Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last Stretch of the Race

These last two days have been warm, unlike the crisp mornings of last week. The equinox passed on Tuesday, thus it is officially Fall. With only four more CSA deliveries left for this year, I have been reviewing the stats. Most farmers will do this kind of quality control.

Vexation of the spirit and mind is not uncommon to anyone farming. I believe that relinquishing control of the weather and sickness automatically creates havoc. Stomping at the sky does not bring a remedy any better than pleading with the doctor. This season has had its share of internal stomping and pleading.

This past five days I have had fever and an infection. Call it your basic dishrag/feel like crap malaise that prevents any sort of productive work. Not good. There will be no harvest tomorrow. That is vexation.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Aaron's Cheezin It Up

Azim grills scrumptious shish-kabobs to order. He also eats my super hot peppers like apples, don't understand how he does it. Aaron is only to happy to chat it up .
Ah, poor Shawn, Aaron keeps him busy even during a break. Shawn will make a great dad someday as he is so patient.
Shawn's helper Steve is also very kind and patient.
Jack and his wife are always favorite visitors to our stand.
Aaron loves market cause there's so many great vendors to schmooze with! Here are the couple from Souix City Soap who make the best, best smelling soap.
And here is Azim's wife Atmela. They have a roasted eggplant salad that is addictive, plus a large selection of Mediterranean food.

Swarthmore Farmer's Market is pretty comfy-we like it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Second Half

I used to play in this barn with the calves.
The second half of the trip was the emotional opposite. I have longed for YEARS to see my early childhood homestead. I dreamed of someday buying back my grandparent's farm. What a horrible disappointment to find my dream in ruins. This is the back of the barn.
Here is a view of the lane, from the house. We used to walk down this lane to get the mail, which at that time was simply addressed RD#2. That stands for Rural Delivery route #2. Folks did not have addresses and farms were known only by who lived there or a local landmark.
The barn is in very bad shape. The barnyard is loaded with every sort of junk and trash from the last 40 years.
Across from the barn stands the milkhouse. My sandbox was between this tree and the milkhouse. There used to be a beautiful white farm fence around the yard. Our family garden was behind where the swingset sits. There is someone living in the house but were not home at the time. They too have their garden in the same spot.

This is the side of the big farmhouse. We rarely used the front door which faces the road and fields. My grandparents lived upstairs and we lived downstairs. I played on these steps. One time I got a bee sting and I remember sitting on the stairs and my dad made a mud pack to put on the bee sting.
The formerly glorious front entrance. So sad. When you entered, a lovely winding staircase was in the hall.

This was a hard day. After seeing this I drove a few miles down the road to my uncle's farm. His was one of the most prestigious farms in Cumberland County. It too was sold to an absentee landlord, and now sits deteriorating. If only both these farms had been kept working farms none of this would have happened. Interestingly the fields on both farms are rented out for commodity crops.

A Special Day

Shawn's neighbor and friend, (everybody knows everybody in Biglerville!) raises Elk for meat.
Shawn is one of Aaron's favorite people. His friend Steve, whose family also has an orchard, comes to help Shawn at market on Saturdays. It truly made Aaron's day to go out for lunch at a local pizza parlor.

Yesterday I took a little road trip with two objectives: visit Beechwood Orchards and my early childhood farm. The first is a gorgeous multi-generation orchard run by our friend Shawn and his family. He sells luscious stone fruits, berries of all types, flavorful heirloom and modern apples, and of course spicy cider beside us at the Swarthmore market. Topography distinguishes Adams county! Steep green hills, covered with orchards, create a living quilt of geometric lines, blocks and dots. It spites me that I did not take a panoramic pic, guess I was too mesmerized by the view.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Few Crop Pics

African Marigolds from Seeds Of Change. I love these large 4' plants.
Last of the toms due to blight.
Twinkle eggplant
Looooong Italian Pole beans-one of the best tasting, succulent beans I have ever eaten, YUM. This variety is from Seeds Of Change. Lots of Mexican Bean Beetle damage on leaves.
Okra pod right below the flower. I think this one is Jade.
Satsuki Madori cuke grows long. These did not get tied on time!! They should be trellised.
Ah, here is a little Reba squash. We are hoping to beat frost-a real longshot.
Butterflies are visiting the garden daily, in rather large numbers. I don't know if they are sensing Autumn or exactly what is responsible for the increase. Other guests are toads, snakes, baby bunnies, all sorts of bees and flying insects, deer, fox, Bluebirds, Martins, Goldfinches and other assorted critters.
French Tarragon
Now before you get grossed out-that is not a body part. It is a Kombucha "mushroom", which is not a mushroom at all but a culture, similar to a vinegar "mother". I have been brewing and fermenting my own delicious Kombucha. The store bought stuff is very very expensive. This batch has another 4 days till it is ready to drink.
Last week I used some veggies that were part of the CSA share to make a scrumptious dinner. Here we have fresh cut corn, sweet and hot peppers, okra, onions, garlic, tomatoes and chicken.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Late Blight Is Here

The dreaded Late Blight striking all over the Northeast has arrived on our tomatoes. Very bad news. Every plant will be ripped out and put in trash bags (we can't burn them, which is recommended). They must not be added to the compost pile as it will spread the infection. LB is highly contagious.