Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Including the parties unknown
This is a guest post by Lonni
In our alternate universe lives as farmers, my husband and I have been wrapping up summer's bounty. I processed the last of the tomatoes, which exactly covered one dish of chicken Parmesan, yummy.
We picked a lot of jalapenos this summer. I smoked the red ones to make chipotles, and I dried the green ones as backup chiles. I think we are covered in that department.
In the winter garden we have 6 Brussels sprouts, which are being eaten by parties unknown, 18 cabbages which are faring better than the sprouts, and an assortment of lettuces and chard. The latter have not yet expanded in size to the point where we can snitch some leaves. I also planted garlic and some onion starts.
I plan to cover the winter stuff with a floating row cover, but I'm not sure when to do it--when the nights are getting reliably below freezing, I guess. So far everyone has gotten through the mild frosts without a scratch (including the parties unknown that are fond of Brussels sprouts.)
Next up: walnuts. We have a bumper crop of both English and black walnuts that are now dropping into the grass by the bucketful. There is a crop we could sell, if we had the energy to do all the drying, cracking and picking of nutmeats. My husband's elderly "cousins" (related somehow but hard to explain), husband and wife, who lived across the road from our farm, lived very frugally and amassed great wealth. They "retired" in their 70's, allowing their adult children to take over the hard work. But they started another business by picking up walnuts from their trees and processing them by hand. They had buyers as far north as Albany who bought their nutmeats. If they hadn't both died they'd still be cracking nuts. Guess it's our turn.
At the very least we can satisfy our own needs from our trees.
Another ongoing fall task is pruning the fruit trees. I did a lot last year, but much more remains to be done. I expect it will take several years to rehabilitate these trees. We harvested 5 pears, a few prunes and a quarter-bucket of apples this year. It can only get better.
My friend M., a mycologist, has suggested I do a mushroom survey at our farm this weekend and bring whatever I find to Mt. Pisgah. There will be a mushroom festival going on, as I'm sure you are aware. I am excited--there must be some 'shrooms on the farm, surely! I've stepped on a few but I haven't actually gone looking for them. I will try to get H. to help me out. She is fond of mushroom hunting.
It would be nice to have a wild crop to look forward to in the fall, and perhaps the spring too.
Break's over, got to hop back on the treadmill.