August 2013

Chickens, Snakes and Okra, Oh My!

. . . Aug 28, 2013 | posted by randy
Snake in the coop

It’s not often that I write the newsletter but here I sit thinking, it’s a good thing so much happens around here it makes it easy to have plenty to say.  While we still tend to many summer veggies we have been busy planting a lot of different fall crops in the field and the greenhouse is full of starts. We are even experimenting with some new varieties for the fall.
 
Okra looking goodOkra has shown why it is the star of late summer. This time of the year Josephine has to pick it three times a week just to keep up. The tasty surprise learned this year was that okra and sweet potato leaves are not just edible but tasty too! Having tasty greens in the summer, fantastic.
 
We did have a bit of extra excitement this week. One evening Jo went out to shut the chicken coop and came back quicker than usual. She looked worried and then proceeded to tell me there was a large snake inside the coop hanging out in one of the laying boxes. It was already dark out and not knowing what type of snake was in there we decided the safest thing was to just shut the coop and leave it there until morning.
 
Come on out of there snake.So just before daybreak the next morning we went to take a look. Yeah it was pretty big about four feet long. Thankfully it was not a venomous snake but rather a Black Rat Snake. Jo held a light and with a rake a carefully hooked the critter, pulled it out of the coop and dropped it to the ground. Right next to my wheelchair, oops! It quickly sought shelter under my chair. While I watched it slither under one side I yelled to Jo, “Make sure it comes out the other side!” The last thing I needed was for a snake to hang out inside my wheelchair.
 
After all the excitement was done and over it was just light enough to see. Which meant it was time to get the day going. So I took out my adrenaline on some unsuspecting weeds. They had it coming anyway.
 
 Cool find! A parasitized horned worm After a cooler than normal July and early August this week is supposed to be hot! Once the weather cools off again I’m looking forward to coming to the market. It has been a while since I have been there. I look forward to seeing you all soon.
 
Good Eating,
Randy

Visitors and Meeting the Neighbors

. . . Aug 21, 2013 | posted by Josephine

First of all, I am sorry there was no newsletter last week.  Our weekly schedule got a little out of whack and the newsletter got left in the weeds.  I will try to be extra witty and insightful this week to make up for it!
 
Last week we had some visitors.  One evening, while I was on the tractor prepping some beds for your tasty fall vegetables I looked up to see a small herd of cows standing in the garden looking at me with their big eyes.  Flustered, I unhooked the disk harrow, throttled up the tractor and drove at them shouting “shoo! Shoo!” and off they lumbered, right through the pepper and eggplant, right through the corn!  Once they were out of the garden I ran to Mrs. Wilson’s house.  Maybe they belong to Mr. Tate, so Mrs. Wilson set about calling around to the neighbors.  No, they did not belong to Mr. Tate, maybe they are the cows from down the road, but nobody seemed to know who owned those cows.
 
I excused myself while Mrs. Wilson continued her phone calls and went back out to the field to find the cows back in the garden, this time over in the delicate baby cabbages and broccoli I had just transplanted.  Twenty-acres of wide-open field and they insist on trampling our four little acres of vegetables!  I chased them into the cover crop with its succulent new growth – surely they will be more than happy to graze on the sorghum sudangrass that I have heard farmers call “cow candy”.
 
It was getting dark, so I did not see those crafty cows sneak around behind me and back into the garden.  So I chased them out a third time, through the peppers and eggplant again!  Through the melons!  Once the cows had settled down to graze, I went to trade the tractor for the truck, with its headlights and mosquito protection.  Randy had been on the phone, too – first to the sheriff and then to the county supervisor.  He had managed to find out that the cows belonged to an elderly woman who lives on the road back behind us and there wasn’t anybody who could come get them that night.
 
Long story short, I had to chase the cows out of the garden twice more before I was satisfied that they had settled down for the night in the woods.  It was nearly 11:00pm – I had spent the last four hours watching cows.  The next morning someone came and chased them off towards home.  Apparently the loggers taking timber off our neighbor’s property had knocked down the fence and let the cows out.  We were lucky that I was out in the garden when the cows showed up.  About 15 pepper plants got stomped out, 20 or so corn plants, a handful of broccoli and cabbage.  One young melon plant was killed by a well placed cow patty.  Considering the size of their mouths and their hooves, they did surprisingly little damage.  I asked Randy if he has any summary thoughts for this story and he said, “well, we got to meet some new neighbors!”

Fall Open house and Bonfire

. . . Aug 07, 2013 | posted by randy
Jo and Rosie

Farm Open-House and Bonfire Party!

Join us on Saturday, November 9th at 4:00 as we celebrate the near-completion of the second year of Tubby Creek Farm!

We will do a farm tour around 4:30. Kids can help round up eggs and maybe pick a fresh carrot. Dogs welcome but, please keep dogs on leash.

BYOB.  Please bring a finger-food item to share.  We light the bonfire at sunset (around 6pm) and party until it burns out.  Feel free to camp out overnight.

Please RSVP so we know how many to expect you can tell us at the farmers market, email or Facebook

Directions to Tubby Creek Farm from Midtown Memphis:

Take Lamar Avenue east to I-240

Head EAST on I-240 towards Nashville

Take EXIT 16 onto Bill Morris Parkway/TN-385

After about 15 miles, take the exit for US 72 Collierville/Corinth MS

Turn RIGHT at the end of the ramp to head east on US 72

After about 25 miles, turn RIGHT onto HWY 5.  There will be a Citgo station on
your left.  Hwy 5 is about 4 miles after you cross the railroad tracks on US 72.

Continue on Hwy 5 for 6 miles.  Turn LEFT at the crossroads with Lamar.  You are turning onto Gin Road, but the sign is gone.  You will see the cotton gin ahead on your right.  If you pass the Ashland Quick Stop (gas station) you have gone too far.

At the end of Gin Road, turn RIGHT onto Gray Academy Road.  Our driveway is immediately on the left.

Note to folks using GPS:  Most GPS will almost get you to our farm EXCEPT that you should turn RIGHT onto Gray Academy Road at the end of Gin Road.  When you get to the end of Gin Road, our place is pretty much straight ahead.  You’ll see the really classy mobile home.