As the leaves change hues, the wind wakes from her Summer slumber blowing them to the ground. There they find their purpose. Their fall gives life to innumerable microorganisms and insects over the next few months. This is what we’ve witnessed over the last 31 days. Although they have been unbelievably chaotic, this is the way of the farmer.
Immersing my hands wrist deep in the very elements I am created from brings me a unique tranquility. As I prepare each furrow to receive seed, my mouth naturally forms a smile as I think of my Creator using this soil to craft the first man. The life-giving gift of soil, the blessing to grow – He wanted me to understand the gratification. I do.
October was an exhaustive month of planting. On this, the tenth month, we planted Collards, Kale, Carrots, Fennel, Mizuna, and Lettuce, to name a few. Of these, we are the most eager to harvest Carrots & Kale. These are the choice vegetables of our family. We appreciate their versatility. Carrots may be eaten fresh or cooked, may be shredded into fresh a salad, or baked into an appetizing dessert. Kale is much to the same tune.
Garlic found its place just yesterday. As the many moons circle our great blue ball floating in space, these cloves will secretly spawn something amazing, aromatic, and flavorful just beneath the surface. In just eight moons all secrets will be exposed.
It is a rewarding feeling to attain our planting goals. We take the victory with hands held high and humbled hearts. But rest not, there’s more yet.
Life begets life. That is a fact we have come to appreciate as growers. Expanding our growing knowledge and skill past plants to our farm animals has been enlightening! As our chicken flock has grown, there is a sense of pride as we observe paternal and maternal traits rise to the surface. I think, “I know who your mama is!”
Now we are expanding that love and care into our rabbits. Our rabbits are our babies and they are truly a part of our farm family. We obtained them to eventually breed although in the meantime we have appreciated the donations they readily make to our compost. We have mated our Giant Chinchillas (Sonny & Cher) to each other and our Dwarf Angora to our Lionhead/Angora mix (Domino & Sweet Pea). All signs point to kindling in our near future. In fact, by the time our next blog post is done (December), we should have welcomed the kits into the world. A few of them will be available for forever home placement if things go as planned. We will make an announcement on our social media platforms at said time.
Roselle continues to grace us with bountiful calyces the brightest of scarlet and leaves from fern to emerald. Although harvesting is an arduous task it is well worth the effort. This month the flowers will finally halt blooming and harvest will come to a climactic end giving us further reason to look forward to Spring when we will embrace this bounteous flower yet again.
Arugula & mustards are among the leafy greens the ground has chosen to offer us. Both are peppery, both delicious & dual-purpose. As we harvest it is a reminder to replant. Succession planting ensures there are no gaps in harvesting. Schedules are challenging to adhere to however the benefits, the benefits sustain the farm and this family’s grocery budget.
As November’s 30 days come to pass, we shall have the joy of harvests from our flat-leaf kale varieties, Dill, Red Giant Mustards, radishes, and Snow Peas. Fall potatoes will also be lifted from the earth. We desire to see results far surpassing the meager Summer harvest. Undoubtedly, we will make use of whatever we gain. Whether it be enough for one meal or one serving the fact remains that we laid our hand to do the work of planning, planting, and cultivating. We now have something that we did not have before. For that, we will show ourselves thankful to our Provider.
A Gentle Push or a Shove
This evening was beautiful. White clouds scattered on a blue canvas with orange highlights surrounded us as we began to tackle November’s planting – Cauliflower & Cilantro. Here at my home, fully immersed in my happy place, my garden, I would have a terrible interaction with a neighbor’s dog. For reasons unbeknownst to me, our neighbors choose to walk their aggressive and disobedient (quite possibly untrained) dog off-leash. What this entailed for me this evening is standing frozen on my own corner of the earth listening to the snarling, growling animal state her case. Her owners ran behind her unable to tame or capture her in all her wildness. Laughingly they reassure me she is not aggressive and will not bite. As they continue attempts at apprehending her, my observations are quite contrary to their statements. The hair on her neck is raised. Her tail, straight. Her teeth, bright. All the language of her furry body is deafening, blaring over her barking. I choose to heed her unspoken communication rather than her owners’ dialogue. I stand still. Shortly our daughter charges outside, angry, wearing pieces of a fur suit which confuse the dog long enough to bring our situation to a screeching halt. Everyone is safe. The neighbors and their canine unapologetically exit. I share this story because afterward, I dove deeply into fencing options. It is quite a costly undertaking. We are painfully aware of this as it has been our aspiration for many years. Now, however, faced with such an unsafe set of circumstances we are being forced to consider this option more seriously. We are being shoved. Do we have a choice?
There is a faint message to be heard here. Take the gentle push. Do not wait on the shove. If you have been thinking about growing food for your family, start today. If you want to expand your homestead to include livestock, now is that time. If you want to learn how to can your harvests or what you pick up from the grocery store – hello! In life we often get gentle nudges guiding us in a good direction – not always right or wrong, just appropriate for us at that moment in time. Due to the hectic nature of life and our tendency to reason, we can do it tomorrow or next year we will make the dive, we wait. Procrastinate no more.
As for our shove, we have a plan in place to approach it efficiently. It is our hope you are able to do the same – from our family to yours.