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August 29th, 2022
Dear NOFA-VT Friends,
Farmers host many visitors throughout the year. Who wouldn’t want to walk through a warm earth-smelling greenhouse in the month of March and laugh at gamboling lambs or adorable goat kids during the month of May? June—Dairy Month in Vermont—is an opportune time to find a dairy calf to admire while licking on an ice cream cone. And then there are the vegetables and fruits to taste and pick-your-own during July, August, and September. Families and school groups, summer campers, and farm store visitors know that farms are fun places to taste and learn and watch what’s growing. (If a farm or farm store is not near you, there are fun movies to watch with farm themes too!)
However, there are many visitors NOT welcome on farms! Can you think of some who would nibble the strawberries, tear down the sweet corn, puncture holes in trellised tomatoes, and even steal laying hens right from a pasture? For every unwanted visitor, farmers have developed an intriguing array of tricks for keeping them away!
Over the course of the summer, many of our ripening tomatoes have been punctured by acrobatic flying birds. They weave their way in and out of the tall vines looking for that near-so-perfect red fruit. We hang CD discs on the plants. The shining movement of the discs frightens the birds away. We also encase the new red fresh fruits with upside-down paper cups. It’s fun to take off the cups to see a perfect gem inside. (The birds don’t like the yellow, purple, orange, or green striped tomatoes. Odd, isn’t it?)
Rabbits are plentiful in Vermont this year. Since the rodents are sensitive to smells, we lay rotting eggs around our basil, broccoli, celery, and lettuces. (We harvest 300 eggs per day so there are always a few extra eggs to be had!) The trick works great and no one gets hurt!
For larger animals who want to steal fruit or vegetables from us, we have our canine all-star team of Kena, Hastings, and Pinto Bean. The fox and coyotes and deer don’t dare mess with our ranging pups. Old and deaf Hastings was trained to walk the farm boundaries every night. Somehow, even as he gets old, he happily does his job of keeping his farm growing. Now if only he could climb a tree to keep the owls away!
We are about to put out our turkeys on pasture. We will string an electric fence around the pasture where they will graze and cavort in the early fall days. The raccoons and skunks have sensitive noses and won’t touch the “hot” fence twice. “YO OUCH !” they shriek but then they just go away with a tender nose as a reminder. We don’t want to cause our wild neighbors harm so this system works for all of us.
Billowing flags made from pillowcases, garden row blanket covers, scarecrows, sharp wood ash, smelly onions, and ‘have-a-heart’ release traps are other tools we use to keep unwanted visitors from hurting the foods we grow for you. We deter the critters and hope they find food elsewhere. That’s what it’s all about really. We share the land with our wild friends. We all need to eat. Together we live off of the land and harvest what we need. We do enjoy seeing the wild creatures about the farm….from a distance of course!
Enjoy the harvest and the sightings of all the critters who are also harvesting in the wild fields and forests and edges of Vermont. Wherever you live there are “harvesters” to be seen!
Here’s to all things growing,
Scout and Maria from Someday Farm
News from the Farm Activity – Scare (or Welcome!) Crows
* a large assortment of old clothes, boots or shoes, eye glasses, hats and other clothing accessories
* one pillow case
* stuffing such as hay / straw / newspaper / woodchips / grass / old clothes
* string, duct tape, Sharpie markers, and branches ( optional ) for making legs and arms
- Set out the clothes on the ground as you would dress a person.
- Stuff the pants, shirt, dress, or overalls with stuffing.
- Push the branches though the sleeves and pants as necessary.
- Draw a face on the pillow case and then stuff the case.
- Put the body together. Add glasses, hair, a hat, and footwear.
- Place your SCARE / WELCOMING CROW on a chair, at a picnic table, by a door, against a tree, etc.
- Add props around your new friend - a bouquet of flowers, a hand drawn sign, an assortment of vegetables, a hoe or rake or shovel
This Week's Recipe: Garlic Dip with Crunchies (Crudités)
Garlic is a bulb - planted in the fall and harvested in late summer. The plant deters rodents and deer in the garden, perhaps wards off evil spirits, and is a healthy additive to your - and pet / farm animal - diet! Long ago children wore garlic bulbs around their necks to keep colds away. YIKES!
* 1 large garlic bulb, unpeeled
* 1 cup whole plain yogurt
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/2 of a lemon, juiced.
* assortment of crispy vegetables for dipping such as carrots, radishes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers.
1. Preheat oven / toaster oven to 275. Bake garlic on foil for one hour.
2. Cool the garlic for 5-10 minutes. Separate the cloves from the bulb and gently squeeze the cooked buttery soft-flesh out of the papery skins into a bowl.
3. Use a fork to mash the garlic until smooth. Add the yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Blend thoroughly.
4. Cut up the vegetables into sticks or chunks.
5. Dip vegetables into dip and enjoy!