Sunday, June 24, 2012

Carrots and Beets

We're thinking this year could go down in memory as the year of the carrots and beets.  The beets have been finished for a few weeks besides the crate in the cooler we've been meaning to put up.....but the carrots....the carrots!!!! They have been so bountiful.   We planted more than we ever have this year, please don't ask me why.  I'll tell you though.  When I see a good bed with amazing tilth that didn't have bad weeds in the previous crop, first I think of flowers and if Stuart has cut me off then I think of carrots.  (but enough is enough Alice!!!  You have a baby to take care of!!!)  We've been taking 200-300 bunches to market the past 6 weeks and we have a couple more weeks to go as long as they don't start rotting in this serious heat we've been having.  Carrots are one of my favorite crops as they require a little more attention to detail than some of the other veggies and their flavor is an immediate sensory reflection of the soil they grow in (which makes sense as they are nestled in cheek to cheek with the soil).  Healthy tops, crispy, bright orange, and sweet is the goal.  Check!!!  As for the beets, until a couple years ago we were unable to grow a good looking beet.  We now realize anything is possible! 
In other news from the farm, we're looking forward to melons and corn.  There is a deep hum of bees on the corn tassels; there must be thousands of them on the pollen laden anthers.  What a beautiful sound.  The bee party of the year.  And Ruth is going to LOVE some melons.  Our maters are looking pretty good.  A solid fruit set but early blight has kicked in strong on the first planting so they need to go ahead and turn already.  A mockingbird has artfully assembled a lovely nest in the yellow pear cherry tomatoes.  And speaking of cherry tomatoes we're about to have more than we know what to do with.  Let's hope the customers can't get enough!!!  
We have some lisianthus just now starting to bloom in the hoophouse.  I've always done it in the field but this year wanted it a little sooner.  This flower makes me realize I'm a masochist at heart.  Yes, I start this baby from seed, why, I'm not even sure.  Every year I tell Stuart I'm going to buy plugs and every year I'm back with a magnifying glass sowing them and pampering them through all their very slow growing phases.  We have a white (!) and yellow this year which should both do well in the house.  Our new field is tilled and ready for cover crop seed.  We're a little late on this but better late than never right?  Let's just hope we don't get a downpour before the seed is sown.  My brother Aubrey has been a champ and has tilled the field twice.  It takes him all day and it's been in the nineties here.  THANK YOU BROTHER.  And we are loving our girl Ruth.  She and her father get into lots of philosophical discussions about the nature of grouchy ladybugs, diapers, and zerberts.  Very serious around here you know.  Hope all of you are well, my secret friends.  I've been missing ya.  Patience please as I try to get this damn format right.  Drives me mad.  One day it'll be straight.  

Ruth and consumerism

Ruth showed me this outfit she wanted in the latest anthropologie catalog and then I had to tell her how much it cost.  She had a moment of shock and then took it all out on the catalog.  Good thing she didn't get to the shoes!!!  We're going to work on anger management soon. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Ruth and I got home from visiting market a couple weeks ago and decided to check and see if there were any eggs in the coop.  We go to open the door and lo and behold, nagini was coiled up so many times in one of the laying boxes I thought it was two snakes!!!  Quite a surprise.  I quickly shut the door, took a deep breath and did a quick self assessment to see if I was woman enough to deal with it myself, then just as quickly called my snake-wrangler brother who breeds snakes for a living.  He came over about twenty minutes later and in less than a minute had it in his hands.  It's one of the bigger black snakes we've seen.  Unfortunately, Stuart had put a couple golf balls in the laying box to signal to the birds where to lay and the snake ate one of them!!!  Let's hope it eventually vomits up the golf ball.  My brother told me oftentimes a black snake will eat a bunch of eggs and then climb out on a tree limb and drop itself on the ground to crack the eggs inside itself.  My brother is chock full of snake lore.  And then not a week later there was another black snake crawling towards the coop.  This time I decided to be brave so I put a stick on it right behind it's head and went to pick it up but as soon as it moved I had a knee jerk reaction and jumped away from it and it got away.  C'mon girl, it's just a black snake!!!  We welcome you on the farm, just leave our chickens and eggs alone!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

love affairs

I have it bad for echinacea right now.  I want it in my sight whenever I'm in the front field.  I make excuses to brush by it, see how it is doing.  That sweet soft pink petal edge contrasting with the hard orange-brown center on a stem that is solid like a small tree branch.  A medicinal herb.  Tall.  Well branched.  A bringer of beneficials.  Modestly gorgeous, the kind of flower that gets more beautiful the more you get to know it.  I want to grab up a big armful and breath it in, distill it's essence and drop by drop sustain myself with it for a while.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The good and the bad

 We're not sure what happened here but we all got a good laugh.  We ate the little thing, mostly yolk, the best part.  Our girls have started laying kind of regularly, we're getting 3-4 eggs a day.  Something is eating some of the eggs though....racoon?  We think it is something with hands because it moves the golf balls that we place in their nest.  
We had an unfortunate episode where one of our birds had a bad prolapse.  One of our wyandottes.  We came home Saturday afternoon after market and saw it.  We made the executive decision to slaughter her as we have our hands overfull with everything else and caring for weeks for her and possibly for the rest of her life was just too much for us to handle.  Sunday morning Stuart was a brave soul and slit her throat as she hung upside down with her legs tied up as we read to do in 'Country Wisdom and Know-How', our go-to book for such things.  I sobbed and watched her bleed out, shake, and finally pass.  I think what made it particularly hard was that the day before we both had listened to This American Life , the episode about Dos Erres.  If you didn't listen to it, I'm not sure I would recommend it.  The atrocities that humans are capable of are explicitly discussed and the story will forever haunt me.  The killing of the chicken (albeit a mercy killing) was a harsh upfront reverberation of the story and even now it's hard to write about.  It brought up a quick reconsideration of all livestock we have ever thought about having on the farm.  And so much more.  I hope if I were to ever to face a situation where I was asked to kill an innocent person or be killed I would nobly choose death.  I know self-preservation is one of the strongest instincts we have; it is fear and it lives large.  But I want to believe in myself.  After all, this life is just a sweet whisper in the darkness.  


Not walking quite yet but I don't think we're too far off!  We are discussing drastic measures of moving our bed to the loft so we can be in a separate room at night.  We think we might all sleep better but who knows.  We do know, despite the lack of sleep, that there is no love like the love for your child.