Saturday, November 16, 2013

To Grandmother's house we go...

It's a Saturday, and we do not have a delivery for the CSA today, as we have switched to our bi-weekly winter schedule. We had some plans for the morning, but... well... we just didn't get to them. I needed a hair cut, and my stylist (wife) was free, so we took care of that. We caught up on some television we like. We laid about. So, now it's noon. This is a very strange feeling, and regardless of the fact that we've been going for 8 days straight of morning until night farm work, I feel guilty for hanging about a bit. I have this terrible problem of being completely unable to be still, even when it's called for.

This week is sure to be an intense one, we have to get the farm 'tour ready', we try to get it a little more presentable, as in- clearing out muddy paths, sweeping barn cobwebs, making sure tools are put away when there is going to be more traffic. Our biggest delivery of the year- the Thanksgiving pick up is next Sunday. The turkeys are doing well, though we have had some struggles with this batch and haven't loved the stock that came from the hatchery. We're keeping them exceptionally well fed and tended, as we hope they will be the center piece of everyone's holiday table.

We are still behind in planting garlic, but hope to have that remedied either tomorrow or first thing Monday. We didn't get a working vehicle back until Thursday, so getting supplies was a real juggling act. But the ground isn't frozen, and we have the blessing of a few warm days to help us make sure we get the seed in. The straw bales in the hoop house are doing pretty well, a little bit of transplant shock, but we'll see how they pull through. I'm hopeful for a nice crop of winter kale and salad greens with some good tending and a little luck.

This evening, after chores we're headed to CT to visit my grandma, who I think most know I absolutely adore. She's cooking dinner (undoubtedly it will be delicious) and we get to meet her new beau. My grandma is a classy, ferocious woman. I wouldn't be who I am without her.

When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of time at Grandma's house. I remember standing on a stool, stirring pots of tomato sauce that she would dip her pinky in to taste. I'm not sure why it was her pinky, but it always was. She would orate on the nature of a perfect sauce and supervise my technique with the long wooden spoon. As I got older, she insisted I learn to sew, knit, and cook- skills which I still find incredibly useful (and enjoyable). In the winter, she would bundle me up and send me out ice fishing with my grandfather, a sport that still is a favorite for me to this day. She always wants her grandkids to do things they love, and to be useful. And I think her love of food is a lot of what inspired me to farm.

I remember walking down the road where she lived to an older italian neighbor who raised meat rabbits. It wasn't strange, or exotic, even in this kind of suburban neighborhood. Her sister, and my god mother had the most amazing vegetable garden- and I spent many an afternoon running through cherry tomato bushes. We weren't farmers, but Grandma set the example of 'do it yourself' (she still does today) and to be delighted, whatever the result. She laughs heartily when she has a failed recipe (though it's not often) and is known to tease herself when she doesn't something silly. When I was in college she would call and tell me what she mis-heard (she wears hearing aids, but keeps them off) during the week. She once even tried to mail me an oil and garlic based bean salad. While this salad is absolutely one of my favorites, it arrived in an oil soaked box along with some well ruined brownies. I called her to find out what she was thinking and all she could do was laugh.

I tend to take things seriously, be a bit dark and sarcastic. These aren't bad things, but when times get tight on the farm, or I make a ridiculous mistake I think I'd do well to take a cue from grandma. You can't be wildly successful all the time. But you can laugh, try again and always seek to be useful. Or at the very least make a damn good marinara.

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