Happy Fall everyone. For us, a little rain would be true happiness, and hopefully soon.
We enjoyed another grueling vacation last week. Our first night out on Sonora Pass (9,000') to acclimate to the altitude brought us a couple of inches of soggy snow. On the first day of our backpack starting at Pine Creek Pass (7,000') , we climbed 3 miles and 3,000' to Upper Lake. On the second day of hiking we reached our goal of Granite Park at 11,000', another 3 miles up. Yup, it sounds like a suburban development but definitely is not. It's a series of gorgeous benched meadows paved with huge somewhat flat and smooth granite tiles. Creeks meander through the meadows and drop off waterfalls to the lakes below. At this altitude the trees are shorter and sparser. And surrounding the meadows are a series of 13,000' granite peaks. We remained there for 3 days and climbed to Italy Pass, 12,600', where we encountered a family of ptarmigan. On another day we cross country climbed to the Chalfant Lakes where we swam and read. After our hike we made our annual visit to a hot spring in a cow pasture on the Eastern side of the Sierra crest - a great way to relax after a week of hiking on a dusty trail.
For us the difficult part of our "vacation" is always the drive to and from the Sierra. Every year there is more development, more smog, more traffic and just plain ugliness. What was newly noticeable and frightening this year were all the dead trees on the west side on the way up Sonora Pass. If all were removed the mountains would be left looking more park-like than forested. At least there were still a few scraps of snow on the high peaks.
We're hoping for an early and wet winter here. Based on the predictions of folks who examine the acorn drop, caterpillar activity and oak moss, it will be an early, wet one. Let's hope they are right.
Hot and dry but nothing above 100.
Clement market: ok. Boonville market: good. Mendocino market: ok. On-farm sales: great.
Aquaponics: Started harvesting celery and watercress again and lots of rhubarb. Greenhouse cucumbers doing ok. Outdoors not so great. Tomatoes not happy.
Saw gopher snake in process of eating young King pigeon (head first) on coop floor. Snake much smaller than pigeon. Scooped both into bucket and put outside fence. Nature is not pretty.
Killed two large rattlesnakes near a house; saved the rattles.
The beef aged a nice long time and butchering was good at new shop. Started selling at end of month.
Pigs are doing well and getting big. May be ready for market sooner than November.
“Processed” five old laying hens. Sent the rooster “portraits” to the farm supply. Not sure what will come of the effort but have too many roosters. Supposed to have 10% but we got 20-25%.
Up to 15 chickens killed by the bobcat(s) and no luck with the traps.
Christened J&V’s driveway, a gravel road, with “Juan’s Way” sign.
Deer hunting season started. 3 deer shot by 3 hunters. Lots of good meat in freezer.
Sarah returned from vacation and plunged into work (see VAP numbers). Former sous chef at local restaurant, now kitchen boss at cheese farm, is helping prep and can twice a month. She’s wonderful.
Put Guest House decision on hold…again. Should we rent or go the Air BnB route?
Visited EM at Vet home in Yountville. Had pleasant afternoon and evening.
Solar dispute continues.
In ground/producing –kale, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, beets, Walla Walla onions, red and white keeper onions, dandelion, Mexican mint marigold, husk cherry, anise hyssop, tomato, squash, eggplant, cucumber, okra, Armenian cucumber, melons, broccoli, cabbage, lemon grass, rhubarb.
In aquaponics/producing/experimenting – mint, garlic, chive, scallion, watercress, celery, strawberry, raspberry, marionberry, ginger, turmeric, lemon, pepper, orange, tomato, onion, rhubarb, broccoli, lemon grass, radish, cucumber.
Total VAPs for August: 810
Blackberry Conserve, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Dill Pickles, Mixed Berry Jam, Blackberry Jalapeno Jam, Tayberry Jam, Blackberry Syrup, Pickled Beets, Ginger Garlic Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Beef Bone Broth, Applesauce w/ Honey, Plum BBQ Sauce, Mulberry Jam, Blackberry Vanilla Jam, Blackberry Chutney, Fig Jam w/ Port, Marionberry Jam, Strawberry Vanilla Jam, Pickles w/ Fennel, Blackberry Mint Jam, Apple Butter, Mint Jelly, Spicy Pepper Relish, Adobo Sauce, Peach Hazelnut Conserve, Peach Chutney, Pork Bone Broth, Tomato Sauce w/ Marjoram, Applesauce w/ Cinnamon, Salsa Verde, Cowboy Candy, Spicy Pepper Syrup, Apple Leather, Apple pie Leather, Baba Ganoush.
Capers, bachelor buttons, society garlic, roses, dahlias, nicotiana, hydrangea, geranium, passion flower, Mexican mint marigold, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, trumpet vine, oleander.
Fruit & Vegetable
Everything finishing early. Grapes will be harvested beginning Sept, winter apples/pears ripe now, second fig harvest ripening fast and small fruit, jujube next month, persimmons getting color. All very early…month or more.
Trapped 3 bobcats this season and lost 15 chickens.
Good on-farm sales. Nice visitors.