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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's CSA season!

There is nothing like the sit down at the end of the day, especially after running around all day. The first pickup day is always very exciting, with all of us running around through the berry patch, pulling root veggies out of the ground, deciding what lettuce heads to cut and which to keep for next week... all the while thinking - do we have enough? or do we have too much? how will i remember everyone's names?
So when 8 o'clock starts drawing near and the chickens are just starting to roost, it's amazing how your feet feel when you finally give them a break. With an extremely pleasant new signup rounding out the end of the pickup day, we were all happy to crack open a beer, giggle at the ducks and geese chasing bugs, and sit down to assess the first pickup day.

My sister looked a bit incredulous at me when it was all said and done and said "you do that every week?!" Eh, it gets easier as the season goes on though. It is so odd to think -- yes, I am planting this today but it won't be ready to eat until.... three months from now or four months from now or five weeks from now. After last year, I threw out the calculations going by the back of the seed packs (seed companies are terrible liars with high promises of huge yields in little or no time at all) and we have gone for the gung ho - plant as much as you can whenever you get the chance - approach. With the extra help this year, the gardens filled up quickly and we started looking for more land that we could use. Travis is the best for that. He can prepare a bed where there was nothing before (or where the pigs used to live, hehe) and things just start growing from there. I am trying not to worry, but I can tell it is going to be a wild ride as we battle the bugs, grow through a rather rainy summer so far, and try to stop the deer from eating our tomatoes in the back garden. They think we planted just for them. Wouldn't you know that as soon as I got the groundhogs under control, something else would think the garden looks delicious.

Anyway, as I promised this year to Jason, we cut back on signups so that our family can eat out of the gardens, a luxury we didn't have this year. I looove the radish recipe from the baskets this week and we are going to have grilled asparagus, lamb chops, and steamed on the grill radishes with a light short cake with a couple tiny strawberries on top.

I forgot over the winter how nice it is to cook straight out of the gardens.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

summer salads and the first lightning bug

I feel so lucky today. Perhaps it was sleeping in on a warm summer Sunday or maybe it was the hours playing in the garden and then jumping in freezing cold water to wash off the sweat and dirt. I am very happy with the pace of how the gardens are planted this year and I am incredibly happy that we didn't start the CSA as early as we did last year. I just keep thinking, geez, we'd be on week two already last year!
I am happy this way because it is allowing the lettuce to head instead of all be loose leaf. Sure, we will only catch the waning end of the asparagus and strawberry season but I think that the best is yet to come. The war on the weeds is on and Scout, my dad's white german shepherd suddenly figured out that his call in life was to hunt groundhogs... which is good news for us. There has only been one squash bug sighting so far and I haven't seen a cabbage moth all year yet. The peas are in full flower, the squash is putting on new green leaves, and the trees have settled into their new leaves quite nicely, turning the chartreuse into a rich, chlorophyll green of summertime.

I saw my first lightning bug today! It was at dusk and I was walking out to the sheep as the tree frogs were warming up for their nightly song when the ground started blinking at me. It is so funny how the early lightning bugs are supercharged, blinking so fast it seems like they are confused with their power to illuminate. Once settled in within the next few weeks, I'm looking forward to their nightly show as the bats fly overhead eating hundreds of mosquitoes.

I feel lucky today. Not that I am going to play the lotto or win money or narrowly escape catastrophe, more just glad to be in this moment at this time. Everything is growing, blooming, fruiting, and baa-ing. It's summer salad time!