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The First Muse Newsletter - Week 6, July 10
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 00:00

Cherry TomatoesHello Friends!

I’m sure we're all feeling grateful for temperatures in the 80’s this week. Yesterday was the first day in over a week I could work out in the high tunnel.  I'm crossing my fingers for a few days of drenching rain. Our plants have survived the extreme heat on account of the misters, which have lowered the temperatures in the high tunnel, in addition to our faithful watering; but we have had some things bolt early and have been delayed in transplanting about 600 seedlings from the kitchen to the high tunnel, until yesterday. Tomatoes tend to abort their flowers in weather over 95 degrees; some of the top branches look like a lighter was held up to the plant and the blossoms are burned, but the plants will recover. The blossoms we lost this week, we know we’ll see double of that next week. Tomatoes seem to be in a race to climb the tallest and bear the most fruit. We love them for that. They keep us on our toes throughout the whole season.

The First Muse Newsletter - Week 5, July 3
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 00:00

SunflowerHi Friends,

I rose early this morning to cut flowers and greet the warm July sun. A mama robin was teaching her baby to fly and it caused quite a ruckus as other robins flew around chirping, and the baby, with wings outstretched, looked surprised and unsure in the grass. Mama returned and encouraged baby by swooping back and forth and nudging it. I missed the liftoff as I was chasing our cat Maggie, who was being dive-bombed by protective robins, back into the house. She sat by the window and complained the rest of the morning. When I went back out, the training crew and trainee had returned to the safety of the Catalpa branches.

The First Muse Newsletter - Week 4, June 26
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 00:00

Big BoarGreetings, Friends,

We hear it's a busy bear season this year. Our neighbor keeps webcams around the woods and he's spotted some within 200 yards of the house this past week. While I love knowing the population is flourishing and there are thriving cubs, mamas, and boars roaming about our PA forests, it's a bit disconcerting to imagine them so close to the high tunnel and our small flock of chickens. The commercial farmer's corn is being overwhelmed by the bears; a 300-pound male can eat his weight in corn in less than a week. For the sake of both us and the bears, I hope they find some food further in the mountains and in the safety of the trees. I have been feeding the garden with fish and kelp emulsion once a week since March. Needless to say, there are most likely some bears sniffing in this direction.

The First Muse Newsletter - Week 3, June 19
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 00:00


Curing GarlicI began harvesting the aromatic garlic stalks this weekend that were planted as cloves in November. I’ve hung the plants with paper clips across the window ledges and shutters on the screened-in front porch so they can cure in the dappled sunlight. Within just a couple of weeks, we’ll cut the bulb off the end of the plant and enjoy homegrown garlic. I look forward to this all year long. We have 7 heirloom varieties coming in, so I’m excited to do a ‘taste test’ once we’ve harvested at least one bulb from each type.

As temperatures rise later on in the week, stay cool with cucumber sandwiches and First Muse salads. New item this week: pac choi (bok choy). Here’s a suggested recipe. The leaves have some nibbles on them, but they taste delicious and are chemical-free and fed with only organic ingredients and lots of love.

Have a great week and stay cool!

Calliope & Jim
The First Muse Newsletter - Week 2, June 12
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 00:00

Greetings, Friends,

I'm thankful for the rain after a hot, sunny and fun weekend. We fixed the sink in the high tunnel so we can dunk produce immediately after harvest to remove the heat of the day; we tied back the 10-foot tall asparagus ferns so the surrounding potatoes and flowers can share the sunlight; and we cleaned up a corner of the high tunnel and set up 6 palettes in the open space. We'd eventually like to add trays and soil and grow lettuce and other shallow-rooted crops there. The irrigation is already available, so I'm looking forward to easily adding this new growing area to the tunnel. I am envisioning pac choi, turnips, endive, and more! If you'd like to read more about our adventures here in the valley, visit our site:

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