It was our first spring and summer growing in the high tunnel. Verdict–those poor souls growing in flat open ground are to be pitied. Raised beds are a must and many crops love the high tunnel. Especially with our always extreme man-made weather.
We lost our dear Pepita in March. I still think of her everyday and she was a true lesson in perseverance, dedication, and loyalty. I hate that we live in a world where animals are thought of as less than when they are often more than.
We quadrupled our produce output going to the restaurant. There were a number of factors at play:
- I am a better garden planner
- I have learned much more about soil and we layer on the compost
- We no longer till–Using only hand-tools and lots of organic matter
- I am better at companion planting and organic problem-solving
- We added the high tunnel
- I am better at fulfilling restaurant needs through crop choices and timing
- I had a part-time employee (aka The Chef)
This was the year of extreme heat. It was near 100 for the entire month of July. Despite being more careful than normal, I became dehydrated enough to have hallucinations. The heat was awful. I hate extreme heat. Still, I would rather be sweating and picking than trapped inside. Extreme conditions also made my pain worse. A lot of the picking was of currant tomatoes, which were a big hit at the restaurant. With over an hour of picking time per plant however, we will not grow them this coming year (ok, maybe 1).
It was a year of big birthdays. Lily turned 7, I turned 40, and the Chef just turned 45. My birthday wish was a trip to the Mother Earth News Fair. It was everything I wished for and then some. It was a great recharge for the turning point of 40. I am very lucky and wise to be already doing the things in my life that bring me joy, knowledge, and fulfillment.
It was the year of many firsts. I strive to try and make many things new each year. I know the meaning of life is loving and learning, so I do my best to fill my life with both. Some firsts:
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- Currant Tomatoes
- Our first big crop of grapes
- Violets (foraged)
- Heirloom Flint Corns
- Egyptian Walking Onions and Potato Onions
- Dandelion Greens
- Jelly from Violets
- Sharing my passion with kids and others (constantly improving this as I am in the trenches)
- Making Chorizo, Ketchup, Kale Chips
- Making jams and marmalade without commercial pectin
- Making cornmeal and baked with it
- Making Tomato Sauce without seeding or peeling tomatoes and I will never turn back!
I finished my first school year of volunteer teaching at NCS and started my second. Year one included three K and K/1 classrooms and I now work with 6 classrooms-ranging from K to 2nd grade kids. It is an honor to teach these kids about gardening, the environment, and nutrition. I’ve learned a great deal and have a long way to go, but I love my kids and feel what I am teaching them is of utmost importance. We have a lot of fun. It was so great to start this second year and and see how much last years kids retained from year 1.
The 2 major stories that round out the year-end are our non-winter and our new puppy. So far, winter has not come. Temps have been mild and we have had only 2 short-lived snows. In a way, I am relieved since the cold is hard on my fibro, but some winter would be nice. Knowing that the source of our always strange weather is man-made has me wishing for a normal season.
Frida, a 7 month old Boston Terrier, came home on December 22. I knew I would eventually want another lap dog after loosing Pepita, but it took awhile. I searched for rescued pups on Petfinder for about a month before Frida and I found each other. I have always wanted a Boston Terrier and Frida is the pup for us. At 7 months, she is a preschooler. She loves to cuddle in bed more than anything in the world. She is the last to get up and is always up for a nap.