Well, we can start the newsletter in the customary manner: we had no rain this week again. Our total rainfall since April is less than two inches, and it’s … well, it;s interesting I guess. We’ve had years of growing in sandy soil and dryish conditions, two previous years of extreme drought, and a decade of learning how to get water to the field with our little well and how to make the most of it … and so, the field isn’t the desert wasteland it might otherwise be. It’s quite satisfying to behold.
A friend from the farmer’s market had dozens of hay bales get wet by an unexpected rain, rendering them useless for them – so we got to use them to get some additional mulch down around the green beans and soy beans, both as a weed barrier and a moisture retention tactic. With the drought, we hadn’t had any of the big round bales we used to use exclusively for mulch, so this was a pleasant boon; the landscape fabric has been working well, but we prefer the hay when we can get it (and have time/hands to apply it), as it also breaks down and nourishes our soil.
I’m also happy because Kristin had commandeered my hoard of autumn leaf bags for mulching the potatoes, but now I’ll at least get some for my chicken yard composting needs. (NOTE: this autumn, we would love your leaf bags if you have them! And your neighbors’ leaf bags. ALL THE LEAVES.)
It was a great berry foraging week – while Kristin did fieldwork with WWOOFers Kim and Laura, I’ve been hitting the trails through the woods with The Boys gathering pounds of wild raspberries and juneberries.
We don’t have time to can them now, but want to capture their peak freshness and deliciousness – so we borrowed Kristin’s mom’s amazing vacuum sealer, which sucks all the air out of a bag and heat seals it, making perfect solid bricks of fresh foraged fruitiness that we will thaw out when summer slows a bit, and make jam. It also means we can combine early season fruits with some of the later season varieties – our pears and apples, wild chokecherries and blackberries, and our fall bearing raspberries too.
In other news, we had a real shitty day on Thursday. But it wasn’t the bad kind. Well, that’s not entirely true … the metaphorical Shit Happened but it was outweighed by the literal shit, which was Good Shit …
So our friends and CSA members Al & Dan, owners of the Munch Bunch herd of goats, have a barn in which their herd spent the winter – and that barn was full of poop. They wanted that poop gone – and we wanted that poop for our field … goat manure is a wonderful soil amendment, especially with sandy soil. So we sent a crew over to help muck out the barn and get the brown gold outside where it could be loaded into a dump trailer with their skid steer.
To make things easier and faster, they rented a walk-behind power shovel machine … but it barely fit through the door, and was almost impossible to maneuver back out.
But they got enough out to fill up the little dump trailer Dan had fixed up for this purpose, and the first load hit the road. Literally, unfortunately.
When they were almost to our farm, a tire blew … and then the rim ripped off of the hub and the trailer, piled high with heavy rich goat manure, was capsized on the side of the road.
Things seemed hopeless for the trailer and its load of fertilizer … until our friend, neighbor, and CSA member Dave rolled up on his tractor like a knight in shining armor and saved the day. He and Grandpa Jim coordinated an amazing mechanical ballet, effortlessly spinning the crippled trailer around to level it and tipping it vertically to empty it out into a pile the tractor bucket made quick work of cleaning up (transferring it to the neighbors’ larger dump trailer).
With that trailer along with Dave & Marcia’s truck, we were able to go back and use shovels, wheelbarrows, and the skid steer to clear out about half of the barn and get the contents home to be used next year. It was a lot of work and stressful when the trailer imploded, but everything got back on track so quickly and easily thanks to the power of experienced and kindly neighbors that it felt like something good that happened, instead of something … well, yeah, shitty.
Sometimes you need those little tragedies as opportunities to let the good times toll, the good people shine, the serendipity and magic and blessings that surround us to reveal themselves. And sometimes it’s literally poop. I love this life …
What’s Inside Box 5:
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Broccoli – this year has been the Battle for the Broccoli. Every bite should taste of victory wrested from the literal jaws of death.
- Kale & Collard Green Mix
- Sunflower Micro Greens
- Green onions
- Cucumbers – it’s fresh cucumbers and pickled pickles time. Are you ready? Go!
- Fresh Veggie Stir-Fry: Sauté green onions, sugar snap peas, and zucchini in a splash of coconut or peanut oil. Season with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for a quick and healthy stir-fry.
- Crunchy Green Salad: Combine thinly sliced cucumbers, broccoli florets, and kale/collard greens. Toss with a tangy vinaigrette made from green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, and a hint of honey.
- Zucchini and Kale Frittata: Sauté chopped zucchini and kale/collard greens with green onions in a non-stick pan. Pour whisked eggs over the veggies and cook until set. Serve as a delicious and nutritious breakfast or brunch.
- Refreshing Cucumber and Green Onion Salsa: Dice cucumbers and finely chop green onions. Mix with lime juice, a pinch of salt, and fresh cilantro for a zesty salsa to enjoy with tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled fish.
- Broccoli and Sugar Snap Pea Salad: Blanch broccoli florets and sugar snap peas until tender-crisp, then cool them down. Toss with a light dressing of green onions, lemon zest, olive oil, and a sprinkle of sunflower shoot micro greens for added freshness.
- Asian-inspired Kale and Sunflower Shoot Salad: Massage kale leaves with a drizzle of olive oil to soften them. Toss with sunflower shoot micro greens, thinly sliced green onions, and a sesame-ginger dressing. Optional: add toasted sesame seeds for extra flavor and crunch.
Haikus by a bot ; inspired by the essence of the CSA newsletter:
Drought tests our patience,
Little rain, sandy soil, still
Field blooms, satisfaction.
Mulch from wet hay bales,
Weed barrier, moisture’s friend,
Nourishing our soil.
Raspberries, juneberries found,
Nature’s sweet rewards.
Preserved freshness for later,
Goat manure’s treasure,
Neighbor’s help turns mishaps bright,
Brown gold for our fields.
Battles for broccoli,
Victory in each bite won,
Taste of resilience.
Crunchy green salads,
Zesty salsas, frittatas,
Recipes to savor.