Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts on 2012 and dreaming of 2013

Well its the last day of the year and I am sitting in my cozy living room with my dog Lulu curled up beside me taking her 4th nap of the day. Lulu is a serious napper she takes it to a ninja level of seriousness.  I am about to make a few baguettes to bring down state to my Brother Dave's house later today as I will be spending New Years Eve down there with a few of their friends and my niece and nephews. I will be leaving my husband Tommy here to take care of Lulu and to make sure the chickens are nice and warm in their happy little coop which makes me sad but he is not much of a party person and in the long run will probably be happier here but I know later we will be missing each other something awful. Its hard for both of us to leave the farm because we don't really have a support system in place hopefully one day maybe even this upcoming year we will meet some like minded vegetable growing make your own laundry soap kind of  folks to hang out with and then we can leave the homestead together with friends in place to watch our farm with the promise to return the favor as soon as needed.

The seed catalogs have started to arrive and its one of my favorite times of the year that paired with the 2013 NOFA-NY winter conference happening in Saratoga later in January there are things to look forward to during these cold winter months. I already have lots of new ideas and plans for the upcoming year concerning both growing vegetables as 3 Dogs Barking Farms and becoming more self-reliant. Also in January I will be taking a pretty intensive Beekeeping class with SABA (Southern Adirondack Beekeeping Association) I am really looking forward to it and already have my first homework assignment. Should be interesting to see if I am still the wicked procrastinator I was in school for some reason I have a picture of myself sitting in the parking lot before class trying to finish the chapter. Oh well we shall see. So bees will be added to the picture this year which i am really excited for cant wait to get honey and beeswax which will be one more thing we are supplying for ourselves and maybe we will even have some extra to sell at market. What else? Well I think I am going to grow some wheat too just a small patch 250 sq feet or so. Not sure how much it will yield but I cant wait to give it a shot. I think growing your own wheat to make your own bread is pretty much the penultimate homesteader dream. I actually want the straw too I always need it and never have enough money to buy it so there will be one more problem that we solve for ourselves. Super neat - well if it works out.... So those are the two new enterprises we will look forward to in 2013 And to be honest probably all my schedule will be able to handle working a full time job off-farm.

Thoughts on 2012? Well we finally got to market and I think we held our own. It was more fun that I thought it was going to be and more work too. It amazes me how much work it takes to get the vegies to market. In the past growing for just ourselves I never had to worry about how much time it takes to pick wash package and store food correctly so it makes it to market looking and tasting its best. And seriously I didn't know how to do a lot of it and had to ask lots of questions and to be honest I am still figuring a lot of it all out. But we still did it and look forward to the promise of 2013 we need to grow A LOT more food if we are going to make a decent profit this year but I think we have enough space out there in the backyard to get a bit more than 1/4 acre under production. I think this year we will make a new bed just for tomatoes and then I am really looking to hopefully finally doing  the 3 sisters which i have been threatening to do for years now But to grow corn, beans, and winter squash all in the same bed providing each other what they need to thrive I think is great and because its the way the Native Americans did it makes it all the more exciting.

So thoughts and dreams of 2013? Growing more food for starters. Also going to try this winter to grow some lettuce hydroponically so we have something to sell during winter. I also really need to work on feeling better in my own skin as 3 Dogs Barking Farms. I seem to struggle with our size and never really feel like a real farmer. I remember at my first NOFA-NY conference the question in a beginning farmers seminar was when are you considered a real farmer and the answer was when you sell your first product. Well I have done that many times now and I still feel like a poseur calling myself a farmer I sometimes will even describe us a small time vegetable growers and not farmers. What the difference is I don't know. So where does my reluctance come from? Maybe because we are so small I don't feel legitimate maybe because I still work full time off farm and probably always will unless we when the lottery. I don't know but I hope to get over it in the upcoming year I even got the 2012 census of Agriculture from the USDA addressed to 3 Dogs Barking Farms but I still don't feel like its real. Maybe because it feels to good to be true? That something I wanted I actually accomplished? Maybe that's it. I've never been a dreamer maybe I never really dared too but I had a small one and we made it happen so here's to feeling like a farmer and maybe even dreaming larger dreams and making them happen too in the upcoming year. Maybe some sheep?  So Happy New Year hope you are all dreaming dreams and doing small things to make them come true. Cheers.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Never feeling like I fit in or angst and fear in the modern age

I don't think I have ever fit in and maybe that's just my view of me and maybe everyone feels like that and I am just a dork. Well I know I'm a dork that goes without saying. I just put in a Chet baker cd so this post might get a little maudlin and that is kind of the mood I've been in lately so brace yourself. Growing up I did ballet everyone else did little league my parents had cocktails before dinner and we never ate before 7:30 my friends drank soda and were finished with dinner by 6pm. But being a square peg has been a major building block to my personality and one to be honest I am proud of. I don't want to fit in I never have. I am 43 years old and most days I still wear all black. Its just what I am comfortable in. I'm not saying I'm cool because I'm pretty sure I'm not and that too is okay..... Okay what does any of this have to do with trying to grow vegetables?

There are so many people that I have either come into contact with locally or through reading peoples blogs that are doing what I am trying to do in concept either on a much bigger scale or even a smaller scale and everyone is freaking 30 years old. OMG what the hell why did you all figure out what you wanted to do so many years before I did. What did you get that took me longer to get? I have lived here for 8 years why did it take me so long to figure it out? Why do I always feel like I missed the freaking bus? But on the other hand I am so happy all these young brilliant people are doing what they are doing reading their blogs about their own struggles is so inspiring I mean these kids are freaking working. Its freaking awesome.

So I walk around mumbling to myself you don't have sheep you don't have goats you don't offer a csa you don't have acres and acres you cant weed efficiently to save your life so what are you doing here? The fear and loathing sometimes get very loud in my head and then I have to take a deep breath and say you are doing what you are doing because growing vegetables on your little plot of land makes you unabashedly happy. So I have to yell at myself and say who gives a shit what anyone else is doing what is important is that you are doing what you want to do and do it the best you can even if it means you fail a lot. But failing ain't so bad I learn a lot from doing stupid stuff probably not when I'm doing whatever it is that is stupid or silly but later I usually learn. Well sometimes at least.

I guess I just would like to find the clubhouse labeled 40 somethings who have kinda figured it out but most likely probably not.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November the 11th and things are still growing...k

So far one of my favorite favorite things this year is that its almost the middle of November and there is still stuff growing out there. Now that's cool. There are cabbages, and Brussels sprouts, leeks, rainbow chard, spinach, red pak choi, arugula, and salad mix. I like farming in this nice chilly weather too its not hot and sticky there aren't many bugs but I did give myself a little frost bite the other morning picking cabbages for drop off at market. I guess as with everything there are always pros and cons.
lulu and the salad mix
Red Pak Choi

Lulu looking cute with the salad mix red pak choi getting ready for a stir fry or something else you might do with it.

Rainbow Chard and Romanesco Cauliflower still growing the chard is under ag-19 to keep it snuggly.

I am surprised how late it is in the season and how much there still is going on gives me great hope that once I get the high tunnel planted for the winter and early spring we will be able to grow food almost 12 months a year which would be amazing. Which is great because apparently growing vegetables makes me absurdly happy and if I can get that rush 12 months a year even better! One of my goals this year was to provide some if not all the vegetables for Thanksgiving this year. Now we fell short of that goal of ALL but we will provide brussels sprouts and a butternut squash or two so that's not too shabby! And as always another one of my favorite aspects of farming is the hope of next year. Things that we will do better at, things to grow that we have never grown before, and of course things we will probably mess up that we haven't messed up before bugs and diseases we haven't tangled with before but for now I will look forward to the positive stuff and just accept the negative as it comes hopefully a little of it as possible will come our way.  Happy growing and eating!

The hope of next year garlic planted and strawberries!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

[Recipe Idea] What to do with mini bell peppers? Stuff em!

At the last outdoor market last week a customer was actually happy that many of our bell peppers were on the small side. Now that's something I like to hear and in talking to him he gave me this great idea of what to do with them. We are making it right now and I got to tell you it looks amazing and it really couldn't be easier. Here are the general guidelines:

12 small bell peppers (about 3-4 inches long)
1 lb meatball mix (I have included one I used below)
4 cups or so marinara sauce
4 TB olive oil
Shredded provolone or parm to taste.

1) Cut tops of peppers off and take out seeds and ribs.
2) Stuff peppers with meatball mix and level off.
3) Heat oil in large saute pan and add peppers meat side down. Saute for a few minutes until sealed and nice and brown. Turn peppers on their sides and continue to brown.
4) Once peppers are browned on all sides add tomato sauce turn heat down to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until peppers are nice and soft and the stuffing is cooked through.

Serve over pasta or rice. yum

My really quick meatball mix:
1 lb ground beef of your choice (you could also use meatloaf mix if you like)
1 egg
1 piece of bread
3 TB milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 TB dried oregano
1 tsp hot pepper flakes

Mix egg, bread, milk, salt, pepper and spices together and add to ground meat. Mix together until incorporated.

Okay just finished cooking this and oh my god it is good! Try it now with all those peppers you pulled small today because its might frost tonight. Okay now that I am eating this I would call this the Italian version but if you have some ancho poblanos I would use this same premise but change the meatball mix to maybe a tex- mex version adding cumin chili power and cilantro and use similar seasonings in the tomato sauce use the same method I think it would be off the hook.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our first market season wrap-up....sorry this is a long one.

Well the last outdoor market was last Saturday and it was rainy and cold out so it made it much easier to get our heads around the end of our first market season. As I am sure I have mentioned before I am a lazy "farmer" and am quite honestly looking forward to having Saturdays "off" again and not having to wake up before 6am to pick vegetables. On the other hand Tommy and I have seriously enjoyed going to market more than I think we expected too. Its kind of like being on a game show trying to get the display setup in time....pick the vegetables, wash the vegetables, pack the vegetables, pack the car, remember not to forget anything, get coffee ice and change if needed, drive to market, un-pack car, setup table and umbrella, don't forget to put up our sign, un-load veggies display vegetables in a pleasing manner, put out the prices, check the clock tick tock tick tock 9am open for business.... Now our display is tiny comparative to the big guys so I cant even imagine what they must go through! Its going to free up a lot of brain space for me since I spend a lot of the time driving to my day job thinking about what we are going to have ready for market I guess I will have to start thinking about what to grow for next year now instead. But that's okay that's one of my favorite parts of this whole thing the lure of next year....

Now lets talk about how we did this year. I think both Tommy and I are pleasantly surprised how well we did. There were only a few times that our display came close to "radish guy" territory (see previous post for neurotic musings about radish guy) and that in itself is awesome. Some weeks we had a lot some weeks not so much but I think all in all our offerings were always colorful and well presented and as our market manager put in one of the newsletters "and 3 Dogs Barking Farms will have a little of everything" but I take that as a compliment to be able to have such a varied offering from only 1/4 acre plot ain't a bad thing. But one really nice thing she said was what we do have is always beautifully fresh now that's a high compliment. I really do pick either the night before or the morning of so you wont be seeing something that didn't sell last week return this week. Maybe when I successfully grow storage crops like onions that will be the exception but I even dig potatoes pretty much for each market. Maybe not the best way to do things but so far its my way.

So what about next year? What do we do the same what do we do different whats our 5 year plan? Big questions that need some thought but I think we have definitely proved to ourselves that this can be done you can get to market and do pretty well with only 1/4 acre of so under cultivation. We need (or I) need to work on succession planting more and of course as always stop procrastinating about getting things done when they need to be done.  But I grew a ton of stuff for the first time this year with quite a bit of success but then on the flip side I grew stuff I have always grown and got my hat handed to me. Damn flea beetles till we meet again next year don't worry you little varmint this time I will be prepared....and that goes to you mr. vole you just try and eat ALL my beets next year. But that's another thing you have to remember last year was last year this year was this year and who the hell knows what next year will bring. You seriously have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt when trying to grow food and that goes for the person growing food for the family in a 12x12 garden, me growing food for two markets in my backyard, the 4 acre guy, and the mega huge soybean grower in the Midwest. You really just never know what next year will bring be it good or bad.

Immediate plans? The fall stuff is going strong and hope to start having more available to sell on the online market we sell on ( soon.  Check it out if you haven't already its a great service with great products from some awesome local farms and vendors. Also hoping to get my head around trying to grow salad mix, head lettuce, and spinach throughout the winter in our small high tunnel for farmiemarket so customers (and us too) have access to great fresh greens when its knee deep with snow outside. Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Recipe: Potato Leek Soup

I just plucked the first two leeks out of the garden and I think its time to make my favorite soup above all....potato leek. Its a little chilly out tonight and fall is in the air so whats better than a nice warm yummy soup for dinner. Depending on taste you can either leave it chunky or I puree it in a blender or you can use a stick emulsion blender. Don't use a food processor it will make a mess and it will make glue. So here is my recipe I hope you enjoy!
my beautiful homegrown leeks!


2 medium or 1 large Leek
2  lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 32 oz box of chicken stock or homemade if you have it
2 tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Half and Half

1) Prep Veggies:  Cut the tough green leaves and the stem end off leaving all the white and a couple of nice inches of the green. I usually split mine down the middle lengthwise and the slice into 1/2" half moons. Leeks are notoriously dirty so after I slice them I wash them well making sure to get rid of all the dirt and sand attached. Peel Potatoes and cut into a medium nice about 1/2 inch or so.

everything melding together in butter.

2) Heat butter over medium low heat. Once it is slightly brown toss in leeks with a about a 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook leeks about 5-7 minutes add diced potatoes and continuing cooking stirring all together for another 3 or 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grindings of black pepper (to taste) and cook for 30 minutes over medium low heat stirring occasionally or until the potatoes are fork tender.

potatoes almost tender

3) Once the potatoes are tender add the cream over low heat bring back to heat but do not boil. At this point you can serve it as is or puree until smooth. My husband hates smooth soups and I hate chunky ones so after I add the cream using a ladle take a couple of cups of the soup and puree it in a blender then add some back to thicken his version and eat the rest as is for myself. Taste before serving adjusting salt and adding more black pepper to finish.
the chunky version
the smooth yummy version

This soup can also be served cold in summer in the French manner of Vichyssoise.  This can also be made with vegetable stock or even water and the cream too is optional but its yummy! Likewise the butter can be swapped for an oil of choice if dairy is a concern. Trust me its good in any shape or form!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Recipe: Mixed Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

Okay its that time of year where you might have a surplus of cherry tomatoes in your garden or maybe you bought too many of the tempting little devils at the farmers market this weekend. We ended up not selling all of ours and there were too many to eat so while I was putting up sauce for this winter I made a batch using the excess cherries. Now we have a mix of several different kinds including, red zebra, blush, black cherry, tomatoberry, sakura, a small paste tomato but any mix will do. I did include a can of diced tomatoes too to give it a little more body since the cherry tomatoes aren't as meaty as a regular tomato.
the cherry tomatoes on display at market!

3 pints mixed cherry tomatoes, washed stems removed
1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes (or whatever you have on hand)
1 large garlic clove sliced
3 tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt or to taste or salt conscious
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
basil of choice (I used fino verde because I had it left over and the leaves are so small it needs no chopping!

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan toss in garlic and brown very slightly. Toss in cherry tomatoes and stir to incorporate over low to medium heat. 
The cherries getting yummy with the garlic and evoo. The pan is dirty from the previous batch of sauce but i just wiped it out figuring the remnants would just add flavor.

Cook for 5-10 minutes until cherries start to break down. Once they have starting to let off their juice add the diced tomatoes salt and pepper flakes and wine. Continue cooking over low heat stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. Now depending on your likes and dislikes you can either leave the sauce as it is use for dinner freeze for later or if you are into canning can it for winter. I however abhor seeds and skins cant stand em not a one so I pass my finish product through a food mill to achieve a nice consistent seed free sauce. If you want it a bit smoother but not as nutty as I am you can also use a potato masher to get a finer consistency.

Finished product if you like it chunky.

Post production notes when I tasted the sauce it was sweeter than I expected so I added a bit more salt again up to you! I would add basil here at the end if this is as far as you want to go with it. Use the Fino Verde its pretty awesome leaves so small they really don't require any knife work which I think benefits the taste. If you are crazy like me and like no seeds this is what it looks like after I passed it through a food mill I at first didn't use the smallest disc I had and it let the smaller cherry tomato seeds through so I had to change discs and use the smallest I had which turned out just fine.
Finished product after being run through the finest disc on a food mill. As you can see the color is a little lighter due to the different color tomatoes used. 
Riff on this recipe which came to me when I took this picture. After the tomatoes start to breakdown add a 1/2 cup or so of chicken stock cook as above add some cream and some black pepper and you would probably have a seriously tasty tomato soup. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

David vs Goliath or so it seems

So as the weeks have been going by this summer at market we seem to be finding our way and carving out our small little niche at our farmers market. Our first small goal in getting to market this year was to make enough money to be able to go out to lunch after to have some good food talk about what went well what could be improved upon have a few beers etc etc and I am happy to report that we have accomplished that goal. Yay! If you know me personally you know that one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is going out to lunch I think sometimes I even prefer it to going out to dinner oh who am I kidding I just love going out. So small goals set and small goals achieved its a beginning.....

The big news at market this week is one of the big guns has decided to come to Saturdays market. I first met this news with a sickening feeling in my belly but as I filed the news in the "well there's nothing you can do so stop whining file" I reasoned that it would be good for us in the long run. Our market is on the small side and is due south of one of the most popular markets not only in the region but in the country I think Saratoga was voted the 2nd most popular market in the U.S. last year so we could use all the draw we can get. I figure the more that people can trust our market to be able to find what they are looking for the more they will come and the big gun that showed up (for the sake of this blog I will call them farm x) should be a good draw. But I must say it was a little disheartening to see him unload his 27 totes of vegies and look down at my own 4 small ones. But oh well we are who we are just accept it and go on right? 

The most amusing thing about this whole thing is went I went over to chat him up and scope out his stand he referred to himself as being one of the small guys well I guess that's true to some extent in the grand scheme of things but dude I grow food out of my backyard now that's SMALL! I mean if someone with multiple acres under cultivation calls themselves small or micro what the hell am I nano? Surprisingly although he was 3 or 4 deep all day with people clamoring to buy his wares we still did just fine and it did not seem to hurt us much after all and yes we went out to lunch after. So its all good!

Now on the positive side to all this I now have a very CLEAR picture of what I want our stand to look like I might never achieve it but I figure if I set a series of small goals for us and our small farm we might just get there. So I spent 4 hours in the garden today planting for fall being so motivated and clear headed I even surprised myself. So here's to what I planted today everyone send some positive grow vibes our way and here's to Davey nipping at Goliath's proverbial heels. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We finally made it to market and musing about radish guy.

Well July is here and things are very busy to say the least. And the great news is finally after a year of trying we made it to our first farmers market a few weeks back. Last year I guess I thought we could till up a good portion of the back yard plant some stuff and get to market easy peasey well not so fast junior. Wow it takes a lot of planning and a lot of back breaking work to get to market. It didn't help that in late spring we were blessed with one of those "well that never happens" or "wow that hasn't happened since 1898" floods and it caused us to be so delayed we never quite made it to market but we are there now and its all good. Enough with the past, time to be in the now and cautiously keep one eye on the future.

Now I said we made it to market did I mention we have the smallest display known to man? Yup that's us! Its funny but when I get worried that I don't have enough or that we might just look kind of silly I remember the guy at another market I like to go to who I call "radish guy" I love "radish guy" I am not sure what his story is but he comes to market every week with a small card table and maybe either a few zucchini or maybe a few bunches of radishes he has no signs no nothing and he couldn't be prouder. He stands behind his table with a huge smile on his face just happy to be there with his small but beautiful offering. So every time I start to feel not big enough or that I don't know enough or that I am really not a farmer but just play acting I remember "radish guy" and tell myself that the path is the goal and the important thing is growing beautiful food, being out under the glorious sun, and doing what I love to do.

So onwards and upwards from here hopefully our display will get bigger as the summer progresses and we have more beautiful vegies to offer we have some eggplant just coming into its own that I hope is ready for next week so that will be really exciting!  The good thing now is that I now have a much better understanding of the scale that we need to be at to be good at this I guess I under-estimated the peoples love of rainbow chard I cant grow enough of it and the funny thing is that I grew it kind of as an afterthought good thought kid they love it!   So as I said before I think that is my favorite part of this venture its always geared to the future what are we going to plant for fall what are we going to put in the high tunnel for the winter what about next year a 1/4 acre all chard! I kid I kid well okay not that much chard but more than this year that's for damn sure. Happy growing and eating!

The next chapter in our story chickens!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Evil Weed Dopplegangers and more rain.

Well summer is all most here and things are growing growing growing especially the weeds with all this rain! If there were awards given for growing weeds I think I could be a top contender. This being only our second year we are growing things especially from seed for the first time. The problem with this is how do I tell a seedling from a weed? One helpful email I saw said your spinach should be sprouted but watch out until it gets it first set of true leaves it looks just like grass. Now thats very helpful! So I have just let it go until I see a pattern emerging then I weed this is easy with beets and chard and spinach but it seems I dont know what a carrot seedling looks like so I went to the grocery store last night to look at what the foliage looks like now I think I know what I am looking for this but paired with it takes so freaking long for them to germinate and with all this rain added carrots could be a struggle this year but I think I have found some in the bed! Yay!

On the positive side the stuff in the high tunnel is going great gangbusters! The tomatoes and peppers have fruit on them and we have our first official zucchini. I planted 4 zucchini plants as an after thought but now I am glad we did! So heartening to see the first real sign of summer. The beets I transplanted in late winter are doing well but lesson learned I didnt apparently plant them deep enough and they are a little crazy looking but oh well we will eat the nutty looking ones at home good thing Tommy and I both love beets! Lesson learned I guess but oh well now I will now how to plant them in the future. Spinach is also coming along nicely and the Romaine looks just amazing cant wait to dig into some of that in the next few days I see many many salads for dinner in the next week!

And lastly why does it seem that every vegetable has its evil weed twin? I swear you should see me out there trying to weed after work (in the rain) mumbling to myself is that what I want or is that a weed. I swear they all have evil lookalikes its probably some kind of mad genius adapation the weeds decided on for survival. Its driving me nuts. I need a lineup of weed mugshots to carry with me! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

drinking coffee and procrasinating about weeding

Its Sunday afternoon and its rainy and chilly out and so far all I have managed to get done today is sleep late eat breakfast/lunch and drink coffee. And I want to be a farmer? This should be good. Trying to get the energy to get dressed and go out and weed the high tunnel and give the plants a shot of compost tea we were kindly given yesterday. Cant wait to try it out looks gross so you know its got to be good stuff. I swear if its smelly and mucky looking plants are probably going to love it!

So to bring you up to speed on our progress this year the stuff in the high tunnel is doing well we are still eating the spinach that we over wintered and it doesn't look like its going to quit anytime soon which is great I love spinach! The beets, romaine, and spinach I put in about a month or so ago are doing well the romaine especially looks freaking fantastic. Last week I put in 16 tomato plants lost 5 oh well luckily I have some more transplants I can replace the dead ones with also put in a couple of Partenon zucchini which are doing well for some early squash yum! Going to put in some peppers and eggplants too probably in the next week or so.

Okay on outside so far about 8 out of 40 beds are prepped and ready to go so far all I have managed to put in is some carrots some spinach and some shallots. Looks like its going to rain the next couple of days which is seriously needed it started to look like Texas out there. So I guess I am going to wait to get the rest of the early stuff in till next week so much rain is expected makes me nervous everything will rot. So I will probably be a week or so behind which is nothing new to me I am always a little behind. Maybe I should make it my thing...always a week or two behind farm...Oh well I am who I am dammit.

Sometimes I think we should change the name of our farm to two fat fucks but I guess some would find that offensive if not true. So as usual I have chosen to do something that goes against my basic grain of being lazy. Lets hope my passion for growing stuff gets my butt off the couch the good news is Tommy is being super energetic this year and helping big time to get stuff rolling!

So to sum up doing pretty well got lots of flats seeded and waiting for warmer weather still need to weed weed weed still worried about having enough for market still need to get more stuff in. Its been a challenge to work a 45 hour work week with a 45 minute commute and come home and get anything done besides pouring myself a glass of wine and turning on the idiot box. So say a little energy prayer and send it my way. signing off to go weed...sigh.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring is coming and trying to roll with it.

Okay it begins....seeds have been started plans have been laid but if I learned anything last year is that like the old saying goes the best laid plans etc... I am still working full time at a job I am less than thrilled with but hey it pays the bills and in this economy that is saying something but in between phone calls where I talk about paper and process orders about paper I try and plan my plans. I walk around somewhat dazed muttering okay well if you want to produce this out of the high tunnel by this date you have to do this by this date honestly people at work probably think I am either a little touched or maybe just plain crazy. I'm fine with that.

So the seed orders have started to arrive and I am trying to get organized but did I really get 4 different kinds of Broccoli? Why 4? I wonder what I was thinking what made me pick 4 but at this point I really can't second guess myself and I just need to trust all the work and all the research that I have done over that past couple of months and roll with it. Funny thing is I also picked 4 different Eggplants but I don't wonder about that I know just why I picked each and everyone of them. And lets not even talk about tomatoes I had to make a freaking chart to get my brain around the tomatoes. At dinner last night my Dad asked me a question about what gets seeded next (I start our seeds in his basement) and I pulled my plan out of my purse (its on pink paper too a perk from work). Yes that's right I carry it with me. I pulled it out again at breakfast today just to kind of ground myself. I fantasize about getting those big post it sheets they use on easels at work when they are brain storming I can picture in my mind my dining room walls lined with big notes every 2 weeks plant this every 3 weeks plant this and of course a really big one that says WEED WEED WEED. Its a dream but it might just happen. My husband on the way to dinner last night asked me if I dreamed about vegetables I answered near enough I mutter about them all day long.

I hope in the near future to start sharing some recipes and thoughts about food but every time I start out I realize I have a recipe for nothing its all in my head and I never do anything the same way twice (when did I become like someones grandmother?). Oh well maybe that's just not for me but food and my love of food is really why I started to want to grow some of my own. I mean I have been hosting dinner parties since I was 15 and nothing pleases me more then to cook for people. So maybe I will try and make something the same way twice and maybe even put it on paper and share. I have been without a stove for the past couple of weeks and have managed to turn out some pretty awesome food on a single electric burner so maybe that will be my angle "hey don't have a stove don't worry you can still make chicken curry"!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's all relative or how we began....

So many thoughts have been going through my head (I have a long commute back and forth to work humour me please) I have thoughts I think for two blogs but maybe I can fit them into one or maybe they will go their seperate ways and I will write two in time.  To begin it is always amazing to me how certain seemingly small minute events can shape your future life. Go back in time with me to about a little over a year ago I am in my favorite pizza place in tiny little town dear to my heart Fort Edward and as I am waiting for my slices I randomly pick up one of those free mags this one was about sustainable living or something close. So I flip through it looking at ads and I see an ad for the NOFA-NY conference 2011. So it all began....

Go back a little further in time maybe six months or so and my husband Tommy and I are at my parents house in Saratoga having cocktails before we go out to our weekly dinner together my Dad says to me my good friend was just here visiting us and I told him all about where you live and what you have and he said she could be doing so much more with what she has with all that she could grow ALOT of food. So Tommy says oh man we would love to but I think we really need a greenhouse and I am going to build it. Now anyone that knows Tommy and I knows that we couldn't build a pile of sand let alone a greenhouse but my Dad being intrigued with the idea of farming and being the super supportive softy that he is said I will help pay for it so I say hey forget about trying to build it I saw something in a catalog and in it something called a high tunnel. So it all began....

I don't know what path we would be on now if I hadnt picked up that free magazine, going to that conference last year opened up a world for me that I didnt know existed. I mean I used to shop at Whole Foods when I lived in Greenwich, CT and had the kind of disposible income that could afford to do so but I had no idea the passion the commitment, the comunity, and the love that was out there. I was honestly floored and it changed my life. Funny how things happen. I thought that I was too small with only my almost 2 acres of total land maybe I will manage to get half or a little more under cultivation but I sat in a session with Half Pint Farm in Burlington VT and the whole world of what is possible opened before me. So I started out with dreams of maybe having a road stand and feeding myself vegies I was not eating because I couldn't afford them but I left saying dammit I am going to take over the world one farmers market, one restaurant, one who know what the future holds at a time. Well maybe not literally but the feeling was there and still is. So heres to dreams and heres to how things happen and for the first time in my life I finally finally feel like I know what I want to do when I grow up I am just lucky I am already grown up.