Life is Good

Despite a broken toe and some pretty unrelenting pain issues for the chief farmer (me), things are pretty good around here.  The garden and the harvest is bigger and better than ever.  Just take a look:

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Our Cup Runneth Over

Too much to do to blog it all.

This is life on the farm now:

Get up before the sun for coffee and a piece of fruit

Barn chores

Pick from dawn until done (about 2.5-3 hours)

Water, prune, other maintenance 1-2 hours

Sort and clean produce

Pack produce for restaurant for the chef to take or for me to deliver

Can, dehydrate, freeze what is to be used for the family.

Day Two:

Water, check crops, barn chores

Preserve everything that could not be done the day before

repeat….

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The Proof is in the Pictures

There is so much happening now that only pictures can convey it all and are all I have time for.  I will be picking the first zucchini this week and cucumbers won’t be far behind. I harvested the last of the cabbage and lettuces yesterday.  I also saw the first pepper yesterday and picked the first handful of raspberries.

Note the vast difference in the tomato plants grown in the high tunnel and those outdoors. 

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A Good Farm Day

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I was laid low over the weekend by pain and intense heat, so it was wonderful (and sorely needed) to get out yesterday early AM for three hours of harvesting and weeding. Here is what I am harvesting now:

fingerling potatoes (Russian Banana)

purple, orange, white, and orange carrots

kale (Lacinato and Fizz)

Rainbow Swiss Chard

strawberries

onions (Bridger–harvesting them all and they are drying on the driveway)

purple bunching onions

cabbage

celery

basil (Mammoth and Genovese)

parsley

nasturtium flowers

leaf lettuce

For supper last night, I used all of the above to make a green salad, antipasto plate, and stir fry. It was delicious and oh so nutritious.  Everyone loved it and Lily got creative with her rice noodles.  Kale, strawberries, chard, and carrots went to the restaurant with the chef this morning.

Potato, PoTOTo

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My seed potatoes from Seed Savers are sprouting some eyes and it’s time to get planting.  I cut them up, leaving about one eye per hunk.  I will let the cut surfaces callous over for a few days before getting them in the ground. I’m planting Desiree and Sangre.  I already planted Russian Banana Fingerlings in the high tunnel and they are growing strong.

Best Exercise Around

Yesterday, the sun was out and highs hovered in the 40’s.  I donned a sweatshirt over my long-sleeved t, put on my heavy work gloves (my Ethel ones) and headed out for some solo work time.  I love the quiet of the outdoors and the time to think and recharge.  With hubby home, he and Lily were inside playing/cleaning and I could focus on the job at hand.

There is something so satisfying about putting the garden in order for a new season.  I am not the kind of gardener who does all the cleanup in the fall–leaving perfectly prepared beds for spring.  I’d like to be, but once things actually freeze and die, I am happy to be done with those outside beds for a while.  The spent plants and seed heads make nice food and cover for birds and small mammals.

In about 3 1/2 hours I built the shelves we purchased for the high tunnel; organized tools; pulled, sorted, and stored about 50 stakes; pulled out all the dead plants; used the stirrup hoe to prep raised beds; weeded the garlic bed; and dragged all the plants and other dead plant matter to the brush pile.  There are a few brush piles on the property we add to in this way each year.  Instead of burning them, we leave them for wildlife.  The one back by the garden offers cover to deer, snakes, turtles, and more.  These natural compost piles seem to stay about the same size from year to year–our adding to them balances out with the extent to which they decompose.

And what to wondering eyes did appear–rhubarb unfurling and 3 asparagus shoots coming out of the ground. Spring has sprung from the earth.

As I worked, I gathered weeds in one basket and trash in another.  I threw the weeds into the chicken yard to very thankful gals eager for their greens.

Near the end, Lily came out bundled in a coat and garden gloves.  I was about to go in, but was not going to discourage her wish to help, so I spent another hour cleaning up in the orchard and helping her make a few final pruning cuts to the peach trees. At this point, the garden is in need of some raking and the raspberry plants need pruned and thinned.  I still have tons of frozen raspberries in the freezer and the raspberry patch is far, far bigger than what we need.  It’s time to scale back.  Paco suggested that we take the thinned out plants and transplant them to the back of the property where they can be enjoyed by wildlife.  Good idea!  Paco is a conservationist at his core–he hates the idea of taking things out.  He always hatches a transplant plot.

Today I woke up pleasantly sore and feeling very stretched out.  It’s nice.