Monday, September 14, 2009

A Few Are Idle

The feel of September is settling over the farm. All crops are planted, the pace of weeding has slowed, and only a small patch of hay remains to be cut. We purchased some baled hay from Lee Straw to help feed the horses over the winter, and of course to provide the best possible napping spot for our cat, "Onion". He now smells deliciously of hay when he comes in to greet us in the morning. Onion is the definition of idle when the late afternoon sun slants throught the barn windows and warms his spot in the hay.
The horses have earned a bit of idle time as well. Their cultivating work is done for the time being. Once the forecast ceases its small threats of rain, Jeff will harness up a team to complete the season's haying. And, once we find the time, we'll put them to work plowing crop ground where we have harvested in preparation for planting cover crops.
The old loose hay loader, which we purchased from a field in Pittston a few years ago, has seen an active month. It has served us well this season. If you get a chance to get out to the farm to see our last bit of hay-making, make sure you stay long enough to see this piece of equipment in action. It, like our mower, tedder, and hay rake, is "ground driven", meaning the circular motion of its wheels moving over the earth set into motion a series of gears which in turn make all the components of the equipment work. We do have a baler which has its own motor and can be pulled by the horses, enabling us to make hay bales. But loose hay more fun to make, requires no motors or gas, and our livestock much prefer the loose hay we put up as opposed to the baled.
An expectant momma can't help but point out that sunny days are not just fine for hay making, but are also fine for laundry drying. These baby clothes, diapers, and blankets waving ever so slightly in the sun are the calm in the center of my storm of preparation. They are also a firm reminder that very soon a real babe will fill and bring the clothes to life.
At the center of Jeff's storm is the back of the farm truck, holding the evidence of all that is done and needs to be done with the reaminder of the day. A chainsaw and helmet indicate he has been at the house site; fencing supplies mark his work setting up cow fencing in the back pasture of The Morris Farm and sheep fencing over at Old Stone Farm. Early Tuesday morning the truck is filled with harvesting knives and crates for the CSA harvest. Ruth is loving spending most of her day helping Jeff and Kate on the farm. She bursts in the door at the end of the day, energized and feeling very important, usually a tool in hand, and covered in dirt (today a bit of paint from the house site and chocolate ice cream from lunch as well.) Her stories of the afternoon's work and unforeseen challenges spill from her as she heads again for the door to go out and do "one more thing" before dinner. She is so much like her dad, who is currently (at 9:30 pm) at the house site painting window trim and catching escapee chickens in our neighbor's yard (sorry Mr. & Mrs. Rines!)

September 8 CSA share:
  • potatoes
  • green beans
  • purple and yellow beans
  • daikon radish
  • carrots
  • purple scallions
  • summer squash
  • chard
  • hot peppers
  • purple bell peppers
  • cucumbers
September 15 CSA Share:
  • colored peppers
  • kale
  • basil
  • patty pan summer squash
  • assorted summer squash
  • cucumbers
  • leeks
  • carrots
  • potatoes

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We are...

Our kitchen table, as well as the CSA tables, farm stand, and farmers' market booth, finally has a diverse and colorful offering of veggies. Thanks to all our members and customers for your patience and support, and for sharing the joy of our first green beans of the season! Last Tuesday evening, Jeff taught a canning and fermenting workshop at The Morris Farm to help folks preserve the season's harvest. If the nip in the evening air has you thinking of stocking up for the winter, just let us know; we have several books we can recommend to you, and are happy to answer any questions on food preservation.
The job that is never done until the snow flies... is made much more fun with the help of friends. Our good friend Clay, pictured to the left, is now joining us every Tuesday to help with CSA harvest and other farm tasks in barter for food. Here Clay, Jeff, and Kate are weeding the carrots and throwing the weeds into the old manure spreader to haul out of the garden. Ruth stands by ready to drive the team forward when the crew is ready (and chatting all the while.)
Our rotational grazing system has our critters moving all over The Morris Farm and the Old Stone Farm pastures. When the livestock all end up in the same general area, it is like the constellations lining up. I love being able to look across the pasture and see all of them at once. All four horses are now at The Morris Farm to work on making the hay here. They are also entertaining themselves watching over the cows on the other side of the fence. Two cows decided to make their Saturday night more exciting last night by breaking through a gate to visit with the horses. Consequently, Jeff's Sunday morning has been a little more exciting than usual as well!

Getting ready for baby
Above is the world from my point of view these days: over the curve of an 8 1/2 month pregnant belly. So much of what we are doing now is in preperation for the arrival of our new little one. We were both awake at 4:30 this morning, with thoughts of what needs to to be done driving us from bed by 5:00. Now it is 7:30 am, Ruth and Anna are still sleeping, Jeff has moved the cows, done chores, and is on the road to Winterport for a few shearing jobs (some breeds of sheep need to be shorn twice a year). I am stealing this rare quiet hour (ignoring the pile of dishes) to write to you. Our goal is to get the farm and our house building project to a point where we can slip away from both for a few days after the baby is born and hunker down in our home to rest and nest and eat and stare in wonderment at each other.

Your Farmers,
Jeff & Amy

September 1 CSA Share:
  • cilantro
  • garlic
  • kale
  • lettuce mix
  • potatoes
  • basil
  • beets
  • onions
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • summer squash
This week's share contained a large amount of basil tips as well as a head of garlic so you can make some pesto. Pesto is one of our most treasured tastes of summer; it freezes great in little jars or plastic bags to bless you with a taste of summer in the winter.

Moosewood Cookbook
3 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 large cloves garlic
optional: 1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, lightly toasted (I also sometimes use sunflower seeds or pecans)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan (I often omit the parmesan and the pesto is still great!)
optional: salt and pepper to taste (I think the salt is necessary, but not the pepper)

1.) Place the basil leaves and garlic in a blender or food processor and mince well.
2.) Add the nuts, if desired, and continue to blend until the nuts are ground.
3.) Drizzle in the olive oil, as you keep the machine running. When you have a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, place room-temperature pesto in a warmed serving bowl. Add hot pasta and toss thoroughly. Allow 2-3 Tbs. pesto per serving. (In our home we also love pesto as a sandwich spread, on burgers, and even mixed with sauteed veggies.)