It was another cool weather week up on the Farm, with lows down almost in the 40s at times, and lots of cool days with occasional rains.There are thousands of june bug grubs in the compost, all kinds of crazy bugs everywhere, and the mosquitoes went through a wane and then waxed again – but still haven’t returned to their horrible peak levels we saw a few weeks or so back.
And of course, it was also another busy week!
We had our second Saturday at the Saint Croix Falls farmer’s market, where we sold out of most everything we brought, and almost blew to Kansas when the wind storms moved in toward the end of the day (one of our fellow vendors lost their tent catastrophically, and we only barely kept ours down and together).
The rain has the bindweed and ragweed blowing up in the unmulched rows, and we worked hard to keep it from shading out any of the young summer and fall crops, building up our weeding calluses (on the middle outer edge of both pinkies). We found some time to help our neighbors with their vineyard – four of us put in a couple hours of work right up til the storm rolled in and downpoured on us as we fled.
We built a cucumber trellis out of old cattle panels, hooked up a three-hole sink to the well for washing dishes, and picked and canned a ton of strawberries from Kristin’s farming mentor’s patch (we’re bartering with them for veggies this summer).
We got the heavy chicken coop off the trailer and moved into place behind the semi-trailer “barn” with Kristin’s dad’s help, and are now ready to get it into chicken–habitable shape before we bring the first cluckers home early next week. Along with the nifty insect life we’ve been seeing in the woods and around the trailer, there are some more and less welcome creepy crawlies in the field – orange, gross looking potato beetles we squish by hand, predatory stinkbugs that spear said potato beetles with their long stabby proboscis faces and drink their guts. Then the grossest bug of all – one that drove Kristin to have to shower after she squished a few – and with good reason … the bugs that we had to destroy from the tomatillo row looked like little piles of poop. Because they were, really … these sickos (grubs of a type of potato beetle) defend themselves from birds and people by piling up their excrement on their backs. Yuck. yuck, yuck. Nature, you nasty!
Thankfully, we had help this week from Abe the WWOOFer, who has fallen in love with splitting firewood with our 17 pound Monster Maul.
He had never split wood before, but now he’s quickly turning into a pro – Kristin had to cut down a big standing dead red oak to keep him stocked with splittable wood (we’re piling it up to cure for this fall and next spring’s home-warming and cook fires).
Storage note: the best way to store most veggies is to keep them in the fridge – bagged, but closed only loosely – let it breathe some, but don’t let it dehydrate and wilt.New items this week are:
- Peas – This year, we upgraded from last year’s variety – these are stringless! Stir fry em, eat em fresh, chop em up and dress them in a pea salad.
- Kohlrabi – The big alien thing in your box! Cabbagesque flavor. Peel it, eat it fresh if you like or sautee it. The leafs are also edible (treat just like any other cooked green). Pairs well with apple, lemon, and black pepper.
- Basil – the bestest smelling thing ever. Chop it up to flavor a salad dressing or add some chopped and fresh atop a veggie stir fry. Or just carry it around in a bag and huff on it periodically to enjoy the smell …
- Collards – these are still young and tender, don’t need to be cooked for a long time as old, thick collards require. Like all greens, they cook down significantly in volume, so consider combining them with the other greens.
Returning veggies this week include:
- Turnips (purple top & salad varieties) – cut off the greens ASAP for storing (they will dry out the turnips if you leave them on.) The greens are extremely nutritious and quite tasty cooked. They would combine well with the kolrahbi and collards if you made a meal of cooked greens. Oh, and by the way – if you make bacon, try cooking your greens in the bacon grease, it’s delicious!
- Salad mix – red ruby lettuce, oak leaf lettuce, pea tendrils, arugula, mizuna, beet greens, and baby chard
- Bok choi
- Red head lettuce – great for sandwiches, so we kept it separate from the salad mix.
Boxes will be ready for pick-up between 5:00 and 7:30 – see you soon.
Thanks again for being a part of this adventure with us!