This blog is not abandoned. :)
It didn’t even go off my radar, get forgotten, nor did I take a deliberate break from it. I am a diarist at heart, and most days this fall when I’ve been in the garden, bringing in the harvest, or walking in nature, I have composed a blog post in my head. The trouble is with the time it takes to transfer from thought to paper or computer.
I thought of a blog post as we wrapped up the final market day, and switched our focus from feeding other people, to preparing our own winter food supply.
Our table last day at the Westside Farmers Market - incredible celery, leeks, and celeriac this fall.
I thought of a blog post as the first frosts hit and we started to say goodbye to the garden, and began to light a fire in the woodstove daily.
I thought of a blog post as we dug potatoes, and more potatoes ….and more potatoes.
Tiredly, I thought often about posting about the sanctuary I felt in the garden, even if for only half an hour of twilight at the end of a frantically busy work day.
Last big harvest before frost.
I thought of a blog post as I walked through a wooded patch, hearing the birds, noticing how green the moss looks after a rain, when everything else has turned into winter browns.
I thought of a reactionary blog post every time I listened to news about Occupy Wall Street, “consumer confidence”, anti-consumerism, and the Plastic Ocean.
I composed words in my head about our harvest as it filled every bin, bucket, and tray we had, as we worked in the rain and by flashlight to bring the last of the perishables in by the first hard frost.
But with all this doing, our hands have been a bit busy for blog posting. I am continually thankful and amazed by the enormous amount of food two people working two other jobs can produce from a tiny little plot of land. We grow so much of what we eat now. Eggs, chicken, greens of all sorts, beans, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery, celeriac, rutabega, squash, popcorn, apples, berries, herbs, onions, garlic, leeks, radishes, carrots. Our own pickles, krauts, jams, sauces, cider. So much to write about, and so little time to write!
Remains of the market garden
Some people call us a farm. Some are amused that we call ourselves a farm. Some get grand ideas in their head of how we must live and what the garden looks like, imagining an orderly organic utopia. Sometimes their silence when they come to visit seems to tell of their disappointment. We are small. The “market field” is just a big messy garden. The shutters are falling off the house because most days, we’re too darn busy or exhausted to fix them. Our furniture is mismatched, and our kitchen needs remodeling. This is what it looks like to live as much as we can right now from a patch of land, trying to reduce the need to buy, to turn less garbage loose into the world than we might. This is what it looks like to make do, purchase less, grow more, work hard.
Digging potatoes, and immediately replanting the bed with endive seedlings - just barely visible at the top of the photo.
And yet, somehow, we manage to grow enough beautiful produce to sell to others while feeding ourselves. Somehow, we had an enormous Thanksgiving supper where the only store-bought ingredients I used in the cooking were milk, butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, flour, arrowroot powder, olive oil, vinegar, anchovies, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sugar, and wine. There was so much joy and pride in roasting the 10 lb 3 oz “turkey” chicken who grew running around in our back yard, and so much peace and fulfillment in carrying baskets of greens and roots in from the garden, rather than braving the crowd at the grocery store.
The promoters of monoculture farming retaliate against the rise of interest in local food. They try to win support by saying we can’t feed the world with small farmers, local produce, and organic techniques. Yet I don’t see how 7 billion+ people will eat sustainably without digging up our lawns to grow chemical-free food. I’m thankful for those who grow their own, or support others who do. I’m thankful for the shoppers I know who are trying to buy less, buy locally, and use less plastic (in all senses of the word). For me, Thanksgiving is about celebrating what bounty we can produce, rather than what bounty we can buy. It’s about celebrating the wonder of being able to grow our food.