Well, we are in the middle of harvesting the tobacco crop. That is depending to whom you speak. According to my organic certification, tobacco isn't harvested, technically speaking, until the leaves are removed from the stalk, which won't happen for two or three more months. We are in the process of what's called "housing". This is where we cut the stalk in the field and spear them on a stick, six stalks of tobacco to each stick. The sticks will then be gathered and hauled to the barn to hang until they are cured. An acre will have about 1200 sticks and a good cutter can cut about 500 sticks or more a day, a few folks can cut a thousand or more. I am not in either category and will average three to four hundred in a day. Just a couple of weeks ago I was satisfied that we had the best crop we had raised yet. We had finished breaking the blooms out, or topping, and we had sprayed for suckers. I had opted to let the tobacco stand a while, as the longer tobacco can stand in the field after topping, the more weight it will put on. Suckers didn't seem to be much of a problem and I figured we could use the extra weight. Of course we have had a very wet year in my area and that has caused some problems. The number one and most obvious problem is, once I couldn't get in the field to cultivate, the weeds took off. We are currently weed eating every other row, or what is called a stick row, as the plants from two rows are cut at a time to go on a stick, and that way the cutters can find the sticks with little trouble, but still, the morning glories tear the leaves and that will cost me when it comes time to strip the leaves and grade them. The other problem is a disease I had not seen in our crop before. It's is called Bacterial Stalk Rot and is caused by the bacteria getting in wounds on the plant and causing it to rot. The bacteria is mainly seen in wet weather, which we have had in abundance, and occurs most often after breaking out the tops and removing suckers. The suckers that are killed by contact sprays, which is what we use, will rot in the leaf joints and cause leaf loss if there is too much moisture. So, I've gone from a really good crop to, what I'd call so far, an okay crop. We know more in a few months. I'm just glad to be getting it in and bracing up to turn the field and get out the cover crop. In another field the deer have found my Floriani Red corn, and seem to approve of the flavor. Apparently deer have a taste for Italian food too. I'm starting to think the only real way to control the varmint problems is to plant more so that there will be enough for them as well as for myself. I just wish they'd consider helping with the weeding and cultivating as much as they do the harvesting. Still making shingles in my spare time, and I think I'm now even riving shingles in my sleep, so the spare time isn't as common a commodity as it once was.