Thursday, October 7, 2010

On The Farm

I can’t believe it has been so long since I have added to my blog. From August to September our days are from sun up until sun down, sometimes even longer than that. Frank has installed a few lights in one section of the garden and also in my sorting shed. When the weather was so hot, during those months, it was a nice time after dark to clean and sort fruit and vegetables when the air was cooler. The time has just flown by with each day filled with watering, weeding, picking, sorting, moving boxes of fruit and vegetables. My favorite thing to do was to pick the fruit trees for an hour or so just as the sun was coming up. The birds and I were the only ones out that early and they weren’t really happy having me up in their trees. When I picked the last of the apples, I found a beautiful bird’s nest and took it to my grandkids. They loved seeing it and Carli set immediately out to make an egg out of a cotton ball and found a bird ornament up in their attic. It has a place of honor sitting on top of a cake plate in their family room. A bit of nature brought inside.
We have since finished our CSA but still plan to offer a fall harvest basket a little later. The pomegranates and persimmons are changing colors and I still have some apples in the cooler waiting for me to make some applesauce. The lemons have started to change from dark green to light yellow and the trees are just loaded with fruit.
Most of the produce fields have been tilled but the tomatoes and peppers are still producing so I just haven’t felt like pulling them up yet. Frank and I planted red and white onions, some leeks, lettuces and beets. The basil still has some usable parts and I saw some cabbage heads that could be harvested. The eggplants have really surprised me with how long they keep producing and I picked a bushel basket full on Tuesday and put them out on my stand. I was surprised how quickly most of it was sold by the end of the day. Oh and I bundled up some Swiss chard and kale and that is out on the stand too.
Annie and Bella ventured with me out to the corn rows in my Gator and we spend a few hours hand cutting down the dried corn husks. I bundled up about 10 bunches, wrapped twine around them and put them out on the stand for my customers. Last year many people asked me for the corn husks around this time so they could decorate their houses for fall and Halloween. They instantly made the front of the house look very fall-ish. Unfortunately, the time got past us when we were going to plant pumpkins so I do not have any this year. I think I had 1000s of pumpkins last year, nearly killed myself lugging them to farmer’s markets, out front at the stand and selling van full to customers wanting them for special kids programs. I do miss them and have received lots of telephone calls asking for my Baby Boos. Sorry about that, I miss them too.
Frank and I are planning on attending an olive curing workshop this Saturday put on by Pam Geisel, Statewide Master Gardeners Coordinator for UC Davis. We took her pruning workshop last year out at her beautiful place called Old Historic Mill Orchard and we really look forward to learn about curing olives. We have olive trees and have put up some in the past just using information we pulled off the internet. They never really turned out that great so this year we will be armed with lots of info from Pam.
We took a short break from all the work on Windmill Farm (AND THE LAST WEEK’S HEAT) and drove up the coast to visit a friend in Port Orford, Oregon. Her area is so beautiful, beautiful beaches for walking, visited a couple historic lighthouses and also took a tour of an old Coast Guard Station built in 1930s. The highlight of the trip for me was a trip to a farm called Valley Flora in Langlois, Oregon. They grow vegetables and flowers for their CSA customers; have a self service farm stand and also provide produce to some local restaurants. Their gardens were so inspirational to me; I just walked down each row looking at the lush lettuces, beets, carrots, fennel, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. They plow their rows using their own draft horses and it is farm run by a mother and her two daughters. I just wanted to get my hands into their dark and rich soil. The one thing about gardening/farming is that you can always learn something new. It was a nice break from our 24/7 working in our own fields. They were having a heat wave, it was 75 degrees!!! Made me laugh because we had just left Gridley a few days before and we were having a heat wave too, 104 degrees. I am amazed what can grow in such cool weather on the coast, just like us but at different times of the growing season.
Already thinking about what I might change in the gardens for next year, might add some new items, maybe even grow some strawberries. Good time of the year to take a few moments and dream! Until next time, enjoy the colors of fall and the cooler weather.