The Farm Report by Bill Robinson

Despite the heat the Crazy Chile Farm fielded a crowd of eight pickers, packers, pruners and planters! Pickers in Field#1 gleaned 13 lbs. of fresh chiles, and a vigorous indoor crew (working in air conditioned comfort) split and seeded 15 more pounds and put them in the sun-driers. Both high-speed grinders were in action and the inventory of packaged powder is increasing. Over in Field#2, a third row of Tohono O’odham squash was planted after the planting holes were hydrated to 10 inches. Dahvey, our youngest and most fit farmer, dug the holes in the rock hard soil with a 9-lb. Pulaski. The first row, seeded 10 days ago, has now sprouted–along with the Yaqui pole beans! Many thanks to Dana, Sharon, Caryll, Julie, Diane, Garth, and newcomer Ferde.

The remarkably cool days of June are now but a wistful memory. AZ, NM, and West Texas are under a stationary high pressure ridge that has turned us into a solar oven. Temps in excess of 117 are projected for the region this week and next. BUT, thanks to some exceptional volunteers, the Crazy Chile Farm continues to thrive. On Monday, Sharon started picking chiles at first light and finished by 9am with over ten pounds. Newcomers Margie and Terri prepared fresh chiles for the outdoor sun driers in the air conditioned comfort of the Parish House kitchen. Lynn and Bill Irrigated both fields. In Field#2, over a dozen hills of Tohono O’odham San Pedro squash, that Dahvey planted, have sprouted and the Havasupai red maize is starting to tassel. A photo of some of last year’s crop of this beautiful variety is attached.

As you can see from the 7-day forecast, things are heating up at the Crazy Chile Farm. They are also slowing down. In the interests of the safety of our volunteers, yesterday’s workday was cancelled. However, in the interests of the plants, daily watering continues–but very, very early in the morning. This keeps the chile plants lush and producing. Though, in the uber-hot weather, the pods are quite small and become quite piquant. Elsewhere in the Farm, the Yoeme Blue maize is almost ready to pick, the Havasupai Red maize is tasseling and the squash and beans are struggling with the heat.

Creation Care for the Arizona Episcopal Diocese

The deeper my involvement in the Council for Creation Care, the more deeply aware I have become of the extreme overlap of this Council with the Councils for Native American Ministry and Border Ministry. Today, as I was watering the fields at the Crazy Chile Farm on the 30th consecutive day of high temperatures over 110, I thought of one of the rallying cries at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests: “Water is Life.” And I remembered that migrants are dying today in our deserts for lack of water. And I hear the words in our Baptismal Covenant that remind us of how the Creator Cares for us: “We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.” Or as Floyd ” Red Crow ” Westerman, musician, actor and activist native of South Dakota tells us, “Most of our body is water. To stay healthy you need to drink pure water. Water is sacred, air is sacred. Our DNA is made from the same DNA as the tree, the tree breathes what we breathe out, we need what the tree expires. So we have a common fate with the tree. We are all of the Earth, and when the Earth and its water and atmosphere are corrupted, then the Earth will create her reaction.” Maybe this heat wave is that “reaction”.

In the days immediately prior to monsoon rains, you may notice that ants have suddenly taken an interest in your parish and home kitchens–“El tiempo de las hormigas,” (the season of the ants) as it is known in Spanish. This happens because ants are very sensitive to changes in dew points, air pressure and relative humidity–all predictors of monsoon storms. However, rather than reaching for a can of bug spray or a pouch of Equal consider this: Bug spray is toxic to humans and current iterations last for up to 12 weeks on kitchen surfaces, and Equal simply doesn’t work. The “Equal Myth” began in 2006 when the satirical website The Spoof ran an article called “FDA certifies Aspartame as Ant Poison“, an attempt to parody the many anti-sweetener sites that claim various sugar substitutes (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc.) are toxic to humans. Your Council for Creation Care, however has a safe and effective solution for you: Place a lump of meat or a dollop of jam in the middle of a saucer and surround it with a mixture of while sugar and borax. Ants find it to be irresistible, and it’s deadly to them (Remember when DEATH VALLEY Days was sponsored by Borax?). Hmmm.🌶🌶🌶