working and seeds: choices, choices, choices!

The last few weeks have been passing uneventfully, at least as far as farm work is concerned. I’ve been cutting a lot of dead and standing ash and elm here at our farm. These are recent victims of killing disease passing through.

you know what they say?

“If the world gives you dead trees,

make firewood.”

And so many of my days go. I’ve also been a saw for hire the last few years, cutting firewood for others as well.

I remember reading Helen and Scott Nearing’s realization that Maple trees and Maple Syrup could make an economy go round in Vermont. Well, as far as me with my neighbors, firewood makes some of this rural world go round. Many of us heat our homes with firewood. Nobody likes to get too cold. And nobody likes to get stuck with no wood.

I can trade and barter firewood, it’s like dollars and cents. I trade it for organic compost. For mushroom logs (which I also cut myself). For the use of a log splitter. For machine shop time.

One of the many nice things about this work is the flexibility. I can work on it for one hour or ten. Until the girls hop off the bus, or ’til dark. Before this and after that. For three days straight or not for a week.

Currently I’m also helping a friend with butchering. He does seasonal, on-farm butchering this time of year. His family has suffered some health set-backs recently, and I’m glad to help. We’ve been working on cattle, though soon will butcher pigs.

Seed catalogs are showing up (seems earlier each year, doesn’t it?). This next season I’m looking to add new varieties of peppers, tomatoes, and carrots. We usually sample a few new (to us)  tomatoes each season. There are just so many absolutely wonderful varieties out there to grow and eat! It’s exciting, dreamy, and tempting too.
(page 119) …. “If it had been left up to me, we would have grown one of everything from the catalogs that year. In the winter squash section alone, I underlined twelve intriguing varieties, including Candy Roaster, Turk’s Turban, Pink Banana, and something called Galeux d’Eysines, which the text told me meant “embroidered with pebbles.” The herb sections made me completely nuts. How could you not order one packet each of saltwort, sneezewort, motherwort, and Saint-John’s-wort, plus a sample of mad-dog skullcap, which the text said was once a folk remedy for rabies? At a buck a pop, how could you go wrong? The whole trick of seed catalogs is that they come into the house in the winter, when everything still seems possible and the work of growing things is too far in front of you to be seen clearly.”  (source: The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. Kristin Kimball. 2010.)

I do recommend : The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, by Kristin Kimball. A friend gave us a copy, definitely informative and entertaining too. It’s a worthwhile read for sure.

indigo rose was new to us this last year

indigo rose tomatoes Harvest # 18 2014

we also tried a black cherry

they’re the small, smokey reds in this pic

black cherry and indigo rose tomatoes Sept 2014

turk’s turban is a winter squash we tried

Turk's turban winter squash Oct 2014

and we did well with green onions too

there on the left

green onions and salad mix, april 29 2014: fresh food now!

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