What’s been going on!
The last sojourns of the winter are now done and we are home to concentrate on the spring farming season. That little blast of spring we just had in January is now gone and real winter temperatures are now upon us.
I had a another great trip to far west Texas to walk around the desert in Big Bend National Park and this time it didn’t snow here, leaving Betsy to clean off the tunnels by herself, like last year, I still owe her big time for that one. This last weekend we went to Tennessee for our annual Southern Foodways Alliance event and gathering of the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs. It was an enjoyable time visiting with friends and learning new things including an interesting talk from Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurants in NY.
Yesterday we were back at it taking advantage of the last of the warm weather, planting the fifth of the six tunnels to more lettuce and turnips. One more tunnel to go and then we are out to the open field with the earliest outdoor plantings. I can say that I was a bit stiff this morning. The early spring plantings and prep has always been hard on the body but at 63 it is a whole other kind of thing, just got to keep moving.
Pictures of the week
One of the many cool things I found in the desert
The last rays of the day on Lettuce for February
What’s going to be at Market? Continue reading
Happy first day of Spring and Easter! Alright so once again the winter has zipped by and I have managed to be so busy that I didn’t get one newsletter out. I would have to say that this has been one of the most densely packed winters we’ve ever had but we did get a lot done and find some time to have fun too. Dominated by the construction on the house, which has occupied most of my brain power since October, and punctuated by trips away to conferences, before we knew it, it was time to start planting again. People always ask who do we get to do the construction work and then look quizzical when I say we do all the work. We did hire a mason to do the foundation and to build us a fireplace and an electrician to make sure we don’t burn the house down but everything else we do ourselves. It takes a bit longer sometimes but the end product is exactly what we want and Betsy is an excellent assistant. The whole project has turned out great and is “almost” done. Some entrance steps and a few other outdoor things remain but I hope to have them done in the next week or two. The funny part is we keep asking ourselves “who’s house is this?”
There were too many conferences and farm related meetings away from the farm this winter and I will have to have a word with my agent about over booking. We try to schedule just one a month but sometimes things pop up after we have committed to another group and we just can’t say no. The highlights for us are the new and interesting people we meet who are changing the face of food and farming. Our own “home” conference of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association was a good starter along with the 1200 attendees at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s conference in Kentucky. As always I had fun at the Georgia Organics conference a group I have worked with for many years now, it is pleasing to see it grow from a group of 20 or 30 to over 600 this year. The most unusual meeting and highest honor for us was to be inducted as fellows in the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs. An offshoot of the Southern Foodways Alliance, this new group brings together those folks, from across the south, who have been working for a long time in food and farming for a weekend to be able to share ideas and experiences. Betsy and I are still trying to figure out exactly how it all works but it is certainly an interesting group of people.
On the farm things are moving a pace. The greenhouse is full of transplants, believe it or not, we seeded peppers yesterday. Almost all of the lettuce is planted in the field now as are the onions and most of the spring vegetables. The peas are up and look better than last years poor stand. The little sliding tunnels are full with early greens and flowers and today we will slide the last three so we can plant the earliest tomatoes and melons in the next week or two. We are thankful for the rains we have gotten in the last month but we still need more. One pond is full but the other one still is six feet down. We will begin to fill it from the creek (which only started to flow again on New Years eve) in the next few weeks. To be honest we are still very worried about whether there will be enough water for this season, we are planting like there will be but know that if the drought persists we will have to make decisions about what to water and what to let go. The staff started this week and so now we really know that the winter is over! No more late mornings with another cup of coffee, no more random unscheduled days, every week is full with a plan now. Welcome to our 27th growing season!
Pictures of the Week
The finished livingroom and incredible anemones