Tag Archives: harvest

Gallery

And that, my friends, is a wrap

This gallery contains 34 photos.

That, my dear friends, was a doozie of a farming season.  The last farmer’s market was yesterday; our last CSA box went out on Tuesday.  We just harvested the last of the corn and tomatoes to process for winter, and … Continue reading

Potatoes and corn

I didn’t disappear, I promise.  I was here, all along, just writing (and reading) other things… lesson plans, year plans, essays, literature reviews…  Summer vacation ended (and boy, when it decided to end it ended FAST) and I got busy.  Who knew that having a full-time job and a farm and doing my Master’s was going to be a lot of work?

Ink blot potato test

But I handed in my first significant assignment on Friday, and I have my week planned at school, and yesterday Head-sized potatoit rained so I knit and knit and started to warp my loom, and then today I got to play outside.  It was sunny (SUNNY!) and it’s still sunny and I dug potatoes and dug gladiolas and walked to my neighbours’ and I had coffee and got vitamin D from the sun instead of from a bottle.

Jer grew this amazing corn this year – it’s called Painted Mountain – and it’s a dried corn that’s supposed to be good for making cornmeal.  What it’s REALLY good for is being absolutely stunning.  Like STUNNING.  If I was corn, I would be this corn, and I would rotate through different colours every day of the week.

.I want to be them all

Imagine eating cornbread that looked like this.

Imagine eating cornbread that looked like this.

Corn.  Jer grew that.

Our cheepcheeps have grown into brawkbrawks and the one that I thought was a rooster turned out to be a…

rooster.  His name is Rosco.  The hens started laying eggs this week and they’re wee and I like them.  Soon we’re going to have more eggs than we know what to do with.  I’m going to end there, and post some pictures, and hopefully I’ll have something else to write about, that doesn’t involve quotations and references and weird verb tenses before 5 weeks from now.

Summer vacation in September

Many of my teacher friends have been somewhat all-consumed by the strike.  They post articles on Facebook and organize rallies.  They support each other in turns, for as one’s energy and optimism wanes, another’s peaks.  I’ve felt distant and removed from the whole situation, mostly by choice due to my job situation – I didn’t feel emotionally prepared to deal with teachers complaining about how they wanted to be back in their classrooms when I didn’t have a classroom to be back in.  So I, for better or worse, stayed on summer vacation.  To be honest, it was almost completely for the better.  I arranged flowers, spent innumerable hours canning, and read books.  I knit (of course I knit… probably less than I would have on the picket line though).  Certainly I read the articles about the strike that had been posted, and if I ever went to town anymore I would have gone to the rallies.  But I haven’t gone to town, so I didn’t go to the rallies.  I talked to people about the strike, and encouraged others to get involved.  I wrote letters to the Education Minister and to Christy Clark and to my MLA.  But I stayed home and hung out in my hammock and farmed.  I went to the beach.  I continued to spend time in the sun.  And I felt a little guilty, but not enough to do anything about it.  I think if the weather had been different, or if the farm wasn’t so awesome, or I didn’t have a million things to do to keep busy I would have been more present in the strike.  But it wasn’t.

Until Wednesday when I was offered a job, which made today the last day of my summer vacation.  As Jeremy said, I get to ease back into working life… I’ll be going to hang out on picket lines, but I won’t be doing it all of the hours of the day.  I’ll still be able to knit lots.  I’ll be hanging out in the sunshine (or the rain, but thank GOODNESS it’s not snowing here, like it was in Calgary or in Fort Nelson).  I am certainly grateful to have a job, but the end of summer break is always a bit of a heartbreaker too.  I don’t feel like I’m exuding as much excitement here as I should be… I wasn’t able to write this yesterday because I was so happy.  This morning, the first thing I said, while I was still half-asleep was “I got a job!”… so if you read this and think that I’m being indifferent, read it differently, or at least realize that’s not where it’s coming from.

My job, for those of you who care, is a 4/5 at Miracle Beach Elementary.  English classroom, not French (crazy!).  Yes, it will be a further commute, but it also gives me continuing status, and it’s a job which will pay for me to go to University.  Plus, the school is pretty much on the beach.  Tomorrow I go to meet some of the staff.  Maybe one day I’ll even get to meet my students.

The problem with fantastic plans

Jeremy left today to go to Powell River for his uncle’s birthday.  We’d decided a while back that I would stay behind, do the market, hang with Mia and get some quality alone time in.  Sounds like a fantastic plan.  I think it was probably my plan.  Totally fantastic plan.  I often come up with these “fantastic” plans… plans that would be fantastic if everything went the way I imagined in my head.  I imagined a leisurely Friday harvest in dappled sunshine.  I imagined the perfectly clean vegetables in perfectly clean bins in the creek, waiting for me to wake up Saturday morning and load them in the perfectly dry truck.  I imagined coffee and cake.  I imagined knitting.  I think I always imagine knitting.

* Please realise that there is no cake, and there is rarely cake on Saturday mornings.  Also, please realise that the vegetables are NEVER perfectly clean, nor are the bins, and the truck is never either perfectly clean NOR dry.  I don’t know which set of elves was supposed to ensure the plan went off as I imagined, but they obviously didn’t get the memo, because…

There was no dappled sunshine.  That’s really where everything started to go wrong.  There was rain.  And not just pitter patter rain.  Torrential downpour rain that caused everyone I know to wake at midnight and question whether we were finally being invaded by whomever invades our nightmares.  This wasn’t an August rain.  This was a January rain.  Jer and I weren’t expecting a January rain in August.  The truck’s windows were all open.  The tailgate was down.  The hammock and pillow were out.  So were tools, and bins, and bikes, and boxes of canning, meticulously labelled.

Now don’t get me wrong… we needed the rain.  The veggies needed the rain, and Jer and I needed it.  It makes going away (both him this weekend, and the two of us together on Tuesday) WAY easier.  It makes the trees happy, and it makes our fellow islanders who were running low on water breathe a little easier.  It’s good for the birds and all of those other critters.  But it bloody well sucks for harvesting, and it sure made a big old mess.  The house is FULL of stuff in various stages of drying.  The truck is soaking wet, and will hopefully dry out before winter.  I changed my clothes 4 times today.  The first 3 sets are lying in a pile in the laundry room.  I kept thinking I was done harvesting, but the harvest just didn’t want to end… especially after Jer left.  Now I just hope that it doesn’t rain at the market tomorrow, because that really isn’t as much fun as… well… as the market in the sunshine.

 

The juxtaposition between being a teacher on vacation and being a farmer

Summer  vacationMaking bouquets is a bit of an oxymoron around these parts… summer is the furthest thing from a vacation on a farm, especially with the growing season that we’ve been having.  As long as we keep everything watered (and by we, I mean Jeremy), which takes at least 3 hours a day, we are going to continue to have an incredible amount of food.  We’ve come to that part of the season where therThey're ripening!e’s hope for new spinach and radishes and turnips, but all of the delicious fruits and vegetables full of sugar are ripening too.  I could write an ode to the perfect tomato, but I won’t.  Maybe you should instead.

Anyways, about that vacation thing.  Sure, I take some time off in the summer.  I read lots (in the heat of the day), swim lots (in the heat of the day), and spend time with friends (often in the heat of the day).  But our alarm goes off at 6 am and I spend a lot of hours working.  I am not on summer vacation for at least 4 hours and often 6, every day.  Except, of course, for Pickathon.

Pickathon sails over a horse paddock

Pickathon IS my summer vacation.  It’s wheThis is what summer vacation looks liken I get to go away and reflect fondly on being a farmer and being a teacher, but when I don’t have to actually BE either of those things.  It’s a music festival outside of Portland, and I’ve been for the past 3 years.  I get to bask in the sun and swim in the river and listen to music and dance and sometimes even enjoy a mash pit.  I wasn’t sure I was going to get a summer vacation this year, but I did, and it was awesome.  I’m going to hold out hope that I can do it again next year, in the midst of my Master’s, but we’ll see…

Hungarian purple peperAnd, as is true with most vacations, coming home was one of the best parts.  My dahlias are starting to bloom, and EVERYTHING is ripe.  Beans, tomatoes, basil, onions, cucumbers, peppers, the endless zucchini.  We pickled zucchini today.  We have zucchini cake in our freezer and had zucchini pancakes with zucchini relish as a garnish the other day for dinner… so faStrawflower - helichrysumr we’ve stayed on top of our zucchini, but this is going to become increasingly difficult as we begin to experience a glut of other things, especially tomatoes.  We even had our first corn this week… but that might be a secret, because I don’t know if we have enough to share, so don’t tell.

But one of the other things about coming home from my summer vacation is just that… that I’m home, which means that my summer vacation is over (many of you know that Jeremy and I happen to go on a kayak trip every summer as well, but we do that together, so that’s OUR vacation… here I am strictly speaking about MY vacation… obviously).  Which, of course it isn’t… but it is.  There’s crazy things starting to happen outside, and the crickets are only a small part of it.  I can pretend to notice that the days aren’t getting shorter, or that the mornings don’t have a bit of a chill-factor to them, or that it’s AUGUST 10TH ALREADY.  I can pretend not to see pumpkins turning orange or apples starting to ripen… I can pretend a lot of things, but the quantity of things is starting to arrive at that precipitous place where I don’t know how much longer I can pretend for…

Finishing setting up

So in this moment, I’m going to go do more vacation things, like read my book (Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver) and knit socks.  Tonight I’ll do more farm things.  I am certainly NOT going to do school-year things like wash my feet or have a shower.  There really aren’t that many more days when I’m allowed to have feet that look the way mine do, and I’m going to take advantage of every single one of them that I have.

Shade sails at Pickathon

We posed!

The plight of the summer squash

There’s a jokGarden camp-oute that goes around our island (I must have heard it over a dozen times now, from over a dozen different people), and probably every other place where most people are growing at least some of their own food – that the only time of year you have to lock your car is in the height of summer, and it’s not to keep your loose change or smelly gumboots or bag of dried fruit that’s been baked every day in the hot sun safe.  It’s to keep your neighbours, near or far, from gifting you their surplus summer squash.  I experienced this first hand growing up in the suburbs of Calgary, as we had a small garden plot on the south wall of our house.  I Strawflowers and cornflowers, hanging from my ceiling to dryremember growing rhubarb and strawberries and beets.  I remember growing zucchini, and I remember my father giving them to me and asking me to go knock on our neighbours’ doors to profer them up.  I think he may have been afraid to go himself, as he would have come home with his arms full… it’s harder to say no to a cute little redheaded girl than to a full-grown man with a zucchini the size of his arm.

I’ve known about the ferocious growthCornflowers of zucchini and it’s kin since I was a child.  I’ve known about it’s reputation, but our zucchini didn’t grow that well last summer, and one of our farmer friends happened to tell us that his most financially productive crop, when the amount of time spent weeding and pruning and tending and babying and harvesting is taken into account, is summer squash.  So when Jeremy planted out his first tray this year, and asked me whether he needed to plant any more, I said “Sure!  We’ll just pick them small!  They’re delicious!  I love zucchini!”

Remember.  It was March.  I hadn’t had a summer squash in going on 8 months.  Remember.  Our squash had a terrible year last year.  Remember.  I didn’t grow up on a farm.  I only ever had 2 or 3 plants as a child.

I didn’t remember all of the warnings I’d been given.  I didn’t remember wandering the block as a child, gifting these edible clubs away.  Leek flower, going to seed I think Jer ended up planting close to 40 plants.  You should SEE the zucchini we have.  And only 2/3 of the plants are producing.  We are going to be eating zucchini in everything.  Our chickens are going to be eating zucchini.  Our neighbourhood chickens are going to be eating our zucchini.  Our dog is going to be eating zucchini.  Our fellow islanders had better be locking their car doors or they will be eating (or composting) our zucchini too.

It’s not actually that bad.  Yet.  I still love zucchini.  I’m still willing to eat it every day – grilled, stir-fried, on pizza, grated, in cake… but I am a little worried about when we miss a picking or two.

Summer sunflower, complete with beeOn a completely separate note, my flowers are ROCKING and they make me happier than even I thought was possible.  I’ve been perusing these flower blogs, and I read something interesting on one of them… it talked about how we need to change the concept of flowers as being something indulgent.  The world needs flowers.  We all need flowers.  The joy I get out of walking by my sweet pea patch or smelling them on my backsplash, washing the dishes is incalculable.  Every time I see the explosion of colour from my zinniaZinnias I feel the urge (and often succumb to it) to call Jeremy over to show him.  I had no idea how happy my flowers would make me.  I had no idea how much of a difference it would make to my kitchen to have a bouquet in it every week that came from seeds or bulbs I (or my mother-in-law) planted.  Flowers are no longer an indulgence to me, no more than coffee is (Jeremy says that he thinks of coffee as a pretty sweet indulgence… I think he’s crazy, because indulgences aren’t for the everyday… but we’ll just disagree on that point) – they’ve become part of my everyday… and one of the parts that makes me happiest.

Pattern - All About Love Yarn - Handmaiden Casbah in Amber

Pattern – All About Love
Yarn – Handmaiden Casbah in Amber

Not a teacher post

There’s been so many letters and blog posts and comments out there about the teacher’s strike and accompanying non-negotiations with the government, and while I have many strong feelings and beliefs about the situation, I’m not going to wade those waters on the internet for a whole variety of reasons, some of which I’m sure you can extrapolate.  We’ll just leave that at that, and I’ll talk farming instead.

DSC_2048Our first CSA box went out this week.  It was lovely and exciting, and driving around in our new truck made delivery feel a lot better.  We’ve got garlic scapes growing in the garden, and they’ll be in this week’s box.  We’re transplanting a million of things, and doing our best to keep everything watered… which is more work than it should be this time of year.  By no means am I actually wishing for a June-uary, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the garden.  I feel like I must have other things to say, but maybe I’ll say them some other time…