Saturday, July 23, 2016

ewww

As a farmer, it happens. What we grow: livestock, vegetables and even flowers. People can't help the immediate and eye popping response to something we offer.

"Ewww" they will exclaim, and then apologize. So quick is their response to something that triggers an old memory, a faded thought that instantly becomes front of brain and out of the mouth before realizing it is happening.

This week? It's eggplants. The plants I started from seed and nurtured over heat pads, under lights, checking on them several times daily to make certain the seedlings were not too dry or too wet. Eggplants, along with peppers and tomatoes, are coddled here on the farm. When deemed large enough they are planted into beds rich in compost, double dug, drip tape around them, safely in the protection of the hoophouse. Temperatures are monitored daily for weeks, opening and closing doors and cranks, making certain that it's not too hot or cold. Monitoring of the soil to run our well water through it to be certain and supply the needed moisture. Slowly the plant grows. Eventually flowers emerge, bees and others jump in and pollinate them, and an eggplant develops. We watch daily: is it ready to pull? Is tomorrow better?


So much pride! So many months of watching, watering, encouraging, transplanting, weeding, whispering sweet nothings.

And then: "ewww" followed quickly with "I'm sorry". Months of work result in a memory trigger for some poor, unsuspecting soul who approaches our table at market. It's true, there was no warning. We have not had them here before this week. And yes, your awful memory of some awful concoction forced on you sometime in the past just bubbled up beyond your control.

"I hate eggplant". It's said. The words uttered so the farmer hears. 6 months of time, thought, preoccupation with the plant and it's well-being. Boom. "Ewww".

I'll ask how it's been prepared. Did they cook it themselves or did someone they not like serve it to them. I'll ask about varieties, explain how we grow, that ours are open pollinated and grown in our beautiful soil, never allowed to dry out, and that many ways to prepare are wonderful.

And people try them. Grilled. Pan fried. Ratatouille. Parmesan. With basil. Baba ghanoush. Quick cooked with beans or chickpeas.


"It's bitter" "it's so much work to peel and salt" "I don't have enough time".

Encouraged to try the simple methods, they return. Emboldened. "It was easy!" "It was delicious!"

Just slice, quick cook and eat. We've had it the last few days and wow, want more. Even the simplest preparations make me so happy! So good. Satisfying. Served along with our quick chicken braised in a cast iron skillet and pasta made with just whipped up pesto from basil we also grew. No photos of finished dishes because at this time of year we are ravenous when meal time is here and all disappears quickly. Ah yes. Life and dinner is excellent.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ahhh

This weekend dire temperature predictions are screaming at us.

We have been on the run getting weeding, mowing and straightening up done. Drip tape is all in good repair so every flower and vegetable plant can be watered with little evaporation. Livestock will be checked several times daily to make certain water sources are full and functional.

And for the farmers? The system that sprays a fine mist over head has been installed and is operational.


Anna was happy to take the inaugural test run.

This system will only be up for 5-6 weeks. And used multiple times by many people each day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

old school trimming

These days it is all hands on deck early. The heat and humidity set in as the progresses, making it uncomfortable to work. Start time shifts to 7am these days!

In our cut flower beds we built walkways that fit our mower. Last summer we were gifted a piece of equipment that can cut through our thick pasture growth, and lay it down right in the aisles. A mower that blows the cuttings onto the growing flowers leaves a mess, so this mower is perfect for our farmer. Homer can pull it with his truck, so it works out perfectly.

This method leaves a few areas that need trimmed. A substantial string trimmer (we traded a Thanksgiving turkey for it years ago) has been used to clean up the edges. But the engine froze up, and even Homer can't fix it.

So it's back to old school methods of trimming.


We sharpen the blade and run it along the edge of the planting beds. 
And it's ok to still forgo that gym membership!


It's good to have backup that just needs blade sharpening. The quiet work is lovely, the flower harvest is abundant, and the couple hours of sweating is good for the farmer.


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