Summertime

Child, the living’s easy

Some weeks it is hard to know where to start.
This is one of those weeks.
I will start vaguely somewhere…
Freya is doing better.  I would say she made a complete recovery.  Which is good because Gwendy may have scratched my eyes out in my sleep if anything happened to Freya.  We are seeing more injuries right now.  Mostly eye injuries.  We are thinking that this is because the grass is getting tall and animals are getting their eyes poked.  Not good.  We are treating as best we can.  It is hard to get close enough to the sheep to see their eyes though.  After what happened with Melisande though we are doing our best to check everyone daily.  Part of the fun of having over thirty children.  I really also feel like I should do a head count and figure out just how many animals we have.  But then it will change come fall when we start butchering so I am not going to bother just yet.  Bridget went to a new home last night.  It was actually too much trying to train two puppies.  It isn’t like we have enough things going on, right?  So we found her a really good home.  Conner was upset, but seems to be alright.  We will be able to spend more time with him now and hopefully we will at least get one good guardian dog.  

There is big poultry news.  The same lady who we got Ruby and Jewel from had some birds for sale.  I knew we weren’t going to get anything that will lay this summer, but I am thinking for next year.  A lot of our birds will be old by then and not laying well.  So I wanted to get some more layers.  And maybe I went a little crazy when we got there… It is just she had so much!!!  It is hard to say no, to myself mostly.  We ended up bringing home six muscovies, four turkeys and about fifteen chickens.  Not too much more than what I was going for, right?

Then we got home and guess what happened?  Wily, our crazy chicken was broody. We couldn’t really leave her in with all the rest of the crazy chickens.  All of the eggs were most likely fertile also.  So we tried to move her.  It failed.  We were hopeful but it failed.  Pretty much as soon as we moved her, and it was full dark of night, she got off the eggs and never looked back.  Oh well.  Here is some sweet pictures of chicks to make you feel better.

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On Thursday we went to farmer’s market again.  It went so so.  I forget sometimes that we are in the rural midwest.  People don’t know what kale is.  Or what mizuna is.  Or hell even what garlic scapes are.  We did sell a decent amount of what we brought, but I need to remember that people are afraid of greens.  If it isn’t a tomato, potato or corn a lot of people don’t know what to do with it.  I had started an “Unloved Veggies” program when we were in Springfield.  I think it might be a little hard to educate at farmer’s market, but I might try.  It is interesting mostly because we had people fighting for our kale in Springfield.  Really not so much here.  It is alright though we will figure it out.  And if nothing else we have plenty of food to eat. 

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Which brings me to my next topic.  On our facebook page there will be tons of pictures of the food we are eating!  I am calling this, How to eat out of your garden.  Slightly different from unloved veggies.  This is where people get really stumped though, in my opinion.  While I would not say that most americans get a lot of variety in their diets, they are certainly used to a few staples that while we grow, it is not like how people eat.  So how DO you eat greens every day?  How do you not get sick of chard?  During our first CSA I really thought I would like to never see chard again.  The problem?  I would get it and put all of it in one dish that highlighted the chard.  OOOOooooo steamed chard with garlic!!!!!!  Oooooo chard with bacon grease!! Ooo chard with peas!  oo chard? again? I have come to realize that that is not how to eat fresh produce.  Don’t highlight things.  Put a little of everything in a pot, we use a cast iron skillet most of the time, but hey whatever, and add some seasoning.  You can totally tell when eating out the garden is still new and fresh.  We have meals like these.  Little to no seasoning.  The veggies and happiness of eating real food is great and exciting. 

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It needs nothing.  Of course, eating out of the garden does not mean that all your food needs come from it.  You still need starches and meat and protein. But still you can fill a dish with a lot of produce that you grew.  Anyway, I said that you can tell it is still new and exciting for us right now. As it gets less exciting you will see a lot more curries and such in these pictures.  You can follow our meals by liking our facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/YarrowHillFarms

And speaking of the garden…There has been a lot of progress there.  Jack was really concerned about the garden getting away from us.  Yes, gardens can and do just get up and walk out on you.  Well, more like the weeds come and settle in.  We have so much on our plates already though!!!  So I was trying to figure out a way that I could do something without it conflicting in my day too much.  The girls and I settled on this, we stay out after chores for an hour and work.  We have been doing this for over a week now, I think at least, and there is a big difference in the garden already.  Which is great because there are already spots that have gotten away from us.  This weekend there was a work party over here and everyone helped us with our tons of sweet potatoes.  I love work parties where we are doing really not fun things.  Having people around to talk to and joke with makes it go so much easier.  Anyway, as I was walking through the garden last night I realized that we planted some sweet potatoes down there too as a trial.  You couldn’t see them though.  We had pretty much totally forgotten about them and they were so covered you could barely tell there was a bed there.  The girls and I tacked that this morning. We barely made a dent.  That bed is going to take us a few days. 

The weather has been great.  Okay, it is either dark and cool or sunny and hot.  That is how summer is though and while it may be hard to get things done every so often, jumping in the pond is amazing.  It is kind of equivalent to being outside in the winter and coming in to the hot fire.  If you get right down to it, weather isn’t fun.  Spring is wet and cold, Fall is much the same, Winter is cold  cold cold, and Summer is hot hot hot.  There are these perfect days when you could get a lot done.  They exist in each season.  The question is, when that perfect day arrives, are you ready for it?  Are you prepared to spend the day weeding, shearing sheep, doing ALL the things that couldn’t get done before because of the weather?  That, I think, is what is interesting about farming in general.  You have to give up your idea of a 9-5 work day.  It doesn’t matter if it is 11 at night and you want to go to bed.  There is a baby lamb out there making tons of noise and you have no idea why. You go out there and find that the lamb couldn’t find it mother who WAS RIGHT next to her.  Really, true story.  Once baby lamb was pointed in the right direction, she happily ran to her mother and started nursing.  It really is like having 30 small children.  Exhausting yet wonderful. 

Probably the highlight of our week was solstice.  It is also our Land Day.  This is a huge party that celebrates us getting our land.  It is lots of fun.  Joan always does some kids games.  These probably aren’t the kids games you are thinking of.  She has always done a wild edibles hunt.  The kids are used to this now and find all the edibles in no time.  This year the kids branched out into medicals for extra credit.  Really, they kept coming back with things Joan had not asked for and telling her what they were used for.  I think next year to challenge the kids we might have to do a hunt for things that aren’t useful.  There were also races.  I will tell you, it is terrifying to be the one the kids are running to.  They have a slight crazed look in their eyes while they are running towards you to slap your hand.  There were also pond games this year.  I didn’t get pictures because I ended up talking to someone, sorry 😦  I did see some of the results of the games though. Natalie had some of the messiest hair I have seen on her yet.  I guess part of the games was to do the craziest wet hair you could do.   At the end Joan brought out feathers, crystals and books that she has made from recycled materials and everyone got to pick a prize.  It amazes me each year how great the kids are about this.  They totally look forward to their prizes and are super sweet when one child says they want something specific and they realize they could do just fine with something else.  Land day was great, though it really was hot that day.  Pond was needed multiple times throughout.  

Here are some pictures of the games for you to enjoy.  I am going to go harvest some food from our garden and take a picture to post on our facebook page.  Enjoy your summer day 🙂

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