Monday, July 25, 2011

On a Monday

Our Fridays at the farm usually include mowing the yard and I usually get to ride the John Deere rider mower around the expanse, around all the little trees I dare not run over.... Today I got to drive the tractor to mow the outlying fields and it was a similar deal on a much larger, much more powerful scale. It's a bit intimidating, but welcome experience to switch that out for a comfort level. While persistently alert to everything in your radius, there is also some thinking time sitting up there --and some trying to sing over the engine.

Tonight I had a date. Dinner and a card game with a mother/daughter combo that have loved and laughed through life --sparking that fire to those in their presence, making all warm and bright. They have each taken great care of so many so selflessly--and have taken care of each other--and they continue to.

They are my Aunt and my Grandma. They laugh and crack jokes endlessly. They feed you full and then some --and the food is so good you want to stop but almost can't. They take life and themselves lightly and they are soo strong.

And that's so important, because things are getting harder, memories of a mind are fading, and it's scary and sad.
But the heart is there, that is holding it's own--and the laughter is inescapable. Though I wish we never had to grow older, or that health never slipped away--this situation is as happy as a sad one can be--and I'm grateful for that. To my Aunt, a pure and simple saint, and my Grandma, the type of person who is incapable of sweating the small stuff, and knows that so much stuff is so soooo small, it's tiny--and she'd rather have a big laugh.

They are great women, wonderful teachers and a joy to be with.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friends on the Farm

So many mornings the fog rises up out of the valley like it did on Friday. It is sooo nice.
Friday we harvested some 3700 heads of garlic and it took us about the entire work day.
Putting it all on the wagon proved very satisfying--it felt, in some respects, like we'd moved a mountain

This weekend I was surrounded by friends who came to spend a weekend at the farm.
The bunch of us bundled and hung all that garlic. My friends are thoughtful and helpful and generous and they work hard.
They even made me an amazing breakfast beforehand (and many meals following.)

After bundling garlic, picking raspberries, feeding chickens, collecting eggs and harvesting cucumbers and zucchinis--the weekend demanded some more relaxing fun... and so we tubed.
Mother Nature watching us on the Red Cedar River decided that there should be a bit more excitement than usual, and some 2/3's of our trip was raining, then thundering, then pouring, then lightening, then a little scary.... and then... it cleared.
And we had a great time. I think we will all always remember it fondly--because my friends are tough and good natured and fun.
They even have tough, fun, good natured pets. Little Bubba was such a trooper.

Who wouldn't count themselves soooo lucky to have found these wonderful individuals that make such ideal friends on their own and form a friend super group together, all supporting each other and having a blast doing it. I count myself very lucky.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Are Here

This morning was a breath of fresh air--almost felt chilly, and it was lovely...

We've been getting up earlier this week to get a jump on the heat of day and spend more of our time working in the (relatively) cooler air. Yesterday we beat the sun up (very farmery of us) and though I'm not always the earliest riser, I love the feeling of a new beginning the sunrise brings.
This summer has been one of new beginnings. My older sister, of course, had a baby this spring (the most wonderful baby.) She and my given brother are experiencing a life discovering who she is, what it means to love her, and how to be the best parents to her that they possibly can, all the while supporting each other. They inspire me. My younger sister became engaged this spring, hours after my niece was born, and will be married in a few weeks. Her and my given brother-to-be have a new life together, making each other laugh, practicing compromise, finding the place in the world for the two of them, loving each other fully. They inspire me. I love my sisters like, well, sisters. There is the love between parent and child, which cannot be matched. And then there is spousal love which is (I understand) a beautiful work of art--on a much different level (do I have that right? my experience is nil, but based on what I observe, it seems, done justice, ever progressing towards perfection) ...but siblings, sisters... that is a bond all it's own. This past weekend we remarked on how different children from the same family, same parents and upbringing, are so different. It's not a shocking revelation, and different we are --I'm glad for it. I love the love that we all share that allows for the love of the differences. To see them, accept them and wish them well. Well. Wish them wonderful, even if they clash with our own values or beliefs, or maybe don't align just perfectly. We all educate each other, with best intentions in mind. Maybe we are not all sold all the time, but we're informed. Informed of a different perspective and informed again, constantly, that we are loved--we are being looked out for, whether we like it or not. (Honestly, I think we always like that part.)

Just a few days after my niece was born and just a few hours after the engagement, these bits of newness changing all our lives, forever, for wonderful..... I moved to the farm. Not near as momentous, but a step in the right direction for me. I hope to experience the new kinds love that my sisters are experiencing someday, the kinds of love that our parents raised us with.

But as I plan for my future now, --gardens and goats, sheep and chickens.. I can't help but be excited about where I am. Who I am. How those I love (family and friends alike) have shaped me. Have given me this small courage to follow this reoccurring ideal stuck in my dreams.

But I'm also reminded to be humble, to work for my luck, to create my own happiness and know and own what that means to me.

This Wailin' Jennys song, You Are Here resonates with me a lot at the moment, the lyrics (as those of many of their songs do) just ring true:

And I'll leave you with that tonight. This weekend will be filled with friends, farming and funny pictures I'm sure. Which I will share with you soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There and Here

I had a fantastic weekend in Utah...
visiting the Farmer's Market
the beautiful Thanksgiving Point Gardens
hiking the trails in the Wasatch Mountain Range

But really, the weekend was about family. My sisters, and new honorary sister (sister's sister-in-law-to-be,) plus my niece and given brother had a sweet celebratory weekend. A pre-celebration for a momentous occasion, fast approaching.

My niece is growing so fast, showing her personality more all the time. She's starting to "talk" to us. She tells the best stories.
She graciously modeled her recently finished ruffle butt shorts (still a bit big) from this post and the pattern again is here.
I just love her--everything about her... the way she is constantly playing with her hands (I swear she's going to be a knitter..)
and her adorable, mischievous smile that she graces us with on her own terms.

Back at the farm....

Today we moved the chickens, coop and all to a fresher, greener pasture. The chickens rode in their mobile home out into the fields to their new location --it was pretty amusing to witness...
They seem as content as ever
and providing more and more all the time

We harvested potatoes, dug them out of the ground--such an amazing plant.
and the first round of tomatoes look delicious

It has been hot and humid here the last few days. Yesterday was particularly brutal, so when I opened the door of the granary this morning and saw this:
I thought, "I'll take it--I hope it's like this all day." Humid yes, but at least we were spared the beating sun in tandem.

The sun did threaten...
But it stayed under the haze for us most of the day.
It slowly turned into storms all around us.
But we were never hit, and by the end of the day, the sun arrived with a partner in a somewhat saving wind
And I was grateful for the day--all that it gave us. The harvest, the haze, --the sweet memories of a weekend filled with loved ones.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carrot People

Our first harvest of carrots this season is beautiful. I love all the color we've had in the box this week--the usual greens, the whites of the garlic and onions, the deep red beets and this vibrant carrot orange. The ones in my hand below are actually rejects--not perfect enough for CSA members, but perfectly delicious for me.
This bunch of rejects, with all their imperfections, have so much more character --which makes them so much more fun.
I call them carrot people.
They can be a whimsical bunch--dancing and frolicking....
...or very chill, enjoying a nice sit on a splendid day.

I think it's good to be both... you know, we can learn a lot from carrots, especially the rejects.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Edibles

It is a bit surprising to see food that I'm used to buying in the store growing in the ground. It often looks so different --so much more beautiful and real. Beets are all different sizes and have imperfections--they do not grow perfectly round. They are shaped by the nutritious soil they grew in. All snuggled up next to each other, growing where they can.
Onions have beautiful green tops --like exploded scallions. Seeing them in their full plant form, they look so much alike their similar onion counterparts, and like leeks and ramps! It reminds me that plants have family too.
And garlic! Garlic is not a favorite of everyone in my family, but personally, I love it. I love how you plant it in the fall and it's one of the first to spring up with the spring--the first warm days of the year. And it just tastes great of course, and helps out so many meals--such a trooper.
Oh and we harvested carrots today too! (They're our speciality.) I didn't get a photo of them yet, but I have some ideas to make them a little more interesting--since they couldn't possibly get any tastier. But that's another post.

It felt like fall here again today--looks as though tomorrow will follow suit before we're hit with another wave of heat, which I know the plants and their fruits will love. For now though, --though I don't wish for the fall to hurry, I'm in love with the energy in the air right now. A little break to refresh us, like a jump in a lake.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Barefoot Weeding

It's been another tiring day, heavy on the hand weeding. There's been a fall-feeling breeze and temperatures have been nice and comfortable. Showers sprinkled us this morning but as the sun warms up the day, my galoshes got a little toasty. Yesterday, my experienced co-worker showed me that weeding on your hands and knees, when the soil beneath you is damp and cool, is best done barefoot. So the last couple days I have been exposing my feet to the elements and it felt good.
Sometimes it's a wonderful feeling to know that there is nothing better than bare skin.
And lots of the time we're lucky to have shoes (not everyone does....) My flops these days are a mismatched pair (one lost, one broken, luckily they were of the opposite feet and voila!) I think that normally we are urged to throw these functional shoes out--but I'd like us all to re-think our aesthetic. Think about the most beautiful landscapes you can, and then think about the landfills. If we can use and REUSE our things as long as we possibly can, and REDUCE our consumption. And then RECYCLE them, then, and finally then as a very last, very admirable resort--we can all make a big difference --ourselves and especially together. I feel that we all recycle and it makes us feel good, as it should, but it doesn't outweigh the effects of our consumption and what we all really need to do is purchase fewer new goods--if you need something, maybe you already have it somewhere or you can borrow from a friend or, purchase it second hand--it's smart, builds relationships and saves money! Pretty wonderful stuff, right?

The moon is up there--and it's so bright for us
--we need do what we can to watch over all that it does in all the ways that we can.

Cool breezes are bringing the slightest hints of fall already and flower beds are changing too.
and this evening I spotted a chair, in the front yard under a tree, a shady spot to sit under a soft rustle.... or maybe a boost into a climbing tree. Either way, I love that this life was taken slow enough to indulge in enjoying a summer breeze ...up above in the branches or just below, toes in the grass.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More and more

There are sooo many raspberries--it's fantastic. They're seemingly never-ending. I can't stop eating them and find myself reaching forever for "just one more" while I fill my bowl. I wish you all bountiful raspberries in life.

Any excuse to swing by the raspberry patch (between tasks) for a quick handful as a reward for hard work is taken. Today, (as we do many days) we weeded, by hand, for several hours. My co-weeder calculated about 1200 feet, almost a quarter mile. The ensuing raspberries tasted extra sweet.
weeded we crawled through the herbs pulling the instrusive out--we spotted this guy in the parsley

I thought he was cute already, but my buddy showed me that if you nudge him, he rises up and grows antlers!
thank you Mr. Caterpillar for an amusing surprise during some tedious (though extremely necessary and "fun" in it's own right) times.

I looked the little green guy up after work and discovered that he will transform into a gorgeous swallowtail butterfly--he just keeps getting better.

More and more eggs are coming all the time and today I could hardly believe it, I witnessed a chicken lay. This morning there was just one egg in one of the nesting boxes and one chicken in another. I picked up the egg, looked over and out popped another! She must be experienced by now because it gave her no trouble at all. We will have about 24 eggs a day once they all are laying, but so far it's been a gradual climb. From 1 to 2, to 4, to 5 and then 6 and today--9! Almost a full carton --they're getting pretty good at this. Breakfasts and baking just got semi-urgent--I've got to keep up!

A great start to the week after another super weekend with wonderful wonderful friends. I even got to ride my bike around, which you can tell below, what with the growth, I don't get nearly much at all on the farm.
Welcome new week--show us all the good stuff you've got.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

seeing Silver

Today we delivered the shares to our members. It takes most of the day, and you would think that sitting in a truck would be a welcome break from farm labor, but I find it more tiring and less invigorating. There is a fantastic silver lining however, --I can knit for a good 3-4 hours, which is lovely and really helping me get some very special projects done for some very special someones. In fact I just finished the frill shorts (ruffle-butt shorts is my preferred name) from this post--photos coming soon.

Speaking of silver linings.... look at how beautiful kale becomes under water. After we harvest we wash all of our produce and kale has to be the prettiest wet--it just shines.
We also wash all the boxes prior to packing them--that's a lot of boxes
Meeting some of our members on the route is always fantastic. I love how excited children get about the box of veggies and how happy it makes their parents. And how they share that excitement and add to it with education about food and farming. Food is so important in families. Of course we need it to survive, but also it's how we nourish each other. We feed each other to share an experience, to make each other well, to enjoy time together. Whether it is around a table, in the grass, in an ice cream shop--it's a wonderful thing to eat and enjoy and really appreciate food and those we get share it with. I was lucky enough tonight to dine with two wonderful amazing friends that stopped by for a visit. Soooo lucky.

Post deliveries, back at the farm I got to hang out with chickens a bit, who I think are still becoming ever friendlier. (I think it is a cue for more chicken knitting...)