Two heat waves and it’s not even close to July yet.  It’s these stretches that once again test your metal.  The extreme heat does make that inevitable thunder storm and cool down that much sweeter.  I will be anxiously waiting for that cold front tonight…maybe I’ll get a lightning storm to boot.

There is one good thing behind a week of oven-like temps…dry hay.  We didn’t knock down a bunch of it, mostly the borders surrounding the organic crops and a new pasture, but we put up 30 or so bales of really good stuff.  I don’t remember if I mentioned it a few weeks back but we put up 100 or so bales of hay already.  I forgot to take a picture of it being wrapped…it’s quite the piece of equipment.  I’ll see if I can snag a shot of it in action later on in the year.  A good chunk of our hay will actually be made later in the season this year because our oats will have to come out first…then the under seeding of clover will fully mature in the fall for one cutting.  When that week arrives, we will have one mother-load of a crop to harvest all at once.  But at least the weather will be nice and the sky blue with crisp fresh air.

As I write this, I hear Doug and Ryan got our smaller tractor fired-up with the cultivator on it’s back.  It’s actually the neighbor’s tractor, but we are renting it for a few stretches this summer to keep up on our many field work tasks.  It was out of commission over the weekend because it wouldn’t start…maybe battery connection, maybe the alternator, maybe the starter.  Another tractor has air-conditioning issues and yet another had starter problems a few weeks back.  That’s the down-side to used equipment….it’s used.  But I can’t afford the shiny new green paint and price tag it comes with.  Actually, I can’t afford new paint in any color…blue, red, or orange. (City Slicker Color Decoder Ring: Green=John Deere, Blue=New Holland, Red=Case, Orange=Kubota)  I was looking at a new 160 horsepower tractor with a front loader and you might want to sit down right now….$175k. Maybe someday that would make sense when we finally convert all the surrounding farms to organic but until then we’ll keep fixing the old paint.  A boy has to dream, right?  So back to reality, the tractor starting means I’m due up to cultivate.  I see there is a bit of a breeze so I’m praying it won’t be as hot as I think sitting behind that roaring engine.  I should have mentioned it’s a cab-less tractor.  Maybe I should take off my shirt and work on eliminating that cursed farmers’ tan my wife loves.

We have some good news on the product front.  Ryan is going to add salmon patties to the line-up this week and I hope to add coconut sugar smoked salmon before too long…we are tweaking the final recipe in the next batch.  I continue to sample our steaks for quality and this last weekend we had some friends over for a grill-out.  I did a few sirloins, NY strips and flat-irons.  I also threw on a few bacon burgers and pork hot dogs for the kids but I think the adults appreciated bacon infused burgers more than the kids.  All the steaks were amazing and surprisingly the flat iron stole the show.  They were a little thicker than the other steaks so I had to move them around a little longer but the flavor and tenderness were perfect.  I also want to plant a seed in your mind about portions.  Since we have smaller kids, I pre-slice the steaks before I serve them…a la family style.  So the next time you order maybe it works better to think less about one steak per person and think more about doing a collective grill and a collective sampling.  Our guests sure enjoyed the sampling of different cuts and I bet your guests will too.

If you’re reading this in the Midwest, I bet you’ll be anxious for the cool-down too…keep your eye on the west and maybe you’ll get a lightning show as well.

Your Farmer,
Nick