This year sure shot past fast, considering how many eternities and infinities were crammed into every day and week of it.
It’s a good time for it to come to a close; there is a ton to do around the farm to prepare for our first winter with the baby, plus all the field and greenhouse clean-up, party preparation, and heck, maybe we can even find the time to get the bread oven built somehow.
And it’s been so, so gloomy, I love the Sun. I am not a fan of long periods of gray, even though the monochromatic gloom of the sky provides a beautiful backdrop to the fiery autumn maple leaves.
Anyway, yeah. It’s been a heck of a year. From the late-departing Winter that leaped straight into a blazing, humid droughty Summer to the early frosts and the chilly damp of this sunless purgatory, the weather has been an ongoing challenge.
While we did the dance of the first-time parents, our produce productivity plummeted. The weeds staged a triumphant comeback, bursting back from the single seasonal round that they’d ever lost, the voles staged parades to celebrate our decision to try no-till another time.
Our foes, such as they are, are at least worthy ones.
And you know what?
It was a good year.
In the field, the strong and the serendipitous survived, abiding along to the always-implied strains of “Que Sera, Sera.” It didn’t really feel stressful. In fact, I think it seemed less stressful than any other year, really. Sure, we made a lot less money, and The To-Do List got longer rather than shorter.
But it was worth it. It was a season where our major crop wasn’t a vegetable, and the major construction project wasn’t a guest shack, or greenhouse, or a root cellar.
It was the year that we let the farming and the homestead slide into the background ever so slightly, and let them work for us, a bit more on their own. They carried us through: the habits, foundations, mechanisms, and momentum we’ve scraped together in the half a decade we’ve been learning how to live on the Farm.
And this allowed us to grow our Otis as our primary focus, making it possible for him to sink nourishing roots, to rise into the light – with the living farm and forest his ecosystem.
We three grew a lot this year.
Season Six is already, even mere days later, lit by a magical glow in my memory.
And wow, am I excited for what’s to come.
Baby Sweet Potato – As in, a baby-sized sweet potato. We haven’t given these out before, because there is a rather long curing process to develop the sugars and the potatoes aren’t ready to be dug until late in the year. They are not particularly sweet, but they are tasty! They cooked up quicker than I expected, possibly because of their freshness. Try making home fries, sweet potato hash browns, or maybe frying or grilling slices of them. I find that coconut oil compliments them nicely.
Butternut squash – These work well for soup and baked goods (it would substitute well in any pumpkin recipe) because they are moist. I also like them because they are easy to peel, so they can be cubed or grated. Nothing wrong with just baking them up in the oven either.
Brussels sprouts – People were enthusiastic about these in last week’s box, so here they are again! These ones are more normal-sized.
Cabbage – the critters love them too.
Kohlrabi – I expected these to be bigger but it seems that they are just maintaining. Has anyone noticed how cloudy and cool it has been???
4 Varieties of Kale – I like kale in squash soup. Neighbor Marcia recommends kale with cubed sweet potatoes.
Sage – works well with squash and potatoes and in hearty winter stews. Dries well for later use too.