Saturday, May 31, 2008

finally some rain

It was the first Saturday CSA distribution & things went smoothly.  I met so many of our members, but I'm not sure I'll remember all the names!  Everyone went home with loads of spinach, lettuce, arugula, radishes, & turnips.  I can't wait to get to know everyone throughout the summer--- it is so satisfying to smile & shake hands with the people who are directly going to ingest the fruits of your labor.  

It was also a bit strange to see the place from the consumer perspective.  We put our bins of veggies out, re-stocking them throughout the morning, and it looks a little like a grocery store.  Here there are fresh, succulent leaves of spinach, and shiny red bunches of radishes.  I've actually never seen anything so fresh in any supermarket.  But watching a hundred people place these veggies into plastic bags, and carry them to their cars in canvas or paper bags, was something else.  

I've seen those groceries at their seed stage, coming out of white paper packets from Johnny's.  I've pulled a rusty hoe next to rows of tiny seedlings, my gloved fingers have massaged the dry earth around the little spinach plants, my sore back has lifted and placed frost-cloth over them.  And then my freshly sharpened knife and I have plucked these leaves from an inch above the ground, to dunk, dry, lift, and carry them to the table.  I am a "producer" of food-- but food produces itself, I just help it along.  It's quite a miracle, actually.  And I love to be part of it all.  Of course all the folks eating the spinach are part of it as well.  I wouldn't have a job if it weren't for their support (the "CS" in "CSA")... and their gratitude & feedback is what keeps me going when my back starts hurting & I think about maybe a nice air-conditioned office somewhere...   but food!  We all love food.

This is what rye looks like when it "goes to seed"... everything's been growing faster than we can mow it down.  But it's quite beautiful, all this lush spring green.
This is what vetch looks like in flower.  

And I planted the rest of the 3 Sisters Garden!   Hopi Blue Corn, from greenhouse starts, and also some direct-seed corn.  In the corners I planted Mammoth Sunflowers.  Around the bottom edge I will plant broom corn in a few days when it's ready in the greenhouse.  I also planted some Amaranth, which makes these beautiful tall magenta flowers, as well as an edible grain.  There will also be some other varieties of tall sunflowers.  All of these plants will form the first "sister"... the one that stands "tall and proud" and will form a living trellis structure for the beans to grow on!  Everything was planted with 3' spacing in between.
It was hot and humid while I was planting (barefoot) and I kept hearing rumbles that sounded like planes in the distance.  It was bright & sunny so I didn't even think it was thunder until it kept happening enough for me to realize a storm was approaching!
Maybe I wouldn't need to irrigate the plot after all!  I begged the sky to let loose it's burden.  And it answered with wind & lightning.   I ran around the farm, putting the sheep and chickens in, closing gates & greenhouse, and even managed to rapidly plant a row of my own project-plants next to the peppers & flower garden:  okra, colored cotton, dragons-tongue beans, epazote, & cayenne peppers.  I wanted to take advantage of the natural irrigation that was about to happen.  I hate moving pipes.  Everything closed up, I laid down on the deck behind the barn & watched the clouds swirl until they started dropping.
We did get some rain, almost 1/2"... but it blew over in an hour or so, and the sun came out again.  I want steady rain!  I want the ground to be saturated deep down, so all those corn roots can follow the drops down & secure themselves in the ground.  I want a week of rainy days.  Unfortunately my desires have no influence on the weather.  I take what it gives, and work around what it doesn't.  Being a farmer is incredibly humbling.

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