Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurrican Irene aftermath

Hurricane Irene made for some spectacular surf in our neighborhood, bringing out all the camera buffs in the area trying to capture the perfect crashing wave.
The bulldozers had to be called out when things calmed down, to push the beach back off the road where the wild surf had thrown it.
My biggest worry was the tunnel greenhouse being blown away, but with clamps securing the plastic to each of the bows it came through the high winds unscathed. And I worried about the huge linden trees crashing through the roof, but they bent with the winds and were ok.
The flattened corn however, didn't fare as well...
And the apples that still needed three weeks or more to ripen, are mostly on the ground, too green for any use at all. Will be hard to find enough later for cider. I must check my pears tomorrow...there were only four on the tree so I put a drawstring produce bag over each and tied them to the branches to protect them.
Remarkably, the sunflowers are still upright, but they are in a garden that has a windbreak of mature trees so that surely is what saved them.   All except the one accidently lopped off by the garden maid who is in this pic sharpening her scythe for a go at the alfalfa plot.
This will be dried winter feed for the laying hens, along with the sunflower seed heads. Yesterday seemed like a good day to cut the alfalfa down as there is no rain forecast for another 4 days, how unusual for this soggy summer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I've been meaning to replace my ageing raspberry patch for several years now. If I ever needed a nudge here it is on this little bush from Corn Hill Nursery, that I planted in May.
The 12 year old plants put out these tiny pathetic berries despite a heavy manure application, (which produced the biggest healthiest weeds ever). The gigantic berries were produced on a foot high new baby plant. So why did I wait so long? Its that gardeners optimistic mindset that "next year will be better." I'm fond of this old patch even tho it has run it's course and definitely it's time to call in the tractor/tiller guy.
This is the new raspberry patch being worked up for next year's planting, presently sporting a crop of soil enriching buckwheat. I love the look of a field of buckwheat. It looks so soft and billowy, like green clouds that you could throw yourself into.(No, I havent tried that.) It will be a beautiful attractant to the bees when in flower, so that I will hate to till it under, but after all, that's the main idea.

Just to keep the farmers market customers guessing, I'm growing some English Broad Beans. When I was small I loved to pop them out of their pods, but dinner preparations could be delayed while I played with the food. You see , I saw faces, little newborn baby faces in each bean. I still see them...doesn't everybody? Is it just me?
And after involved conversations with all the little faces, after they finally landed in the pot, then there was their soft fuzzy cradle to play with. I would trace each indentation in the soft fuzzy lining of the pod with my fingertips, and inhale the lovely unique smell. We had no electronic or plastic toys, but we sure had the riches of Imagination.

Here's what the pods look like growing on the broad bean plant.
Walking in the gardens, there's always something new and different and lovely. I planted about 100 sunflowers with the idea of saving the seed heads for winter feed for the hens. They are stunningly beautiful, I always marvel at their ability to turn their giant heads from east to west so that the sun kisses them all day long.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Day Off to Play

Sometimes you just have to take a day off..well half a day since saturday morning is cottage cleaning and turnover day. When the last toilet was gleaming we were off to Hampstead for the second annual organic celebration on Slipp Farm's organic 1800 acres. What a BEAUTIFUL farm!
Farmers and foodies feasted on Speerville Mill's wood fired oven baked pizza, Slipp's grass fed beef burgers and Picaroons beer. The farm was so breathtaking, rolling hill after rolling hill with a magnificent view of the river below, and the grass so lush and green even this late in summer.
I met people I hadn't seen in months and a blues performer I knew from the 1970's. I love local live music of almost any kind (no rap please) and we were treated to a non stop series of bands playing country, bluegrass, folk, traditional, blues and jazz.

And one of the most fun things for me was watching the kids run wild and free. Groups of kids climbed all over this hay wagon all afternoon inventing games on the spot, having the time of their lives without a single adult hovering about with "Get down from there, you'll hurt yourselves!" I guess most of us were from farm backgrounds and can remember the joys of non electronic active imaginary play.

There was non stop entertainment under one of the big tents, some of my favorites were The Browns with some sweet bluegrass harmonies and Tom McAvity's Hardscrabble Blues band. Tom sings the blues the way they're meant to be sung, with energy and gravelly voice. and the requisite wails and moans. It was fun to meet up again.
What a great glorious sunny day and a refreshing break from work! We'll be back next year for sure. Thanks ACORN for letting us know about this grand time!