Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Note After the Rain

This morning we woke to clear skies! The rain had become almost unbearable, to everyone except for Ruth, that is. She and her friend, Eben, took advantage of the wet to make a slip and slide in the front lawn. Did you know you can also lay down and do "snow angles" in the mud? Oh yes...

The crops are definitely suffering; Jeff will write later to fill you in on the gory details. Last Sunday we attended a fellow farmer friend's birthday party in Bowdoinham. The tent (yes, it was raining) was filled with other farmers and thus filled with complaints and commiserating. Those of us with lighter soils were faring OK, and those with heavier soils could only throw up our hands and hope for the best. To get an idea of how the rains have affected the state's farmers overall, take a look at this Bangor Daily News article: www.bangordailynews.com/detail/109803.html

The weather has done nothing to slow the pace of the farm work this time of year. Last Sunday the rain held off just long enough for Jeff, Ruth, and I to plunk some transplants (eggplant, peppers, and tomatillos) in the lighter soils of Old Stone Farm, pictured above. Monday night our last lambs of the season were born. We had spent all day bringing the sheep in out of the rain to deal with a "fly strike" problem in a few of the lambs. (For those of you can handle the gory details: Fly strike is when flies lay their their eggs in an animals wound, leading to maggots.) We checked the whole flock over thoroughly, treated those infected, and set up a new area for them in the barn and hoophouse. Everyone is doing great now, and most of the flock is out grazing today in the sunshine. Just as we were finishing setting up their fencing, our oldest sheep, Wanda, went into labor. Jeff had left to bring our last load of wood to the sawmill for our house frame, so apprentices Kate and Stephanie helped Ruth and I to make a pen for the laboring ewe. The first lamb was born while Ruth and I were in the kitchen pulling together dinner. We ate down in the barn to watch for signs of the second lamb's birth. Ruth fell asleep on my lap around 9:00 p.m., before the lamb's arrival (the life of a farm girl often necessitates a flexible bedtime). Luckily, Jeff returned to the farm in time to assist with the labor, as the last lamb decided to present itself backwards with only one hoof forward and one back. This is a potentially fatal position for a lamb. Jeff had to quickly pull the lamb out, then swing it a few times to clear its air passages of any fluids. I had to watch from my perch on the hay bale, pregnancy and a sleeping child on my lap preventing me from assisting. Jeff did a great job. Both lambs and their momma are doing great. We finally crawled into bed around midnight.

I must admit, I have been a little distracted from the farm recently, as I try to pull together our house-building project. This past week we were finally able to have our concrete foundation poured, taking advantage of another rare break in the weather. The most exciting parts of it for YOU are the greenhouse on the south side (to the right in the photo) and the three different root crop storage rooms on the north side. The house is designed to to easily and efficiently blend family and farm work life, to keep the mud in the basement and mud room, and to grow and store healthy food for our local community: you! We will invite you over for a tour of the site once there is a little more there to see.

CSA members:
Last Tuesday in your share you received:
  • head lettuce
  • tatsoi and/or mizuna
  • lettuce mix
  • dill
  • cilantro
  • garlic scapes
  • beet greens
  • radishes
  • chard
  • mustard greens
If you haven't already, the tatsoi and mizuna can be thrown in with your lettuce salad mix, or sautéed with other greens. Mustard greens have become one of may favorites this season; I love to sauté them in a little oil, maybe with onion or garlic scapes, but definitely with a little maple syrup or sweet vinegar! The beet greens are great steamed (beets and all) also with a dash of vinegar or, of course, butter. Below is a scrumptious recipe for greens, especially Asian greens:
Greens With Gingery Butter
Adapted from Judy Gorman's Vegetable Cookbook

6 T butter
2 T soy sauce or tamari
1 T grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (about 1/2 tsp.)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 - 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately run under cold water. Drain well.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and greens; cook, stirring constantly, until the greens are well coated and heated through.

I hope you are having a wonderful Independence Day weekend, and we thank you for joining us in making food independence more of a reality in Maine!

No comments:

Post a Comment