Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall is here!

Wow, September is flying by. I haven't had the chance to put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard in a few weeks, and there is so much to share. I will give a quick recap of the past few weeks.

Labor Day we harvested all our winter squash. Our pumpkins were deep orange globes of various sizes, our acorns were dark green, delicatas were yellow with faint orange striations, and the hubbards were big and bluish gray. A real feast for the eyes. Visions of soups, pies, and roasted vegetable dishes danced in my head. All the harvested squash was put out on tables in the greenhouse to cure them (so they can store longer.) The field looked bereft with them gone and I felt a twinge of sadness knowing the season was coming to the end. (I will try not to go Wendell Barry on you.) Our CSA members quickly noticed their absence and panicked that they might have missed the distribution of them. We reassured them that there were plenty of squash (it was a great year) and they would be seeing them again shortly.

When I think of Fall foods I picture squash, pumpkins, cabbage, potatoes, beets and of course, turkey. The new hierarchy on the farm (of animals that I love the most) is now goats, pigs, turkeys, cows, sheep, chickens, then lastly, rabbits.

I love our heritage turkeys, Bourbon Reds. They have been a source of entertainment for the three to four weeks they were in the apple orchard near the garden. Their funny little gobbles, the way the Toms puffed up their feathers to make them look like the turkey you see on Thanksgiving decorations, and best of all their love of raspberries.

One day while picking raspberries I decided to throw some of the rotten ones over to see if the Turkeys would eat them. The result was four or five turkeys would chase after the one raspberry. So I started throwing a few more and they all started running around after them, sometimes even fighting over one. Every couple of days I would throw them some raspberries and they started to get used to it, so much so they would call out when one of us was near by, probably in hopes we would throw some more raspberries. The best way to describe how the turkeys react to raspberries is to imagine a bride throwing her bouquet to a crowd of single
30- somethings..that's pretty much what it looks like, minus the hair pulling.

The first week of September we were racing to make soil amendments and put down our cover crops. We had a few thousand pounds of rock dust to put down (using only a Bob Cat and four shovels) which is full of minerals. After the rock dust we then sowed field peas and oats wherever the soil was bare and under-sowed some of our current crops. This cover crop will be left over winter (it will actually be killed by a hard frost but will leave a nice layer of green-matter preventing soil erosion and put nutrients back into the soil.)

Last week I was away on vacation, enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor for a change, though the vegetables paled in comparison to ours.

This week the pace has slowed down remarkably. All of sudden weeding takes two hours instead of 8, and tomato picking takes 30 minutes instead of 2hrs. The temperature is pleasant and they days are sunny with blue skies. I can't think of a better time to be outside then right now.

The winding down of the season reminds me of when I finished the marathon last year; While you're running it you think, "wow, this is kind of intense" but you grit your teeth and pull through it. Two days later you think, that wasn't so bad after all, and a week later all you can remember is the feeling of accomplishment and the memories of pain and discomfort disappear.

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