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Showing posts from April, 2012

Potato friends

My coworker Jenn says farmers are perverts.

I don't know why. Over the course of the past couple weeks we've dug up 5 or 6 rows of potatoes and in these rows we find wee potato people, whole families even-- essentially large potatoes with an attached smaller potato or a misshapen potato that resembles a human body and head. The potato above has... an appendage and some hair, and it wasn't the only one that made us chuckle.
My favorite potatoes are the itty bitty ones that barely catch my eye in the dirt, so small they nearly get lost in the mounds of loose soil and digging hands. I pick them up and keep them in my palm for just a moment longer than the others, admiring them the same way I admire baby chicks or lambs. The cute factor is overwhelming.
And then I pick up some massive tuber that barely fits in my hands and I marvel at the difference. I'm tempted to make a joke about size differences within the same variety, but given the potato picture up top I think I…

Let's talk highs and lows in a farm day

Today was interesting. Please be warned of the description of a dead rodent at the end of this post, the ultimate low for this day.

High: Eating raisin bran for breakfast. Best part? The milk was in a glass jug (until I poured it into my bowl).
Low: Carrying sandbags from here to there and there to here. Those things are heavy!
High: Working in the greenhouse (a high tunnel) for a few hours, clearing a couple rows of spinach and arugula from the winter that had gone to seed.
Low: Carrying ~100 6 foot lengths of rebar out of the tunnel while maneuvering the plastic "doorway" at the end
High: Finding a really cute, little, green frog in the greenhouse!
Low: Not being able to catch it or take its picture.
High: Feeding those two rows of greens (~10-15 wheelbarrows full) to the chickens. It's exciting to watch them eat spinach.
Low: The strangely intoxicating combined smell of rotting chickweed, blown arugula and spinach, and chicken field. The scent was reminiscent of Hidde…

Digging Clams. Failures and Success.

Last Sunday I vowed to take advantage of the public access to waterfront and forests now that I'm surrounded, and boy did I win big yesterday. Reading that tide would be lower this weekend  at -2 feet, Michael and I picked up shellfish licenses and went digging for clams! And had a good haul! After checking the health status and advisories of the beaches near us we hiked down to beach DNR-68 just south of Point No Point and found mostly cockles, a few manila clams and native littlenecks, and a couple butter clams. Most of the shellfish on this beach were larger in size with very few steamers (clams small enough to be tender and taste good just steamed and eaten with their broth and crusty bread).

There's one dead clam in this bunch... don't worry, I threw him out when I noticed.
Last night I rinsed off the seawater and cornmeal mix they had been soaking in and mixed a fresh batch of saltwater (I no longer recommend this!) and cornmeal then left them in a cool place, hoping…

Third day farming = excellent!

Or should we say eggcelent? Wouldn't you love to have some beauties like these to celebrate Easter? Why dye eggs when you can already buy them colored?

Today was the best day so far. We started the morning with regular chores (chickens, greenhouse, etc) and prepped some more rows for planting, laying the mats for groundcover and staking them down. And then magnificent sun shone its rays on us! Oh how I loathe the cold rain and appreciate the bright sun. We worked until lunch and I ate a delicious tuna sandwich (home canned tuna, green onion from the top of a rotting onion in the field we cleared yesterday, and dill pickle I canned last summer) with steamed cabbage on the side. A good meal and hot cup of tea can make a world of difference.

In the afternoon we harvested beets that had been overwintered, transplanted shallots, started clearing a corn field from last year (there's little so delightful as clearing a field and accidentally gouging your thumb into a rotting corn cob…

Second day farming = sore

Today was awesome. We started with eggs (feeding chicks, gathering eggs, washing and putting eggs in cartons), checking the greenhouse to see what needs water, and then clearing fields. This involves rolling up the reusable mats laid between the veg rows, pulling up drip tape, and pulling the plastic that covers the veg rows. The mats and the plastic ground cover really reduce the amount of time spent on weeding (I've heard...) so before we plant any new beds we clear the old and prep for new.

Here's a picture of the onions we transplanted yesterday and today from flats that had been seeded and started in the propagation greenhouse before I arrived. A couple rows of siskiyou sweets and cipollini onions and tomorrow we'll put in some more. Lettuce comes later in the week. Weee!
 After lunch we realized about 12 crafty hens worked their way under the newly positioned fence so the farm owners tested our agility with a great chicken chase. :) There seems to be a method that I&#…

Firsty day farming = tired

*Note to past self: If you plan to quit your desk job and exchange long days in a chair for long days in a field, be sure to use your otherwise neglected gym membership. Your back needs to be stronger.

I think the above thought with a smile because I'm tired tonight-- really, really tired. But it's a kind of minor exhaustion that feels good inside this body, a minor ache that signals my muscles are waking and will soon be strong again. The farm owner jokingly asked "you don't have a weak back do you?" to which I laughingly responded "not anymore." Or at least once those fields are cleared I wont. ;)

The day started with what will be a normal routine: feed the chickens their scratch & peck food and gather eggs while they are distracted. Excitingly, I only battled two broody hens this morning to get to their eggs (~100!). While hen number two was docile and agreeable (plus a bit squawky at the injustice being done), hen number one didn't want to p…

Put me out to pasture... I've moved to the farm!

Crossing cyber hemispheres here and re-posting what's already been excitedly declared on facebook. I've made it! I landed! I've officially left Seattle and relocated to Poulsbo, WA and arrived "home" to this view from my kitchen table.
Literally, it's a deep breath of fresh air and a much desired and needed change from my old day-to-day routine. On my way in this afternoon I met the neighbor girls (one about my age, the other a fair bit younger) while they were out riding horses. They were really nice and invited me to join them sometime. I'm happy to be here and can't wait to get settled, fill my days with work, learning, vegetables, high tunnels, apple trees, manure for compost, chickens, eggs, kids and a playful golden retriever. I am happy here. This place is a home with a life that people have built. It feels right.

Some of the things I'm looking forward to most (excluding the learning aspects of the actual farm internship, those will come la…