Archive for July 12th, 2010

Independence Days Update:Almost All the Way Home

Sharon July 12th, 2010

We are rarely away from home as much as we have been these last few weeks.  I was gone for three days at the end of June, beginning of July, and then for the last four days.  We have one more very short trip (Eric and I are, wonder of wonders, going away for 24 hours sans kids – thanks to generous Grandmothers!!!!  We’re going to go on a busman’s honeymoon and  visit a couple of other farms ;-) )

We spent the last few days enjoying ourselves with family in the Boston area – end ended with a wonderful family bash to celebrate my Great Aunt Sally’s 90th birthday.  When I was a kid I took such family occasions, and the pictures they always made us take for granted – but now I keep thinking “how many 90th birthday parties will I get to go to?”  The elders of my own childhood are mostly gone now, and every remaining member of my grandparents’ generation is someone my kids will remember only through the lens of childhood .

We stopped as we often do, at Old Sturbridge Village on our way there, a living history museum that reproduces life in the 1830s.  Because Sturbridge is just about halfway between my parent’s house and our house, it is a place we can all meet in the middle (which we do a couple of times a year), and also a great stopping point on a long car trip - it comes just about at the point the words “he’s touching me” start coming from the backseat.

My kids love Sturbridge and so do I.  When I was a child, it was also almost exactly between my home and my Grandmothers’ home in Waterbury, CT, so many of my childhood memories focus on Sturbridge.  My sons particularly love the Parsonage – one of the houses with a lovely garden and a traditional attic room with two beds.  The first time we went through the interpreter said “how many kids do you think would sleep here?  Probably four.”  She clearly expected the kids to be shocked at the idea of everyone not having their own beds, but my boys just laughed and said that was just how they sleep.  So since then the kids like to pretend they live at the Parsonage.

The days before we went were busy, trying to keep up and get ahead and deal with the extreme heat.   Now that we’re back and the kids are going to camp and other summer programs (half day for the three younger ones), Eric and I are looking forward to three hours every single morning to devote to the farm and farm work. 

We must build a buck pen.  We must build another kidding pen.  We must clean out the back area of the barn, which until recently had a wood cookstove in it (which has now found a new home – yay!) so we can move the winter milking back there and also set up beds for the dogs.  We are having friends over to install our new manual well pump on Thursday.  The sheep are arriving tomorrow, along with Xote the guard donkey, and there is fence work to do in the meantime.  There are garden beds to build and fall seeds to start.  There’s plenty for us.

The cherries are done for the season, the peaches and apricots are nearly ripe.  The black currants are ripe as well, despite heavy depredations by the goats (they will be moved ASAP, but until this year they’d been ignored).  Tomatoes are starting to come ripe, zucchini are in full swing and the beans are in progress.  We’ve also been eating the best mesclun mix I’ve ever had – called “the kitchen sink” by Pinetree seeds, it has a strong emphasis on my favorite, spicy parts – arugula, mustard, etc… plus pea shoots, asian greens and even a little lettuce ;-) .

Summer is settled in to stay.  The babies are coming.  Life is good.  And although the trips have been fun (and the last one should be too) we’re almost home for the rest of it.  I’m glad to be here.

Onwards:

Plant something – I didn’t plant much of anything due to the heat.  Started some broccoli and asian greens indoors.

Harvest something: Tomatoes, yarrow, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, the last of the snap peas, onions, green garlic, motherwort, mongolian yarrow, lemon balm, lemon verbena, sour cherries, raspberries.

Preserve something; Dried herbs, made cherry pie filling.

Waste Not: Nothing unusual.

Want Not: Made our usual Boston-area run of the awesome local Savers.  Found pjs for the kids, pants without giant holes for the husband, tshirts for Eli, pants for children with no behinds to hold them up for the other boys ;-) .

Eat the Food: Ate my Moms’ delicious food, including fish from their seafood CSA.  Can I just say how jealous I am?  Also ate what we call salsa salad a *lot* (we call it that because it started out as a salsa, but we eventually decided we just liked it plain) – chopped tomatoes, beans (black, pinto or whatever you like) and sweet onion (we use a variety called “candy”) mixed with lime juice, salt, a little sugar and chipotles.    We usually eat this with corn on the cob and salad.

Build community food systems:  Nada, although I got to see the results of my step-mother’s hard work on her community garden expansion – that was awesome!

So how about you?

Sharon