Friday, August 27, 2010

Cane Watch

These days, we are ever watchful of the Sorghum Cane. Richard even tested the Cane for sweetness today. It is way too "Green".

On the 1 hand, I am happy to report that the Cane is tall and very vigorous. On the other, we are seeing some things that confront us with a familiar place: we don't quite know what is going on.

As an example, we have noted the Cane seems to have what Richard calls "water sprouts". Several stalks grow up around the 1st sprout from seed. The water sprouts are mostly as strong and vigorous as the central stalk. That has been neat to see. They seem like they will want to make juice too.

The photo below was taken on July 31. (All the rest were taken August 27.) The water sprouts are clearly visible as "clumps" from the same seed. The cane here is about 6-7 feet tall and without seedheads. Almost a month later, that same cane is now easily about 9-12 feet tall in spots. And the maturing seedheads dance proudly on top.Last week, we may have had a small funnel cloud that did damage on the northeast side of the field. Most of these stalks have now righted themselves. That is also neat to see. Once knocked down or leaning over, they try to stand upright over time. We Humans may find a lesson here if we watch closely. Hollis says it doesn't take much for the Cane to fall with the right wind. It is so tall and lovely at this stage the field can act like big dominoes.

Something that has been troubling to us has been that some of the lower leaves have turned brown. They seem dead and they seem like they are crawling up the stalk. They are at a level of 2-3 feet tall and seem confined to the east side of the field. The stalks still look perfectly healthy. I wonder what is going on inside.

We have not seen this before. I am wondering if any of the folks who also grow Cane in these parts have seen similar happenings, like Stan and Gigi at Sandhill. Richard wonders if some of this came from earlier Hail Damage. Hollis says it may be attributed to the fact that this season has been anything but normal.
The west side of the field is doing particularly well, similar to previous years.We got together with Hollis, Deleta, and Hollis Dale today. Hollis and family have been getting the site and equipment ready on the family farm. As we left, we could see a nice stack of beautiful wood already in place for the furnace.

Today's speculation has it that we will be working off the first batch about the 3rd Saturday in September. All of a sudden we have a date to set on the Calendar: September 18. As Deleta says, that will come around pretty fast. Of course, Nature knows when it will be right. We Humans just follow along.

A consistent theme in our farming initiative is that we are closer and closer to seeing the rhythms of Nature. We Humans are not in charge here. We have some successes and some not. We are increasingly grateful for every little bit of food that we do raise. Before, we just kept going to the Grocery Store without a clue as to what was happening behind the scenes. That surely has changed.

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