Thursday, May 21, 2015

Unity Farm Journal - Fourth Week of May 2015

I’ve always thought that shearing transforms a fluffy overstuffed alpaca into a creature from a Dr. Suess book (the Lorax?).   Below are before and after shearing pictures of the alpaca herd.

In May the temperatures at Unity Farm have varied from a high of 90F to a low of 32F.   At 90F, a fully insulated alpaca will be heat stressed.   At 32F, a sheared alpaca will shiver.   It’s always challenging to pick the right date to shear.     Our timing this year has been positive - the sheared alpaca were cool on the hot days.   The low since shearing was 38F, but the alpaca warm up quickly after sunrise.

Kathy and I inoculated 500 pounds of oak logs with Ganoderma Lucidum mushrooms (Reishi, Lingzhi).   After 2 years in the forest, the logs should yield harvestable quantities which we’ll make available fresh and dried.

The apples, plums, cherries, peaches, pecans, and paw paw trees are now fully leaved out and covered with flowers.   The bees are rapidly filling their hives with pollen and nectar.

In May, the work of the farm is largely planting and bee maintenance   I’ve harvested our winter crops and have busily planted potatoes, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers.   The hoop house raised beds have all been refilled with fresh compost and we’ll have a new round of crops ready to harvest in 60 days.

Kathy continues to work with the bees every day, expanding their hives, inspecting them for disease, and ensuring they have everything they need for successful honey production.   We’re expecting to gather 100 pounds of honey this year, leaving 80% for the bees to overwinter.

One of our chickens, Terra, is moving sluggishly.   She’s three years old and had an orthopedic injury last year (chased into a fence by a predator).    At the moment, there are no signs of infection, so we’re keeping her warm, fed, and hydrated.   We’ll watch her closely.

One of our wood racks was knocked over, likely by a coyote chasing a guinea fowl.   I’ll restock the quarter cord this weekend.

Speaking of guinea fowl, although we are a vegan/vegetarian household and do not eat guineas, they are popular in other cultures.   Here’s a menu from my recent trip to Eastern Europe.  Check out the second main course.

This weekend I’ll continue planting, helping Kathy build bee equipment, and spend time with all the creatures of Unity Farm, basking in the perfect weather of Spring.

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