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Our "Old Friend" Shirts

While the cooler than normal temperatures of late are nice for sleeping with the windows open, each of us has been scrounging to find the right long sleeve shirt or jacket for the brisk mornings.

It has to be just the right weight so as to give the appropriate amount of warmth and comfort. Not the heaviness of a new sweatshirt or the stickiness of a thick sweater. They just won't do. I have an old flannel shirt that is almost, but not quite, threadbare. Its blue and white pattern is peaceful, and it keeps the cool air off my arms yet it doesn't feel heavy. Just the right amount of warmth and comfort. You know - the shirt that is like the old friend you haven't seen for a while but easily fall in with when you get together again.

Early yesterday Bill, not taking the time to find that "right" shirt, grabbed a hand-me-down from my grandpa as we headed out to the fields. A pretty gray and red plaid, it looked like flannel but was actually wool. Instead of comforting him, it quickly became annoying - both scratchy and cloying in its warmth. He quickly shed it on a fence post to push the wheel hoe through the broccoli. Passing the post later in the day, I took the shirt back to the house. Knowing that it didn't make the cut, I put it away with the winter clothes so that it can be worn and appreciated in the right season.

In disappointing news, Aidan's adorable little ducks discovered a beautiful row of iceberg lettuce ready to be harvested for this week's box and ate it all. I came upon them happily flinging juicy green leaves above their heads before swallowing them down. I must have looked ridiculous as I ran at them screaming, my arms flailing in an effort to save the lettuce. But I was too late.

That event changed Bill's and Aidan's plans for the day from other field work to putting up poultry-proof fencing to keep the chickens and ducks far from the vegetable fields. I always worry about deer bothering our plants, but this year our own fowl prove to be our adversaries. Fingers crossed - it seems the fencing will do the trick.

The summer squash are a little slow to get going. We had a low harvest of them last year due to an unexpected flush of squash bugs. So far we aren't seeing those, but we are waiting for the plants to really leaf out. We pinched back their blossoms to encourage more leaf and root growth and promote stronger plants even though it delays their harvest. So while we are getting a handful of summer squash and zucchini, at this point there is not enough quantity to put them in all of the boxes.

However, the fields look great. We've been doing a good job of keeping up with the weeds. Early small green tomatoes are hanging on their plants. The sweet potatoes are leafing out as they become established after transplanting. The green bean plants are growing quickly, and the winter squash are just starting to vine. The gentle rain this morning will keep everything nicely watered.

I hope you have a great week,


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