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.