8/23/2010

Incredible Corn, WWOOFers and Bees

It's hard to read about the horrific flooding in Pakistan, with an estimated 20 million people without homes or even places to sleep. I'm so sorry for their pain and loss. I wish I could send them some of the drought that grips southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Some of the dry soil to soak up their wet. And they could send us some of their rain. We, here on Long Creek Herb Farm have not had rain in 7 weeks, and even that recent one was less than 1/2 inch. That puts us at over 2 months without rain. Combine that with our porous, rocky, quick draining soil, and you know the garden is struggling.

Ginny, who came from near Bloomington, Indiana as a WWOOFer, just left after her 2 weeks' WWOOFing experience with us. She had a wonderful attitude, an interest in every job and every plant, bug and animal on the farm. Much of what she had to do while here was weed, water and harvest. It takes up much of every day moving sprinklers and soaker hoses, but with temperatures hitting the 100 mark most afternoons, no one works outdoors in that kind of heat. Ginny is a poet, an artist and a chemical technician, and she felt working on a farm to be a delight. Thanks Ginny, we enjoyed your time here!

Every year for the past several, my favorite corn has been Incredible (follow that link to see where you can order it). It's a bi-color, super-sweet, 80 day corn that holds its flavor well after picking. In fact, I've kept it up to 3 weeks and it's still almost as good as fresh. I always eat at least one ear, fresh, before I get out of the garden with a handful of ears for supper. Everyone at our table has said, "This is the best tasting corn I've ever eaten." This year I planted my reliable Incredible Sweet Corn on the first of May, and we  had an excellent and bountiful crop by mid-July. As an experiment, I tried a new variety this year for my second and third plantings, one called, "Gotta Have It" (pictured above), from Gurney's Seed. It's a risk, playing around with corn varieties when you already have a favorite, but I tried this one anyway. And I'm not disappointed. It is nearly as good as Incredible, and miles above what you buy fresh at grocery store.

When I pick corn from the garden, the goats come up to the fence, hoping for a handout. This is Billy, who pushes all the nannies away while he eats his fill. Once he gets bored, the nannies get to eat.

The chickens, too, come up to the fence. They get the top and bottom slice of the ear of corn, when I cut the ears to take off the shucks.

Right over the chickens and goats heads is this peach tree. The peaches are nearing ripeness. Back earlier this spring, there were so many peaches that Adam tied up the branches so they wouldn't break. Occasionally a peach falls into the chicken yard and the hens eat it.


The little goat babies all stand and watch as the adults eat the corn trimmings. They nibble at a shuck now and then, but for the most part, they're not interested. Notice their horn "decorations?" The little ones, as they reach their teenage months (that's about 2 months' old), manage to get their little heads stuck in fences. They've not learned they have horns and so, anytime they see something interesting on the other side of the fence, they get stuck. Josh heard about this method on the 'net and it works well. It's just short lengths of lightweight plastic tubing with a hose clamp for each horn. They were all embarrassed and complained loudly for the first day, but got used to the horn hoses. They do look, well, unusual, don't they?

"Blondie" is the variety of okra we're growing this year and it has performed well. The plants get only about shoulder high and produce a continuous supply of okra for at least 2 months. My method for preserving okra usually is to slice it crosswise, dip in buttermilk, then cracker or corn meal, and freeze it on cookie sheets. But we've been enjoying it so much this year cooked a new way, I haven't frozen any. The method? Take whole, young okra pods, spray them all over with cooking oil, lay on a baking sheet and broil at 450 degrees F, rolling them around every 4 or 5 minutes. They're ready to eat when they are beginning to brown on the edges, about 15 minutes total cooking time. Give them a dusting of salt and they're ready to eat. The flavor is delicious and they're not slimy inside like you might imagine.

I've been wondering what Matthew's bees do in extreme dry, hot weather and a couple of mornings I found out. There were rows of bees lined up, upside down along the edge of my water garden, drinking water. Some were on the tops of lily pads, sticking their tongues under the leaves, some were flying around, waiting their turn. I'd never seen bees lined up to drink before!




It hardly looks like a drought when you look at the water pool in the garden. But everything is struggling to stay alive. The raspberries have lost their leaves, the blackberries that should be producing the late crop, are possibly dead. Trees are losing their leaves and the lawn is a crisp, unhappy brown.

 I just posted a recipe for Rose and Yogurt Dressing on my recipes blog. If you'd like to find new ways to use your summer roses, check out my recipes there. Happy gardening!

4 comments:

Steven Anthony said...

incredible pics, the one of the bees is amazing...I did not know you had a recipe blog...headed over ;)

Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style

Anonymous said...

Even with no rain, everything looks great! I think it's time for David and I to come visit! I need a Jim and Josh infusion!
Donna

compost in my shoe said...

The peach photo makes me want to go out and make homemade ice cream with fresh peaches. This is certainly the time of year to do it. Hope you get some rain soon!

Jim Long said...

Donna, it's been so long since we saw you last. I hope your summer hasn't been as hectic and messed up as our has. And where'd it go, anyway? I'm just now ready for June.