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!”
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.
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.
It is snowing. I love watching the big flakes swirl and dance in the air and like a glittery powder cover the puffy pine trees and line the bare branches of the giant oaks around the house. It is beautiful for sure. And sitting by a warm fire, sipping hot tea, gazing out the window, I can say I love winter. But it is also harboring a sense of isolation as the below zero temperatures stifle my sense of adventure and activity…
I started helping out at a neighbor’s horse ranch and there are a couple of unsocialized stud colts I want to work with. But as the only space available is the outdoor round pen, my enthusiasm to spend time with the colts takes the back seat to my desire to stay warm and comfy and dry indoors.
I am longing for milder temperaturs and brighter sunlight to lift my spirits, and for the energy to rise up and take on the world. Luckily the forecast for next week promises milder weather.
May all your dreams and wishes be fulfilled and your resolutions successful.
My resolution is simply to love and appreciate myself and everyone and everything around me a little more today than yesterday, and a little more tomorrow than today… And to live life full of wonder and joy.
Dig a little deeper to have more fun and don’t be afraid to let it show 🙂
Christmas eve. I am sitting here in an empty house… Just my animals and I. No fancy dinner with lots of people. No laughter, excited voices, clinking glasses, christmas carols and no blinking lights and tinseled christmas tree… No embarrassing family stories, no presents, no regrets.
It may seem sad, to have none of the typical definitions we so readily attribute to the holidays. And yet, all the commercially created festivity aside, in the stillness I am content and I remember the true origin of Christmas.
The birth of Jesus. He had no fancy dinner and no festive christmas decorations. Born in a simple barn with only the animals and his parents sharing a moment of quiet celebration and appreciation.
To me there is no place more perfect to celebrate Christmas and the true gift of love and life and the power of truth within me than the quiet of a manger surrounded only by animals and the presence of spirit. What a blessing to be living on a farm, here and now, and to enjoy a time of solitude and reflection in this still and peaceful winter landscape.