Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blueberries, Guided Tours, and Bug Eating Plants

What a difference a few days and warm weather makes! We've had lots of rain at the beginning of this season, yesterday and last night included. This is good for the blueberries and the plants, but not so good for the people trying to pick the ripe fruit. When you come out to pick, remember to consider the weather and choose your footwear accordingly.

Also, while we're on the subject of footwear, I should say that this year much more than most, you need to be on the lookout for fire ants. We treated for them but this new treatment that we've had to change to takes significantly longer to work than the previous type. This means that there are still some active fire ant hills in the field. Please be mindful of this as you meander around the farm. I have to confess they were not invited guests, as just like a party crasher, they are difficult to encourage to leave.

Blueberry Marathoners
We've had many of our regular customers back this week. Great to see everyone! Some call themselves frequent flyers and they don't need info, just buckets, ties and a nod in the right direction. Many of these customers have a specific amount they want to pick to freeze for use over the course of the next year. This is especially true for the cup a day-ers who need a specific amount to make their quota for the year.

Others are in a contest to see who picks the most berries. Some of the contestants don't even know they are competing, and we've had 2 such folks here this week. The official contestants want to know if they've picked the most of any customers, so we keep an informal tally of who does what. Jerry is in the lead right now, but he's time limited as he'll only be at the beach for a short time and needs to pick all of his berries now for the whole year. The Byrnes have been out here at least 4 times and are in second place for most picked this season. I haven't seen the official contestants yet, but as soon as they get here, the race is on!

Guided Tours
Maali has been leading the tours of the farm baby viewings. She is cute doing this as her level of involvement increases in proportion to the youthfulness of the visitors. Meaning, she does a much more energetic job of trying to catch the baby ducks if there's a kid watching her. Oops, the kid is in the pen with the ducks, so I should have said a person of like age watching her. Then when she catches one, she'll let you pet it but not hold it. She does a fairly good job of holding them in two hands and without squeezing, but if you're on tour with her and see she needs some guidance in that direction, feel free to give pointers.

Bug Eating Plants
We were at the Poplar Grove Farmers Market on Wednesday selling a few blueberries. Our spot was right under one of the big, old poplar trees that grace the front yard of the old manor house. At any rate, we were standing there minding our own business, cleaning and packing berries when two old codgers came snooping around the base of the tree.

As they were inspecting the trunk they were mumbling about the best ones being near the base of a good tree. They circled the tree a couple of times and aha! grabbed something off the ground and started across the grass toward a plant stand. By this time they had garnered enough attention that a whole bunch of us followed to see what in the world they were doing.

It turns out that the one was a seller of carniverous plants and the other wanted to see it in action. The trees were good breeding grounds for the biggest ants you've ever seen in your life. So we watched as the ant was put on top of a leaf of a venus fly trap and the jaws of death snapped shut on the ant. Then once the action was all over, we all went back to what we were doing. Then a couple of hours later, my 3 year old daughter came to the market and we did the whole ritual again so she could see. It's pretty amazing what nature can devise.

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