Our control over life is very limited. Much of our “suffering” is attempting control events over which we have no authority. I am thinking now of rain and snow and weeds and garden pests for starters! Also, the deer which eat my azaleas, the turkeys who mess up my front stoop, the chipmunks that LOVE to eat our strawberries . . . I could go on and on! As we go into the New Year, we are attempting to relinquish our need to control. We are attempting to accept reality as it is in this very moment and to see our inter-connectedness with the Earth and the Universe. We will try to maintain this mindfulness as we garden throughout the 2019 Harvest Season! I am an Eternal Optimist. Here’s to a bountiful season ahead as weather-delayed cleanup of the past season continues.
We did have a very Merry Christmas celebration here in Western North Carolina and trust the same is true for all of our friends and CSA Members–past and present.
December was a busy month. I traveled to my Family Farm of Origin in The Land of Big Tractors to visit my parents, extended family, and community friends while Robert stayed behind to clean up the 2018 Gardens. Robert worked hard during the weather appropriate days. Unfortunately, we had enough moisture to water log the fields and he was not able to complete the task. Last night and today, we received well over five inches of additional rainfall on saturated grounds. The result is the most extensive flooding we have ever witnessed on our property and additional clean up work.
Yes, those are whitecaps in the field!
It will soon be 2019! I have already cleaned up the greenhouse so that it is ready and waiting for us to start seeds in late February. There is a lot to be said for a glass protected working environment.
Our first wish for the New Year is that some dry weather and sunshine will come to WNC. We are so glad the temperature was warm so we did not get more snow. Those fourteen inches of snow we got in early December were enough for the season! We wish a Happy New Year to one and all.
We are into the final days of the 2018 CSA Season. It has been quite a year. Robert and I thank you for your participation in our small, family farm CSA.
If you have stashed the white or russet potatoes and not looked at them in a while, you will find they are sprouting. This is because we do not spray any chemicals on our potatoes to keep them from growing. I recommend removing the sprouts off when you see them. Otherwise eventually, the sprouts will drain the potato of all moisture and leave it a wrinkly, rubbery mass.
Speaking of potatoes, Nat King Cole sings “the world is my sweet potato pie” which is a dish to keep in mind if you think you have more sweet potatoes than you can eat!
The last of the CSA Boxes are going out soon. Look for a variety of winter squash and sweet potatoes when the last of the eggplant and bell peppers are gone. If you still have some eggplant and peppers in the refrigerator and are confused by the small sizes, consider making a ratatouille with them where size does not matter—only flavor!
The garden clean up continues. Fingers crossed that all of the work will be done by Christmas this year! Robert is spending long hours still in the garden. One evening he snapped this photo as the sun was setting in the west.
And we simply could not resist turning the “sunset over the garden” photo upside down to display the quite distinct cross in the sky above the garden. Our harvests were protected all season long!
Robert is working on the fall garden clean up. He is able to get a jump start on this chore this year because as our CSA Members know many of our fall crops are practically non-existent in 2018. Every piece of fabric, every stake, every fabric staple, every inch of drip irrigation tape must be removed from the field during cleanup. And yes, excluding the starting of seeds and plants in the greenhouse, it takes as long to close down production as it did to start up production. In other words, the fun is not over yet–the beat goes on! We are watching the hurricanes and their associated rainfall carefully. This is one factor which can extend this job into January or beyond whereas normally all work can be accomplished by Christmas.
Birds (especially crows) quickly learn human patterns. They will wait for people to leave before descending from the trees into the garden. Our smart crows actually know where our house is location in relation to the fields. When Robert is in the garden, some of them will sit in the trees at the house and harass me with their caw-caw-cawing. I think now they are upset now by the limited number of veggies available! The minute Robert leaves the field the crows swoop into the gardens to peck at our dear vegetables. When they see the truck leave the house and drive back into the field, they ascend to the surrounding tree tops with a few sentinels coming up to the house to try and intimidate me! Working with nature is challenging to say the least.
This is the “high spot” in the field and where the remaining eggplant and peppers are still growing. I still have not sent out those closing emails–perhaps in another week? The end is nearing.
Fall has arrived with barely a change in temperatures! I am sure it is confusing for the birds and animals who do not have a calendar to tell them that “fall” is here. I have been seeing and hearing the geese fly over the house in their “V” formation. They go back and forth and then back and forth again the next day. They land on the pond with a graceful flutter which I have witnessed. When I see them flying over, I feel that is where they are going again on a “trial run” and to bathe. Perhaps they are just conditioning themselves for their long flight to the south?
We are into the month of October and in this 2018 Harvest Season, we plan to end the veggie deliveries and pickups on October 31. If you are a CSA Member who has paid in advance through the month of November, we will have boxes for you during November on your usual schedule. However, we will be gradually closing down the majority of the CSA as the month progresses. No one has yet to receive an email saying that the CSA Boxes are ending. Rest assured I will email each CSA Member directly and ask for a reply so “we know that you know.”
In October look for a variety of winter squashes. All are tasty! If you want to use them for fall decorations, that is your choice! We have some potatoes, sweet bell peppers and a few eggplant which are still growing on the “high side” of the garden.
This has been a year! We are blessed to have the gifts we have received from the gardens! The time for hot soup and hunkering down will be here before we know it.
Late last evening Robert and I were in the gardens looking around to see what would be available for the boxes this week. There may be a few eggplant, but they really are not doing well this season. The peppers look good and we trust they will continue to get enough sunshine to sweeten them and not be overcome by tropical storm rains! We trust you are enjoying your tomatoes. They were late this season, but the late tomatoes are always the sweetest ones!
As we were looking about, I got to see the doe with the twin babies. Then a third fawn made an appearance! For a moment we thought there were triplets, but then saw a second doe lingering on the sidelines. Thrilling for me! Robert gets to see these creatures on a regular basis as he spends decidedly more time than I in the gardens. Also, the wildlife is accustomed to seeing his truck in the fields and are not frightened by it like they are of my car. When they see me, they go into “Stranger! Danger!!” mode. This photo was taken from some distance; but f you look closely, I think you can see four of the deer –one doe and three fawns.
In the boxes this week expect some more (admittedly ugly) potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet bell peppers. Possibly there will be a cucumber and a few eggplant. We will have a variety of winter squash over the next few weeks: spaghetti, carousel, acorn, delicata, buttercup, and a few of the dusty green type. The winter squash did not have the opportunity to harden as we would have liked–weather patterns. But the bugs are starting to eat them, so this is as good as it gets for the season and our signal to get them into shelter!
Robert has been mowing around the gardens in an attempt to eliminate some of the weeds which have taken over. He leaves the pretty yellow-flower weeds, however, as the local bees seem to like them and not much else is blooming this time of the year.
Those members who have been with us for fifteen years–or any amount of time–know there are good years and bad years in farming. Even the potatoes have been challenged in 2018. I just posted a short story about potatoes which I trust all will find amusing. All in all, we are happy enough with what we have been able to provide in this trying season. Thank you for your continued support AND for bringing back those empty CSA Boxes!!