Sitting at my desk last evening as the sun was setting I noticed our neighbor baling corn stalks. The shadows and dust made for a beautiful combination. I grabbed the camera and the risk of looking a little silly, snapped a few pictures:
Sunset on the farm
baling corn stalks for bedding
The neighbor saw me standing by the fence and came over for a couple of minutes just to say “hi”.
This morning the field was full of round bales:
On the home front, I sold several bushels of apples yesterday…cheap. I’m wanting to shut the cooler off in a week or two, so I dropped the prices on several varieties down to $5.00 a bushel. Can’t beat that price ;-) There are still a few Braeburn and our mystery heirloom tree to finish picking, but 95% of the apple harvest is over. We experienced a record crop this year. I have a hunch the Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold and Cortlands are going to take a break next season. They do that, if they produce too much fruit in a given year. There are two ways to regulate that every other year cycle,either spray with a chemical thinning agent or literally hand thin the apples in June. Neither one of those options appeals to me as I sit here, so I”m not sure what to do.
We have an antique apple picking ladder I use occasionally:
Antique apple picking ladder
Two years ago after reading an article in Mother Earth news on the many benefits of growing Red Flint corn I tried to get the seed but it was all sold out. I ended up ordering some Mandan Bride heirloom seed from Seed Savers that was just as good.
Mandan bride crop
I ground some corn meal up this week from some of the seeds I’d saved. It made a killer corn fritter breakfast. I had a couple of recipe’s I experimented with but finally settled on something I created from scratch.
I mix the coarsely ground corn meal with water until it’s a nice runny batter, add a little salt and small amount of vegetable oil (to help keep it from sticking) Fry this simple batter in olive oil (or lard) We still have a couple of containers of lard in the freezer from a hog we had butchered last Winter, so I used that once this week.
Top it with honey and butter and that is it.
Finished digging the potatoes yesterday. If we had to survive on the amount of food I grew this summer, we would starve. I finally realized just this week, that the goal of raising the bulk of the food we use a year currently is not realistic for myself personally, if I am also working full-time in construction and managing an 80 tree apple orchard. There is just not enough hours in my day to do all of those things and still live a balanced life. I have given up my workaholic tendencies and refuse to live life at that pace.
If I ever find myself unemployed then I will have the time to tend a much larger garden, but until that time comes, I am going to be content to perfect my gardening skills on a smaller scale, enjoy fresh produce as it comes in and put aside a little for winter. It’s taken me several summers (5?) to finally connect the dots on this one. I’m tired of feeling guilty or lazy just because I can’t meet some self imposed homesteading goal.
One last garden note. I planted some Black Futsu Heirloom Squash 2 years ago. I’m not a big fan of squash. No apology, I just am. Alice (a recent guest) cooked dinner for us one night and offered to bake one of the Black Futsu as part of our meal. It rocked! It has a natural sweetness and taste, sort of like hazelnut. It was another one of those garden crops I’d first read about in the Mother Earth News. They are a great keeper, supposed to be able to keep them in storage up to 8 months.
Black Futsu Heirloom squash
I’m sitting here this morning (again) feeling blessed.
Blessed = thankful, feeling warm fuzzies, fortunate.
I have nothing to prove, health is good, woke up in a warm house, love my job, had another great night’s sleep, just got paid for a project we finished on Friday, etc.
This morning over coffee I was telling my wife about two of you regular readers (Bill and Sara). Both of you were (are?) lawyers by training, yet both of you at some point made an intentional choice to become more directly connected to the land and growing things. There is something about both of your stories that resonates very deeply with me. I have this sense that both of you do not regret having made that decision, although I’m guessing your annual income may have taken a hit. Correct me if I’m wrong.
It is possible to be making lots of money and hate your job. No thank you.
What life or (gardening lessons) have you learned or are trying to apply lately? Bill or Sara, if either of you happen to read this post and care to comment about your decision to step back from your career in the legal profession, I would love to have you share that here. (or if you feel inclined, would invite you to write a guest blog post on that issue).
That’s it- word count says I’m way past 600. DM