Monday, May 22, 2017

Gratitude, Rain, Garden, Sunday dinner

Yesterday I picked a nice bowl of green beans. Some fresh jalapenos, three tomatoes, a giant bowl of arugula, some oregano, basil, sage, cilantro.
I grabbed some stevia leaves. Worked a bit to clean up the broiler and duck home and gave the ducks fresh water in their swimming pool. We had a delicious thunderstorm in the morning, which left the air fresh and moist, perfect for hours working in the yard.

I went over to mom and dad's to care for some things there, and stole some onions and beet greens from daddy's garden.

Sunday afternoon was a delight, putzing in the kitchen. I made a small jar of stevia extract, will let you know how it turns out! And a feast for our dining delight, a dinner on the gazebo, with gentle cool breeze, colorful evening skies and family. My gang is not particularly partial to arugula, but we have a gangbuster crop this year. Some time I plan to make arugula pesto, spent some time developing a recipe. I especially love it cooked in a fresh marinara. Yesterday I catered to younger palates, I sauteed it with beet greens, added cream and three cheeses, some grape tomatoes and basil, and let it cook down into a treat of a dish. Which disappeared. The green beans with Dad's onions disappeared. The pico as a relish alongside the pork roast disappeared as well.

Not much satisfies me more than growing, picking, preparing and eating our own food. And sharing the table with others.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Life is full of ups and downs, or Mid-May Vineyard Report

All goslings and most of the ducks are living full time out at the vineyard. After consulting with a wildlife biologist girlfriend, I built a much more secure nighttime housing situation for the little weeders. The poultry are safe, sound, and shockingly efficient in regards to weed eating.

Perhaps I should come up with a plan to join forces with the local therapists? Their clients could pay a monthly fee to join me out in the vineyard. They wouldn't have to prune or tie or spread compost. Just set up a chair and table in the shade and watch the waddlers work. Those creatures delight me to no end. They nibble away all the broadleaf grasses and weeds, leaving a wildflower meadow in between the rows. Their peeps and chirps and occasional squawks add to the sound of birds and breeze in the vines. Signs of depression and discouragement decrease exponentially when hanging out around the newest enterprise in sustainable, organic winemaking.

That said...A week ago we had a hard freeze hit. My plants here in town are fine. Mile High Vineyard got hit significantly. Cordons loaded with luscious leaves and most amazing display of grape clusters got bitten savagely by the cold snap. Our vines were thriving in two months worth of May temperatures. The temperate winter left them leaping to go and grow. A freeze this time of year is the norm. Which isn't a problem unless we have had so many weeks of 80 plus days. And weeks of 50 plus nights.

So. I have been pruning away the bitterly frozen, crunchy dead leaves and vine growth. It is a bit disheartening. I know it will grow back. Not all the grapes were lost. The realities of agriculture. I guess I would be more upset if I didn't understand the nature of the business. And if I didn't have such happy little helpers working diligently by my side!

We are making a deep litter system for the goose house. I will start applying the compost we made over the winter, a scoop per vine. As soon as the new leaves come out, I plan to make compost tea for a foliar spray. Knowing that the geese are helping not only with weed eradication, but with building the next compost windrow is pretty awesome as well! Once we enter the rainy season, please God!!!, I plan to burn the old vine trimmings and add a deep layer to the compost, just as we did last year.