Winding Down

Thanks to those of you who potlucked with us last Saturday. Once again the weather was auspicious, and we always enjoy the wonderful people of A Place on Earth being and belonging here. It was quite a treat to feast under the sun together.
Another growing season is winding down. Forecasts are calling for some frost this weekend. The basil, once so bounteous (some might say burdensome), lives on only in our freezers. Okra, likewise, will not come around fresh for many moons. While Summer’s profusion fades to past, Fall has its own majesty: hardy greens get sweeter and storage crops wait to roast our kitchens full of earth and warmth. We celebrate each cycle in its turn, and some weary ones of us look ahead longingly to frigid, shut-in days of Winter, stoking the literal fire with hard-earned wood fuel and the figurative fire of the imagination with visions of better things to come.
At least once every year I begin to despair that the future will find me with no food to harvest, or that excited, faithful shareholders will open their boxes only to find garlic and onions. So far—some 170 weeks in a row now—that has not been the case, but this year my gloomy outlook sank as low as it ever has. Three weeks of punishing upper 90-degree weather, a deepening drought, Fall crops not germinating, no way to irrigate, fruits being maliciously eaten or vandalized in the night, Clark crying again at 3 AM. It seemed this was going to be the year when every thing went wrong. But somehow or another the squeeze was eased, the retribution relented, the rains (albeit meagerly at first) resumed, and here we are, enjoying an august Autumn. One of these days I will lose this naïve nervousness, which, of course, will be when calamity strikes. Second thought, maybe I will hold on to that anxiety.
This is our fourth go-round on this farm. Soil tests reveal that we are making good progress in the fertility department. Our great old barn looks (from some angles) to be ready to last another 100 years. Our house has become a home, and our family is filling it up. These fields, trees, rocks, neighbors—this community—is becoming familiar. We will see how soon these dreams arise, but I can foresee a grove of fruit trees, animals perusing the pastures, diversity and conviviality abounding. We will take our lumps, no doubt, we will see our setbacks, but we are steadily making our way forward.
Thanks for joining in this dance with us. While our world is hampered by hurt and our hearts are riddled with holes, we find hope in the fact that life is still astoundingly beautiful and ever-renewing, that seeds want to germinate, plants want to grow, and people want to love. It is a pleasure to share this journey with you. May this food and this experience be full of healing for all the hurting.
Crop Update
Sweet potatoes look mighty nice. The rains of late have delayed digging, but we are hopeful that a dry period is now upon us. Look for these nutritious treats in your shares from here on out.
A wide variety of greens have been coming into their own with this lovely fall weather. I’ll do my best to identify for you the kale, collards, arugula, pac choi, tatsoi, and other mustards. Chard of course is still thriving too.
I’ve started thinning the parsnips this past week. These and beets, carrots, turnips, and rutabagas should keep us in the root crops.
Winter Squash performed exceptionally poorly this Summer. This year has provided a painful lesson about the dangers of working the soil when it’s wet. When the weather dries up the ground turns to brick and roots have a hard time finding what they need. You will still get some butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and delicate squash, but these fruits are pitifully small. Those of you with us last year will remember it was an incredibly robust squash harvest. That’s the way it goes, I suppose.
Garlic is still being sorted out for planting in the coming month. Can’t say enough how well it did this year. We’ve got some really nice seed to plant back out.
Onions are in abundance too. I really like these crops that store almost indefinitely.
This weekend will determine if we are still in a bounty of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Hate to see them go this early, but they’ve had a good ride.

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