Category Archives: Metta Kitty Farm

known & unknown.

(please pardon the blurred photos to follow – they are from 2009, taken on a flip phone, & are slowly being downloaded from my Facebook account which has served as a photo album between 2009 and 2014)  
I know how to see & recognize beauty in this world.

I try to expand this notion of beauty as a practice.

Sometimes I fall into rigidity, sometimes, I stretch this seeing.

  
I try to honor life in all forms.

Sometimes I fail to see my actions, sometimes I can be gentle with this life so-called outside.

  
It’s easier to encourage others, harder with myself.

  
(Don’t worry, Mom & Dad, I didn’t get another tattoo – it’s the forearm of an acquaintance)

🙂

But it’s great for me to see. 

  
I’ve written before that I tend to forget, which is why I write things down.

But what do you do when there’s an unknown to step into?

  
Like beginning graduate school

  
When telling yourself “I can do this” feels like a lie

  
Where does faith come from?

  
I lean on my friends when the voice of “who do you think you are?” presses on like a broken record.

  

They say things like: “have you talked back to that voice question? Tell it who you think you are!”

This has been helpful.

  
Plants, like this late Autum Sedum already sending buds forth before the long Winter, anticipating Spring.

I can learn a lot from plants.

I have learned a lot from plants & this world continues to be one of my greatest teachers.

  
So, I’ll keep on, like the sedum, beginning, again.

& heading in a direction…

  
…like the Red-Winged Blackbirds migrating…

  
With whatever is luck…

  
…and whatever is faith…

  
To challenge the voices, (or even simply turning my attention elsewhere, dropping the habitual thought, as suggested to me) 

Sensing the world 

  
And challenge myself to step into the unknown.


Garlic pull – Little.

  
My little bed of garlic turned out to be quite productive this year.

& while I intentionally planted “doubles” in order to get smaller bulbs (they keep better), well, they weren’t exactly smaller.

  
I’m not complaining… Just surprised, is all.

I wasn’t in my own garden much this year.

Work, depression, fatigue…

My gratitude for the rain that came, for the weeds which provided moisture retention, & the owners of the land who took off the scapes.

  
The Ukrainian & Romainian varieties yielded the most bulbs. 

Above are 52 stalks of the Ukrainian variety.

  
Quack grass roots. Hrumph. This will go into the cull pile to be eaten right away.

  
I’m digging my garlic late, & this is one of the reasons why getting garlic out of the ground in time is important: the garlic begins to sort of “grow out” from  its skin.

  
And the skin on the stem can separate from the bulb… 

Ah well.

  
Fortunately, there were only about 8 culled bulbs out of about 150.

  
That means plenty for seed, sharing, & through Winter & Spring!

  
  
Clinging to a buckwheat leaf wrapped around a garlic stalk was this gorgeous snowy moth.

I asked an ornithologist friend who is also a, um, moth-person which type of moth this was…

Virginian Tiger Moth!

  
Thank you garlic!

Thank you earth & elements!

& much gratitude &  thanks to all you readers who for whatever reason, brings you to this blog.


Potatoes are IN.

Yesterday I got to my garden.

I haven’t planted anything of my own since last Autumn when the garlic got in

  
They seem to be growing well

  
The folks who own the land planted the first 20 pounds of potatoes last week

This is the bed I set to plant in the remaining 25 pounds

Buckwheat was planted there last season

  
I’m not sure when it was last tilled, but this was a job for the push-hoe

My favorite hand tool!

 
Heart-shaped T-handled push-hoe, to be more precise 

 This is the view looking back down the bed after first swiping through

Then, I raked up the weeds.

Here’s what it looked like prior to push-hoeing… Before… & After. 

Ah-mazing.

Yep. Love my push-hoe. 
Then, the wheel-hoe with the chisel-plow attachments to create two furrows where the potatoes will be set

 
Shoved & grunted my way through Quack Grass roots

That’s some strong medicine in those roots!

  

It’s also built for a taller frame, so it’s not the most ideal tool for this body.

But, it did the work to be done.

Time to fetch the potatoes & Potash

   

 

Three varieties left

  

Loaded up in the garden-way cart

  

…some Potash goodness for the potatoes dusted into the furrows

Thank you, Ocean

 
Starting with the variety Strawberry Paw

  

Some of the seed from this variety was larger than an egg, so they were cut so that at least two eyes remained on each piece

 Eyes, check.

 The phrase “snug as a bug in a rug” came to mind…

  
Hooray!

Onto the next variety

 I really like purple potatoes

  

Last, but not least… The German Butterball.

Quite a delicious potato.

  
All in!

Time to zip them up…

  
Zzzzzzip

  
Zzzzzzip

Potatoes are IN.

In the remaining 4 feet at the far end of the bed, I seeded two varieties of sunflowers.

It’s older seed… Hopefully they’ll germinate well.

It remains to be seen.

 
I forget how much I enjoy this work… 

It felt so good to tend to my garden.

Dry beans coming soon!

 


If you listen closely you can hear the onions sprout.

Outside
Right now
It apparently feels like 11degrees (Fahrenheit)

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But with the light, and the turning of the year…

And when the furnace clicks off…

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And if I’m very very still,
A tiny cracking sound can be heard…

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Seed trials in Winter.

It’s currently 1degree outside

Coldies

Winter

But in the kitchen corner…..

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Marigold seeds are sprouting!!!

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And so is the Dyer’s Coreopsis!!

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Stirrings of what’s to come warms the heart from the inside


Seed Trials 2 – including Italian Flat Parsley.

While I did intend to grow parsley for seed last year by overwintering a flat of seedlings through Winter of 2013-2014
Over a dry spell this past season, while I was away, the parsley grown for eating got stressed & went to seed

A bit of a bummer
I eat a LOT of parsley
But, engh.
So lemons out of lemonade, parsley seed in 2014.

And
it got me to the farmer’s market more often to visit friends.

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Here are the two jars of parsley seed soaking for the past two-ish days.
Both have been rinsed three times each.
Good sign that most of the seed has sunk to the bottom

A big thank you to Hudson Valley Seed Library for posting how to do this on their blog.
Check ’em out!
Support small local seed companies!!

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Gather up the supplies:

Reused ziplock baggies
Masking tape
Sharpie marker
Paper towels

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And seeds!

Batchelor’s Buttons, Dyer’s Coreopsis, Marigold, & Calendula

In addition to the Parsley

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Strain the water (don’t save parsley water for germination – it has germination inhibitors)

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Say hello & thank you to the seeds

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Then in one swoop, knock the seeds out onto a quarter of the paper towel

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Fold up into a quarter size, sandwiching the seeds between the paper towel folds

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O I forgot to mention to have a small bowl of water nearby

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You want to thoroughly wet the paper towel seed sandwich

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Voila!

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Into the *labeled* baggie

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Seal well

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Home for the next two to three weeks

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I repeated the same process for the cool-soaked parsley

Onto the flower seeds!

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Easiest first
Calendula

Beautiful & bizarre

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They are relatively large

Follow the same process as the parsley seeds

The marigolds took a little time to process

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There’s probably a more efficient way to have done this, but this is how it went down in the kitchen

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Little by slow

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It’s a very satisfying process

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The seeds slide out easily

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The seed capsule when dry is slightly translucent
So beautiful

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Now for super slo-mo close-up 

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They are very slim, flat and relatively long seeds

And the one I’ve been putting off
Dyer’s Coreopsis

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This is only a fraction of what needs to be processed…

Upside is that it smells really fresh

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Teeny tiny
AND flat

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Plus a WHOLE lotta chaff
Which I’m not equipped to deal with

I grow this every year, so investing in the making or purchasing of seed harvest trays would be wise

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It’s a generous plant

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So 100 seeds will be tested

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Voila

Last but not least, Batchelor’s Buttons

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They are so cute with that tuft of fuzz

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Not much seed, so only 20 in the trial

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Good night everybody!

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Seed trials & attempting to change a habit.

It’s that time of year

When the seed catalogs arrive one after another

This year, I decided to run some seed trials before placing orders

I still have a fair amount of seeds from when I was farming
But didn’t know if they were viable

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Mammoth red rock cabbage gets composted
Zero germination

However

The alliums, which are said to only have a year viability, did stellar – no doubt due to being kept meticulously cool & dry in multiple baggies tucked in the refrigerator since 2012

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Hell yes

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Even the notoriously fussy shallots germinated well

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Yes yes yes

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Sierra Batavian lettuce did well

Alas the Concept Batavian goes to the compost

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Scarlet Nantes carrots will be seeded in 2015

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Shin Kuroda carrots did fair… Tempting to keep them & seed heavily when planting

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May do one more trial with this carrot…

Was asked by a friend if I was testing the seeds I grew
And I hadn’t yet, but began today with the parsley

Gulp

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I guess I was nervous – it being the first time growing parsley for seed

I’m trying to pay attention to the thoughts in my mind
Since the habit of identifying with the thoughts is SO strong
I’m trying to be mindful of the thinking habits

I could see a procrastination fear habit right in plain sight
Fear of failure.
So don’t even try.
…like if I don’t test it, then I won’t know – that is, I won’t know they won’t germinate

But they might!

Thing is, even if they don’t germinate
I tried
And it was a fun experiment
And I can try again with seeds I purchase in 2015 if need be

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Aren’t they so pretty?
With their stripes?

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Tiny
Parsley seeds are not the tiniest, but they are small

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Handling the seeds released a wonderful bright smell
Bright & bitter

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Let the parsley trials begin!

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A quarter teaspoon to soak in hot water

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And another quarter teaspoon in cool water

Double trial
Why not

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The parsley seed coat contains a chemical which inhibits germination
(Furanocoumarins)
So soaking the seeds (and changing the water twice) can take a week off of the three week germination period…

I wonder if fuanocoumarins could be a natural weed inhibitor…?

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Lots of parsley seeds!

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Onto a sheet of paper for ease of pouring…

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Seed divination, anyone?

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Using the composted seed’s envelopes

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Thank you FedCo seeds of Maine

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