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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Of Corn, Squash Pumpkins, Heat,Rest Flies, And Caterpillars

The corn is is up and growing fast in the hot days we're having. I have been hoeing it and planting squash and pumpkins between the hills of corn in the cool of the early morning before it gets hot.
We have a natural plague of sugar maple eating caterpillars that have have reached a population in the last two years to completely defoliate a forest in a few days. There is also a fly that eats these caterpillars. Once the sun is up these flies come to drink my sweat by ten o'clock they come by the hundreds to drink and it becomes unbearable and the dark sandy soil gets too hot to stand on in one spot for long so the I go on to other farm chores. Then if I come inside and read until I become sleepy and lay down for a siesta and sleep away the hottest hour I like to take a short nap like this if I get the opportunity in the summer it sort of give a boost of energy for the long northern evening.
The corn field looking at it diagonally at this angle you can see that it is planted in hills 36'' a part
At this angle it looks to be planted in rows.
The bothersome flies.
A close up of one of these flies they are known as Friendly Flies (Sarcophaga aldrichi)
The Forest Tent Caterpillars (Malacosome disstria)
This is the neighbors Sugar Bush that I worked in this spring it is completely defoliated. This will not kill the trees but it will reduce the sugar content in the sap.
The rye I planted last fall is growing good and is almost as high as me.
To the side of the rye I planted Buckwheat it is up and growing good too.
This is Hairy Vetch that I planted to build up the soil it is a good legume to plant here as it is winter hardy and it fixes a lot of nitrogen from the air into the soil.
A Blue Bird that is nesting near by this field of rye vetch and buckwheat.
This is a nest of Red Winged Blackbirds that is in another patch of vetch at the end of the corn field by the farm sign
Our farm sign
(verdant is pronounced vairdant like air and ant)

Here are some links on the forest tent caterpillars and the flies that eat them.


Miss Grace Elizabeth said...

I found out if I put rosemary oil on my feet and hands the "friendly" flies don't go on me.
the fields are looking great! This land that God has given us is beautiful and I am glad that you are using it wisely.

Mrs. G said...

Our whole family is really enjoying your blog. We don't know anybody outside of Agricultural/Historical museums who plant corn in hills other than us. :-) Do you use the corn to trellis beans? That's what we do. Aleks is my almost 20 year old son and the main farmer here, reading your blog I might be tempted to think that you and he are the same person. :-) Have a nice Monday.

Mrs. G

David said...

Yes this is the sad state of our country the old ways and tools are collecting dust. This should not be. We have a small pioneer museum here at the town hall and we sometimes laugh because we make or buy tools like they have on display there. Yes I would like to try planting beans in the corn I have not been able to locate the beans that the native indians planted in their corn. I am going to try Kentucky Wonder pole beans I hope they do better this year then last as it was cold and they never set a lot of pods before the frost. What type of bean do you plant in your corn and what type or types of corn do you grow? I grow two types Wapsie Valley, and Painted Mountain and this year I am trailing three more to see if they do good.

Mrs. G said...

David, we have planted these corn varieties: Bloody Butcher, Stowell's Evergreen, Wade's Giant Indian, Greenfield Dent, and Black Aztec. The corn we primarily planted this year is a cross that I developed for outstanding ear size and hardiness. We feed it to animals and for cornmeal. We don't grow sweet corn, our friends grow it for us. The "real" cornfield beans that we grow in the corn are: Turkey Craw and Bible Ruth but we also planted Papa DeRolla and Mayflower beans in the corn though it is experimental. I hope it works well because that's less bean poles to cut if the beans will just trellis themselves on the corn.

About your scythe, is it a Marugg? Have you peened the blade?

Aleks Graham

David said...

HI Aleks
I do not have a Marugg scythe. And yes I have learned how to peen using a peening jig. I have two blades for my Canadian snath they are high quality blades that were made in Germany in a scythe factory that is no longer running. One of my blades was made in the 1980s this was when the factory shut down and the other is 40 years old. If you go to scytheworks.com you will see them there they are the #8 and #19 blades listed. You can also find them at scytheconnection.com which is a very informative site that is not out there to just sell you a blade but are willing to help you find what you need. Both websites are maintained by home schooling families that use scythes on their farms.I got my blade from scythe workes and have been very pleased with the investment. I have not seen any of the blade sold by the marrugg co. But I know that they are made in Austria at the Schröckenfux factory that has made scythe blades since the 1500s. According to Peter Vido of the scythe connection, Schröckenfux are still making blades only because they have stayed in business because they make other things now at the factory. But Peter still thinks Schröckenfux make better blades then the ones that are now being made in China. For more on this sad subject read Peter's resent essay "Will Europe's scythe industry evade the Reaper's deadly swing? " to go right to this page look up this address: http://scytheconnection.com/adp/docs/RDS.html
Thank for sharing with me the varieties you grow.
What varieties of corn did you cross to develop your own variety? we need more people like you and me that like to save seed and create new open pollenated varieties. I am working on a potato cross it is the result of natural selection I do not know which potatoes crossed. All I did was take a bunch of seed pods from the potatoes and planted the seeds than I let the bugs and blights do the rest. The result was one survivor out of 20 plants with red skinned white fleshed tubers that I will plant out this year and see if these clones survive.
Which state do you live in?

Mrs. G said...

We are in N.E. Ohio. The corn is a cross between Greenfield Dent and Reid's Yellow Dent. It grows 12 feet plus high and the dried ears are 12"-13" long. I enjoy saving seeds and growing the old varieties.