Failure to Launch?

Cucumbers mostly dead. Carrot seed buried. Potatoes finally popping in June? Come on!

If you have had a pulse this spring, I think you’d agree that it has not been the best growing season so far. Snow. Downpours. Cold. More downpours. Return of snow? Anything is possible.

The rain last week could be better described as a open-air waterfall than a rain. Once I finally was brave enough to step into the field and see the effects, I felt like an etch-a-sketch detective, trying to piece together where which seeds floated to where. Oh, hello little cilantro, why are you 30 feet away from your friends? Aren’t your supposed to be in that row over there?

Farming is certainly a mind game and all I can ever do is remind myself of the sun shining the last two days and be thankful for those plants and seeds holding on with me. I’m proud of those radishes in the back field – good work guys! Still, I have been calling this season a failure to launch so far even though things are now getting going. May 21 was certainly my latest potato planting to date and June 3th is certainly the latest I’ve ever had potatoes emerge, which gives some indication just how cold the soils have been.

So please hang with me CSA members…I guessing that I will have to push back our start date. But there’s a lot of June left and maybe me and these plants were get it together in the meantime, who knows what’s in store!

Another Farewell

Time keeps marching forward, doesn’t it?

Today and tomorrow we’re packing the last box of season number 16. Hard to believe it came and went so fast. It’s also hard to believe that my daughter Sylvia drives and it’s our 20th wedding anniversary on the 13th. We’re off to Santa Fe for four days.

With time zipping past us, it’s hard to know where to lay one’s attention. I do feel that we’ve tried to sharpen our focus in the past few years on the people we’re connected with. Our family. Our employees. Our community. And that includes all of you, our CSA members. Thank you for joining us for the season and getting to the end of this bumpy drought year. This farm works only because we have people who stick with us through each year no matter what it brings, many of you year after year.

In the box:

  • Arugula: Oakleaf-shaped green with a red band
  • Lettuce: Mainly green oakleaf, but may be some red oakleaf mixed in
  • Parsley
  • Little Cabbages
  • Spaghetti Squash or Red Kabocha: Luck of the draw, but most should get spaghetti. It’s a crazy squash that worth an experiment on your part if you haven’t prepared it before. Check these out for ideas:
  • Pie Pumpkin: Yes, you can cook with this one.
  • Kale: Dino or Curley
  • Green Onions
  • Red Onion
  • Little Napa Cabbage

Attention Deficit

Have we all lost our ability to focus attention? I was re-reading some of my old blog entries and remember sitting in my living room writing them. I remember being more focused. I must have been since I was putting out three and four paragraphs instead of my measly two paragraphs lately. The ideas seemed more complex than the ‘boy it’s been hot and dry’ weather reports of this summer. Have I lost my writing mojo or is there something else at play?

Honestly, I think we may have all fallen in an internet attention-suck and it sets our minds into a hazy blurring of pixels and real life. Time gets weird in this environment and human connections get less deep and that worries me. Some yoga guru said once ‘Where your attention goes, so does your energy.’ Jesus also once said ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ According to these ancient thoughts, most of us are dumping our full life force into a large room filled with dazzling colors and a huge number of people yelling at each other, all via an internet connection. It’s hard not to look, especially when the addictive mini slot machines we have in our pockets continually ding when another person in the big room utters something. We don’t have to live like this.

I know that I simply sound like an old angry man out of touch with modern America, but I feel there’s a farming angle here, so hear me out. If we are to do anything well, we need attention and farming is no different. We need undivided attention to push through individual tasks and projects on farm, but we also need attention to study and implement strategies for a whole food system. I know that farming needs to be a large part of the climate change puzzle if we are to build a world that is not just habitable, but, I hope, enjoyable. This will take strategic thinking. The internet ought to be our tool we use like a hammer or shovel in this endeavor, not a source of never-ending cotton candy that distracts our attention from doing the work before us.

In the box:

  • Butternut Winter Squash: The tan one.
  • Red Kuri or Red Kabocha Squash: The red ones.
  • Lunchbox Snacking Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac: Yes, it’s a weird-looking vegetable, but packed with celery flavor in the bulb. Peel and slice/dice bulb in where ever you’d use celery like a soup. Stores very well in crisper
  • Onions
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Roma Tomatoes

Circling Back to Projects

Did I ever tell you about the time I put off patching the stucco on our house for eight years after we insulated the walls?

There were these 2-inch holes all over the house where they drilled to put in the insulation; I patched ‘temporarily’ with that spray foam stuff in the can with the intention that I’d circle back and stucco them when I had a little time. Well, it was a apparently a pretty big circle because it took me eight years to get back to it. That’s not the kicker. From start until finish I was done in 45 minutes. 45 minutes! Why did I put that off for so long?

I must be getting better because yesterday I got back to a plumbing project in the apprentice cabin after only 4 months. Hey, that’s improvement, but I’m still about three parts short of getting it done, which is pretty typical of any plumbing project. I had a wise man that I met at our local hardware store tell me that only after three trips to the store will you be getting close to finishing any plumbing project. Let’s see.

In the box:

  • Carnival Winter Squash: These are like a really good-tasting acorn, so feel free to use the recipe for a stuffed squash from last week
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Russet or Red Potatoes
  • Onions
  • A mix of Sweet Peppers: If you are getting tired of peppers, please simply cut, put in freezer bag, and freeze. They are possibly the easiest veggie to preserve.
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Cabbage and/or Cauliflower: There wasn’t nearly enough of either for all members, so we did a combined effort. Some ended up with both a small cauliflower and small cabbage instead of one of each.
  • Fresh Sage
  • Spinach

Just a List

Sometimes life doesn’t allow me time to wax and wane…

In the box:

  • Anaheim Peppers: These are long skinny green peppers that are hot.
  • Italia Pepper: Long red pepper, but sweet
  • Orange Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Cantaloupe
  • Fresh Sage: Our thought process was that this sage would pair well with the acorn squash in something like a stuffed squash. See
  • Acorn Squash
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Daikon Radish
  • A couple tomatoes: These guys are really coming to the end of their life quickly
  • A mix of red and blue Adirondack potatoes