My very own Snapdragons and Sweet Peas. Deliciously colorful and fragrant.
There is nothing better than farm fresh. Here is such a good meal in one “small” batch… Just add chicken breast or bacon or trout… Yum.
I love raising colorful food. And flowers. And this year I have a thing for purple… From purple peppers to purple poppy, things are just looking gorgeous. Hmm… Wonder if there are chickens that lay purple eggs 😉
There is nothing as gratifying as a bowl of beautiful food. A work of art created in collaboration with mother nature.
Running my CSA by myself, without hired help, has its challenges and rewards alike. Some tasks seem daunting, like planting countless flats of seedlings by hand, trellising 250 tomato plants in a hot hoophouse, or pulling weeds out of rows and rows of lettuce, spinach, carrots and so on.
But the rewards are plenty. There is the quietude and serenity of my communion with nature. No noisy tractors or machinery to disturb the harmony of birds singing along with the breeze playing in the trees and grasses all around me.
And of course there is the deliciousness of picking the fresh, plump squash, huge buttery lettuces, colorful duck egg sized radishes and bunches of lush and crunchy baby spinach… Handsful of green and purple beans, clusters of ripe and juicy tomatoes, aromatic bulbs of fennel… Beautiful food. Fresh, organic, home grown, bursting with flavor and love…
I am proud to say: “Yes, I grow this!”
I know it has been a while and I am sure my members are all eagerly anticipating their goodie bags.
I have been busy tilling and transplanting and weeding and deer proofing (who knew deer went into hoophouses to munch on lettuce,) and irrigating… and more planting and transplanting and mowing and tilling.. 😉 And with the recent stretch of hot and sunny weather things are finally taking off and growing wonderfully.
I am planning my first delivery for the 15th. There will be boc choi, lettuce, rhubarb and herb pots (basil, chives, rosemary, cilantro, parsley)… And possibly garlic scapes if they keep growing as they have been.
I am excited to be starting deliveries, knowing folks get to enjoy the fresh and yummy goods I so enjoy growing!
Here’s to summer!
Although I have a few less members for my first season than I had hoped and needed in order to hire help, I am enjoying the fact that I can actually skip using the tractor for a lot of the planting and just crawl along the rows on my hands and knees and plant my kale, broccoli, onions, cabbage, squash, beans, celery…(the list goes on…) by hand. Yes it takes much longer, and is much more taxing than with two people riding on the transplanter. But it is also enjoyably quiet and peaceful.
Today we rushed and with Kate driving the tractor and myself on the transplanter, we got in several rows of potatoes and sweet corn before lunch, and then, just in time before the storm hit, got the summer sqash in the ground. The first raindrops fell as we put the tractor in the shed and the tools tucked away. And then it poured. Thank heavens. Because the poor fresh transplants that went in the ground over the past two days looked pretty pathetic sticking out of the hot, dry soil.
With a lot more rain expected the next couple of days, I am quite grateful for the break from kneeling on the dry hard soil, shopping, relaxing and regrouping, and turning my focus to the hoophouses.
There is spring in the air and great progress in the greenhouse! As in nature, where the first wild flowers are adding spots of color to the greener and greener surroundings. To my delight I spotted a large patch of violets happily abloom along the driveway! And in the greenhouse, another batch of seeds I feared lost is finally poking its needlepoint-tiny buds through the soil.
Despite early hiccups with that batch of bad soil that fried my first big set of seeds and set me back about three weeks, things are now growing nicely and rapidly and we are moving right along. Luckily there is a wonderful community of farmers working together and trading seeds, seedlings, and advice is the name of the game.
The first phase of deer fence is up around the garden, next comes the netting to keep those smarty-nosed dears from just walking right through the lines… But I will leave that tedious task for a dry and more pleasant day.
A new bigger hoophouse is going up, replacing the small “pepper shack”… This one is literally twice the size and with double siding offers opportunity for an extended season… Aaaah the possibilities.
I love this place…
The weather continues to get warmer, birds are singing and building their nests, and our greenhouse is filling up fast as we plant our carefully selected seeds and watch as tray after tray sports happily sprouting seedlings.
Hoophouses are prepared for planting carrots, beets and green beans in a few days… A new deer fence is going up around the garden, and we are getting ready to fire up the tractors and spread that compost,
Rural areas have plenty of them. In fact, many farms have large colonies of 30 or 40 or more… Barn cats. Feral cats, mostly. Some fairly friendly and curious.
Every farm I have visited is feeding their cats and cares about them greatly. But because it is costly, farmers just cannot keep up with their vaccinations or, most importantly, getting them all spayed and neutered.
Sadly, any healthy and happy barn cat population can be decimated in a blink of an eye by only one visit of a passing stray tom that brings in diseases such as feline rhinotracheitis (upper respiratory or pulminary infection), FIV, or feline leukemia which are easily spread by sharing water and food sources. Once infected, treatment, if at all possible, is costly and difficult. The only way to eliminate the virus from the farm is to put down every last cat.
Recently a neighbor’s barn cats have started sneezing and getting runny eyes. A sure sign of rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus. I am trying to help catch the sickest so they can get antibiotic shots, and giving L-Lysine in treats and liquid form to build their immune systems and recover.
I am also researching possible forms of antibiotics or other treatments that can be administered in food to reach all the kitties.
Having been involved in animal rescue for a good 20 years in Los Angeles, I feel quite strongly about caring for all animals, even those who are not snuggly and friendly, or in farmer’s terms, useful. They do rely on us.
Together with a friend, and hopefully the support of our local vets, I am working on creating a program to fund and host annual spay/neuter and vaccine clinics, and to make medications and treatment for sick barn cats available and affordable.
Wish us luck, I will keep you all posted on our progress. If you have ideas, connections, or time and energy to help us with this project, please contact me! All support is appreciated.
Membership registrations are steadily rolling in and I am checking off seed and supply orders, planning planting schedules and labor needs, and thinking about the farm days/festivals for the season. Ideas are flooding my mind and have me smiling in anticipation of all the amazing things to come this spring and summer. And they are coming soon, really… In just a few weeks I will be planting the first seeds. Wheee… I am excited.:)