Monday, August 31, 2009

The Garden

This year we are trying something new with the basil and dill. Since the season was so wet and much of the herbs did not do well we decided that using the cold frame nearest the tobacco shed by Ed Sr.’s house might be the better place to grow herbs. These were planted a little late (cause not all good ideas come timely) and they are making a good showing now. We will be cutting them in just a week or so and bunch them. Then you will find 2 small buckets in the Veggie Shack with where you may take a bunch from each small bucket. We also planted cut flowers and savory and marjoram. I will have to see when these will be ready for the buckets too. Next year we will plant the herbs earlier and plan for wet or dry weather.
The tomatoes took a real hit this year. Not many of the farmers we have talked to have had a really great crop. It took corn quite a while before there was any available for picking. The weather this year could have been much, much better. But we should also be thankful that we did not have a real drought that lasted all season or year! Which is worse you ask; drought or constantly wet? Either can ruin a farmers crops in a year.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tobacco Harvest is Done!!

The guys took advantage of every sunny moment of these days to get the rest of the broadleaf tobacco in. Just when you think the day will be great up pops a shower. You cannot take the tobacco in if it is not ready but you need to make sure that you are there when it is and getting the whole routine down takes some knowledge. The tobacco is cut down by the stalk with tobacco hatchets and left to lay on the ground to wilt. The stalk is sometimes 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. The leaves need to wilt so they will fold closer to the stalk when it is put onto the lathe. The lathe resembles the old lathe used in houses that horsehair plaster would be covered with for walls. A spear head is on one end of the lathe and it is placed into a “spear horse” which holds the lathe out so the end of the stalk can be pierced through. Six stalks are hung on each lathe. Leaves that fall off as this is done are not discarded. They are saved and put onto nails placed in other lathe. All tobacco is precious unless too destroyed to be any good. The lath with the stalks are loaded onto a tobacco rigging (think of the rigging as if it were a file cabinet and the lathe is the hanging folder). When the rigging is full it is pulled by Farmall tractor (of course) to the shed where it will be polled up into layers. Think of the poll as a bbq fork! The poll is centered in the middle of the lathe and when balanced it is handed up to the next tier to be handed on. The top most tier is loaded in each shed first and then each tier is filled to the bottom. The tobacco is spaced out so that air can flow through and wilt/dry the tobacco (this is called curing). The guys work from 9:30 am to around 8pm or later breaking only for lunch. This job is not for the faint hearted! This is not the end of the work. This is only one stage. There are more pictures in earlier posts.

Some Farmalls

One of the Spear-horses

Waiting to be unloaded into the shed

Ed Sr. putting loose leaves on a nail lathe


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Still Chuggin' Along

Looks like the weather is going to be an issue for the last two acres of our tobacco harvest. The last two weeks of sun were perfect for havesting, unfortunately, it looks like we are going back to the weather pattern we had earlier this summer.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Weather

Well we wanted a break from the rain and we certainly got it! The vegetables certainly responded to it with a BANG! The cucumbers look good, the yellow squash perked back up and the zucchini, well we all know that we will always have more zucchini than the whole world can eat. The lemon squash looks good this year too! I hope you all have been enjoying the sweet corn! The tomatoes are another story. This has not been a great year for tomatoes! We are slowly seeing some for harvest.

The heat was hard to take during the hottest part of the day and times were needed in the shade! Our fearless furry hunter went on a hunt and found that the black and white “kitty” had a terrible smell and now Diesel still has a trace of it! He was banished to the shed for a night or two so that we could all breathe in the house!

Ed will take advantage of the cooler days to keep an eye on the veggies and make sure that the broadleaf has a chance to finish getting to the harvest stage. We now just hope that
heavy rains, hail and high winds don’t finish the tobacco before we do!


Thursday, August 13, 2009


There was an announcement that coyotes have been seen is New Haven. That means that you will see them in your neighborhood soon. Usually around dusk or early morning before the sun is up fully in the sky. Why is this important to know? Because you should not tie up your small pet (anything under 180 lbs) without supervision. And even then if your pet is small and the coyote snags it there will be little you can do to rescue it. Some areas they will travel in packs of 4 to 8. The coyotes cross our farm usually closer to the end of September and in October. They can take down a calf and will usually leave half for us. Please tell your neighbors that may have small pets (cats and dogs) that they should be out with them and take them in late at night/early in the am.


Repair Time

Ed Jr. and I spent yesterday helping out our cousin Roy with his JD 350B Bulldozer. The steering clutches on the right track slipped under a load, so we had him bring it over and put in the shop. After 7 hours of dismantling.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tobacco Harvest

We started harvesting the tobacco on Monday. It will takes us a couple of weeks to get it all in. Today is too cloudy, but the rest of the week looks good.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Month of "Summer"?

The Farmer’s Almanac ( says “You may notice in the middle of the month of August a subtle change – cooler nights, a shift in quality of light, the scritch of crickets instead of the trill of songbirds”. I got news for the FA because Connecticut has had these things for the past 2 – 3 months now! When is the last 80 degree night? And quality of light????? It has been so cloudy many days you didn’t know if it was night or day. I don’t worry about hearing the crickets because I think they have all drowned. Not only is the farm wet in many areas; our yard at home squiches when you walk over to check the bird feeder or bird bath. I am beginning to know what Noah must have thought about during his time on the ark……….will this wet weather ever go away (just for a week or two so I could stop feeling like a mushroom). Ohhhhhh! I just read an article in the Pollution Prevention View newsletter that is for Summer 2009 (Comes out from the CT DEP Office of Pollution Prevention) that gives ways to save water usage and compares top loading washer to front loading washers…….well, the last item was Dishwashing by hand (20 gallons used) and Automatic dishwashing (full load) 10 gallons…..I am so glad that all these years I have been a staunch supporter of saving water! You can read the articles online at