Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We have a name

Before I started blogging about our adventures here at Mucky Boots, I was sending "Farm Updates" to family and friends via email. Here is one of them, from the end of June, 2009.

Hello everyone!

Exciting news here at the farm: we have finally picked a name! We are going to call ourselves Mucky Boots Farm, and in honour of our new name, we have decorated our front gate.

The other big news is that we finished work, and said all our final goodbyes at school. It was a bit intense, and it will take a bit of time to separate our feelings about leaving from the usual end-of-year exhaustion and bad temper. We received a lovely porch swing from the school, which is perfect on the verandah.

The vegetable garden is busting out all over. We picked 1.5-2 litres of strawberries every other day for about 2 weeks, some of which we ate and much of which we froze. It has slowed down somewhat, but with the raspberries which have just started, we're having lovely fruit salads for breakfast.

The peas (snow and sugar snap) were wonderful while they lasted. We'll definitely plant more of those. We still have lots of romaine, which seems to be holding in the heat, but the spinach, arugula and mizuna have all bolted (started flowering) which makes them too bitter to eat. There's a definite art and science to planning succession planting to make sure you always have young and tasty greens - we're learning from our mistakes!

We have been freezing kale by the basket, and have harvested an armload of basil from the greenhouse to make pesto.

I'm realizing that there are things to learn about growing food, and then there are a whole bunch of other things to learn about eating from the garden. No more starting with a recipe and then looking for the ingredients. Rather, it's being creative with what's ready to eat, which can be a challenge when there's a lot of one or two things. The zucchini and pattypan squash have just started, and it looks like we've planted at least 4 times too many plants, so these notoriously high-volume producers are going to challenge us!

Another thing about learning to eat from the garden is reralizing that it's okay to actually eat something you're very proud of, like our fennel. We have a forest of gently waving fennel fronds, with fennel that has actually bulbed beautifully (which doesn't always happen, according to Nick our neighbour). I realized last week that I was subconsciously saving it for something, because I like fennel so much and it's always so expensive in the stores. I'm not sure WHAT I was saving it for, but the risk is that if I leave it much longer, it will be get old and woody. So fennel is now on the eat-every-day list.

Our beets are just starting to be ready to eat, and they're beautiful! We planted golden beets and chioggia beets, which are bright pink and striped. We definitely will need to plant more of those next year, too.

And we harvested our garlic, which we planted in October. The photo shows it freshly pulled, but it's now nicely dried, and ready to use. It was quite interesting to watch it approach readiness-to-pick: each plant developed a funny pointy appendage that curled around more and more. I think it's called a scape. Nick said when it curled totally around in a full circle our garlic would be ready to eat.

I think that's it on the vegetable front! We have a busy summer in front of us - as well as managing the vegetable garden and planning for the winter growing we will do, we have a few projects that need doing, like putting a new roof on the wood shed, and finishing up splitting all the wood from when we had the trees taken down in the spring.

But the most important news: we have our name on a waiting list to purchase a snow-blower.

Much love to you all-



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