Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 28th Market

I made it to market with Ruth, got to show her off to some customers and vendors.  She did GREAT and it gives me hope for bringing her more often.  I do wish we were able to park our truck so that we could have a place for her to sleep and a place for me to nurse her.  Our space at market is one of two or three spots where there is no place to park a vehicle.  But we wouldn't trade it for anything as it's a corner spot and let's us have quite a bit more square feet to display.  If we didn't have a corner spot we would need a double space.  
Have I mentioned how I love our market?  The Durham community is so strong; it's always a perpetual source of amazement and awe that people come out and support us and sincerely care about how we are doing, about what is going on in our lives.  That Stuart and I can make a living from a few acres of land and some good hard work because of the people of Durham.  May we always be able to make a living from farming.  From growing beautiful vegetables and flowers and attempting to be stewards of the land.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is this week over yet?

Yes everyone, I finally did it.  I jumped the hurdle and had my first canning session.  It was like a first date I was so excited and nervous.  The strict need for sanitation, the ratios of berries to sugar, the genealogical pressure from all my forbears who did this on a regular basis as if it were imperative or something.  As if my great grandmother Alice were looking at me, at my cush life, saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk, not like your doing this over a fire young lady." Attempting to make a strawberry jam, I instead made a mediocre strawberry liquid somewhat resembling syrup but not really.  Around 20+ pints of it.  [Note to self: invest in some pectin]  We're actually going to do a second round of strawberry jam this weekend, after I swore off canning forever Sunday evening after the all day event.  Why you ask?    
We picked berries on Tuesday this week (after two days of rain) and it was pitiful.  Maybe a third of our regular harvest?  Trudging through the rows (have we mentioned picking strawberries is one of the least favorite tasks of the season?), having to throw out SO SO many bad berries, berries not even good enough for jam....a little demoralizing.  A little like farmer torture.  There are so many jam berries I can't stand to see them go to waste, so jam will be made!  And it feels really good to open the pantry and see jars of goodness waiting like little rays of sunshine, sweet like a smile from Ruth.  

Speaking of farmer torture, there was more of that this week.  We had a brush with a frost on Monday and Tuesday night.  We had to cover our tomatoes out in the field.  It took most of the day Monday in the cold, wet wind.  We ran around like fools, Stuart and me, Adam and Emily, trying to keep the babies safe.  Cinderblock madness, remay whipping us in the faces, sloshing around in the mucky aisles.  We had some good laughs at the things we must do for our crops, a few jokes about $20 lb. tomatoes and the things we would say to customers who say our produce is too expensive and walk away.  Adam had a good idea to do a time lapse on all the work that goes into one of our crops.  Maybe one day.  Other farmer torture is that we desperately need to hill up our potatoes but the soil is too wet.  Best looking crop we've ever had and we have to sit and watch them get taller and taller in the wet soil, knowing that they would probably double their yield if they were hilled once or twice more.  Oh the petty tortures we face.  We know our life is good, I jest.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Local and Sustainable

This week we did some flowers for Stuart's cousin's wedding with a great color theme of purple white and green.  We did buy out some flowers for it...some ranunculus, callas, and hydrangea.  It felt kind of scandalous to purchase them, to see their UPC codes with Columbian origins and to think about what chemicals, herbicides, and fungicides went  into them, how far they traveled, how many days has it been since they were cut.  I get the same kind of feeling whenever I eat anything now that I don't know where it came from....Snicker's bars (yes, I confess to such transgressions!), potato chips, any food from restaurants, anything that isn't organic really, although I'm even skeptical about organic now. I also get the same confusing feelings when I use petroleum products or look at my precious baby sucking on a piece of plastic which she loves to do.  Basically I feel like a walking moral and ethical dilemma.  I know that chemicals are ubiquitous now; we all have them in our bodies....BPA, PCBs, PBDE, PFOA, DEHP, PFC's, etc. etc.  Even in our sustainable farm operation we use some plastic mulch, landscape fabric is made of polypropylene, our hoophouses and greenhouse are really big pieces of plastic, we are dependent upon plastic irrigation lines and gasoline for our pond pump, propane for our greenhouse, coal fueled electricity to run our cooler.  I'm not sure there is anything sustainable anymore, just varying levels of sustainability.  And I definitely feel that local is better, otherwise it wouldn't feel so damn good to eat what we grow, sell our labors of love to the public, and buy other goods from market and businesses that support local goods.  And maybe, as Paul Stamets says in his amazing and well worth watching Ted talk, mushrooms can save the world.    

Ruth Eleanor

It's been a wild and crazy week.  Our sweet love has been a bit on the temperamental side; we've been lucky to get more than 5-6 hours of sleep a night the past few nights.  Let's just say she does not deal well with gas and she won't sleep on her own with a tummy bubble.  We must provide comfort for her while she deals with it.  Last night it was two hours of comfort.  The world of parenting is one of sleep deprivation for sure.  
She was extra lucky this week as her Pop and Biba, auntie Randle and cousin Ella were in town.  She was showered with love and attention and plenty of cuddling.  Ruth wants to make sure they know she loves them and can't wait to see them again!  

Booby Trees

Felt a little like a voyeur taking these intimate shots as she stood there, arms outstretched, longing for her lover's embrace, yearning for a reciprocation of love that runs so deep and thick it moves like a current all around her, an ocean of feelings impermeable to reason, to forgetting, to time.  She is so beautiful in her longing, this booby tree.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Different times

First off, if you have not seen the clip of the baby trashing a las playas bar, you must check it out. I think it extends beyond parent humor. Thanks for sharing Emily, so hilarious. Second off, this season is going to be so crazy! It's already opening main season market this Saturday---Durham market hours change from 10-12 to 8-12! Yikes! We took Ruth to market this past weekend to see how it would go, a test run shall we say. Stuart and I failed the stress test. So now we need a plan B. I guess one of us will be staying home Sat. mornings. Things in the field look great. I need to get a new camera to share the beauty. Loads of veggies and flowers coming soon to the DFM, and the season is so wonky with this early heat we'll probably start our CSA early. Are we ready for this with our little one???? I guess there is no choice!