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June 13,2017

Posted 7/10/2017 9:37pm by Don Kretschmann.

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,  

The heat wave has us picking greens at the crack of dawn to avoid wilting.  We hope the broccoli isn’t overstressed and continues to head well. Hot and dry are not ideal for this crop.   By late last week it looked like irrigation was in order for the scallions and parsley.  Becky had tickets for a late afternoon/evening Pirate game and I didn’t quite have time to set up and decided there would still be plenty of daylight afterward for the short job of connecting the water lines.  At 8:30 I laid the header and connected to the drip lines and started the pump. Pressure was unusually low, so I checked back at the pump where it was 80psi.-plenty. I suspected a faulty valve, but that wasn’t it, then began checking each hydrant on the barn side of the pond—no problems there.  Then I began checking on the far side of the pond and quickly saw the problem.  I was shocked seeing water pouring out and down the hill from a 2” hydrant completely broken off!  How could this have happened?  Someone must know.  As it’s getting dark, I pulled out my cell to call Maria to see.  Then I saw the message: “You’re going to kill me. I was going over to....”   What to do?  This could mean digging down 3’ to replace the hydrant, but because it’s plastic I thought perhaps I could just cut it off where it broke just near the surface and repair with a sleeve. I looked in the shed with irrigation fittings for those we used when constructing the buried lines and found one 2” coupling.  Then I grabbed the glue, fitting, some rags, saw, shovel, and headed out in the golf cart into the darkness.  Half hour later texted Maria with a reassuring pic.  Reply: “Good job, Dad”   

Staying Top of the Food Chain: The farm fields are edged on nearly every side by woods in which lurk (vast herds of) deer. When we retire, or even just break for lunch, out they come to munch on all those delicious organic crops.  Years ago we discovered a very effective method of keeping them out of our production fields—a single strand of electric fence charged by a New Zealand style solar powered fencer.  But the key factor is that every yard or so, we dab a minute amount of PEANUT BUTTER!  Deer smell it and cannot resist, are shocked, and don’t return.  For the first time in memory, we recently saw extensive grazing by deer inside the protective fencing.  We’ve always used whatever peanut butter we have in the house—always 100% natural peanuts, generally organic.  To save money this spring, Becky had gotten a jar of Skippy peanut butter which now we have found just doesn’t cut it with our spoiled gourmet deer.  Back to the better grade...    

Incoming: Zucchini, cabbage.

As the season unfolds, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky,Maria & the Farm Crew

Note: Big Thanks to the Subscriber Crew who helped out Saturday, filling in the labor gap until the three Trejos return from Mexico.  You were a Godsend! We can’t wait until the full crew returns. We’ve been filling in with lots of day-help from various friends and acquaintances of Maria.  It’s a challenge, but so’s farming.

It only really happens once a year...

Strawberry Shortcake: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar.  Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly distributed.  Beat 1 egg and 5/8 c. milk and mix with dry ingredients.  Pat out with oiled hands or use a plastic spatula to spread dough onto an oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 " thick.  Bake @375 deg about 20 min. (we use all whole wheat flour with fine results)  Cut up strawberries, whip the cream....mmmm.

Tabouleh:  to 1c. cooked bulgur (cracked) wheat, add 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c lemon juice, 1 bunch finely chopped scallions, lg bunch finely chopped parsley.  Salt to taste. (Cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery can also be finely chopped and added.)  In this case, one can put all ingredients in a ceramic or glass crock (wheat uncooked) with the tomatoes and cucumbers on top and refrigerate for at least 1 day, and up to two weeks.  Another refreshing addition is a little finely chopped fresh mint.  Serve on bed of lettuce or Lebanese style, wrapped in single lettuce leaves and eaten out of hand. Open Face Broccoli Sandwiches: Cut up broccoli into bite sized pieces and steam until just tender.  Lay slices of your favorite hearty whole wheat bread on cookie sheet.  Spread a dollop of sour cream or creamy ricotta on each slice of bread.  Arrange the broccoli on each slice and press into the sour cream. Top with a little of your favorite grated cheese and a few sunflower seeds for crunch.  Place in hot oven (400 deg) or broil until bread is toasted & cheese is melted.

Garlicy Collards: Remove thick rib from leaves and coarsely chop collards. Then parboil for 5 min., drain.   Saute diced garlic scapes 2 min. then add the collards and continue for another 5 min. until they are tender.  Salt & pepper.  Lemon or balsamic vinegar if desired.

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