Tuesday, July 30:
The temperature has moderated, and with it the humidity.
That big old patch of barley and wheat in the monastery garden has been harvested, finally. Rain and a trip to Oklahoma to see family (not one we could put off) kept the grain in the field about a week longer than was really desirable. The wheat seemed to be holding pretty well, but the barley heads may be mildewed – they looked grey and defeated. The pigs and chickens, on the other hand, don’t seem to have any complaints, and as they are the ones who will be eating this grain, I guess that’s all that matters. The boys, who wanted some for beer making, will do better to get it from the feed store.
To get the grain out of the field was a challenge. Where it had been planted too thin, the weeds, ragweed especially, had grown up thick and tall, and there was no getting around it. We had intended to shock it – tie it in bundles and stack them upright – but there was so much wet green stuff in there we had to cut it like hay and let it dry first. Today we raked and lifted it, filling the back of the pickup twice – this was just an experiment, after all – and forking it into the loft of the big barn. We won’t thresh it, but throw it as is to the pigs, who have already told us they like it a lot.
As always, things are taking precedence over tying up the tomatoes. Long green vines with knotted elbows hang down from the six-foot tomato stakes, or throw out elbows akimbo over the mulched rows dotted with persistent quick weed and crab grass. We are eating green beans and tomatoes, beets, new potatoes, and the first ripe peaches from the orchard. Last week we dug half the first planting of potatoes – about seven hundred pounds. There is a great deal of work to be done in the garden.