Benefits can come in strange ways: sometimes you have to be ill to get better. He who is "never" sick, was floored by the stomach flu, at least that is what I hope it was. Clustered to bed and the porcelain throne for a couple of days. Actually missed a day of work, the second one in 9 years, quite miserable really. But now I am getting "better". But my mind is dragging behind. Usually have great joy in the gardening thing, but right now I don't really want to have anything to do with it. Maybe it is because the days are getting shorter again, winter is just around the corner... It has been a great blessing to have Pablo and Justin over and carry the weight of picking weeding and selling. Our local VISTA employee Shelbie Blank roped me in to participate in a farm tour, entailing being home for 2 days, talking to strangers about what is going on here. It means you don't get anything done, walk around tell stories about how awesome it all is (and I just want to go back to bed and feel miserable in the AC room). But then good things happen, a family with two little kids come by and have a fine time picking flowers for grandma and picking peas for grandpa, a kid with cerebal palsy gets to pet a chicken, an old geezer, 80+ y/o, tells me how he always wanted to be a gardener but had to provide for his family and ended up in construction and he is glad for me to be able to do do it, he sees how much work is involved, I have to go to the bathroom, again, and Pablo shows up and takes over the tours. And then a lady and husband stop by, they are in awe of the coreopsis, the yellow flowers in the paths in the photo below. The photo is from last year but you can see how dense those flowers were, and they were volunteers in the paths, not the beds. Nathan has spent many an hour mowing them down. Well this lady has connections in St. L. and wants to buy them. So we exchange numbers and all that and on Monday I instruct Justin how to pick em (12 to a bundle, 10 bundles to a bucket, 6 inch of cold water, rubber bands etc.). Justin will pick em and deliver them, but sure enough, he is driving around on the donut and no money for the new tire. So by the time he has made the delivery the coreopsis has paid for his new tire. So here you are, growing things on purpose, and the real money is in the wild flowers that you are mowing down. Go figure. Hopefully they'll be around for a couple of weeks because Pablo desperately needs new breaks on his car. Growing some beautiful kale, but where do you take it? Suggestions? The chickens are slowing down substantially in their laying: going into molting. They will replace their feather deck and rejuvenate their reproductive parts, which they do once a year abouts and these chicks are about a year old now. Nice variety of things to eat right now: I 'll have me some good eats tonite. anyway, just a boring blog, but you are up to date again.
What a relief, the berries are in the bag. Justin and friends made it. Total tally: Justin 500 pound, Paab 300 pound, David 50 and the rest unaccounted. Everyone got their freezer space back. And still, berries are out there, so time to hang the sign back up: now picking strawberries (not me though). To celebrate I took the kids to Endlesssummer winery, pretty rough wake up this morning. Apple wine, blueberry wine, pear wine, blackberry wine, pine apple wine, basil wine, mango wine, and then the lights went out. Fun though.
Went to Jim's Small engine on the hill on 19, wanted a fuel filter for the Massey, check, a vacuumsealthingamejiggy for the weed eater, check, and for the grand finale a part of a part for the riding mower, and check, all done for 6 pound of strawberries. Kind of becoming the local currency. (haven't tried that in the bar yet). So the riding mower is fixed, you can now make right and left turns again, as opposed to slowly disappearing over the horizon, you can use the weedeater again upside down, without losing gas, and the fuelfilter that was replaced.... eh, that wasn't the problem. (going to check it out shortly, since massey is stuck in the middle of nowhere, again. It'll run for 40 seconds and then you have to wait 6 minutes).
No deep thoughts today, just a quicky note so I had an excuse to come inside.
Oh, things are actually growing in the field. Will keep yo
Got the riding mower fixed: replaced a part from a part. 6 bucks vs 70 bucks.
The less time you have the more it becomes worth, and the older you get the faster it goes.
This weeks' happenings were mostly good to very good.
Did have the field day, well attendeded and well received. Odds and ends topics were haphazzardly discussed: the chicks, berries, tunnel, weeding tools, the new cooler unit, no till in vetch. and other pebbles.
I've been at this gardening thing for a couple of years now of which I became acutely aware when we were looking at a field of hairy vetch that Nathan had just mowed down. Hairy vetch (Dutch: zwikke) is a very viney leguminous plant with petty purple flowers that forms a dense mat of dead vegetation when you mow it or crimp it at the right time. General management (that would be me) decided to try a no tillage approach where we put transplants of cantaloupe straight into the mat with the hopes that the dead zwikke (english: vetch, but zwikke is such a much nicer word, especially in scrabble) will prevent weeds from growing up. Because of the rains it is impossible to do any tractorring, just as well, so this was a 150 transplants hand job. Senior management utilized this opportunity to practice supervisory skills.
Anyway, someone asked me when I had planted this vetch, and I thought for a moment and it was actually in 1998! It just keeps coming back. I love that! You don't have to mow, plow, disk, harrow and plant, no this stuff just comes back freely every year. Do nothing gardening to the max.
By the way why did the watermelon get married? Because he cantaloupe. And, yes, it was encouraging that I was able to share some of my knowledge, as it was nice to ask people for their opions and pry them for their knowledge. (E.g. does it matter how small you cut your potatoes before planting? No consensus reached, we'll wait and seed).
Really exciting: Pablo is back in town, working with Justin, and it seems to an innocent bystander that they actually somehow enjoy working. I tread lightly here, and hold my breath for a continuance, at their own schedule and their own task, but still, very cool. Justin is still on track to perform in the Nationals for berry picking, 300 more pounds to go, and Pablo has taking on the role of chief marketing executive and has gone to market twice and sold out on both occastions. The guy likes to sell. In past years, the more excited I got about the intricacies of bolting cheap seed versus weed infested hybrid f1 spinach, the more Pablo would roll his eyes and play inunderstandable games on his phone. At least now he asks what he can sell it for. Capitalism to the rescue.
Regarding them berries, there are some some, but right now they are getting harder to come by, at one point on Saturday I had 15 people picking in the field, so by the time Justin and friends got back at it, it had been pretty picked over and the per pound pick price had to go up. Here too good news: the Haeffners, at the field day, who had a you pick berry patch for 10 years thought the plants looked real good. Nice to hear since I don't have a reference point as to what they should look like, partially because I didn't see them last year when they were hiding in the weeds. But believe it or not, apparently they are relatively weed free this year.
The eggs keep disappearing, St. L market temporarily put on hold because it is just nicer to sell locally (besides it is 13.173 cents more per dozen).
After more rain the weather will now turn to a blistering heat for no particular reason and it will never rain again, "thy lord has no mercy". But the hell with that, I am looking forward to sleeping in that new working cooler, with 4 blankets in 44 degree room. A coolbot and a big oversized airconditioner make for a inexpensive alternative to a 3 phase 220 volt condensor unit. (Haha, like I have any idea what I just wrote).
At any rate it works great, again, after I had impressed the boys by fearlessly attacking the fusebox with assorted screwdrivers in a heroic attempt to change a breaker that broke. They shouldn't call them breakers, that is just dumb. It was like one of those operating scenes in a movie where it seems that all surgeons take random tools and root around in an open body.
The folks from Yellowwood Farm are gracious enough to lend us some freezer space to keep strawberries till we got the mother loade. I accidentally locked myself into their freezer without any lights for a minute or two, scary! If it hadn't been so cold and someone elses freezer I might a pooped in my pants. Also, did buy a freezer, one of them cheapskate second hand ones that worked 13 years ago. Moved it, plugged it in, it makes a lovely zooming noise, but temperature wise: a turd, and a soft one at that. Got the money back, guy didn't want the freezer back, so now the kids want to make a smoker out of it. (Not sure what kind of smoker they have in mind).
Crop wise: more berries, sugarsnap peas, broccoli, new taters in the tunnel, green onions, flowers.Flunks so far: beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and spinach, but really it could not be helped. The weeds won the first battle, but the war is on. I have called 1-800 BAD WEED! Also, the chickens have taken care of any evidence of failed growing attempts.
Some feathers to myself: I did get through my mother-departure depression without smoking (may just have quit this time), and I made those raised beds last fall that have really saved the day again. So! there you have it. Nice Job Pieter, now time to go back to work.
Pieter Los, born in Scotland, raised in the Netherlands, lost in the USA. .