The sun beats down on my shoulders as I walk out of the barn and down the farm road to collect the dairy cows for milking. The cows and sheep are about as far out on pasture as they can be this weekend. When they are close by it makes milking more convenient, a quick in and out of the barn, but having to walk to the far reaches of our little farm to collect the dairy gals is a sweet kind of farm tour.
As I round the first corner I am greeted on my left by Main Garden- our largest field. It’s a mix of good and bad in Main right now. The golden beets are still so tiny, stunted by the wet and cold weather early in the growing season. Broccoli crowns, too, are a little on the small side after enduring the cold. But, the lettuce we harvested on Friday is already coming back in and the carrots we weeded last week are standing bigger in their straight rows. A little farther down the road and the peppers rise out of Berry garden. I talk often about how much I love growing bell peppers- the satisfaction that is a harvest crate piled high with glossy red, yellow, and orange beauties.
It was muggy today and when I reach the high tunnel, halfway through with my journey, I feel the wet heat emanating from its hot interior. The tomatoes look like they’ve grown 6 inches since Friday. Just past that, broccoli raab strains at the confines of the row cover protecting it from the flea beetles. Tomorrow and we will harvest you, I think to myself. I stop to peek around the back end of the hoop house and check on the peas- they are reaching the top of the trellis and threatening to spill over, flowers just beginning to turn to pods.
I’m on the final stretch of road now, and the cries of the animals looking forward to their fresh paddock begin to fill my ears. I am enveloped with flies as I let myself through the fence and in with the herd, swatting at them proves ineffective on hot summer days as they swarm and swarm and swarm anything they can find. I focus on my task to distract myself from the buzzing. Call for the animals, clap to let them know it is time for fresh grass, open the fence and let the blur of sheep rush by, count them, 16, all here. The cows amble through a bit more slowly. I call out for Halo and Greta, pulling them reluctantly from their fresh grass to head back up the road. Back past the peas, the broccoli raab, the tomatoes and the peppers. Past the good and the bad in Main garden, around the bend, and into the barn. Milking time.