Category Archives: CSA

a Post-Season Newsletter

Howdy again everyone! I’d planned to write up a year-in-review post shortly after the Harvest Party, but life took a weird turn and I wound up in the hospital instead. No, I didn’t catch Covid at the party (as far as I know, no one did woo hoo!), but I came down with … well, we still don’t know what it was. If you came to the party you might recall that I had a sore hand, which I blamed on rough-housing with some children the previous night. I thought I’d sprained the tendons in my hand somehow.

Well, it got worse and worse, swollen up like a balloon and excruciatingly painful to the slightest pressure, and by Tuesday I was in the ER and then under general anesthesia for surgery, for debridement of the presumed infection within my wrist joint and tendons. After several days in the hospital on IV antibiotics they sent me home with a port in my arm so Kristin could continue giving me antibiotics intravenously for the next two weeks.

While I’d been in the hospital, winter had arrived for a surprise early visit,  Slowly, the swelling went down and the gnarly incision closed up, and even more slowly, the pain receded and I regained at least some use of my hand. However, the cultures they took from my wrist fluids failed to provide clues to what the heck had gone wrong – a mycobacteria grew from one culture, but was deemed most likely from contamination, and all the other cultures grew nothing at all. So .. we still don’t know what happened. Mystery infection, or some kind of runaway inflammatory process? Time may tell, or maybe it won’t … I just hope that never happens again because it sucked!


With my hand now finally mostly-functional, we are working to get the farm ready for the winter, and next Spring – cleaning up the field,¬†organizing the mess (we got a second new semi trailer … one will become to the garden center, the¬†other a building material warehouse & workshop), getting wood piles prepared for the next three winters, and fighting the endless onslaught of mice, which are patrolling the woods in unprecedented numbers.

Our usual canned goods sale was cancelled due to the pandemic, so once we sell what we can to ya’ll, we will finish buttoning up the farm for winter, and hit the road southward – we plan to spend most of the frigid season in North Carolina, with a couple stops to see family and familiar farms as well.

Next year we’ll be keeping the CSA at roughly the same size again, preferring to maintain the quality and sanity that we have learned to balance at this scale (let us know if you know that you will or won’t be signing up again, when you get a chance!) 

Stay warm, stay safe, and remember to notice the beauty around you and the things you love about your people. Thanks so much for surfing along with us this season, it’s been an honor to feed you and yours.

Love,

the Que Sehra Fam

Week 18: Kicking the North Wind out of the bedroom

This week we finally tore into the north wall of our home – the 1953 travel trailer / deer hunting shack.

We’ve wanted to do something about it for years – it was in rough shape, and when the frigid North Wind came blasting across the barrens, you could feel it whispering into our bed. The lack of insulation meant condensation and decay where our hard-earned wood heat passed through the wood sheathing – and we knew it wasn’t structurally sound by the way it would shimmy and shake when we’d bang on it in vain efforts to silence the chewing, acorn-dropping mice within.

With another winter looming, and the Fishhouse vacant, we decided to finally make our move – dismantling our 2×4 bedframe and packing for a few nights “downstairs.”

Of course, this coincided with the coldest few nights around, so we made heavy use of the little sheet metal wood stove that had come with the free structure (an ice-fishing shack that breaks down into a nice flat pile of 4×8 panels for trailering out onto lakes).

Upstairs, the work went quickly; I tore out (and burned) the rotten wood paneling and the small amount of remaining insulation – just a few sad, soggy inches fallen to the floor. One old panel had been done in a quick and dirty spraypaint impression of a camouflage pattern by the deer hunters who’d come before us – nifty for historical context, but pretty fugly too. Most all of the wall consisted of only an empty air space (mouse space?) between the interior paneling and the thin metal exterior skin. The studs had mouse tunnels from section to section, and one spot was completely disintegrated.

While I finished gutting the wall, Grandpa Jim rebuilt the rotten framing. Steffan & Britney had given us some 1″ insulation from their wedding keg cooler – perfect to make our insulation upgrade happen. I cut out the requisite odd shapes to fill each void, and Jim cut new plywood to fit around the walls and windows. Another friend had donated dozens of bottles of Great Stuff foam that had been … although they’d expired in 2008, many were still perfectly functional, perfect for sealing up remaining gaps and cracks.

Uncle Tom had given us some pretty 2-foot carpet squares, which completed the bedroom refresh. I don’t really have many pictures to share, but how much do you really care about this project, really? Sorry about that, but hey – that’s what happened this week! And for us, it was pretty sweet.

Hrrmm, what else … more frosts, even colder than before. More field clean-up. Visited Brandon & Nora’s new baby / Bear’s brother, Jaden. And the town’s soybean farmers harvested their crops, rendering millions of lady beetles homeless … ugh, we’d hoped this year just wasn’t going to feature the standard annual plague, but no such luck!

Beats locusts, anyway.

Inside the Final Box

some lucky person got this whimsical tater
  • Brussels Sprouts – Micro cabbages! If you eat bacon, these pair great with it. And onions. You can roast, pan-fry, or eat em rrrraw.
  • Butternut SquashMake a squash soup with the sage perhaps!
  • Kale (Curly Blue, Scarlet, & Dino) – Might be great together with your sprouts, ie https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-brussels-sprout-salad-368295
  • Sage – adds great flavor to stews, classic seasoning in stuffing. You can easily dry it if you want to use it later.
  • Onions – there will be bulk boxes of these available in the after season if you’re interested!
  • Purple Potatoes be like

Week 17: Otis Wants to See a Real Yeti

Fall is falling; in the woods around us, in the field, in our selves. The chicks are thriving. So are we, I think.

This week was quite effective at reminding us all that life is indeed beautiful. I love that. Although it doesn’t really lend itself to words words words.

But: I love fatherhood and partnership, land and family and the sky and the constantly changing flow of life and leaves. Food is good. Sunshine, the unknowable, being alive!

Ahem.

Inside Box 17

Week 16: Phoenix Rising

You may remember a post a couple of weeks back about a hen named “Rabbi Gargoyle,” who was missing and presumed consumed for several days – before showing back up unharmed one fine day.

Well, she’s back in the news again.

Last Tuesday night, we heard her being murdered in the woods. A horrific chicken cacophony, crashing sounds through the brush down the hill toward the coop – where all the other birds were locked up safe – but where the Gargoyle had been sleeping on her eggs, unprotected in the woods.

I threw on a robe as I ran down the hill screaming “ANIMAL! GET OFF!” or something similarly ridiculous. But by the time I got there, her squawking had gone silent, and the nest still held eggs, but no Gargoyle.

scene of the crime

A few feathers were all I could find when I searched the surrounding woods, clucking and calling to no response. Sadly, I gathered up the remaining eggs – I knew the blue ones were her own, so I placed them under other broody hens in the coop, and told Kristin and Marty that the Gargoyle was dead.

But! In the morning she showed up for breakfast, clucking and clearly upset that her nest had been emptied. My best guess is that a deer came through and almost stepped on her, or perhaps a possum came nosing around – and the crazy racket had been her on the attack, chasing something away through the dark undergrowth. So I put her eggs back, showed them to her, and left her to settle down.

The next day I went to check on her – and found two fluffy baby chicks peeping and stumbling around her! Figuring there would be more hatching still, I left her in peace for one last night in the woods, before I’d move the brood down into the truck topper nursery coop.

Or so I thought. When I went to check on them the next day, I was horrified to discover an empty nest. Even the eggs were gone … some eggshells, and one dead chick flattened in the nest. No sign of the Gargoyle, or any chicks. I searched the surrounding woods, the chicken yard, all over. Nothing.

So I brought the bad news back to the crew – it was heartbreaking to lose the whole group, after the scare we’d just had, knowing that I could have moved them to safety sooner, that I had cost a family of our birds their lives by waiting for one more night and believing that “what will be will be” would be a happy ending.

Late in the afternoon, I had a sudden urge to go down and check on the flock, feeling edgy about the presumed predator lurking nearby.

In the chicken yard, inside the fencing we use to segregate the babies from the adults, waiting outside the door to the nursery coop, sat Rabbi Gargoyle, surrounded by six peeping fluffballs.

For the third time, she had shown up happy and healthy after having been written off as certainly dead. And thus the hen with two names gained another, becoming Rabbi Gargoyle Phoenix – the bird who rises up from death’s ashes.

Otherwise, it was a busy, pleasant week. My Dad and his wife visited, we harvested lots of things, salvaging from yet another frost.

Oh! And our two most recent WWOOFers left – and provided us a lovely array of farm photos from their visit, taken by Charlie the Photojournalist Student. I think they really capture what life here has been for us lately, so you might want to check them out here.

Inside Box 16

  • Salad Mix – green ruffled lettuce, red & green tatsoi, arugula, and mizuna
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok Choi
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Acorn Squash – Jester & Thelma Sanders varieties
  • Microgreensradish, kale, or kohlrabi
  • HerbsMexican tarragon & Thyme
Mexican Tarragon
Mexican Tarragon

Week 15: Frosts & Fiancees

Our friend Steffan has been regularly helping us with farmwork for several years now, and we were honored that he asked us to hold his wedding on the farm. Of course, we had no idea Covid was coming, but it worked out well anyway, as it had always been the plan to hold it outdoors, in the social-distance-friendly, unplanted west side of our field. So vows were once again exchanged on our land – but this time with three times as many people, and out in the field instead of the woods.

The whole thing went off incredibly – including some tasty farm food that Groom Steffan catered himself! We even surprised the newlyweds by transforming the new semi trailer into a honeymoon suite, using the huge pallets it came filled with as wall partitions, window blinds, and of course, the bed platform.

In other news, we’re back deep into acorn bombing season, with a nearly-constant bombardment raining down upon every available acoustically-active surface … steel roofs, 55 gallon drums, cars, and buckets. It’s funny how used to it one gets, and how quickly – even though the sudden cracks and bangs are utterly unpredictable.

If this and the changing leaves were not clear enough signs of imending autumn, Ma Nature made things very clear with two frosty nights early in the week – and more forecasted for next week …

Inside Box 15

Potato leek soup with parsley or dill on the agenda.

  • Potatoes
  • Leeks – the bottoms are the best part, but tender green tops can be sliced thin and used similarly to green onions.
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Green Tomatoes – yes, Fried Green Tomatoes are the classic way to use these lovely emerald orbs , which we decided to salvage before the next round of frosty doom descended upon the farm. But there are plenty of other options too – perhaps try one of these!?
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Swiss Chard