PizzaNot sure that pizza night has anything to do with farming, or chickens – since we didn’t do BBQ chicken pizza – but it was the evening’s fare. Sue had been craving it, so at breakfast, we made our dinner plan for pizza. Unfortunately, today was a late work day so dinner came later than normal. We both made it to dinner time, though, without withering away. And there is nothing like fresh baked pizza from your own oven. YUM-O! It felt especially indulgent because we each made our own, and this was a week that warranted a great, greasy, cheesy pizza – for me anyway.  Not a banner week at work, but definitely a great week on the farm!

life is better on the farmHave you seen the posters/framed art work you can purchase that says “Life is Better on the Farm”? You know, something like the photo at left? That’s really how I feel most of the time. There are so many days that I would love to simply stay home and plant trees, or move straw around the field; maybe bake biscuits to have with a nice roasted chicken and veggie dinner. There’s hard work, but there’s a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing that you’re doing something that will help others who are trying to eat cleanly, or planting an orchard that will be there for generations to come.

When I look at the orchard, even though it’s only recently going in, I can truly see what it will look like many years from now, and it is beautiful. So many wonderful things happen when you plant trees. Trees can reduce air temperature by blocking sunlight. Further cooling occurs when water evaporates from the leaf surface. The conversion of water to air vapor — a chemical process — removes heat energy from the air. A tree can be a natural air conditioner. The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Fallen tree leaves can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Decaying leaves promote soil microorganism and provide nutrients for tree growth. Trees help settle out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. The dust level in the air can be as much as 75 percent lower on the sheltered side of the tree compared to the windward side. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen. (One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people. A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year —-for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide. Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. For every 10,000 miles you drive, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produce if your car gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg.) Trees help reduce surface water runoff from storms, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediments in streams. They increase ground water recharge and reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals transported to our streams. Trees can even have an affect on the weather, encouraging rain clouds to come down the mountain slope, rather than around it. All great reasons to plant trees. For more great information, visit “Trees of Strength” from NC State University.

FullSizeRender (1)Currently, we have 13 trees in the orchard – we now only have the 2 pomegranates remaining, as we planted the Persian Mulberry today. We had a couple neighbors walk by this morning asking what in the heck we were planting. (See – I told you we provide endless entertainment for the neighborhood.)  They said things were looking really good and they can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m leaving this photo large so you can see the entirety of the orchard. Each tree is in its own perforated tube, which will help protect it during the windy season, encourage straight growth, and protect it from pesky animals such as Jack Rabbits and Javelina. As of now, almost all of them have poked their little heads out of the top of the tubes. The other few are growing as fast as they can 🙂 .  We’ll just have to wait a couple of years for our first harvest.  Sue was thinking we could hold a U-Pick Chestnut event – free for the first good year – and then create a desire for it! Maybe we could figure out how to roast some of them right there! Mmmmm. Hot roasted chestnuts. Are you ready for Christmas? I can’t believe I just typed those words!!!! Oh well, all that is in the future anyway. Hope you stay on the adventure with us. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: Well the morning was rather chilly. 56° today at 6:00 a.m. Currently, at 7:55 p.m., it is 72° with 40% humidity. We ended up with quite a bit of rain the last few days, but our rain gauge is on the fritz, so I can’t tell you exactly how much. The photo of the orchard was taken today, and it does look really dry – but there was still quite a bit of moisture all around. We must have had around an 1″, 1 1/2″.

Egg Report: Thursday – zero goose, zero duck, 24 chicken. Friday – zero goose, zero duck,  29 chicken.