We closed the windows at night for the first time this summer on Sunday night, as the lows were dipping into the forties. An interesting milestone, for those who are inclined toward such things, but not a sign of what’s to come – not immediately anyway. Another heatwave looms on the horizon, but this week was just downright idyllic temperatures. Of course, it was still a week without meaningful rainfall, as the usual rain cloud dodging kept us well reminded that we are farming in the Sterling Sand Barrens. (A place described in a recent article with “I think of the farmers who gave so much trying to grow crops in this sun-blasted sand — and how the barrens already have so much to give.”)
Speaking of that, the drought seems to have stunted the fruits of the wild blackberry bushes, but the earlier-ripening dew berries are plump and delicious. It looks to be a decent year for wild chokecherries as well. Dry sandy soil has meant almost no mushrooms in our hood, although I’m still hopeful that the strangely dry-tolerant lobsters will be coming up soon – the cicadas have started to drone, so I know that lobster-hunting season is near.
The Field is chugging along. The weeds we share space with are going to seed, the zucchini plants have graduated to monsters, and the tomatoes required pruning and trellising as they reach for the sun. WWOOFer Jolene almost completed her lofty goal of thinning and weeding the entire turnip row before heading for the East Coast, which we may just leave that way in hopes it galls her into returning. Kristin got her new weed destroyer out for the first time yesterday – a beast of a weed whipper with a sawblade instead of plastic string. Not a weed whipper – a brushcutter.She liked it quite a bit, and should probably do a commercial for the manufacturer. (Stihl, if you’re curious.)
The Ma Baker’s Dozen got too big for their britches this week – getting into everything, pooping all over, and generally being juvenile delinquents. So we moved them all down into the truck topper coop after dark one night, then the next night had the little ones follow me down to the coop at dusk (carrying their mom as a lure). On the third night they went there by themselves, and have bedded down there every night since on their own. We still get visits throughout the day, but they have the chicken yard as homebase now, and seem to understand that the chickens are their people, not us humans. They grow up too fast.
Hey Kristin, what’s
inside Box 7?
Zucchini & summer squash – There are golden zucchini, standard green zucchini, summer squash that are light yellow with a green end that are called zephyrs, and weird little sunshine looking summer squash called patty pans. Sometimes people ask me if certain ones are “ripe” (because of the color differences I assume) but that’s not how these guys work. You can eat them any size from tiny to large but they get seedier and have tougher skins as they get older. Like cucumbers or eggplants. Speaking of…
Slicing and Pickling Cucumbers – might be a good week to try cucumber salad? The slicers are in the box loose – the picklers are in a quart container (separated in case you want to make some delicious fridge pickles).
Eggplants – Either an Italian or thai variety. Don’t eat these raw, ok? Or el dente. Capiche? A lot of recipes recommend salting and draining them which probably makes them cook better. Saute them with zucchini or maybe https://theforkedspoon.com/roasted-eggplant/
Cabbage –Not a Napa, but a regular green cabbage Here are some cabbage ideas.
Potatoes – reds with delicate skins.
Micromix – sunflower, broccoli, kale, amaranth, radish, and a smidge of basil.
Broccoli – a bit in a bag; good for an omelette or a stir fry