If a picture is worth a thousand words … – The Harris Family

The Harris Family sent several photos to Harvest Watch that illustrate the conditions on their southwest Oklahoma Farm. We compiled them into this photo gallery. Hover over an image for a caption.

Spring is … somewhere – The Harris Family

Planting potatoes is a family event on the Harris farm.

Planting potatoes is a family event on the Harris farm.

Well I hope everyone has enjoyed this beautiful spring weather we have been having! Oh but wait, it’s Oklahoma and as the old saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait ‘til tomorrow!” That has definitely turned out to be true during this spring break!
Harris Farms has had a productive couple of weeks … our garden finally has potatoes planted. We finished them on the 15th, barely in time by the traditional St. Patrick’s Day deadline! Onions are in the ground ­- Amy is taking a stab at potatoes again; last year was not successful, so she’s hoping this year is better. Any potato experts out there, please don’t mock our planting abilities!

We purchased baby chicks to finally go in the chicken coop Amy’s dad built a year ago! The kids are super excited, but Amy is not happy about the funny smells from the mud room. Yesterday a few started flying out of the box we had them in, so they graduated to an empty stock tank. I think Amy is counting down until they can go officially outside, but with this cold snap, it may not happen as soon as she would like.

Paw Paw and the Harris kids with a new shredder.

Paw Paw and the Harris kids with a new shredder.

I was busy moving cows to spring pastures last week, so I didn’t get to go to the Young Farmers and Ranchers Legislative Day at the Capitol. I kept the three small children so Amy could go. After hearing all she had to say, I almost wish I would have dusted off my tie and made the trip! Representative Todd Russ and Senator Mike Schulz are so ag friendly I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about, but Amy spoke with each of them for about 45 minutes. Something Senator Schultz said that really struck Amy was, “You can’t have freedom without responsibility.” That statement carries so much weight. If we as Americans aren’t willing to take responsibility for things like protecting the environment, caring for those in need, etc., the government will be happy to take that responsibility, but with that comes greater regulations and taxation just to name a few.

Something else that was discussed during the luncheon was the rainfall. Get ready, there was a prediction made that we will only see 1.5 inches of rain during the months of June, July and August. So as much as we would like to avoid the topic of drought and set aside all the worry that comes along with drought, I do believe it is here and not leaving anytime soon. Also, some concern from the legislators is that water is not really a topic at the Capitol and we should be screaming it. A story was told about some friends in Lubbock that their water bill is twice whatour electric bill is in any given month. The fact remains here in Oklahoma we don’t pay for water when we pay our water bill, we pay for the infrastructure and maintenance. My food for thought is how would our usage of water change if we had to start paying for the water that runs through the tap? Or what if you were only allotted 250 gallons a month? What would we give up? Food, water and shelter are the 3 biggest needs of survival. You can survive 10 days without food, but only 3 without water!

Kenda showing her miniature Hereford at the 2013 Oklahoma Youth Expo in Oklahoma City.

Kenda showing her miniature Hereford at the 2013 Oklahoma Youth Expo in Oklahoma City.

We were able to enjoy the Oklahoma Youth Expo. The staff did a great job with the schedule changes and additions, such as Miniature Hereford Steer Show. Kenda was first in her class. I think there was 11 head and 5 classes. Such fun to watch 4-year-olds to 9-year-olds in the ring handling these animals.

We finished top dressing the wheat with fertilizer about 10 days ago. The crop adjuster was out about that time and disastered out about 150 acres and will be back out to do a tiller count in about 10 more days. What has been disastered already will be planted to milo after this cold snap is over, with hopes of harvesting in July.

A lot of our neighbors have had to spray for bugs in the wheat. We chose not to spray this year for three reasons. The first reason is I haven’t seen a lot of bugs in our wheat and, the second reason is that wheat can outgrow a small bug problem and with the weather and the rainfall coming at the right time I think it will outgrow that problem fairly quickly. Thirdly, I used sulfur in our topdress and bugs do not like it. I hope I’m right.

Until next time….

Full summer days – The Fisher Family

Summer days are long and full.  Working from daylight to dark can make a full day.

Potatoes ready to be sold at the Oklahoma Food Co-Op.

We are having a real long dry spell.  We got a good rain in April, so everything is turning brown.  Somehow the corn is going to make a partial crop.

Dry weather is good for hay.  We mowed hay yesterday and will roll it up today.  I am selling calves at the Holdenville sale barn today, but they were shipped yesterday.

The Fisher family loads a wagon with sweet corn.

Our morning started with picking a wagon load of corn.  Just enough corn for the sales here at our house.  We also dug potatoes to be sold at the Oklahoma Food Coop which is Thursday this week.  It makes for a good night’s sleep.

A potato for every taste – The Fisher family

Planting potatoes

The potatoes are coming up! Planting day this year was February 22. Organically grown potatoes are so delicious; you can really taste the difference. They are always popular at the farmers market and with the CSA members.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, a prepaid subscription to vegetables.  Every week each member gets a bag of what is available from the garden that week. Some weeks you can choose a few potatoes for your bag. We are growing many different types this year:  white, red, pink, purple, gold and fingerling. Just as there are wines that go with certain dishes there are potatoes for every purpose. Whether they get baked, roasted, fried, mashed or put in soup- we grow potatoes to suit each need.

Purple majesty potatoes

If you enjoy eating blueberries for their heath benefits there is a potato for that too! We have a variety growing called, Purple Majesty, which contains some of the same antioxidants that blueberries have. The next step in the potato patch is to get them weeded and covered with a row cover to keep the bugs away. Commercially grown potatoes that you would buy in the store have been sprayed with systemic insecticide to kill bugs and treated in storage to make them keep all year. No wonder a home-grown potato tastes so good.