Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The return of the veggies

well, after a long dry spell with produce, looks like we'll have a decent amount for opening market on Sat.  No longer can we sleep until 8 on Sat. mornings, have a leisurely cup of coffee, and read a few pages in the latest novel we're on.  In fact, probably no more novels until this fall, no more listening to the birds sing, no more dancing around while I cut flowers, Stuart won't be tumbling and doing aerial cartwheels going through the berry rows.  We're totally serious from here on out.  This Sat. we're going to have carrots, spinach, cress, radishes, green garlic, and possibly arugula.  And armfuls and more of tulips, anemones, ranunculus, delphinium, and daffodils.  If we're lucky a bouquet or two of poppies.   

Sunday, March 29, 2009


We now have fifteen bluebird houses ready to go, thanks to all the great helpers at our bluebird house building party/Stuart's b-day party.  Now we just need to put them up around the farm and hope there are still some bluebirds looking to nest.   My brother Elijah made me these cranes for my birthday, twelve of them all with different origami paper.  I never had the patience for origami.  I even had trouble making stupid paper airplanes.   Love these cranes though, and they were great party decor, along with the flowers we had leftover from market the week before.  And the vase life we're getting from ranunculus and tulips?  Shizaam.    

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coming soon to a farmers market near you.....

Strawberries!!!!   That's right everyone, just a mere month and a half away.  We just got our Gourmet in the mail (a very thoughtful gift from the folks down in FL) and the cover just took my breath away.  I will be making this dessert, a strawberry mascarpone tart with port glaze, though for Stuart's sake, as he is sensitive to wheat, I'll probably make a coconut crust (think macaroon).  Our strawberry plants are looking fantastic---no voles eating a third of them like last year.  A bunch of blossoms that would have become strawberries were zapped in the last cold spell but we think regardless of losing some they will be bountiful this year.  These pics are from last year and the year before---note the gorgeous iris that I have not been able to grow again since 2007.  I think I'm planting too early.  Although we're not looking forward to picking them, eating the berries in any form is going to be a treat.  Come on out and get some of ours at the DFM in early May, we try very hard to pick them at peak ripeness so the sweetness is just right.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's dead is dead....

I treed my first groundhog a couple days ago.  I was cutting flowers in our hoophouse and was walking back towards the driveway when I saw something scurry in our garden.  A big fat groundhog was gallumping its way towards the treeline, pausing every few seconds to peep over at me to see if I was still there and if I was a threat.  I kind of just stared at it in disbelief, while all the things I knew it could've been munching on were whirring through my mind, all the time spent seeding, weeding, planting and planning, the hardship some of our overwintered goodies have endured, all to be eaten by a big fat groundhog who just happened to carouse into our garden on a warm sunny day to look for a full belly.  I quickly decided to run after him in the hopes of seeing where his den was, and after a few feints this way and that, he made the fatal decision to go up a tree.  I yelled and yelled for Stuart to come to my rescue, darting back to the truck 150 ft away to honk the horn, a desperate honkhonkhonkhooonkkkkk and a yell at the top of my lungs, and then a dart back to lock eyes with the pig-rat in the tree.  Stuart was probably 200 yards away, shaking his booty to who knows what in the greenhouse while doing some transplants.  I knew his music drowned my yells, but for some reason I kept yelling and honking the horn with blasphemies and curses in between the yells.  Finally I had to leave the treed land-beaver to drive down to the greenhouse to pick up Stuart, who, only when I was fifteen ft away honking the horn, decided to turn around and see the frenzied state I was in.  We rushed back up the driveway (Stuart:  "You'd kill me if I drove like this", "what has gotten into you?") and YES!  The groundhog was waiting, having been petrified by my wails, breathing some of his last breaths very heavily.  We decided the best course of action would be to ask our heroic neighbor Bernard to come over and shoot the beast, which he obligingly did.  One groundhog dead, how many to go?  

Good dinner for a cold night

I now want to put grated beets on every salad from now on.  If only we could grow them better.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stuart's Birthday---fun times with ringmaster Stu

What a day!  We all had so much fun going out and celebrating Stuart's 31st birthday.  With his traditional birthday mustache, Stuart was looking mighty like a circus showman---he even used some of our mushroom plugging wax to twist the ends---high stylin' and profilin'.  We went to the always delicious Crook's corner for dinner.  Shrimp and grits for me and Stuart, Erin had the cheese pork, and Ransom had the gumbo.  And of course the jalepeno hushpuppies for an appetizer.  SO FREAKING GOOD.  
This b-day card from Erin merited some laughs from all of us, especially since it looks like the chubby baby Stuart.  The inside reads "Oh Poop, another birthday."  Crook's has a great art exhibit up of all these basketball rims  in very different and unique places---they're all really really good shots as you can see from the one behind Erin and Ransom. And I wasn't going to bring up b-ball with the very sad UNC loss---but as I can blame it on Roy's lack of defensive strategy, blatant lack, it's all okay.  ITS ALL GOING TO BE OKAY.  I guess Stuart needed a good b-day present.  After Crook's we wandered down to the wine bar and stayed there for way too much wine.  I haven't been out that late maybe since our wedding.  Prematurely an old fart, you say?  Yes, it's true, but the late night was well worth the lack of sleep and hangover.  Happy birthday Stuart!!!! 

Another rainy and freezin' cold Sat.

New packing shed with guest builder Toby Keith

Whew, things are speeding up quick here on the farm.  Stuart's brother Ransom has been with us for a few days, and being the awesome guest he is, he has logged many a hour on the farm helping us out.  The two of them built this great packing shed in just a couple days.  They used all reclaimed tin for the roof from all the old broken down buildings on the farm, and the front three posts are cedars Stuart got from the surrounding woods.  The back three are posts from a friend who moved and wasn't going to use them.  We're psyched to have it up; last year we had to cancel a CSA delivery due to being rained out, so hopefully this new shed will ensure that doesn't happen again.    

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Welcome Stoney Mountain Farm to the DFM

I am so excited about several new members of the DFM this season, one of which is Stoney Mountain Farm located in Burlington, NC.  I wish I had more pictures of how beautiful the landscape is on Olga and John Elder's farm--healthy old pear trees that you could tell just drip luscious pears in late summer, old outbuildings that have such character and rich history to them, crazy guineas running around, squawking about strangers on their turf.....On our inspection, Ken Dawson and I got a great tour from Olga around the property and we got to see her lovely animals that all seem very well cared for and loved.  I would not mind being one of these sheep.  She has a flock of Navajo-churro sheep, a Rare Breed that has a fascinating history.  Can't wait to try the meat, I'm sure it is delicious.  And don't you love the four horns on this joker here?  Olga said it took him awhile to grow into such a daunting set of horns, but now he has established himself as a right bully.  As a sheep myself in Chinese astrology, I suppose there is a particular affinity there for these animals.  Sheep also remind me of a bit from the incredible documentary of the artwork of Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers and Tides.  
We welcome you Olga and John to the Durham Farmers' Market and look forward to your stories and presence.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Clover loves Ruby and Maxi

I just can't help myself with the dog pictures!!  We've been dogsitting this week and Clover continues to impress us with her social skills---far superior to mine for sure.  She is ever the playful, modest, mild, meek, loving girl.  She even stepped aside from her food so Ruby could dig right in, smiling and so happy to be able to give so much more than otherwise.  But as she is a food martyr, it didn't impress us all that much for her to hand over her food.   When her and Maxi play ball, some of her more competitive side comes out---she sidetackled Maxi yesterday going for the ball and Maxi was so upset she didn't even go after the ball for a throw or two to spite Clover, she just stood there, feathers ruffled and growling.  Ruby quickly diffused the situation with her cuteness and quick tongue.  How could one stay mad for long with Ruby around handing out kisses so freely?  

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We're so glad we didn't plant out too many of our seedlings last week before this crazy cold weather.  15 tonight?  Are we all dreaming this?