Climatology 2013: The late season monsoon surge became nearly a typhoon for most of New Mexico. For some areas there was dangerous flooding. Rainfall records were set all over the state, many areas receiving more than their annual rainfall average (lol) in just a few days.
At Mesa Top, the total is about 5.5 inches from Tuesday 9/12 to Monday 9/18. For the most part the rainfall was gentle to moderate and intermittent. At several points it rained for 6 to 8 hours steadily.
The ground became saturated, but due to the duration and moderate intensity, water soaked deeply into the soil, and arroyo flows were not damaging. The ponds, reservoirs and cisterns are all quite full.
The most uncomfortable creatures were the cows and horses because all of the yards are mucky now. We held the cows to let the ground start to dry out a bit, and they were quite unhappy to be eating hay when they could be out eating grass.
The most amazing aspect of this tropical period was that the diurnal (day to night) temperature swings were very small. Night time lows ranged from 50 to 55 and daytime highs ranged bracketed 65 degrees. The air was so wet, and the periods of sun so few that it never seemed to warm up. Normally for Mesa Top, with our deep valley micro-climate, we are seeing our first light frost before now. Instead we have only once or twice seen low temps in the mid-40s. My guess is that whenever this tropical pattern breaks down and jet stream based weather resumes, a frost will not be far behind.
Wildlife update from Mesa Top: It is turning out that this has been a banner year for the amphibians. Baby spadefoot toads are all over the place. Seeing them has helped me realize that the survival method of these species, who reproduce in the water and whose young have to grow all the way to a size where they can leave the water and survive, is a very dicey one. Year after year the tadpoles are eaten or die as the intermittent water sources that they occupy dry up too soon. Then from time to time there is a year like this one where a population explosion occurs: high survivability of the hatched tad poles. The young toads have a good chance now to find suitable deep hiding spots for the winter, while they wait for next year’s warm and moist season.
The cool weather has led to a busy tarantula week (3 sightings), but the snakes are all hiding. I think it is still early enough in the season that when the inevitable warm-up occurs, we will see some snakes again.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Both Mesa Top herds are out on pasture now. The good growth on even the pastures that need the most rest is allowing us to give make some use of them now, for a little while.
One of our favorite milk cows, Tippy, who is 5 years old, is missing from the herd that is out on the State lease land. Last year in the fall, she separated from the herd and reappeared a few weeks later with her healthy calf. We could not look for her much because of the mud, but in a day or so will make a more concerted effort to find her. Hopefully we will find her with a calf, but at least healthy and ok.
This week’s protein update: We are looking forward to seeing some of our young beef cut like veal, later this week. Our fingers crossed that we will be offering the veal packs will be ready on Thursday.
The turkeys are now being opened out onto more ground with green forage. They are very content when they get new pasture areas to eat. We are experimenting with different types of temporary fencing to that we can give them access to different small forage areas, and rotate them around the garden.
This week’s cheese making update: With the epic rains and mud that comes with it, we decided to just turn the cows out to pasture instead of holding them in muddy corals. When the corrals are dried out a bit, we’ll resume milking and begin cheesemaking
This week’s Veggie/Share Update
This week’s sweet treat from the garden is canteloupe from Schwebach farms.
This week the share’s featured vegetable is cylyndra beets from Talon de Gato. Also from Talon de Gato are popular candy onions. These are a tasty onion that sits between sweet and a pungent and is versatile, suitable for many uses. It stores well, so you do not have to eat them right away. Other cooking greens included in this week’s share are baby bok choi from Mesa Top and Chinese cabbage from Talon de Gato.
The share includes some salad fixings: arugula from Talon de Gato and cucumbers from Mesa Top.
This week’s savory accents are Marconi peppers from Vida Verde Farm in the North Valley of Albuquerque and parsley from Talon de Gato.
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