Tuesday, 19 July 2016

09:27 – We’re working on science kits all week. We have about six dozen finished kits of all types in inventory, which’ll hold us while we build more. We’ll do a couple dozen of each type of kit, rotating through the different types. I’d rather do three or four dozen of each type at a time, but my OMGWO inventory keeping means we might suddenly run out of some component that’s shared among kits. Doing only a couple dozen of each type at a time gives us some breathing space to reorder if we do run out of something. Fortunately, Barbara has made great strides in organizing component inventories, so running out unexpectedly is much less a problem than it used to be when it was just me keeping track.

When Lori picked up our mail yesterday, she commented on how hot it was and I mentioned that there was a heat dome over most of the US for the next several days. She said she needed to get some hay down for her cattle. I assumed she meant hay for them to eat now, which I didn’t understand. This morning, I asked her, and she clarified. She meant she needed to mow some hay and get it down and drying during the warm weather. She said she’d love to “pickle” the hay by putting it in large plastic bags and letting it ferment. I asked if that wasn’t the same as silage, and she said it was. Turning it into silage increases the amount of protein and other nutrients. But she said she’d dry it rather than pickling it, because that way she could feed it to her cattle or her horses. Apparently, horses won’t or can’t eat silage. Add that to the large list of things I never knew.

I also asked Lori how she ended up owning a farm in Sparta, since she’d told me earlier that she’d grown up in the suburbs in Maryland. She did, but she also spent a lot of time summers while she was growing up at her grandfather’s farm here in Sparta. When he died, she inherited the farm, so she moved to Sparta and took over running the farm in addition to her job as a USPS carrier. I like Lori a lot. In addition to working two full time jobs as a farmer and a USPS carrier, she’s always taking different courses to learn new stuff. I wasn’t surprised when she told me that she was taking welding classes. I can see how welding would be a useful skill for a farmer. But she did surprise me when she said she was spending her vacation learning to fly an airplane.

Barbara is out weeding the garden right now. She’s started harvesting zucchini, which is flourishing. We planted only six zucchinis, one of which isn’t doing well, but the remaining five are likely to produce more zucchini than we’ll know what to do with. The other stuff we planted isn’t ready to harvest yet, but the baby plants seem to be doing well. My guess is that we’ll have more than enough tomatoes, onions, bush beans, broccoli, peppers, peas, and carrots to keep us in fresh vegetables through the autumn, with lots left to give away and plenty to save for seed. All that from roughly 0.007 acre of cultivated ground. We also have a lot of potted herbs. The basil is flourishing, but the others are gradually coming up. Most herbs are very slow to germinate and grow, but once they’re established they’re persistent.