss chard plus all the beet thinnings I want right now.  The spinach, alas, never took.  At least two plantings were as dead as a door nail.

The 10th Avenue Red Fife field is weedier than I had expected.  I will have to be prepared to clean the seed immediately after harvesting, otherwise the moisture from the weed seeds can spoil the wheat.

I scored a fantastic electric motor on Craigslist yesterday.  I will use it on the Model 600 mill and I hope this will make it much more productive.  Right now I just have a 2 hp motor on it, and I am always pushing the motor past it's safe amperage rating.  The only issue with this motor is that it's rated 7.5 hp, while my gearbox is only rated 4.6 hp.  I will need to limit the amperage so as not to exceed the rating and trash the gears.  This should not be too much trouble.

The new shoe on the seed cleaner is basically set to go.  The ball trays are not what I had hoped--the balls are not bouncing all that great.  I expect to be messing with it once I have a harvest to test it more.  The slope on the scalping screen is about 11 degrees, much higher than stock.  I am hoping this will let whitecaps and straw scalp off easier than before.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dead Floriani Red

My floriani red, a gift of a farmer I met in SW Wisconsin, is totally dead seed!  It's been 10 days and there is zero sign of life.  So I dug up the rows with the wheel hoe and replanted Roy's Calais, of which I have plenty of seed.  I also put in about 15' of sunflower, which I have never grown before.  I plan to buy some pole beans at DP Wigley and make a 3 sisters plot here.  Hopefully the squash won't get too crazy and block everything from germinating.  The beans are supposed to go in about 2 weeks after the corn, but I think I can't wait that long.  They will get shaded out by the squash.  I'll drill in the  beans in a few days, I figure.

Put in about 15' of carrots, in that nice ground where the bok choi just got clobbered by cabbage beetles.
I put in about 20' of French buckwheat that I got from the USDA, into that empty row between the sweet corn and the garlic.  The brussel sprouts that I planted yesterday are taking root really nicely!
At the other end of the same row I drilled in a double row of lentils.  This crop failed last year, but this year I am trying ordinary lentils (not the black ones) from Outpost.  It would be really cool if I could grow lentils.

I have been harvesting the cilantro aggressively, even though it is just getting going.  But there is 20' of it so I think at some point I will be overwhelmed with cilantro, regardless of what I do now.