I imagine that everyone is dealing with life changes during the “Pandemic”. Watching the panic buying, the stocking up of everything, including guns and ammo, has to be taking it’s toll on folks… especially if you live in an urban area.
Out here, things are a bit different. Sure we have a closet full of beer and pretzels for long term food storage and my BB gun ammo chest is full, but it can’t be anywhere near the fear that suburbanites are feeling right now.
Our issue is simply living, in spite the wider society’s psychosis. We are well stocked. Much of our food is still on the foot and hoof. The issue here is simply admission. What do I mean? Admission is an understanding of the dire situation in which we find ourselves. It is the idea that most of the rest of the country has lost it’s mind and that we need to defend against just such mental illness. I am sure that those with young folks having to go to school on-line and are wondering how work will play itself out, is beyond crazy making. I am in no way trying to belittle that point.
What I am saying, is that it didn’t have to be this way. Had we locked down hard, like eastern countries, and not been so infantile to think that a global pandemic was somehow an impediment to our freedumbs, we could have been well past this by now (witness New Zealand).
What I am referring to is the west’s infantile notion of rights and freedumbs. More to the point, the severe and catastrophic mental health issues we will need to deal with because of a world view destroyed. We introverts are weathering this storm very handily. Personally, I am overjoyed that I can use this crisis as a way to make friends and family keep their distance. BUT! For those who have been raised their entire lives to be social and extra-social beings, I am empathetic to the fact that your level of suffering could be monumental. To that end, I wish you all my best.
However, in this situation, life is a bit different. For many years now, I have been pretty much isolated (very well appreciated as I am the quintessential introvert). I LOVE my family, but as a result of the pandemic, I am now in a house with 2 other people and those 2 other people have their own agenda and it DOES NOT include playing Grandma Walton with me. One works full time and the other is a college student taking pandemic classes on line.
So what I have been doing is creating a campground at the far end of the property. I didn’t want to spend the money on building a new cabin out back. We have had this 5th Wheel since 1999. It has served us well on many an adventure. However, it doesn’t seem likely that we will really ever take it out on the road again. After all, farmers don’t really get vacations. So a few weeks back, I pulled it out to the back end of the property. The intension is now to create a campsite on the property where we can go to relax. I will be building a deck on the tree side and a Chiminea for evening campfires. It’s whole purpose is simply to cut the cord on occasion and detach from the world. I truly believe that happiness comes from building a life you don’t need to escape from. While this life is tough, and homesteading can drop you to your knees, I firmly believe that the urbanites have it far worse. We feel very fortunate, not from some blessings from a false god, but from foresight and a lot of determination. JAZFarm is performing admirably. Stay tough ya’ll. This ain’t going away any time soon.
Stay safe. Don’t be stupid. Think about someone other than yourselves for maybe the first time in your lives. Nothing is ever going back to normal. You can either let the corporatists dictate what the new normal is, or you can define it for yourselves. Personally, I know where I stand.
So mini-winter is but a memory. This week and next temperatures will all be up around 90 degrees with no moisture in sight. Working outside today was like working around a camp fire. There is yet another fire, this time up in Wyoming north of where I used to live. It is about 14,000 acres and it seems that a good chunk of the smoke made it’s way here. The air quality is quite bad and for we asthmatics, that limits outdoor time. But, while mini-winter was a very strange blip in the weather world, we are now back to getting the gardens harvested and processed at a more reasonable pace.
Probably the most back breaking task involved with gardening is harvesting potatoes. There is no real easy way to go about it, so down on your hands and knees you go trying to dig them up without skewering them in the process. This is not a perfect science, so any potato that got poked scraped or sliced will get canned or dehydrated as they don’t store well with wounds. Zina did the hand digging part and I followed behind her with a shovel to dig down deeper and seek out the stragglers. It worked out pretty well. The trench I dug needs to be done anyway in order to plant next spring. Once done we will line the ditch with peat moss and composted chicken manure and we will be ready to go in 2021. I have always ordered our seed stock; I am currently investigating the best way to store our own for next year as we might be facing the same over-demand for them that we had this year. Worse, I fear. Fortunately, our previous predictions about the yield are proving true. We have gotten through 1/4 of the planted rows and we are already over 100 lbs. This means we have recouped the seed potatoes by weight and are 50 lbs. to the good. The total should be in the ball park of 400 lbs. So if one is looking to stock a pantry, not only to make sure bellies stay filled, but to also have things that taste good, our main preserved staples should do the trick. We still have yet to check out the sweet potatoes, but I fear that that will be our lost crop due to the freak snow.
It seems that from the core of our food stuffs, Green Beans, Corn (from a local organic grower) Onions, Garlic, Canned Tomatoes, Carrots, Potatoes, Peppers, Celery, Sauerkraut and Pickles, we should be able to keep the eating interesting. This will all go along with our Eggs, Turkey, Chicken, Pork, and the Beef that will be arriving in about a month. I am pretty sure we will have at least one pregnant goat, possibly two by November, with three more set to go in the spring. This will keep us in milk, yogurt and cheese. We will also be growing all of our own lettuce during the winter in our basement growing facilities.
So folks, it might not be on this kind of scale, but it can be done. Just be creative. “Oh Jon, you are just bragging.” Well, after all of the work over the last almost 8 years, you bet your ass I am bragging. I am (We are) as proud as we have ever been about anything. And, more bragging, we were right about it all. Makes you angry? Move along. This one is ours to puff up over. Also folks, jealousy (and I am talking to specific folks who have said this), doesn’t accomplish anything. We have never had any real consistent offers of help that have actually panned out (which is a typical refrain among small scale farmers). Mom did help and a couple others very sporadically and we did higher a part time farm hand, but as luck would have it, she crunched herself up in a car wreck. Guys, once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that tough. Plus! You get exercise. Digging that trench is as aerobic as pretty much anything, unless you are a runner. Given that my legs are pretty deteriorated, using my upper body to dig with works out pretty well for me. All that lacks, in most cases, like setting any goal, is vision and desire.
So from my family to yours, stock up, stay awake, and become as self-sufficient as possible.
I had mentioned at the close of last year that it felt like the Twenty Teens was going to be the last normal decade that we humans, in this set of living arrangements we call civilization, would have. Whodah thunk that all the crap would be crammed into the very next year!
In addition to all of the bat bug issues, the greatest depression ever experienced, and a populace that seems hell bent on experiencing the horrors that accompany shooting fellow citizens, we here in Colorado and huge swathes of the west are on fire. My favorite places in the world up north of us are burning. East of our property in Montana burned 8000 acres and none of it looks to be abating any time soon. So we are enduring smokey air, burning eyes, heavy breathing and the most amazing skies ever. Even during straight up noon the skies are hazy and the air glows yellow and orange. Sunrises and sunsets are blood red and we still keep breaking heat records. Over 90% of Colorado is in a moderate to severe drought. Fort Collins, a town north of us about 90 minutes has begun water restrictions. How much more adventure can people take? I guess we are set to find out.
So then the big surprise happened. Because of a broken Jet Stream due to irreversible and abrupt climate change, we experienced a temperature swing that tied an old record. We also broke the record for the number of consecutive days above 90 degrees (76). Then, because of this vortex coming down from the Arctic, we experienced over a 60 degree temperature swing between September 8th and 9th. During the day it was in the high nineties. That night it plunged to 37. The next day it snowed 4 inches with the mountains getting over a foot and half. Fortunately, because it had been so hot, the snow melted right off, however, it was a this year’s garden killer.
The next couple of days saw highs in the 40’s. Knowing this was coming set us into a harvesting frenzy. We picked and brought in anything and everything we could from the garden. The greenhouse fared pretty well and a great deal of it was already done for the season, but BEANS, tons and tons of BEANS!! Peppers! Eggplant! Celery! Cabbages! Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Carrots! Bushels and bushels of things. The kitchen was stacked with buckets. We looked at it and realized just what a processing job was ahead of us. We canned close to 100 quarts of green beans, 26 pints of carrots, made over 40 lbs. of Sauerkraut, put cucumbers in the pickling crocks, canned Tomato Salsa, pickled Jalapeños, Green Tomato Salsa, Pasta Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Canned Carrots and dehydrated mountains of various peppers and eggplant. It’s a good thing that we have been canning for years. We have lots of canning supplies. Because of the surge in gardening this year because of the stay at home orders, canning supplies are pretty scarce. Had we been in that boat, we would have had lots of wasted produce.
Another homestead staple that has been in short supply are baby chicks from the hatcheries. We hatch our own Turkeys, Layer Hens and Stewing Chickens, but because the fast growing meat chickens are a cross, they can’t be bred. Usually we can get them in a month. We got skunked this year and after placing an order for 40 from a second choice breeder, we finally got them the first week of September. Since building our barn, we have been able to brood them out to being fully feathered out there under heat lamps. It was a relief because we had been doing it in our basement which made things stinky and dusty. But, of course, with the onset of this storm, we didn’t take the chance of having 40 chicken nugget popsicles so back into the basement they came. As of today though, they are outside doing fine. After this stooooopid 2 days of winter in the first 10 days of SEPTEMBER (Save me the platitudes about “Ah well that’s Colorado” – no it isn’t. The last time this happened was 20 years ago.). it is back up to 90 and looks to stay that way until October. We done screwed up our environment.
So the delay in putting up more posts here was because we had been running the canners non-stop for a week after the scramble to get it all in, disconnecting watering systems, taking down shade covers and making sure the critters were all hunkered in. Everything looks good again, in fact a lot of the garden survived. Our big loss looks to be the sweet potatoes. They were in one of our new big beds, and they just can’t handle cold. We covered our Habanero peppers as the are the last to ripen of all the peppers. They look like they might have survived….. time will tell. 2020, the year they let the freaks out to run the show. I’m afraid 2021 will be the deeper, darker, sequel. So if you are still not prepping up for potential food supply disruptions, dahell is wrong with you? Quit reading this and go get stuff. This doesn’t look to be getting any better any time soon…. if ever.
It is fall and breeding has commenced. In order to have a dairy, small or large, babies have to be made. In order to raise pork without having to buy babies from somewhere else, breeding has to happen. In order to maintain a healthy flock of chickens for meat and eggs, babies have to be made. This past week we put our lady goats in with the gentlemen. I must say, while bucks are the horniest things on 4 legs, they have been remarkably chivalrous with their girls. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when a doe is in heat. Nigerians come into their cycle monthly, but sometimes it is hard to determine when. Sooooooo, to solve that problem, the girls and boys get put together for 2 months. This pretty much ensures that at some point they will get it right.
On the other hand, it is pretty wise to put the bucks with the does well a part from each other. A couple of years back we put a doe and one of the bucks together and left the other buck out of the fun. Had we not had a chain link fence between them somebody would have gotten hurt. The outrage was impressive
Last year we acquired a threesome of American Guinea hogs. They are smaller than the pigs you see going to the factory farms. They can also survive virtually on nothing but vegetable scraps and grass. They are now of age, but we have yet to see any signs of romantic flirtation. It isn’t that it might not have happened because we can’t watch every hour either. We will likely wake up later this year to a bunch of piglets hopping around.
Here is Petuia (on the right) and Pablo Pigcasso on the left, lounging in the mud looking cute. These are as friendly as dogs. They can’t get enough of tummy rubs.
And lastly, of course we are always hatching chickens and turkeys. In a month or so the 2020 turkey flock will go to freezer camp. These below are Jersey Giants (chickens). We use these for stew and crock pot meat. In 2 days we are expecting 40 Cornish Crosses. They are the larger meat chickens and will be raised up and processed sometime around November 1st. They grow incredibly fast and are a great and economical way to keep the freezer well stocked.
So there you have it. Farm procreation at it’s finest. No folks, your food does not all come wrapped in cellophane at your huge grocer. You gain a much greater appreciation for your food when you get down and dirty and raise it yourself. The next evolution may include meat goats or even raising a couple of steers. Shhhhhhhh don’t tell Zina.
We are coming up on the 8th anniversary of the JAZ Farm experiment. Since then, most everything else has been put on hold. Don’t get me wrong, this has been a labor of passion, but as anyone knows, when you have nothing but a certain task, it can get very old if you don’t have a diversion.
I was a bowhunter and hiker and lived in ranch country for many many years. I was raised in the Detroit area but most of my adult life has been spent in rural towns and the Rocky Mountain back country. Since my spine surgery, my ability to go off into the nether regions has been severely curtailed. Not to mention the fact that we built a farm from nothing up to the point that it supports vegetables, chickens, eggs, turkeys, dairy and pork.
After the last fence build, I was pretty burned out. I had told Zina that I needed to simply spend a day up in the hills in my old hunting, snow shoeing and stomping grounds. As I would never trust my old carcass to be up there un-aided, I went up with the new ATV. I cannot tell you how freeing that was. It was almost as though I had never left, but this time it was just to go see my mountains (I did try to flip the buggy once, but all is well). My next trip up will be during Aspen color season. I may never hunt again, but just being up there in the beauty amongst the mountain wizards with a camera was enough. Find your peace and be there. There is nothing else that matters. This was in the WAY back over 10,500 ft.. I still gots it.
Pandemic, Economic Collapse, Riots, Drought, Fires, Depression and Food Insecurity.
Unemployment, Massive demands on Food Banks, Climate Chaos and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. So here we are in the midst of the most chaotic time of our lives. Here we are on your actual brink. The news is something to be avoided if you are to maintain any semblance of sanity. We have an election that is going to be anything but uncontentious. We have no national plan to combat the bat bug and it appears that this little anomaly had the power to bring down the planet (Especially the U.S.). What does one do when, after years of warning clients, friends and family that this was coming? Answer: Grow a garden just like one has done for years. 95% of Colorado is in a moderate to severe drought. We just went through the hottest August on record and I can attest to how miserable that is. Yo easterners, low humidity doesn’t solve the problem, you can simply dry up and blow away out here and much of our landscape has. A mountain pass that I spent many years around is ablaze as well as places on the Western Slope where I spent a lot of my Jeremiah Johnson years.
Because of supply line disruptions and catastrophic crop failures around the world, plagues of locusts in Africa and floods in China, makes for a time where I should have been growing Popcorn. After all, as Uncle George told us, When you are born you are given a ticket to the freak show. When you are born in the U.S.A. you are given a front row seat. Have you awakened yet or are you still in denial? Not only are we going into a second Great Depression (That will make the first one look like a nice Little House On The Prairie episode) we are going into a complete reset of our way of life (Thank God). We are facing food shortages, supply line disruptions, massive evictions, the lack of metal to make canned goods, and all manner of things that will make life pretty uncomfortable in the coming years. I think, and this is simply my opinion, that our lives will reset to look more like the lives of Appalachian Homesteaders of the 1850’s – without the Civil War one can hope. If there could be a time where every possible problem could come to a head (including World War) this is it. I know that everyone is completely fatigued from 2020, but I am afraid you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
So what does one do? Learn from us. Learn from homesteaders and preppers. The faster you can get over your grieving and get on to the task at hand (survival and adjusting to whatever comes down the pike) the better off you will be. Our old paradigm died this year. There is no “waiting for things to get back to normal”. First of all, normal is what got us into this problem, and second, there is no “new normal”. We are going to have to reinvent EVERYTHING! Plans for you career? Screw that. Plans for your kid’s futures? Screw that too. They are going to be with you forever. Perhaps this is the answer to the lack of people wanting to become farmers. The average age of a farmer in the U.S.A. is 58 – that’s friggin’ ME!! Who do you think is going to grow food for the future? Business majors and computer wonks will be WORTHLESS. If you can’t feed the people, well………
Everything about your existence now needs to be about learning how to provide all of the sustenance for your family and your local community. I am so sorry for you who have been caught in the cities. If you have the ability to get out and onto some land I would highly recommend that you do it right now! My father once said (one of the few things he said that I could actually relate to) that the next depression is going to be so much worse because everyone is dependent on trucking and no one knows how to process a pig or a chicken. Absolutely. Have any of you newbie gardeners and freaked out ‘steaders tried to get ahold of canning supplies lately? How about baby chicks? Flour? Yeast? Bulk anything? You all freaked and bought everything with no idea how to use it. My good friend at our local feed store said he can’t believe how many people have come in to get baby chicks thinking that in a few short weeks they would be knee deep in eggs. It takes 6 months ya’ll. The toilet paper freak out was a joke. You should be WAY more concerned about a dollar collapse and a Venezuela style hyper-inflation poverty. If you hear nothing else, understand that our government gives not one shit about you. They do not care. Food inflation? Remember oil inflation in 2007-08? Same story. We shall see the threshold at which food prices can’t go beyond before everything collapses. Wonder why we have 50 million unemployment claims in the last 20 weeks but Wall Street continues to set new highs? Answer, because they care more about a few billionaires than the 99% of the population that makes this economic abortion run.
Whew. I just felt like I was in a client appointment prior to my retirement. I know some of you follow me and you can attest to the fact that I have been warning about this economy since at least the Dot Com bubble. You can take what I wrote for what it’s worth. To toot my own horn though, when I was still working, I called the 2002 dot com bubble and the 2008 collapse. Be F…… careful!! This will end very badly. We are NOW, CURRENTLY, in the World’s Greatest Depression and it will not end anytime soon. It is time to start hunkering down and protect yourself and those things you hold dear. NO ONE is coming to help you.
Here is our financial plan:
Tomatoes. Diced, sauced, and salsa’d. They are still coming.
Serious quantities of beans. So far we have canned 50 quarts.
The peppers got nailed by hail this year but still have given us enough to dehydrate for the winter. Next year all the peppers and tomatoes go in the greenhouse. They need TLC.
This was one plant of potatoes as a test. If this holds true, we will have about 300 lbs. No potato famine here.
We have the tomato crop nailed. Large slicers don’t do well here but saucing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes will make you say “Uncle” after awhile.
This is a sunflower called “Titan”. It seeded itself this year. We will be keeping the seeds to plant more next year. Oh ya, if you do start gardening during the collapse of civilization, I would highly recommend saving seeds. My favorite seed sources were sold OUT this past spring. We ordered next year’s seed already. We will keep them in a fridge and use them next year while the Zombies all scramble for their little packets.
Next year we should be up to our ears in Asparagus
As usual, our Garlic was epic. We save the largest heads for seeding in for the next season. They will get planted and mulched in October.
We have discovered that we really like Sauerkraut. We have many more heads to deal with, but 15 pounds of cabbage went in to the crock in the past week. We also started making fermented pickles in a crock. They are amazing.
We planted boatloads of Celery this year. It dehydrates well and can go into soups and stews. This is a half gallon jar of it and that was close to 2 bushels before it got dried.
The crops that do the best outside of the greenhouse are the root crops. We have hundreds of row feet of carrots and beets. Looks like we will be canning, storing and dehydrating carrots soon.
Get busy people. This ain’t going to fix itself. I pity those that have no initiative. Find a plot to garden. Find a local farmer’s market. Get out, buy some land and grow your own. Shoot, Detroit is the epicenter of urban farming and roof top gardens are popping up all over places like NYC. If you care and you have the initiative, get after it. Otherwise, look to canned goods, freeze dried food sources, or any way possible to become more self-sufficient. It is coming. Be prepared. Get off of Social Media and deal with reality. Your lives may very well depend on it.
Once again, like every year, Aaron dusted off the drone and the Go Pro to do a tour of the farm and to highlight the achievements of the past year. Here you will see our new pigs (Pedro and Pablo Pigcasso and Petunia), both our boy and girl goats, The new baby chicks, the crazy turkeys, the completion of moving the gardens and the new fencing. We have been in quite a drought this year so everything is very brown. But thanks to the well hydrants and timed drip irrigators, our gardens are doing very well. We are up to 43 raised beds. Next year you will see the completion of another pasture fence so we can move the critters from pasture to pasture so none of them get grazed too short. The new apple trees and Asparagus patch are doing great and we expect to harvest a couple of hundred pounds of potatoes. This past week all of those hail guards over the raised beds earned their keep. It isn’t a perfect solution, but nothing got wiped out in our most recent hail storm. Next year we hope to be putting in a Blackberry patch and some grape vines. Work will also begin on our new food forest where the old garden was. All in all it was a very productive year. Sometimes one needs to sit back and admire the accomplishments. This is how one thrives during the Zombie Apocalypse. Looking forward to seeing what the next year brings to the farm.
After finishing the raised beds and their hail guards, one thing remained…. fence it all in. After having the neighbor’s goats wreak havoc on our garden and apple orchard last year, at least having the gardens fenced in with permanent fencing, has been hanging over my head. Also, because of the current Zombie Apocalypse, I was not liking that the entrance to the farm was as open as it was, so I wanted to put up some gates just to make things a bit more private.
More to the point with the gates though, we don’t have haying equipment. In order to be able to hay our land, it would take around $100,000.00 to purchase the equipment to do so (I don’t buy used crap – too much repair work and I hate mechanical stuff). Our northwest field has been open since we moved here. The southwest is all fenced in from having our barn built. So the thought dawned on me, because I have gotten pretty good at stringing fence (probably half a mile’s worth), that if I spent the money and energy to fence in that 5 acres, I could bring the animals to that field to graze. This would give them about 8 total acres or more to rotationally graze on. Thus, bring the animals TO the hay instead of bringing the hay TO the animals. We will still need to buy a fair amount, but this will help heal the land and provide us with dairy after it is all up an running. Goats turn weeds into milk and pigs turn grass into bacon… what’s your super-power??
The gates were a desired addition, but they would have been standing there all by themselves. So the goal this year was to get the north road side fenced along with the gates, and to get the entire garden fenced. As of last week this has all been accomplished. This is a good thing, because I have been informed by my doctor that I need to rest my shoulders as I have severely stressed the deltoid muscles from pretty excessive over use. This is such fun as I have had to contend with back issues for some time now. God said…. here have some of this too! After all, if you are going to credit the almighty with good things, you need to blame her for the bad as well (You know, omniscience and omnipotence and all that rot). I have some happy pain pills so that helps, but today we finally put up barn fans to help keep the does and donkeys cool and to suppress the flies, but afterwards I couldn’t even lift my hands up on to the kitchen table. It is time to rest and heal. When you come from a life that always told you that no matter what you do it is never enough, it is hard to decommission yourself from self-destruction.
So here is what Aaron and I managed to accomplish. This was 1000 feet of fencing with seven new gates, wood corner posts and H-braces, 48 T-posts hand sunk, an auger that drilled through the main power lines to the house, plus seriously physical work in 95 degree heat. You think going to the gym is important? Cummon out…. we’ll show you what it is all about. We are very proud of this.
Next fall, I will finish off the rest of the northwest pasture. But because of doctor’s orders, as well as being seriously burned out on construction projects, the post auger is off the tractor so I can’t even think about finishing the fences to the north until fall. The tools are in the garage and after Aaron and I finish the goat breeding pen next week, I am pretty much going to just weed, harvest, can and pet the critters. It is immensely satisfying, but I am SOOOOOO tired (You know it’s bad when you wake up exhausted). Time to get out the telescope and chill. Maybe take the ATV up into the mountains for a bit. Anything, just don’t make me build anything else for awhile. Stay tuned.
Now that the big garden is completely moved over by the house and greenhouse, we have opened that field up to the boy goats. You have probably heard that goats make good lawn mowers. That couldn’t be more true… as long as it is weeds (they aren’t real grass fans). Tank and Dozer (our bucks) have had pretty much free range over the remnants of that old garden this season. Evidently, they liked it because the transformation has been pretty amazing.
When I hurt my back and was out of commission for awhile, that field seriously over grew. I don’t know what the weed was that took it over but it was three feet deep.
Now granted, I did remove the fencing and knocked down a lot of the weeds myself so as to avoid a wildfire, but here is what it looks like after one season of them munching:
They grazed this down so fast that the weeds never stood a chance. In fact, there is so little in there that we have had to resume hay feedings. This is over an acre….. TWO, count em, TWO dwarf goats!! If you ever need a field cleared, find a goat rancher…. your problems will be solved in short order!
One of the back breaking projects this year was to finish the move from our old garden, that was simply hilled, long beds, to something closer to the house and greenhouse. They all utilize wood-framed raised beds to help make weeding easier. The three HEAVY beds, were the 6 foot by 50 foot beds for some of the more intensive row crops. This year they contain a new Asparagus patch (doing awesome), a Sweet Potato patch (The jury is still out, but doing ok) and regular potatoes (so far doing amazing).
I got them built and filled, but the weight of the soil has kind of bowed them out. I think that this winter, when I have nothing better to do (laughs hysterically), will be to shore them up with T-posts and be able to hang shade cloth on them; for reason’s I’ve already explained previously. I got the drip tape to them all so we are officially all automated with irrigation, including the new fertilizer dosing gizmos I put on everything this year.
Here is the potato patch as it first started to push up through the soil:
This was about 2 days ago with the new Asparagus in the foreground:
Other than having to contend with a bumper crop of grasshoppers, all is going very well. It looks like we will be well set for the potato carb crop come the fall. Fingers crossed!