We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time at the farm. We went out in mid-July, with newly sharpened mower blades.
sharpening the mower blades
But when we arrived, it was so buggy we decided to try out the industrial oil fogger and mysterious anti-bug oil we found in the basement. What was that stuff? It looked pretty professional. So Steve suited up for our most serious bug repelling yet.
Hazmat timea fine mist of doom/snake oil
We waited for the oil to dry, and headed outside. But wait. What are ALL the insects in Wisconsin doing in our yard? It was insane. We couldn’t be outside for more than a few seconds without surpassing the 1 liter max blood donation-per-day threshold. While the oil and fancy fogger had seemed promising, we came to realize it had definitely lost its effectiveness. So much for better living through chemistry and biohazards. After sitting in the house for a couple hours, we decided to vacate and try another weekend. The only problem was that there weren’t any more free weekends for about 5 weeks.
In the intervening weeks, I taught a summer class, we went to a family reunion, spent some time up at the Swedish Language Village, and I lead a 2-week study abroad program in Sweden and Denmark. On my first full day home, we headed straight to the farm to see how it was faring. No better way to get over jet lag!
Upon arrival we were greeted by tall grass, ripe hazelnuts, and loads of apples!
Harvesting the hazelnutsHalf a bushel, or is it a peck?
After a quick taste test of 2 types of apples, I decided we could start picking some apples. They came off the trees easily, and many had already fallen to the grass below. So we picked about 25 of the biggest ones and will leave the others to keep growing.
Ivan wanted to take some pictures of me mid-forage
I’m not yet sure what kinds of apples these all are, but it appears we have three different varieties. The two types that were ready for picking both turned out to be excellent eating apples.
The other crop that was ready for picking were the hazelnuts. It seems about 20% of them were ready to be picked! And my food dryer is standing by, ready for action! But first I have to remove all the nuts from their husks.
The riper the hazelnut, the more easily it is extracted from its husk.
Steve got the mower blades reattached, and gave the lawn a trim. As daylight started to fade, my beautiful new solar lantern that I saw in a Danish magazine and immediately went out and bought began to glow.
solar powered lamp by Eva Salo
The next morning, I did some more research on what to do with the hazelnuts. It sounds like I was supposed to let them dry out in their husks. Oops. Luckily I only husked half of them (and thousands more are still on the bushes for next time). So I set up my new food dehydrator and got started. I have two trays full of husked nuts, and two with the husks still on.
The dryer is full, and set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for the next 48-72 hours. We will see which method proves to work best.
So now back to those apples. Referencing the University of Minnesota Extension Service website, I’m thinking we’ve got some delicious Zestar apples, and maybe some Haralsons that are ripening a bit ahead of schedule? The oldest trees at the farm are heavy with the Haralson-looking apples. I guess harvesting some now, more later might make life a little easier- less pressure to figure out what to do with all of these at once.
Late summer is a fine time to enjoy our farm with fewer bugs, and lots to enjoy. We hope you’re enjoying your August as well.