July 13, 2014 – I got a new customer who wanted some rye flour. Just so happens I sold out of the flour I had a week ago so broke down the mill, cleaned it and set up for rye. Dinged if it didn’t lock up pretty early on. Backed off the runner and tried again. Locked up again. Now I milled this grain on this mill last winter so I was puzzled and a tad frustrated. I quit for the day and next day took the mill apart again. This is what I saw. When this picture was taken I had been working on this stone for a while. Notice the smooth cream colored glaze. That’s the culprit

Here I am dressing the runner stone. Both the bed stone, which was worse in terms of the amount of crud on it, and the runner needed to be dressed.

Repositioning the runner. Notice the tool – a small air hammer with a carbide bit. Made pretty quick work of it.

The Moon Godess fully dressed.

July 18, 2014 – Tomatoes in the solar dryer

The tomato processing setup. These have to completely dry in 2 days or they spoil so they have to be cut thin.

Terrible Japanese beetles this year. These beans have been dusted with diatomaceous earth which works until it rains.

The cardboard collars obviously did not work to protect the squash. All the rain-softened them to the point they were useless. Hopefully, the waxed paper in this carton will do the trick next time.

Pretty good taters and lots of ’em. Amazing what a little phosphorus will do.

My journey to the mystic East – destination the Maine Grain Alliance Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, Maine July 24th and 25th. What a gas to be surrounded by people passionate about baking, milling and growing. Needless to say, I learned much and Maine was spectacular (as were other parts.)

My passengers on the return trip – organic Red Fife seed purchased at no small expense from a grower in Maryland who had imported from Canada. Red Fife is a heritage wheat variety. It has not been hybridized (in the last 100 years at least) and so is 2 or 3 times taller in the field than modern varieties (chokes out the weeds easier), has been tested at 15.7 and 15.8 percent protein, can be planted as a Fall or Spring crop AND has been known to produce 35 bushels per acre grown organically!!!!! Bakers love it. I’ll plant Rod’s field in another month or so and have a little left to mill.

The Red Fife label – not sure what “Faith” has to do with it. Might be a lot.

August 8, 2014 – The thresher arrives from China (far to late to do any good this year). They charged me $500 to pack the thing. You can see some of the packing to the right – extremely cheap and flimsy stuff except for the welded steel frame under the machine. You can see a leg of it just to the left of the right tire. This was bolted to the pallet so the machine had to be jacked up to remove it. Folks in this country would have used a stout crate and 2x4s and charged a lot less.

Once the frame was removed, the bolts had to be cut to allow the machine to roll back. It’s pretty heavy – maybe about 1/2 ton. The manual for the thresher is in French and for engine in Chinese so it may be a while before I get to testing. At this point I would not recommend this transaction to my friends.

Poop happens. While waiting for the Chinese thresher to arrive (even to be shipped), the beautiful wheat field became overgrown with weeds.

This is a picture of the field as it has started to be overgrown. By the time the thresher got here the weeds were much taller and there were many more of them. You may recall that the plan was to cut the wheat with a scythe and feed it to the thresher. Paul suggested I cut some of the weedy wheat just to get a feel for the machine. I could not. The stems were thicker than my finger. So I decided to mow the field with the brush hog. There were places the brush hog could not get through. I had to mow most of the field a half of a swath at a time.

In agriculture, poop is not necessarily a bad thing. Here is the wheat field a short time after it has been mowed. Tons of clover and in between – wheat. We’ll see next Spring if we get a good stand (it is early to plant a Winter wheat crop.)

Queen of the garden – The lone okra (after two plantings) that came up. Surrounded by her loyal (soon to be) subjects – Fall potatoes and peas.

September 14, 2014 – The Red Fife field shortly after planting. It rained the next day!

Five days later the wheat babies are coming up.

Phinished phence. The only curve on the place. I planted wild grapes which will cover it next year, provide some privacy and some fruit.

Tilling the greenhouse with the new electric tiller – just right for this job. Dec. 19, 2014.

The upstairs looking East after the insulation has been sprayed in. What a difference!