January 5th and Daniel and Simon are spreading a layer of straw over the strawberry plants. We using the mulching implement attached to the Kubota L245H. We purchased this multcher from Thimble Farm several years back, it shreds the sections of straw that are tossed into its hopper and deposits them in the straight line the tractor drives. It takes two people to operate one to drive and operate the equipment, the other to work feverishly to fill the ever emptying hopper with fresh straw from the wagon. It took us about three days to cover our 1 1/4 acres of strawberries with 4 inches of straw. The straw was locally harvested winter rye that we had baled in May and I wrote a blog about; about straw.
Straw berries right? Well many discussions and researchers have worked on where the name came from. No definitive answer comes but the contenders are… The fruits were packed in straw to prevent bruising, the plants are covered with straw all winter, the fruits rest (free of soil/dirt) on the straw in harvest, or the way street vendors used to string the fruits onto a stem of straw to sell at market, or (from the USDA) because of the way the fruit ‘strew’ around the mother plant. Who knows but I can’t wait till mid June for the strawberries to be ripe! Come in on Saturday June 19th for our Strawberry festival for fun and games, and fresh strawberry shortcake!!!
Dan and I the next day went out to pick dry corn (cow corn) from the Corn Maze at the farm institute. This excess of corn was generously offered to us as the by product from their very popular summer corn maze. Our machine broke on three separate attempts at harvesting but this time all the belts, gears, fans, and chains seemed to work! The machine is a New Idea 1 row corn picker we picked up at a Massachusetts farm auction in 2000, towing a John Deere model 15 manure spreader converted to a dump wagon, and of course the pride of the fleet towing it all the John Deere 5225 tractor. This corn in a staple in the diet (we always grow our own as well) of our hogs, who we try to feed as many local ingredient as we can. From a corn maze to pork chops! A big thanks to the FARM Institute!