And so here I am, hoping that a monster named loses its might. I sit wrangling an essay from my fingers through sheer force of will, hoping that by doing something that I’ve been putting off for a month will open the floodgates of usefulness and productivity.Read More
Well, my favorite month is here, and not just because it brings my birthday! September means crisper days and cooler nights, the return of jeans, sweaters, and even wool socks. September means apples, campfires, and the return of roasting weather! Pretty soon, I’ll be able to turn the oven on without dooming myself to a stifling house! On the farm front, we’ve just finished up seeding the last of the fall greens - direct-seeded spinach and arugula, plus the last round of transplanted lettuce. We’re starting to talk about the fall plan to transition the hoop house from tropical tomato heaven to a stash of slowly growing greens for the middle of the winter. We still have a few weeks worth of tomatoes in the hoop house, but we have to make sure the greens get a good start before the winter cold slows their growth altogether. We also harvested some carrots this week, which was more exciting than it should have been. Our spring carrot crop was engulfed in weeds, so we harvested for only a few weeks before we had to mow and till in the weeds. So right now we’re harvesting the first good crop of carrots this year, with two other seedings following behind. The middle seeding needs to be “saved” from weeds, but the last seeding is currently clean. Carrots are tricky, because they take cannot be transplanted and take quite a long time to germinate. That means that weeds have a head start, because they are usually fast to germinate, quick to grow, and set seeds before you even realize they’re there. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. It always strikes me as odd that some of the crops that are the hardest to grow under weed pressure, like carrots and onions, are usually some of the cheapest to buy conventionally in the supermarket. If you priced your carrots reflecting the amount of work it took to get them all the way to market, people would look at you like you had a carrot for a head. There are, of course, always ways to improve your systems, but that assumes you’ll have the time to devote to weeding right when the weeds demand it. These are the things I think about!
If anyone is wondering how my new adventures in babysitting are going, I’m not really going to dwell on that job too much on the blog - minors, privacy, etc. I’ll just say that things are settling down in the house, and I’m sure we’ll be falling into a rhythm as the school year and the fall progress. I’m constantly reminded of things I’d forgotten about being a teenager, and suddenly the last ten years seems like an eternity. I don’t think about my current self and my 17-year-old self as too dissimilar, but from this vantage point, the gulf seems very wide indeed. This year will be an adventure, one way or another, and in the meantime, you can picture me driving a motley crew of kids around in a minivan, lamenting their long showers, and buying ungodly amounts of bananas, peanut butter, and orange juice.
Thinking about: cycles, language barriers, timing
Eating: homemade tomato sauces all over everything, roots roots roots
Reading: Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, Ron Macher’s Making Your Small Farm Profitable
This week on the farm found me recovering from last week’s farm feast, moving into a new house, preparing for a new job, and driving to and from the Twin Cities to celebrate the marriage of a good friend from college. It was great to see some great friends I haven’t seen in a long time (plus some I’d seen quite recently), and the wedding was the classiest wedding I’ve ever been to. From the dress to the drinks to the venue to the swing band, every detail was simple and perfectly reflective of the happy couple. I didn’t get to spend too much time poking around Minneapolis, nor did I have the energy to make it to the State Fair, but what I did get a chance to see while riding a rented bike around on Sunday morning made me want to come back to keep exploring. As for the international students, more on that next week, and in the meantime, I’m about to send them off on their first day of school!
Thinking about: first impressions, second first impressions, culture shock
Eating: leftover roast pork, delicious wedding food
Reading: Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things
This week’s post is another tale of survival, which I expect must be getting old by now. We had our Farm Feast this weekend, which meant that added to our weekly mix of markets, harvest, weeding, and general chaos was a special mix of anxiety, preparation, and finally, adrenaline. We started cooking on Thursday, chopping and dicing and slicing. All day Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent preparing for the event, and when people actually started to arrive, I was almost too tired to enjoy the night as much as I should have. All of the hard stuff was over, and all I had to do was smile and make sure everything was running smoothly. Mostly, it did just that. Dinner started a little later than planned because everyone seemed to be having a good time on the hayrides and in conversation over drinks and appetizers, so by the time the last few tables were finishing up it was getting quite dark. But we had enough food and enough seats for everybody, nobody was stung by our bees, the horses cooperated, the children (mostly) cooperated, the weather cooperated, and everyone seemed to have a great time and really enjoy the food. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I think people would have paid double for the experience. Maybe with a similar amount of work, we could make it an actual fundraiser in the future, if that’s something Mat and Danielle are considering.
So with the successful completion of the farm feast, I only have one week left in the crazy whirlwind month that has been August. Judging by my Facebook feed, this seems to be a very popular time to move. I helped two friends with some very heavy hobbies move up some stairs today, and I’m also moving this Tuesday, though my continued vagabond existence means that I don’t have more than a carload of stuff to cart over. My international charges arrive on Saturday, which just happens to also be the day that a very good friend and former roommate is getting married in the Twin Cities, so I won’t be around for their first day in the States. But in the meantime, I have to get myself moved, the house prepared, the kitchen stocked, meet the teachers, see off a friend, and get myself to and from Minneapolis. I still have all of my farm duties this week, but after a few crazy weeks I’ve earned a bit of leeway, and I should be able to work around it. Even though I’ll be starting a new job and be pulling double duty, I think September might be a little easier than August has been. (Also, maybe the ragweed with stop blooming at some point.)
Thinking about: lifting with the legs, time management, accumulation
Eating: see farm feast menu picture
Reading: Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, Mildred Armstrong Kalish’s Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression