It has been an unusual summer this year from the viewpoint of a traditional farmer. We had three frosts that came at the end of our normal window for such things, surprising those who had planted their gardens early. The spring rains came on time, but never ended. June and July rarely saw 3 sunny days in a row. July had the coldest average temperatures since record keeping began. Farmers have had great difficulty getting their hay and grains harvested. They need at least 3 dry and sunny days in a row to do so. Our hay and rye will be harvested well past it’s peak. That will create some difficulties feeding livestock this fall. The barley has been cut and the oats and wheat are ripening. The oats must be ready, as our chickens and a wild bird are into the oats.
Despite the cool weather and frequent rains, some plants have thrived and put on lush growth. Buckwheat was planted last week, and has exploded out of the earth with vigor. Our hops are thriving as well. Hops were grown in this region, and supplied much of the nation with the natural preservative and flavoring for beer. Hops were also used to produce yeast cake for baking bread, and as a medicinal plant. So while there may be less barley with which to brew, the resulting beer will be well flavored and the loaves of bread will be light and airy!