September 1, 2011
Salvaging After Hurricane Irene
Cleanup after Hurricane Irene continues all along her destructive path. It’s heart breaking to see so many images of areas ravaged by her force and I know that life for many will never be the same. I feel fortunate that my farm escaped any major damage, but still, the crew has been working very hard getting things back into shape.
1 As expected, the vegetable garden took quite a beating by Hurricane Irene. This is the section where my tomato plants were growing.
2 These are the wrecked tomato vines on their way to the compost pile.
3 I instructed Ryan to go through the garden and rip out all the other badly damaged and non-productive plants.
4 After the tomato plants were removed, Wilmer raked the beds clean.
5 Ryan gathered all the bamboo stake supports to store for next year.
6 We had a beautiful corn patch adjacent to the tomatoes and Ryan was planning on harvesting the soon to be ripe ears of corn next week.
7 However, Irene had a different plan and these are the only ears mature enough to eat. So sad!
8 Ryan and Wilmer harvested every last tomato from the garden. Many of these will ripen in a few days.
9 All of the ripe tomatoes found their way to my kitchen, where I had my own plans.
10 Since I was home for the day, I decided to cut up the tomatoes and simmer them down with fresh and fragrant basil.
11 After simmering, I passed the tomatoes through a food mill.
12 A food mill passes the tomato puree through the sieve bottom, leaving the skins and seeds behind. The puree can be used to make soups and sauces. It can also be canned or frozen for use during the winter.
13 I'll saute some onions and garlic and make a nice sauce using some of the puree.
14 Fresh tomato sauce is simply delicious served with pasta.
15 It was also delicious as a dip for lightly steamed haricot vert.
16 Interestingly, the chickens did not lay any eggs during the storm. But, once it was over, they produced more in one day than normal.
17 After a good trimming, the giant alocasia looked so much better.
18 This is a telescoping pole saw, which can extend up to 30-feet. This is a pull-stroke saw blade, where you cut through the wood by pulling back on the blade. It produces a smooth and clean cut.
19 Another advantage of a pull-stroke saw blade is that you don't need to push forward, which gets tiring, especially with so much tree damage. None-the-less, Shaun is getting quite an arm workout.
20 Shaun is a very careful worker and dons a helmet and eye protection for safety. This black tupelo tree, like so many trees at the farm, was damaged in the hurricane.
21 This particular saw blade also has a hooked end, which Shaun uses to pull the branches out from the tree after they are cut.
22 The hooked end is great for manipulating the branches.
23 After removing the weight of the branch, Shaun then cuts as close to the branch collar as possible. The collar is the branch base, formed by many cells growing and overlapping.
24 Cutting at the collar will not hurt the tree and will allow these cuts to heal over into knots - very neat and tidy.
25 Sadly, there are mounting piles of branches all over the farm, which will eventually be fed into the wood chipper.