Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Around the Farm

Time for a quick farm and garden report:

First, let me say, just when you think you cannot possibly love your husband any more, he goes and power washes the turkey and duck poo off the front porch and sidewalk and you learn you can love even more. Then he tries to force you to use the kids' bathroom in the morning so he can get first shower and that passion falls back a notch. Ebb and flow, that's what love is all about.


Yesterday, our neighbor mentioned he'd be covering his tomato plants because we are supposed to have a couple frosty nights before it warms up again. So, my friend in farming Emily, me and a few of our yahoos picked all the ripe and ripening tomatoes, covered the most robust plants with the best looking remaining fruit, then picked all the green tomatoes from the uncovered plants. We, again, have a boatload of tomatoes to process. This morning, I went to pull the sheets off the plants because we have 50 mph winds forecasted for the entire day. Since I don't want to come home to the embarrassing spectacle of linens wrapped up in the overhead powerlines again, I figured we better grab the sheets now. Good call - the winds are already high. If Gertie the Goat were wearing her Hannah Montana wig, she'd be a platinum blond windsock in the side yard right now. Already, there are ripples on the duck's wading pool.

All the uncovered tomato plants were crackly and brittle this morning; the covered plants were lush as ever. Thanks, Neighbor Bill, for the heads up on the freeze. Just to be safe, we'll pick the rest of the tomatoes tonight, layer all the greenies in newspaper and let them ripen over the next few months. (I sound like I know what I'm doing, don't I? I've been in PR for nearly 20 years, I can make anyone sound smart.)

With this last picking, the garden has pretty much given up the ghost. We could pamper and protect the beans for a little longer, but seriously, I'm tired of the garden. There, I said it. I'm pooped. I need to recharge over the winter, start browsing seed catalogs in January by the fire, and get excited again. Right now, I'm done. Plus, I'd really like to get a pedicure because I'm sick of snagging the sheets with my rough heels, but I can't justify it if I'm going to keep mucking around in the garden. (In addition to the garden excuse, I've been putting off the pedicure because the top of my foot is still tender and alarmingly crunchy after being stomped by the horses - yes, both of them, same spot - a few weeks back and I'm not sure Redgie would appreciate me reflexively bopping her on the side of the head when she went to massage the smushed foot. Better to wait.)

Oh, we do have our fall lettuce and spinach still growing. Emily got the first pick, we'll take the next, and see if there's anything after that.

We do need to get our garlic planted - time's running out. I'll have to pull deep on the well of resolve to get my hiney out there for that project. But, I love garlic, use a ton of it, and have sorely wished we had it from the garden, so I suppose I'll have to go plant it. Crap.

The animals are doing ok, but we have a big "front of house" operation going on. Literally. The turkeys, duck and goat are all up front, in plain sight for all to encounter. We've become THAT family. My poor mother. She never wished this for me. But, now that the poo is off the porch, I feel a little less concerned about how it looks. I figure, as long as I accessorize, wear make up and avoid screened t-shirts with Tweety Bird or Sponge Bob on them, I can pull this off.

The turkeys walk around all puffed up in "full feather," which is just totally cool. They're really mean to Sadie the dog, though, and I'm sure they'll be fouling the walk again in no time, which feeds my temptation to go ahead and just get them tucked into the freezer in advance of Thanksgiving. The only thing is, I'm really worried how the duck will take it. Yes, I said "duck"; where once we had three, now we have one. And she stands at the turkey pen every morning, staring in through the netting, waiting for them to be released. They don't give a rat's patootie about her, but she can't function without them. I think it's time to move her down to the chicken coop and acquaint her with those girls, so she isn't left forlorn when the turkeys take the trip to the Great Grub Farm in the Sky. I actually cried a little when the boy duck disappeared and she was left to swim alone. I have GOT to get over crying over the critters. Seriously, it gets worse the longer we're at this farming thing.

By the way, I don't feel like much of a farmer these days - the garden's done for the season, the pigs have been butchered, the horses are hanging at the neighbors, and we're just left with the poultry and Gertie the Goat. While I'm happy for the simpler days we'll enjoy this winter, I know I'll be ready for all the spring babies to show up, making us feel like a going operation again. If we had a milk cow, I KNOW I'd feel like a farmer again. Plus, I could quit buying all that hopped up milk, butter and cheese at the store. But, for now, I'm glad to not have to worry about twice a day milkings and making anything more from scratch. Just for now.

Speaking of making things from scratch, with a bunch of little jars of peach jam on the counters, more frozen whole peaches to process, and the apples that will be arriving late October, I'm well on my way to having lots of yummy preserves put up for the year. We'll be thawing the pork we just butchered and canning a bunch of that in the coming weeks, as well. I figure by early November, we'll finally be done with preserving the harvest.

Don't think we're getting lazy around here, though. There are new windows to put in, firewood to be cut and gathered, the garden to till under, the property to clean up and trim back for the winter, the corral and sagging stalls to tear down, the chicken yard to expand, the coop to clean out...ugh, I'm feeling a little nauseous, so I'm going to stop right there.

I think I'm going to go crawl into the tub until the wind stops blowing. Which isn't forecasted to happen until tomorrow. Perfect. And I am NOT going to wonder why Mia the psycho dog is getting fat. I'm not. I'm not going to give it a single thought.

Love from the farm,

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