Well, it’s been another magical week on the farm. It began last Sunday with blistering heat for Visiting Day which began with several farm tours and ended with running the sprinklers for wilting campers and their sweltering parents. Monday and Tuesday were just as hot but our non-stop watering was just the ticket for our tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.
We’ve been sampling our fruits and veggies all week, including our pickled items comprised of peppers, leeks, green tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. (It’s fun to see the kids devour pickles right after breakfast.) Our observations of the pollinators have been fabulous this week with more species of butterflies winging their way onto the farm. Campers have been pleasantly surprised that the bees on our flowers show no interest in them. So focused are the pollinators on flying from flower to flower that we are able to get within inches of them and get a close-up view of the process as it happens. Most interesting (I think) are the tomatoes which seem to bear fruit within hours of being pollinating. The tiny fruit, half the size of a pea, pops right out from the little yellow flowers which our native bumble bees are doing a fine job of pollinating.
But, the biggest hit with the kids this week was definitely beetle-hunting which has become the favorite activity on the farm. We have an infestation of Japanese Beetles in the fruit orchard and the only way we can moderate the damage is by removing each beetle by hand. Ivy is the champion bug hunter and beetle-catching instructor, and she and the campers have collected hundreds of beetles that are removed from the plants one by one. The beetles don’t bite or sting or present any threat to humans other than the destruction they do to our plants. We are still experimenting with a variety of organic solutions.
Also popular this week has been farm photography, with campers, staff, and spouses amassing a fine collection of photos that are much better than the ones we’ve been taking. (See below.)
Finally, though the temps have moderated a bit, the Guppies have become Olympic-class sprinkler jumpers, while the older kids have recently harvested a bumper crop of water balloon.
Please join us next week as we offer highlights from our Session 2 introductions to the farm.
Until then, Stay Dirty.