CSA Newsletter: Week 3 – Putting Down Roots

It’s been a strangely wet dry week.

weeding carrots in the rain
weeding carrots in the rain

Although there have been several days where we worked in the rain and got wet, there hasn’t been enough rain to really ever soak the soil – just slow, steady drizzles that don’t really add up to much. And it’s been chilly, too – down into the lower forties at night – so low it even blackening the tips of the basil plants..

All the chilly weather has the plants growing slowly – it’s strange looking back to this time last year, and realizing just how ahead things were – even crops we planted later than we did this year! Fortunately, even the weeds have been slowed down a bit.

The voles have rejected our peace treaty, and really upped their evil quotient this week – they’ve taken to utterly destroying our tomato plants, eating their root systems up  and leaving the healthy-looking plants to dangle from their trellis strings like hanged men for us to find in the morning.

look ma, no root! The voles didn't eat this one all the way up above the soil line as they did the other 7, but still devoured enough to kill it.
look ma, no root! The voles didn’t eat this one all the way up above the soil line as they did the other 7, but still devoured enough to kill it.

So far, 8 plants have met their doom this way. This is quite an escalation, and if it continues we just might have to dynamite the entire farm and start over.

First though, we’ll try reasoning with the vermin again, and then maybe come up with some kind of vole-dance to drive them away.

The raccoons have been very active this spring as well – we’ve already evicted three from our chicken yard this spring, and lost two wayward hens that weren’t sleeping in the secure coop at night. Bears, however, have not been seen at all – very unusual for us at this time of year. We think that WWOOFer Sarah’s canine sidekick, Kingsbury, has been driving them away. They’re definitely in the area, just not on our land, which is great.

Meg helped Kristin run the market booth in Saint Croix Falls this week while Gabe worked on the root cellar - she's the one who painted all our lovely little signs!
Meg helped Kristin run the market booth in Saint Croix Falls this week while Gabe worked on the root cellar – she’s the one who painted all our lovely little signs!

 

This was a week of transition. Meg & Eldon, two of our springtime WWOOFers that helped us get the field started have moved along out into the wide world, and we’ve been joined by Rob – a friend of Sarah’s who comes to us from Habitable Spaces in Texas, where we have spent many a wintertime , and where we first met Sarah, as well as Marty and Jeff, who both were out helping us this week. It’s an interesting exchange program we have going with them, in which humans flee the summer Texas heat and join us, and then flow back South when the cold returns.

And in a transition that seems somehow connected, we both poured the first foundation on our land this week, and decided to sell our beloved house in South Minneapolis. (We have’t lived there since 2013, but have been renting it out.)

The root cellar will give us a place to store, ferment, and cure food, beer, flower bulbs … in the winter it will keep things from freezing, in summer it will keep things cool yet moist – and in all seasons, provide a storm shelter for when the trailers just aren’t as stuck to the ground as we’d like them to be.  I’m not sure that there are many things that feel quite as much like putting down roots as pouring concrete footings for a root cellar!

Gabe's Dad spent a few days at the farm and helped lead up the project to build the root cellar foundation properly
Gabe’s Dad spent a few days at the farm and helped lead up the project to build the root cellar foundation properly

As for the Minneapolis house … I really never thought I’d leave it all, let alone be able to sell it, but I’ve slowly realized over the past four years that it’s no longer where my heart and soul are, and although it will always be magical, it is now so firmly in our past.

The change has been made, and it’s time to let go of the pieces of chrysalis that sheltered us in our earlier forms, to focus on the new, living home we’re creating together here.

It’s always interesting, and every day is an adventure.

We are so grateful for the luck to have found a living we love to make.

Box #3

part of the CSA harvest crew relaxing after all the boxes were loaded up
part of the CSA harvest crew relaxing after all the boxes were loaded up

Sugar Snap Peas – you can do so much with these delicious, versatile favorites …  including just eating them all straight out of the box before anyone else in your family finds out what they’re missing.

it takes a village to pick the peas.
it takes a village to pick the peas.

 

Chop Salad Mix –  (red & green lettuce, mizuna, baby kale, pea tips, arugula) Bigger leaves for your eating pleasure – enjoy it full sized, or chop it like it’s haute.

picking salad mix ingredients before the sun rises high enough to hit the greens
picking salad mix ingredients before the sun rises high enough to hit the greens

Scarlet Queen Turnips –  so scarlet that an unnamed helper (STEFFAN) accidentally harvested a bunch of beets today. We’ll blame their absence on the voles perhaps.

Mother & Son turnip packin' squad
Mother & Son turnip packin’ squad

 

Bok Choi Leaves & Sprouts – you know how to eat the leaves I reckon – treat the flower stalks similarly, chop ‘em up and sauté them. Tender, delicious, and not deadly poisonous at all.

Green Onions –  I’m really trying hard not to link to Booker T and the MGs this year but I’m weakening.

Purslane – Perhaps the most nutritious and delicious weed we battle on the farm! We actually let this patch grow up a bit as a temporary ground cover beneath the corn, so we could harvest it for y’all today. Enjoy the tangy, sorta-lemony crunch fresh on sandwiches and salads.

Broccoli – the variety we grew this year has been confusing me about when it’s ready to harvest – bits of the flower develop fully, while the majority of the head remains tight and poised to grow more … it might have gotten larger if we waited, but it’s plenty delicious now. Don’t toss the leaves – they’re awesome eating.

broccoli packin' squad
broccoli packin’ squad

Oregano –  in the little herb bag on top! Perhaps chop it up and use it in a salad dressing, with the green onions, some oil, salt, and vinegar, or throw it in a pot of beans as they cook! If you don’t feel like using it right away you could dry it or infuse some vinegar with it.

Gabe's Dad observes as we figure out the best tools for planting leeks (which are planted into deep, narrow holes)
Gabe’s Dad observes as we figure out the best tools for planting leeks (which are planted into deep, narrow holes)

 

 

hens scavenge through the fresh compost
hens scavenge through the fresh compost

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