Oct. 3, 2012

Hi Everyone,

Well I feel a bit less stressed than I did last week. Pig-mania is behind me, at least, until the second installment goes out next Tuesday. But hey, that’s after Thanksgiving; the dawn of a new era in which I can become myself again, and lose the half crazed speed demon frantic farmer character.

I spent 8 hours on Friday last wrapping pork for my freezer orders. Eight hours of our short daylight hours means a lot of harvesting that I didn’t get done for Saturday market. Add to that the fact that we got almost killing frosts both Thurs. night and Fri. night, and I feared the worst for the tomatoes etc that I hadn’t had time to bring in safely.

Once again, I was more than a little surprised to see how little damage there was: the tomato vines were pretty much dead, but fruit appears OK. Zucchs I gave up for lost–and yet tonight I harvested about 10 that had grown since the frost! Beans likewise, a small harvest today came as a totally unexpected bonus.

On Sunday I harvested all the tomatoes, green or otherwise, 9 bushels are set to ripen inside. I made a little cozy house for them inside an unused part of the barn. They share the space with squash. I got 3 bushels of buttercup and 1 of delicata. Pretty poor, thought I, until I heard at market that 3 of the better organic growers don’t have any, not even for themselves for the winter.

So within the great wave of Thankfulness that should overcome us all in this drought-stricken year, I would like you to be especially thankful for your squash. No squash will reach the market table in Kingston. It is for you folks, me, and one other soul who needs some for the winter.

I am really pleased with your boxes this week. Salad greens are fantastic–perhaps you’ll notice the tiny cress and chervil sprouts in them. I hope your tomatoes will be ripe just in time for the weekend. Parsnips have been a joy to dig. They are big and there are lots of them. My gang won’t be happy unless I make them parsnip chips: thin sliced, deep fried, then served with onion dip (yogurt, diced onion, chili powder, salt and soy sauce). There is celery, sage and parsley (parsley only for large boxes) for your stuffing. And a rutabaga. These troopers were denied water in the now almost forgotten bad days when the well was running dry–despite that they still are trying hard to be the best that they can be. My sister in law’s rutabaga casserole, with cooked apple and cloves and thyme, mashed rutabaga, an egg to bind it all and bread crumb topping, baked for 20 minutes is how I got to like rutabaga.

I will confess to having blown the budget a bit for these boxes. Next week starts some serious austerity measures. There is still a month of good eating to come. I feel so thankful myself for the fall garden, in which all plants are growing better and I am actually able to get decent harvests for market. The whole mood is more upbeat, and furthermore, I seem to be noticing a dramatic increase in the health of the crops which I feel is directly attributable to some of the soil improvement measures I took earlier this year, especially the addition of wood chips, which in part is analogous to building huge apartment buildings for those beloved soil microbes.

After Thanksgiving my thoughts turn to garden cleanup. The feeling of “harvest home” is growing stronger every day, and I hope to be able to tell you more about the late fall work next week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and THANK YOU for the kind words of thanks sent my way.

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