Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer '09, So Far So Good

Cool evenings. Moist air, sweet with dew and the scent of some flower or tree somewhere, hanging in the window.

Braids and braids of onions decorating the screened-in part of the deck, hanging to dry. Beautiful.

Pond is full. Last year it was not.

Last year we were canning green beans at this time. This year the first batch was flooded and rotted. Coco got in the garden and ate the tops out of the survivors. We are getting enough beans to eat, not enough to can. Hopefully in August and September.

Baking bread for two farmer's markets has been a challenge. I am baking up to 75 loaves of different breads, 50+ pizza crusts, plus pound cakes, brownie and pancake mixes and other assorted things every Friday. It is very hard work and I am tired of the crazy long hours. HOWEVER, the bakery is providing needed income for farm expenses like feed and hay making and we are so very grateful to all the people who choose to buy our freshly milled whole wheat and spelt products.

Baking for the markets has taken my focus off the farm a bit more than I wish. The garden is suffering as a result. My plans to expand the garden and the bakery at the same time were overly ambitious. We are lucky that we are getting any produce at all. It is not really luck, it is the providential provision of volunteers in the form of very kind friends who like to help me and the kids work.

This summer it is more evident than ever that we can not do life on our own. It requires friends, all of us helping each other. Sometimes I am needy. Sometimes my friends are needy. We need each other.

Frequent rains make parasite management much more pressing this summer than other summers. We are learning that we do not have all the answers and that certain ideals look great on paper but don't necessarily work in real life.

Free-range chickens have obliterated my herb gardens. But boy-howdy, those yolks sure are dark orange!

We usually deep mulch the garden with hay. Did not have hay or straw to do so this year. The difference is phenomenal and horrible. Deep mulch makes potato picking pleasurable and weed prevention manageable. Will make that a priority next season.

Guinea hens are a noisy nuisance but this summer the tick population is virtually gone. Guess we won't kill those obnoxious squawkers.

Due to the prolific crop of golden turnips we have had the opportunity to try many recipes. We are convinced that the only way to eat those turnips is to fry them in butter with garlic and sea salt til they are golden brown. I like turnips any old way, but the rest of the family and even other people's kids will eat them when cooked that way. PLEASE don't give up on turnips til you fry them in butter and sea salt!

More summer to go. Wonder what the rest of the season has to offer? Looks like the plums are about ripe. Will we make all jam or will we try our hand at home grown damson plum wine? There are very few apples and figs, thanks to the hard freezes. Pears look promising. New variety of butternut squash appears to be producing prolifically. I hope the squash will mature before the bugs kill the plants. Will we get great pumpkins this year? A new adventure awaits every week.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I didn't know until recently that skunks ate ground hornets. Add them to your list (along with the guineas) of animals not to kill. I love how you see the benefit of critters that most people see no use for. We may not know why, but God made all beings for a purpose. Even free-range chickens!