Still working hard!
球队。我们今年是超出我们的核实验室团队有一个惊人的团队。克莱尔和雅各布毕业，在五月的硕士学位。这是很难看到他们继续前进，但往往是学徒走的路;他们可能是走了，但他们仍然是蓝黛蛇的遗产和身份的重要组成部分。我们特别幸运，有Kassidy和Alex在为夏季;很高兴有其连续性，并且他们无论在信心自2016年5月增长如此之快，当他们开始。麦肯齐回合我们的本科班，和她的经历和驱动两种昆虫与可持续农业让她的团队的一个伟大的新成员。迈克和他的博士课程继续推向令人兴奋的新领域实验室（我会尽快给一个研究更新），和詹娜仍然是行政职务和农场物流背后的重要力量。也许最大的增加已经妮可和罗杰。妮可负责保持蜕皮基金会运行的研究方面，许多管理日常的日常活动的。 Roger is our odd-job expert, and has helped with many of the facilities and maintenance issues that we encounter trying to run farm, bee, and livestock operations, along with a research facility.
我们今年的另一个很大的区别是,我们have young resident scientists that are living on site for the summer. Colleagues with USGS that are working on honey bees asked to house some of their summer technicians on Blue Dasher, and we thankfully agreed. Having Mia and Savannah living in a camper near our shelterbelt has been a really positive presence on the farm. Cedric arrived from France earlier this week, and he will also be living on site while he pursues an internship in ecological farming and agroecology research. In some ways, this is what we expected Blue Dasher Farm to be- a community of different races, ages, genders, and backgrounds unified by everyone’s devotion to a mission. But we had no real plan or strategy for how to make that happen aside from building the right environment and watching it evolve on its own.
农田。We followed last year’s successful strategy of minimizing inputs and growing weird specialty crops that support multiple revenue streams. This year we selected Canada wild rye, phacelia, hubam clover, and borage. The hubam clover was an amazing crop last year in so many ways. It was competitive against weeds, and left a legacy of spring weed suppression to boot. It was six feet tall at maturity, and covered in flowers. The seed with no input (aside from some early season herbicide) yielded 300 lbs per acre. And the honey off of this crop was delicious. We planted 4-5 acres of hubam this year, and the stand looks good as of now. Borage was a partial success last year- harvest is a problem for this. We used last year’s field of borage (2-3 acres) to play around with the agronomy of the crop. If we can get this one in the bin, it will be very profitable for farmers and bee keepers alike. Phacelia is one of the top honey producing plants known, and we have around 2-3 acres of it for seed this year. It jumped out of the ground, and it is looking like some of the first flower heads are apparent. It is not very competitive against weeds, so we will try to suppress some grasses and pigweed in the standing crop. More on that soon. We needed a grass in our rotation, so decided to try Canada wild rye. It is a high value, perennial seed that is well adapted to our region. So far, it hasn’t taken well.
蜜蜂。The importance of hives’ ability to maintain temperatures is a facet of beekeeping that I have learned well so far this year. We had two hives survive the winter, but they were snuffed out in early and middle May; a blizzard on May 1st and freezing days when they were supposed to be packing on honey. These winter survivors weren’t particularly strong; I gave them too much space, and they couldn’t maintain hive temperature, is my guess. In early May, I received 70 strong hives, each two boxes deep that we used to make splits and increase our hive count to 110. The bees came from down south, a honey operation that unfortunately went under, and there were several hives that were extremely aggressive. They likely had Africanized genetics hybridized with European honey bees. Literally, they chased us through the shelterbelt and into the barns, pinging off of our bee veils. During one hive project, I had a hole in my veil and received 10 stings on my face, neck and head, my extremities swelled and face felt like what I can only presume a boxer must experience. After another Hive Hill project, the hives were so upset that for two days, we would be working in the yard on the garden, and everyone in the family started to get stung in the face by random bees. One beekeeper told me “You aren’t smoking them enough!” No, my body could be on fire, and these asshole bees would be stinging my burning corpse’s face. Not a lot of fun.
我们收到一批50 mated queens from a donor, and 15 additional nucs from another beekeeper friend. After Kassidy, Alex, and I assessed the aggression on each of the hives, we identified the problem children, and the queens from all aggressive hives were killed without mercy. The requeening process has been onging, and Hive Hill is finally calming down. The new hives are now a blast to work with. But I had some sleepless nights worrying about the visitors that would walk onto Blue Dasher Farm expecting a special experience and instead get stung by angry bees with no provocation. Sixty of the hives have now been moved from Hive Hill into various places around the region for some research experiments. We thank Adee Honey Farms, Rufers Apiaries, and Birds and the Bees Honey for their generous support- we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for their generosity, knowledge, and advice.
Livestock。在蓝黛蛇农场的2016年盈利能力构电竞菠菜下载成重大限制是在系统中缺少牲畜。在冬天的时候，砍下25只蛋鸡（银股价Wyandottes），谁现在每周生产几十个鸡蛋，已经有很多的乐趣我们的牙齿。今年五月，我们收到了来自穆雷麦克默里孵化场100多个蛋鸡的礼物。这些层是每个彩虹的颜色，它已经这么多的乐趣，看着他们成长，让勇敢。我们所有的鸡对整个养殖场的运行，这是一个美妙的惊喜地发现老母鸡从笼子走出去越走越。所有这些越冬的牲畜栏，所以在晚上的保护。我们也合作了一些朋友（草原Coteau的农场）购买肉类生产的部分肉鸡。我们选择的品种是自由流浪者。他们需要一点时间来开发，但据说有更少的健康问题，有一点更适合自由放养条件。 We have largely kept them separate from the other chickens, in large part because the broilers are too stupid to find the layer hens. This is not me being mean- these broilers are noticeably dumber than the other chickens on the farm. And they grow remarkably faster than any laying hen. During early June, the temperatures were very hot and the open, mobile chicken cage the broilers were in was sitting in the sun. A wonderful shady hedge was within 15 feet of the broilers’ cage, and it took them days/weeks before they figured out that it was a preferred site to the blazing sun. Nevertheless, they have been a lot of fun. It has now been a year, and we really haven’t lost much to predators given the free-range nature of the flocks. Two of last year’s roosters (destined for the abattoir anyway) were killed by a Great Horned Owl who liked to roost in the Livestock Barn at night, and two ducks (the remaining ducks now waddle into a small dog kennel every night for bed) were killed by a weasel or some such animal. There is a real hatred of predators in farming communities. In the few instances on our farm, the predation events were a result of us not protecting our livestock well enough.
A huge addition to the farm has been a flock of hair sheep. Around a month ago, Paul Ackley donated six ewes and their 13 offspring from his flock down in western Iowa. Jenna and I had no direct experience with managing livestock, but we are both competent folks that typically accept a worthy challenge. The plan is to replace much of our herbicide use through a planned high intensity grazing scheme with these sheep. The sheep had never been in a barn before, and are hardy and healthy. We may keep them in shelter for the South Dakota winter- we’ll have to see how they are doing. Essentially, we create an 80 x 80 foot paddock with an electric sheep net, and allow the sheep to graze it heavily for 2 days. Then we move the sheep to an adjacent paddock and slowly move them across the farm. The sheep may not return to a paddock for as long as a year, but certainly never before 80 days. Fall and spring intense grazing should help reduce a lot of the weed competition on our cropland.
几天后，我醒来听到的咩咩羊。我去检查羊，只有一个单一的羔羊依然存在。栅栏被撬下来两侧，羊群是无处可寻。我们颠狂与担心。你怎么找到的羊失踪的羊，更别说让他们回家？！？正如我搜索蓝黛蛇，一个奇怪的卡车驶进了车道。我们来自全国各地的州际邻居问，如果我们丢失了一些羊。他们六人已经出现在了他的位置，留下12尚未被发现。詹娜和伊恩花了一台车，雷夫我就拿车，和我们的两个新的居民米娅和萨凡纳了他们的车，大家都开始在不同的方向搜索的区域。2小时后，所有的邻居都被惊动，叫警长，我问过几个朋友对这个难题的建议。 There was no sign of the missing sheep, but when they turned up, we hoped that someone would alert us. We returned to our neighbor’s place to fetch the few found members of the herd. Our wonderful neighbor informed us that he had just loaded them up and helpfully brought them back to the paddock to rejoin the lamb. He also explained “I may have misled you a bit. There were 6 ewes and all of their lambs. Not six sheep total.” Our flock had been returned. We still don’t know what happened that night to chase the sheep out of a 5,000 volt fence. Neighbors unanimously blamed coyotes, but I doubt that. There was not a scratch on any of them, and those lambs would have been easy prey. I think it was a deer fleeting through the shelter belt and getting tied up in the net. Certainly, that would have spooked those sheep into a stampede. But we may never know for sure. Since these early incidents, the sheep have learned their routine, and love being on Blue Dasher. I even have them trained to move paddocks to the ring of a Christmas bell. I would say we probably spend 7-8 hours per week working on them- and they have largely helped us with thistles, nettles, and rejuvenating our shelterbelt understory.
苗圃作物。这是一个艰难的冬天为数以百计的树木和灌木的规范温室和苗圃上赛季捐赠。这是在11月下旬60年代，并于12月下降到-30（-50与Windchill），几乎没有硬化脱落期。然后，在二月，临时工钻进了60年代，醒来树（尤其是橡树和ironwoods），即然后迅速冻成三月。不用说，而大多数植物的，我们花了这么多时间让建立上个赛季下来，很多树木都还在苦苦醒来。我没有对他们放弃。我们开始准备果园和分散蜂友好的树木和灌木到现有防护林。对于果园，我烧坏了（除草剂）的草坪上的牲畜栏约1英亩东部。我让一些草坪复生的，然后再击中它。我通过广播大约250磅，是由美国鱼类和野生动物局捐赠的原生草原种子遵循这一点。四十五种原生草和杂类草的那些才刚刚开始通过草坪的残留物戳他们的头。 Into this diverse mix, we will integrate our fruit and nut trees. So revenue streams coming off of our orchard will include honey, lamb meat, eggs, and fruit. We may also integrate vegetables into the understory.
A big project this summer has been turning another portion of our lawn into a no-till vegetable garden. Seemingly competing to outdo themselves, Norm’s came through for us again this summer. As we were beginning our garden, they donated 150 tomato plants, 85 pepper plants, a range of other veggies and herbs, as well as an equal number of companion annual flowers (marigold, zinnia, tobacco, salvia, etc.). The previous owners had a 200 x 20 ft strip along the western edge of the yard that was basically annual weeds and thistles. Last year, we established our raspberries in this area. So around mid-June, we mowed the weeds down, made a series of narrow furrows, and planted onions, tomatoes, peppers and the like. In between each plant, we planted a flower to diversify the garden and attract beneficial insects like predators and pollinators. The tomatoes and peppers will be supported with trellises as they grow. Meanwhile, the biology of the soil remains entirely intact to feed our veggies, unlike heavily tilled gardens which are the norm. The plan is to make and market Blue Dasher Farm salsa this fall as an additional product to support our research program.