Keeping the faith

We hope you have all survived the hottest, driest central Texas summer in recorded history! While our plans to take the kids on a road trip to the mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana preceded knowledge of the horrendous summer that lay ahead, in retrospect we feel very fortunate that we weren’t picking okra in 107° all July!! I know many of you missed the okra, melons, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumber-melons that late summer baskets bring, but have no fear: we’ll be doing summer season as usual starting again in 2012.
The real question on everyone’s mind, though, is: “Will there even be a fall season in this dratted weather, and, if so, when will it start?” We planned and were excited about a fall CSA (our first ever), so we plunged right in- despite the daunting late August/early September weather- and got seeds started in plug trays (in the cooler!) and transplants in the hot ground. We wanted to start the first week of October, or last week of September. It has been an act of hope planting into hard, dry ground full of clods, and keeping the soil moist enough to entice germination and continued life. We sent Zachary, our eldest, up to Jarrell one day with the truck and trailer to purchase 3 round bales of corn stalks for use as mulch. The newly-transplanted peppers and eggplants wouldn’t have survived without protection, and there was not a stalk of untreated hay or straw to be had within all surrounding counties. Corn farmers who lost their crop still baled the stalks to sell for feed to hay-starved livestock, beneficial at least for caloric value.
So, the short answer is: “Yes, we still plan to do a Fall CSA, and hope to start in mid October.” The long answer is, “We are doing everything we can to ensure a varied and bountiful crop for fall baskets, but are losing a lot to the heat and low soil moisture. Baskets will be $33, as before, and a rough estimate now is a 4-6 week season.
Luckily, our new Bastrop County land was not touched by the fires. We have friends who have lost their homes, and a neighbor who lost her brother, to the wildfires. It is at times like these that we count our blessings and remember those who are suffering most directly. Thanks for keeping the wildfire victims and Texas farmers in your thoughts and prayers.

Many thanks to Keeshi + Photo and Twisted String for their photography contributions