Sunday, November 15, 2009

a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Autumn is upon us here on the farm, & mother nature has been profusely apologizing for the months of soggy awfulness by way of providing endless glorious days, one after the other, beautiful & just the right temperature. We've been putting the farm to bed: bush hogging, pulling up stakes & irrigation, mulching, sowing cover crops, putting in garlic & strawberries & over-wintering flowers. Generally slowing down with the season, responding to that old cue: time to work less, stoke the fire, and curl up in contemplation. We're looking ahead to a time of wizening, of rest. It's been a great year, if challenging.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009


Our first shiitake mushrooms! We're thrilled and hoping to be taking these to market this weekend. We're just figuring out how to grow these. One of our neighbors has a tree removal service, so logs are plentiful - we used oak and black cherry. Supposedly, oak is best (shii means oak or a kind of oak in Japanese, and take means "fungus of", apparently). YAY!

Our baby chicks: splash cochins (with feathery feet!), speckled sussex (old English rare breed), salmon faverolles, and auraucanas. And two geese: a (someday) breeding pair of Toulouses. From Cackle Hatchery in Missouri. They came in the mail as day-old chicks about 3 weeks ago and have tripled in size!

What's good for the gander is good for the goose.

Sara's beautiful flowers - lots in bloom for beautiful bouquets!

It's not summer without sungold tomatoes. These are our first. TO DIE FOR. Or, if you have a more positive bent, TO LIVE FOR.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Family and Friends in the Garden

I could not, would not, by myself.
I should, would not without an elf,
Or some such other friend as that,
A friend in overalls, a friend in a hat.

Farmwork is best when you can sing
with another while tying tomato string.
Who wants to plant flowers all alone
when, with another, you'd already be done?

Few are as lucky as Joe and I
With family and friends who always stop by
To lend a hand or hoe a row.
Manure they spread and seeds they sow.
My cousin, en route to our ol' home state,
Put her hands in our dirt- is it her fate?

Daughter and niece of farmer Ken,
where else would we have been?

getting ready for market

For my uncle Ken, aunt Libby, cousins Sunshine and Jon; for my aunt Carol and uncle Steve, cousins Becky and Tim; for my friends Alice and Stuart, George, John, Kat Darling, David and Margaret Ann; and for thousands of others across America, Friday is "get ready for market day." Before the heat of the afternoon, farm workers have to cut flowers and greens. New potatoes must be dug and washed. Squash must be picked and packed. Carrots, beets, and onions must be plucked from the ground, washed, bunched, and boxed, ready for sale the following day. For some, there is one day each week that validates all the work that they have done, work that began not on the Monday before but in February when she started the broccoli seed and November when the onions were planted. The farmer relies on the Saturday sales for December's bills. So, getting ready for market is a big task and a fun one. Harvesting the fruits of your labor is so satisfying.

In the "raw," a bucket of batchelors buttons or a box of dirty carrots is not so appealing. Magically, though, when washed and bunched or made into bouquets, a quiet yet radiant beauty reveals itself from these humble plants. I love Fridays, "get ready for market day." And I love the fact that I have so many friends and family members for are moving through the same traditions, however far away they are.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pepper Place Market, May 2009

Here are some photos of our stand at the Saturday Birmingham market, the people's market I'd call it since you have to raise the food yourself in order to sell there. I was surprised at how many people asked us if we actually grew the food ourselves. Proudly, we can say "yes."
Yesterday, we sold out early - we need to get to work growing more! It was a lovely day for the market and a great crowd. For our first two markets, it was cloudy and raining at least some of the time.
There are very few folks with flowers so I am going to try to emphasize that in my garden planning.
There is quite a variety of foods available at the Pepper Place Market. You can come to get your fresh veggies and go home with artisanal breads, fresh,local cheese, or green eggs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

winter finally loosening his deathly grip...

We're nothing if not ambitious this season. We've invested in some good irrigation to do the majority of our growin' in our lower field, alongside (what I'm calling) Fancy Creek, and now that winter has finally moved on, we got lots of planting and transplanting to do. Yay!

Spotted in the greens patch! Get back to work! Those broccolis aren't going to weed themselves!

AH, SPRING! And the strawberries are very much IN at the moment, which has made for lots of crepuscular pickin' sessions after work. We're trying to freeze 30 gallons.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The greenhouse: baby plants germinating & taking their first little breaths of CO2. Waiting for that frost date, which seems so far away - April 15th seems outrageous for Alabama, but we tend to have late cold snaps. We'll no doubt break down and put out tons of things and then run around covering things at least once.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Farm in the Snow

Yes, here in AL we do have snow! One lovely Sunday morning, Joe and I woke up to find the farm blanketed in white. Alas, it did not last long but here are some pics of the farm in the snow.
(Ok, so it was only 2 inches for about 10 hours but, heh, exciting nonetheless.)

Salvador loves his little house that Joe built.

"What is this crazy white stuff?," Fancy asks.

Even parts of the creek and pond were frozen over.

Joe does love Biddy afterall.

The chickens experience their first snow.
Laying in the snow!!

The garlic- no harm done.