Category Archives: Quirk put to work

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.


Garlic Pull – Big.

Yet another tardy post from two Sunday’s ago…

Sara’s garlic pull.

There’s a bit of a walk to get to the field.

First there’s the path which crosses a dry/wet stream…

  
The sound of laughter leading through a canopy of hardwood trees

Up a hillside

  
Sunlight – a sign of being close to the field

  
Almost there, just out of the woods, laughter louder…

  
A faraway welcome greeting from friends

  
It’s good to be known & loved.

  
Okay, down to business.

There those who “pull” and those who “dig”

I dig. That means I’ve had years of experience wielding a digging fork so as to be less likely to stab the bulb of garlic.

  
I don’t have a photo of a stab, but if you can imagine gouging a 1/2 inch wide steel tine with the force of a human leg behind it pushing through soil & scraping into the tender flesh of a below ground vegetable, well, you get the picture.

  
Both jobs are important.

Those that dig, loosen the soil below & around each head of garlic with a 4-tine digging fork. Methodically moving down each row.

The ones who pull, grab low on the stem to unearth the garlic intact. 

The soil is brushed from the roots & bulb, then laying it (gently) in piles.

  
   
 
Bundles are made, & tied in such a way as to be strong enough to hold the weight of about 15 – 20 stalks in each bundle, which are then tied via square knot in pairs.

These will be hung over nails high in the barn to dry.

  
It was a beautiful day – and we dug the entire half-acre of garlic with the least amount of stabs EVER.

  

This is the river of bundled garlic awaiting Sara & two of her horses pulling the wagon.

  
A view from the field across the pasture where the horse barn lives.

  
A closer view as she harnesses the horses…

  
Here they come!

  
Connor on the left, & Larry on the right!

  
So handsome. Big beauties.

  
I mostly was taking many videos at this point of the day – but I didn’t ask everyone for their blessing to be posted on the blog, so my apologies for the choppy sequence.

Once the cart was loaded to capacity, Sara drives Connor & Larry down a lane then up the road to where the garlic is hung at the barn near the house.

  
Then they return with an empty cart, and once again the cart is loaded back up with the remaining garlic, & Sara drives the horses back to the barn by the house where the rest of the garlic is hung.

  
While I’m not afraid of heights, & used to be one of the people at the top of the ladders, it’s a heavy job so I bowed out this year of that final step.

  
And it was with Sara’s blessing that I stayed and simply sat in the field & enjoyed just being there, taking in the sounds.

  
Half-acre of garlic, hanging from the barn rafters.

I felt fatigued from the long day of physical work out in the sun, and I felt happy & proud & grateful to be a part of this yearly ritual & especially, with the awareness that this garlic allowed the horses to have hay in the winter & Sara’s daughter to go to college… Well, I felt content in a deep way.


Photo-string from Nook & Cranny, Fall seeding, cleaning green garlic, & gratuitous kitty photo.

  
It’s been warm.

& I’ve either been slacking on the photos or more focused on the work – depending how one looks at it.

  
This was from last Sunday’s harvest.

  
I swing between being present with what’s in front of my eyes & swirling around with what’s behind my eyes

Looking up & out at the sky, feeling into my body & breathing helps return my awareness to what’s in front of my eyes.

  
Opening the gaze from focusing on seeding & internal thinkings.

The habit of being in story (behind the eyes) is SO strong. SO ingrained.

  
I keep hoping I’ll “get it”, that is, be present all of the time, no longer in story.

But then I laugh at myself, remembering that it’s a practice.

Thank you, Sky.

  
From earlier in the week…

  
Bob, ever scanning the beds & overseeing the great ship called Nook & Cranny.

  
First eggplant came in!

  
Fall seeding well underway…

Yesterday was similar, minus Broccoli, & with the addition of Sorrel and Watercress.

  
The trays, once seeded & watered-in, are kept in stacks on the cool barn floor & need to have an eye kept on them for the first emerging seedlings

Here’s spinach just popping up

  
Then out it goes into the Big World behind the greenhouse & seedling tunnel

Along with beets, basil, & lettuce.

  
Basically anything that is not a Brassica (like Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, & Cauliflower) which would be landed upon by the lovely cabbage moth, then rapidly munched down to misery by the cute-as-a-button larvae.

  
Garlic is coming in from the fields, too.

(That sounds like it just up & walks its way to the barn…)

  
It’s still “green garlic” at this point – which is before the stem has fully dried down.

People either hang or stack in it such a way that it allows for good air flow for the stalks to fully dry.

Garlic keeps better this way.

  
This is not my ship, & I’m not out in the field harvesting it, but for the record there’s less cleaning later if this soil had been brushed off in the field.

But, it’s unavoidable if it happens to be a rainy, muddy-muck day when the garlic is harvested.

  
Either way, soil gets brushed off with an opened palm or a brush of some sort.

  
Then clipping the roots

  
Peel the outer, dirt-stained layer/s of skin

  
All purty & ready for market.

I was trained to clean garlic this way at Sara’s farm, where I interned in 2006.

Next Sunday is the Garlic Pull at her farm, Earthly Mirth. I’ll be sure to get some photos that day to share.

A half-acre of garlic!

  
Finally, a gratuitous photo of my favorite Shoofins, Sophie & Izzy.

(Photo by Jenny – thank you!)


Knowing, not knowing, & sensing things.

  
 I have no idea of the endless number of things that I don’t know.

  
Like the number of stars in the country sky on a clear moonless night…

Or the number of waves in the ocean…

That sort of uncountable number.

Unfathomable.

Immeasurable.

  
And

There are some things I’m coming to know.

  
For example, It’s impossible to anticipate all outcomes.

  
And, I tend to forget what I learn.

  
And, I need reminders.

  
That the practice of being patient, especially with myself, is a worthy effort.

  
(Thanks for the photo, Jenny-la.)

  
& Knowing my mind-eddies or pitfalls is helpful, so as not to become discouraged & give-up when they arise.

  
That every choice has a consequence. Sometimes it’s feel-good-ish, sometimes it’s ego-scraping. Either way is an opportunity for benefit.

  
& That a flower, with the help from a honeybee, warmth from the sun, & rain to nourish the soil, can eventually become a pea is a Miraculous Thing.

  
Of course, there are other things

But these are the things on my mind…

As I sense a shift in my life

  
Maybe a shift/choice, that’s been brewing for a long while.

  
It’s time for an effort to be made to head back to school.

  
A big step for me, as it will require much effort as I challenge a lot of old beliefs I’ve had about my level of intelligence, & scholastic abilities.

  
But I sense it to be the best next step in my life, & find energy coming into me when I focus there.

 I don’t know how it will go

  
As I move towards getting a degree in mental health counseling, with a focus on grief & end-of-life issues.

 There are many steps yet to take in the application process.

  
But I’m game to journey that proverbial “thousand miles” & begin.

  
More to come.

  


Harvest day at Nook & Cranny Farm.

yesterday was harvest day for the CSA pickup

  
It was hot, but thankfully the sun was sometimes obscured by a thin layer of clouds

Also, there was a gentle breeze

  
The building up of a box

  
I thought I’d be transplanting the last of the Cauliflower & Broccoli, (& documenting the box as vegetables were added to it)

but a few workers are enrolled in the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine

They are away for about a month practicing their herbal first-aid skills & learning more about plants & harvesting (& probably a lot of other things)

So I got to head out to the field & harvest 61 bunches of Basil

  
(I know, these are Snap Peas, not Basil… But I didn’t take any pictures of the Basil)

I tend towards not-doing-great-in-the-heat, so I just focused on harvest & drinking water

  
The bounty of July 12th…

  
There’s some Basil… blocking the view of a banana-box-full of the greens & beans & all of the goodness listed on the chalkboard…

Then I set out to transplant the Brassicas

  
Do you know that (marvelous) children’s book – The Very Hungry Caterpillar…?

That shit is for REAL.

Do you see the munched out parts on the leaves & stems?

Some leaves are completely GONE.

  
“Everybody’s hungry”

– a phrase which me and my friend & farming mentor would say when we’d find plants munched down…

*sigh*

No point in getting grumpy about it.

If the plant still had it’s growing tip, It would be potted-up. If not…, to the compost pile.

  
Finally, I found one of the very hungry caterpillars.

Or, Imported Cabbageworms.

They’re really cute.

The adults are white butterflies that are beautiful, & perhaps tasty bird food?

  
I found 6 others in the tray of Broccoli.

They were fed to the laying hens.

“Everybody’s hungry”


Lumaca.


Herbal Sun Tea Punch.

  

Punch.

Here’s a delicious, very refreshing herbal beverage for the summer

In jars, or one large jar, add equal parts Peppermint, Chamomile, Hibiscus, & Lemonbalm.

(In the quart jar, it’s about a tablespoon per each herb)

Add water, put lid on, & set out into the sunlight (or heck, just on the counter if it’s a cloudy day…) to infuse for a good number of hours.

  
Voila.

 
Strain the herbs from the liquid using a fine mesh sieve

  

Little bitty bits of chamomile or peppermint or lemonbalm may remain

Ehng, ’tis not a problem.

  

Add to this a quality apple juice 

…this will do quite well

  

Depending on how sweet you’d like it, I usually add anywhere from 1:3 to 1:2 tea to juice ratio

-so in case I didn’t write that out correctly, (it’s been a loooong time since I’ve been in Math class) I like it best when it’s either equal parts tea & juice or mostly tea.

Do what works for your tastebuds.

Makes a nice ice cube or Popsicle 

Perhaps add fresh basil or mint after it has chilled

Enjoy!

 


Some past weeks at Nook & Cranny.

O crumbs. I’ve gotten so far behind in posting updates from Nook & Cranny Farm. 
Not to be all “excuses, excuses”, But there’s been a lot going on and I’ve buried myself in a good book over posting.

So here’s a non-linear-lump post from the past few weeks.

  
  
Similar, but those really are from two different days… 

  
 

I usually take this photo upon my arrival, yesterday I just got straight to working with much to be done, so this is from after harvest…

Putting the plastic on a hoop house is usually best done on a windless day

  
Alas

 

It takes a village to raise tomatoes

  
There’s about 200 plants now under cover – Hooray!  
Yesterday was the first day of the beginning to the Summer Share  
A number of worker-members came to work – easily over 18 people yesterday!

It’s good to wear a watch here… Neither of the two clocks are ever correct

No it’s not really 7:30... It’s 2pm & we just finished harvest so let’s eat lunch 

Big Harvesting & planting day

   
  
The green house is now nearly empty

Here’s a photostring from a couple weeks back

  
  
Fullness

  
  
Note the above tomato jungle now settling their feet under the new hoop house

And yesterday…

  
That’s it!

Crickets in the greenhouse…

   

Those are the edamame seeds turning into plants, seeded a couple weeks ago

 It was all transplanting brassicas for me yesterday

Cauliflower, broccoli, winter cabbage…

Over 250 plants transplanted

Needless to say I was fried by the end of the day & asleep before 8:30pm

 

I really feel the load of the day more than ever before

Sometimes I feel sad about this… Like i’ve been a failure at farming

But I’m trying to look at it as a guide, in a way, body leading the way for what’s next.

  
The Barred Rock chicks are almost full grown!

   
 

They are running in the spinach beds which were nipped by frost

   

Brussels Sprouts, hardy plant & proud vegetable gracing the logo at Nook & Cranny farm transplanted a week & a half ago.

Till the next N&C post

Wishing you all a veryfine day

  
   


Reflecting a bit about My Elder/s.

I remember the first day I worked for my Elders

  
– though I didn’t call them that then.

It was November 2009

  
And I remember feeling nervous.

  
Nervous that they wouldn’t like the lunch I had made…

Nervous that we wouldn’t find things to talk about…

  
Nervous that I wouldn’t be smart enough to hold a conversation with them…

I had met them in the Spring of 2008 while working on a landscape gardening crew – and we tended their beautiful perennial garden.

  
It’s funny to reflect on that nervousness now, because over time… week after week after week, their lives became a huge part of my life.

  
There was a kind of braiding together

Nervousness gave way to a sense of ease

They became my anchor.

  
Through changing homes, relationships, and a variety of other part-time jobs… They were my one steadiness.

  
I came to love them & their dog

They came to know me & my quirks

Their home became familiar territory

  
And as I look through the rooms

I’m reminded of them, of conversations, the many meals, hugs, mannerisms & habits I had the honor to witness & be a part of for the past almost 6 years.

   
 “Would you like some black pepper?” I asked, lifting the pepper grinder

& was told early-on “fresh ground black pepper”

And so, at lunch, went the question: would you like some FRESH GROUND black pepper?

Nearly always, the reply was YES

  

Markers of time, reminders are everywhere 

His chair where he sat

Her chair where she sat

The clock with large numbers, easier to read, marks the time after his surgery

  
A stuffed toy left on the floor, a moose chew toy belonging to Bentley, the ancient puppy

Pinching salt in a dish

The ubiquitous box of Kleenex 

  
Wedding invitations from a grandchild

A pile of letters from another grandchild

Well-worn sweatshirts (which I feel compelled to wear, though I stop myself…) 

  
There are numerous photos, the smell of cigars & cinnamon, and long-lived plants (a few which have stories told about them) like this Hoya now after 19 years, in bloom…

  
For this past week, my elder was home, surrounded by family, lovingly tended to, & there was only breathing…

  
And though I have no sense of what it was like for him during that time 

(He stopped speaking at that point)

It was an honor to simply be with him 

  
A sacred time

  A slow unbraiding

Even now, sitting here, pausing now & again to look around & really take in the surroundings, a swirl from past moments floods my mind

& then coming present, that sense of honor… What an honor it is to have gotten to be in these dear people’s lives over time

  
We got to really know each other.

“We’re such lucky, lucky people” she would say.

  
There will likely be other posts reflecting on them, & my time working for them…

It’s all kinda fresh, still.


Friday at Nook & Cranny.

Yes, well this post is a bit late…

It has been a busy time.

  
Quite the beautiful day this past Friday at Nook & Cranny.

The living things at the farm are growing well

 
Standing just outside the door of the greenhouse looking in

 
Soon joined by Sebastian

 On my way to say hello to the Cathedral

  
Sebastian’s got a Big Purr.

   

Stepping into the greenhouse to gather up some supplies for my time of seeding

I say hello to the Celeriac, the many Peppers, Tomatoes, & Eggplant

By the day’s end, the right side underneath the table was also covered with ten more trays of beans

  

Harit Covert to be exact

(A French variety of green bean, which is longer & thinner)

 
Other took up his spot on one of the chairs in the porch

(I’ve yet to ask about how he was given his name – but I’ll ask next chance I get)

It was a day off for the two on-farm interns 

 And Garrett set out to make Dandelion Wine!
 Tori did too

They gathered up many of the abundant Dandelion heads from around the farm

  
Steadily pulling the petals off into gallon jars

 Petals and petals and petals

 Staining fingertips golden

 
Eventually filling a jar with the gently aromatic fluff

  

Sebastian opted to sun himself 

  

It was a cool & bright day

  

Beans & basil & lettuce are faring well 

 
Sebastian ever-ready for affection

  

Evidence soon swept into the earth-ground.