Week 9 (Chicago Week 7)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Redventure celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini, patty pan, and white Lebanese squash
  • Provider green beans
  • Basil
  • H-19 cucumbers
  • Snow peas or dragon tongue beans
  • Asian cucumbers
  • Kentucky wonder pole beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

 

Plenty to think about – not too seriously, at the farm

Almost daily things happen on a farm to remind us how ineffective and inefficient is mortal ability in the grand scheme of predator and prey, seed and cycle.

To look back on three hot, steamy, late days of mowing, weeding, metal T-post driving, baling twine suspending, of 150-yard rows of 300 tomato plants each – and then come upon a stretch ravaged by tomato horn worms, well it’s enough to make one feel right puny.

I first spotted the ugly droppings of the gorging luminous monsters. Then I focused on the barren sticks of green that had been beautiful leaves and tiny yellow flowers before the worms began voraciously consuming the plants.

I tried hard. Yet I could find only two of the horrible horn worms, clinging in perfect camouflage, frozen smirks in suspended animation on their faces at my inability to find others. Scores of unfinished tasks grasped at my thoughts, beckoning me to give up the hunt. They compelled me on. Too soon to make a difference, I had to leave.

As you must know from my weekly requests that you commend us to friends, help find new subscribers, visit and volunteer, Scotch Hill Farm isn’t sustaining itself.

It’s satisfying to have such plenty. It’s thanks to your support, our hard work, years of investment in this place. It’s a season greatly blessed with rain. Yet after 6 years of being able to focus on farming without off-farm work, I must go back to a double-life.

I started last Thursday rising early weekdays to write and gather news stories for a collection of radio stations in Monroe, Janesville, Beloit and Freeport. Eventually, I’m supposed to broadcast the news, too, with a reach as far as Elgin, Ill.; Dubuque, Iowa; Baraboo and Elkhorn, Wis.

I scurry back afternoons to help Jim, Jenna and Dela meet our commitment to you. Yet subscription numbers this year are too few to meet our mortgage and property taxes, Dela and my personal needs, in addition to farm expenses.

There’s still enough produce to add 10-week shares. They’ll begin at seasonal halfway-point, week after next. Do encourage friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives to give us a try. Your support is so important. Sincere thanks for anything you can do for Scotch Hill.

Now about those horn worms. Care to help squish a few for the cause? If you join me late in the day this weekend, there may be a Wisconsin beverage to help you tolerate the chore. We can laugh in the face of horn worms, laugh about your farmer disk jockey, take joy in what matters.

Still time to join Soil Sisters classes, help, visit

Attend one of two workshops (or both) Saturday. Aug. 1. These include: “Baking the Best Buns Ever,” which runs from 10 a.m. to noon and costs $30. The class includes a free copy of “Renewing the Countryside: WISCONSIN” for every registered family (a $26.95 value). Register at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1423848

Join Dela Ends and Jim Ends, Scotch Hill’s baker extraordinaire, to learn how to bake delicious quick rolls and buns for breakfast, brats and sandwiches and dinner. You can also attend “DIY Body Care Products,” which runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Scotch Hill. Join Miranda Ends and Dela Ends and learn how to make your own lip balm and deodorant with natural ingredients, so you'll never need to buy these items from a store. Go to  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1423789

Finally, anyone can attend the Soil Sisters Tour of Farms, Sunday, Aug. 2, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, with no registration needed. Bring coolers to stock up on extra produce, meats, eggs and more! Download the Soil Sisters PASSPORT for tour maps at http://soilsisters.wix.com/soilsisters#!passport-guide-for-tour-of-farms---aug-2/c15g3