Hot Summer Days

We continue to have temperatures 8 to 10 degrees above normal. This prompts us to start our work day as early as we can. Some folks come to help as early as 6 am and others come at 8 or 9am. It doesn’t take long before everyone starts thinking of some activity that can be done in the shade. Izzy, the mostly black Australian cattle dog is particularly talented at this.
There isn’t much shade in the middle of the growing fields so we always start with harvesting those things that can’t take the heat such as Swiss Chard or crops that require that we wear long sleeves and gloves such as the summer squash and okra [spiny plants scratch the arms]. After that it’s good to get out of the long sleeves where possible and change from bending over activities to doing something that can be done standing upright. Picking red raspberries in the raspberry hightunnel or  picking peaches means standing up-though long sleeves are still desired so as not to get the peach picker itch. All that peach fuzz can get to a person after a while. Best be carefull not to wipe the sweat from around your eyes!
It takes many hours to sort and pack the produce once it has been harvested. This is the preferred job on a blistering hot day. This can be done in the shade in the barn. A nice breeze blows usually year round here on the farm. This is quit nice in the Summer- really cold in the Winter.
I’m very thankful for some timely rains!I know that there are many farmers looking at huge crop losses elsewhere in the country. Here everything is growing like crazy due to the warmth, rain and humidity. As a result we are looking at prime conditions for fungal diseases. The dreaded late blight has been spotted in Chester and Lancaster counties so we are on the look out for this horrible scurge[caused the Irish potato famine]. That’s farming for you- always seeking balance but all too often rolling with the punches!
Farmer Karen