Monday, October 19, 2015

October 20th and 23rd

Fall Bounty

We all wait for summer--when the cucumbers and tomatoes are ready--and then before you know it fall sneaks up on you.  Fall brings such a variety of crops and colors, it's a feast for the eyes and the stomach.  ...and a workout for your muscles!

I just registered for the Farmer to Farmer Conference (aka F2F).  It is held in lovely Northport, Maine, by MOFGA.  The wonder of this conference is its unique structure.  The sessions are 3 hours long and mostly consist of farmers talking to other farmers.  Each session starts with an hour of speakers, usually farmers and someone from a University, then we are allowed ample time to share information with each other on the topic.  It's a genius idea because, truly, the farmers are the "experts".  Every year we learn from our mistakes and create new processes, but we don't have time during the growing season to communicate our findings.  This conference is a forum of shared ideas, a beautiful community of people who "compete" with each other at markets or for share holders, but openly lift each other up to make the farming community a greater whole.  It's quite amazing, actually. 
While I am feeling a little sad that fall is here and winter not far behind, I am looking forward to another winter full of farming research and shared knowledge.  Without winter, I would not be able to rebuild my internal or external strength to carry on for another season.  It allows for rest and recharge and creates space for the excitement of another season to build.  I hope your winter may also be filled with time to rebuild things you are passionate about.
Thank you, again and again, for loving Little Ridge Farm!!!
The last week's bounty: cabbage, winter squash, peppers, green tomatoes, onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots, beets, kale, chard, garlic, fennel...

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 13th and 16th

Full on Fall

It went from green to orange pretty quick this week.  Ahh, now it feels like fall!  We are certainly in "fall mode" here on the farm.  Planting garlic, cleaning out crops, buying straw for bedding strawberry plants, parsnips and garlic for winter, harvesting, washing, harvesting, washing, harvesting, washing.  It's challenging to find space for all that we are harvesting.  The weather shifts from warm to freezing quickly and those temperature extremes are not good for storage crops.  Ideally, it would all go directly into the cooler after harvest, but with pick ups still happening it's a tight squeeze...
By now you have all seen this character greeting you at pick up.  Every year we have a friendly competition with a neighbor family on who can grow the biggest pumpkin.  And every year they come up with a little scheme trying to terrify us into thinking their pumpkin is WAY bigger than ours.  This year, we came home one evening to catch them in the act of stealing one of our pumpkins!  Luckily it came back better than it left.  Super creative and wearing a Common Ground Fair T-shirt.
We still have not seen their pumpkin.  It sounds like it was actually a tight competition this year.  But I think they felt so guilty about stealing the pumpkin, they threw in the towel : )
This week's bounty: spinach, golden beets with greens, fennel, onion, celeriac, kohl rabi, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, pie pumpkin, watermelon radish...


Sunday, October 4, 2015

October 6th and 9th

Blood Moon

For some reason I was super excited to watch the Total Eclipse this past week.  The weather was gorgeous and the thought of cozying up in the hammock to watch a natural phenomenon was too much to miss. 
And that is just what we did (the 2 cats and Simon included).  We snuggled under a sleeping bag for near 4 hours watching and chatting as the earth's shadow crept over the moon.  Once it was fully covered, and the remaining light was reflected in the atmosphere, I was totally entranced.  It looked like fire was dancing across the moon, so large and perfectly round.  The sky was clear and glistened with the brightest stars, silently twinkling and shooting,making the night even more memorable.
I would like to think the pigs and turkeys enjoyed the spectacle just the same.  Wondering what was happening, or maybe so in tune with nature, they had no question in their head.  In any case, now that the full moon has passed, both humans and animals seem back to their normal self...

We planted a "beneficial flower mix" just inside the hoop house to attract bees and bug eating bug bugs.  Even though there is a chill in the air, the flowers are still peeping out, turning their cute heads toward the sun, hoping one more bee will visit them before winter hits.
This week's Bounty: lettuce mix, leeks, beets, kale, chard, radish, hakurei, eggplant, pepper and potato, winter squash