We can hear new things in the night, now. Far-away humming grain dryers, loud music from a house on the other side of the woods, distant barking dogs and bellowing midnight cows – from directions where no such sounds had been heard for months.
I remember now that early Spring had been similar – but I’d told myself it was because the trees were all still bare – assuming that in greener months their leaves subdue sounds. But the woods now are still pretty leafy, requiring a new explanatory theory: it’s the lack of crickets. And the absence of frog choruses and screeching beetles. When the chill-bringing winds of autumn cease shaking the trees, the evenings and nights are just so quiet now. It’s the Silence of the Bugs. The Hush Before the Snow.
And so I guess it makes sense that this is Week 18, even though it feels impossible that another season has gone by some quickly, even while it all feels so epic and new. I can see how I will in a few moments or so be looking back at decades of change and growth, seasonal cycles pulsing like single day and nights.
I don’t want to go on; you know exactly what I mean. Pretty fascinating ride we’re on here – I wish I could explain how grateful I am, we are, for every person who has been part of the journey. You. You were an inextricable piece, and that’s awesome.
This year has been our best yet – I dare believe that the trend is likely to continue. So much has been built, so many systems refined, so many realizations made and connections forged and possibilities opened.
We’ll continue the CSA, at about the size it is –so that we can manage it without sacrificing our sanity or the quality of what we’re putting out into the world. It will also leave us some time and energy to explore possibilities. We’ll probably do more “value-added” food production, using what we grow as the raw materials. We’ve talked about doing two weekly Farmer’s Markets instead of just the one. Stagger plantings more. Feed bugs and disease and critters less, and feed and water plants more. Plant more spinach. You know.
We still don’t know where all this may take us, what we will do, how we will be – no more, really, than we did when we set out. And, we still don’t mind that; thanks to an abiding hunch that we’re doing what we want to be doing, and what we’re meant to be doing.
2016 was a beautiful year and we will miss it – even as we look ahead to the all the interesting, delicious, and challenging beauty still to come.
It was wonderful to grow for you, and with you.
- the Sehrs
PS – oh yeah I forgot to talk about the box!
Box 18 – The End Again
Popcorn – hang your cobs in a dry place to finish curing before you make homemade farmgrown organicmagic superpopcorn. After a couple weeks, the moisture levels should be getting to the right levels for popping (try a couple of test kernels before you commit it all). To use, shuck the corn off of the cob by hand – it seems hard at first but it gets easier as you go. Put some oil and salt in a heavy pan with a lid (like a dutch oven). Warm it up before adding your seeds and covering it up. Wait until they start popping, then lower the heat slightly so they don’t burn. Remove from heat when the pops get infrequent. You can probably use a microwave or a popcorn maker if you’ve got such things.
Brussels Sprouts –After several attempts, this was our first year successfully growing these things. Now that we know the secrets, we’ll grow more of them next year …
Butternut Squash – one of the tastiest and most versatile of the winter squash – and the seeds, roasted, make a wonderful garnish for salads or soups.
Pie Pumpkin – Cute and decorative, sure – but also quite edible … sweet and perfect for bread, smoothies, soup, or pie.
Salad Mix – red & green lettuce, arugula, spinach, mizuna, tat soi, bok choy, pea tips, pea flowers
Parsnips – Those aren’t white carrots in with the carrots! These add a great flavor to roasted vegetable mixes. Or could be cooked and pureed with your squash soup. Or your carrot soup!
Carrots – the giant mutant super carrots’ reign of terror now comes to a close – for you. We still have to survive the rest of the season without being consumed by them … next year, we’ll be putting them in less rich soil so that they grow a little less wild ….
Broccoli – more beautiful heads from the second planting
Herbs: Parsley, Sage, & Chives – Sage pairs great with winter squash, and dries well for later use. Chives and parsley would be good to sprinkle on roasted vegetables, or use in a salad dressing.
That’s all for this year – unless you come to the Pizza Party on Sunday – we’ll be making toppings from things we’ve grown! Thanks again, hope you’ll join us for another season!