Well, we certainly have had quite the winter so far! Below average temps and above average snowfall, it's been both challenging and beautiful. During the 2 week stretch of single digit weather, the inside of the hoop house was covered in hoarfrost. It is formed basically when the air gets so cold, the water vapor in the air condenses and turns to frost....yes that means it was really cold! The "fuzzy" stuff on the walls of the house in the picture above is all hoarfrost. My camera could not pick up the individual crystals that I could see down the entirety of the house.
This is a close up of one of the individual crystals covering the wall. Huge and magnificent!
Needless to say, I do not think the greens under the cover in the hoophouse liked the subzero stretch of weather. I believe they are still alive and will pull out of it, but harvest this week is not likely.
When I am not shoveling, snowplowing or plowing snow I am keeping my office chair warm. I have attended 2 farming conferences this winter as well as a 3-day farm business workshop, which will include 20 hours of Technical Assistance. All of been extremely helpful and worthwhile, although I am starting to dream that I have gone back to college! My brain has been a slurry of ideas, growing tips and numbers. As always, just trying to improve my farm from all sides.
Seed ordering is complete and most have already arrived in the mail. It's always a pleasurable task and although I tend to order the same varieties year after year, I am still in awe of the plethora of seeds to chose from. After visiting Peru last year, I was reminded how the food in our local area shapes us. And how wondrous mother nature is at giving us something nourishing and the flexibility to grow it in different places. Fedco hit on this point exactly in their catalog this year talking about how seeds have migrated from one place to another, through animals, wind, water, humans. They have "traveled over time, across cultures, navigating change" and are "adaptable, generous, tenacious, diverse and beautiful".
This next part, hit me in the heart, because I think it is true....seeds have "charmed" me into tending them...
"We say that we have domesticated seeds, but perhaps they have domesticated us, attracting us with their charms into a mutual relationship where we weed, water, harvest and transport, taking them into our homes, our bodies, our lives. People throughout the ages have loved seeds, tucking them into skirt hems, saddle bags....to preserve culture, stories, memories of homeland...for seeds are life--we need them as we need water, warmth and air." --Nikos Kavanya
We continue to be charmed by food in our kitchen this winter, experimenting with water kiefer and sourdough bread.
Veggie prep for Borscht.
Thank you to those who are also charmed by the nature of good food. The simplicity of it that can be turned into a fanciful meal with few ingredients, respect and love.
This Month's Bounty: carrots, beets, celeriac, turnip, kohl rabi, potato, sweet potato, onion, leek, cabbage, garlic and winter squash
The Farmer's Table:*Borscht
*Lasagna with ham steak. We cook the hamsteak in canned tomatoes we are making into a sauce. The sauce ends up with a lovely ham flavor which we then use in the lasagna. The ham steak can then be used as a separate meal or added to the lasagna
*LRF grass fed strip steaks. yogurt sweet potato/potato mash. frozen peas and corn.
*LRF pork stir fry with carrots, kohl rabi and dried mushrooms.
*LRF grass fed tenderloin. dry brine. honey butter peas. horseradish yogurt mashed potables. port reduction sauce.
*LRF German style country spare ribs. sour cream yogurt leeks. apple juice vinegar braise.
*Butternut Squash Bisque