Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Let it snow
11:10 am pst
The false spring has gone replaced by intermittent snow and rain showers. The High Tunnel was crispy
warm all day then dropped to freezing when the snow began to accumulate last night. We lit the heaters because losing the
High Tunnel is not an option we will give in to. Before we began sweeping the low hoops the snow had changed to rain. Throughout
the night it alternated rain and snow. This kept the accumulation down, but it introduced the worry of ice accumulation. This
morning snow has fallen then rain, keeping up the pattern of the night. Now a thin layer of white can be seen on one side
of the garden, and the rest is clear.
The greenhouse is usually
heated since there we start our plants. One heat table is filled with veggies and the other is half full of flower starts
for our spring flower bowls. They should be ready in early April. Soon, the other half of that heat table will be filled with
the starts that we will be selling at the Poulsbo Farmers Market (opening April 7) and at our farm store.
The winter greens from the High Tunnel are mature and beautiful, and some
are still available at our farm store, along with potatoes. The crew planted the Hoop Houses long enough ago that they had
to be weeded yesterday. The winter-over kale is sending out new leaves that you will be able to enjoy in a few weeks. These
tiny leaves are very sweet which means they will be delicious when large. The strips of garlic left for garlic greens should
be ready to being harvesting about the same time. We continue to harvest potatoes. Some of these were Purple Majesties and
others were Yukon Gold. The Alby's Gold potatoes we planted in January have put out filaments with tiny fish egg sized
potatoes. We are looking forward to new potatoes in May.
between the seasons weather seems to confuse the plants less than it does us. As the earth moves in its orbit, the stronger
light comes our way and the days lengthen. We now have a few moments beyond ten hours of light a day, which is when plant
growth begins with renewed vigor.
Yesterday we entertained
friends from San Jose, CA. They shivered in the warm part of the day, and I cooked a large mid-day meal for us all. The mature
Indian Red Mustard went perfectly with sautéed Purple Glazier garlic cloves. I made my Potato Onion bake – alternating
layers of thinly sliced purple majesty potatoes and bulb onion. Each layer was seasoned with dried herbs from last summer
with a touch of salt and pepper. The Purple Majesty potatoes keep their dark purple color when cooked. It takes an hour to
bake. The centerpiece of dinner was a chicken from last summer’s meat birds. I butterflied then baked it. The only dish
not made with our own ingredients were the baking powder biscuits made hedgehog style.
Below is a poem called Spring Snow. The author, William Matthews, lectured at the University
of Washington after I finished my graduate work. I was still part of the social milieu, however, and met him and heard him
read. I found it this morning as I was looking for a nature poem to share, but I thought you might enjoy this fine work of
observation and introspection.
By William Matthews
Here comes the powdered milk I drank
child, and the money it saved.
Here come the papers I delivered,
the spotted dog in heat that followed me home
and the dogs that followed her.
a load of white laundry
from basketball practice, and sheets
with their watermarks of semen.
comes snow, a language
in which no word is ever
love is impossible, and remorse. . . .
Yet childhood doesn’t end,
knit to the next, and the fields
become one field. If to die is to lose
all detail, then death is not
so distinguished, but a profusion
of detail, a last gossip, character
passed wholly into
fate and fate
in flecks, like dust, like flour, like snow.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
8:56 am pst
rewrite of a bill, E2SHB 2253, has again pitted farms and farmers against the Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) and (of course) urban and suburban
growth. The bill as it is now written allows mitigation of urban and suburban destruction of wildlife habitat to be placed
on our farm fields, pastures and other working and recreational lands with no way for the farmer to object. Now and in the
past, developers and the WDOE had to abide by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). In this bill, SEPA is left out of
The effect of the changes in this bill narrow
the exceptions REMOVING prime agricultural land and land currently in agricultural use. The WDOE could do as it likes without
having to abide by other rules. Specifically Section 1, part 3(a)(ii) allows environmental mitigation projects to be exempt
Not good for the future of agriculture
or our rural working lands. WDOE will be writing the rules without oversight or public and landowner input. The WDOE has a
history of being hostile to farming.
will be no farms. There will be no local food.
you are reading this, you most likely know why I am very concerned about this: every time it rains, we suffer flooding and
water pooling that damages our fields. However, there is history here, with another unregulated part of government, Kitsap
government, for storm water management. This is old news that happened twenty some years ago when many houses were built about
a mile or so north of us. My father immediately noticed the change in the amount of water on our farm. We talked about that
and the storm water management practices are done elsewhere. My father called the county, spoke with the man in charge, whose
name I do not know. The call was brief and we are still living with its results. The man told my father,
“you are the f****** storm water management.
Monday, February 13, 2012
10:05 am pst
The Spring CSA starts next week on
Tuesday, February 21 . You can pick up at our farm on Tuesday or Wednesday, or at the Port Orchard or Silverdale pick up sites on late Wednesday afternoon.
What is a CSA? It’s a way for people who eat
to see where their food grows and meet the people who grow it. It’s a way to support local farming. It’s a way
to support family farms. Click here, and read our section on this.
Why are family farms important? Because small local farms,
if enough existed, could provide a community with a significant amount of their food. This is one reason why we are working
to figure out how to grow larger quantities of vegetables year round. We need to do this for meat, too.
Kitsap County is a great place for a family farm revival. WSU Extension Agent, Arno Bergstrom, tells
how people have asked him what is wrong with the soil in Kitsap after they have driven past hundreds of two to five acre lots
with one house and fields of weeds. Where others may see failure by the landowners, I see opportunity.
Those empty fields could all be filled with crops or animals. The landowners don’t have to
turn themselves into farmers, since most have jobs. Those fields could be lent or leased to people who are farmers or who
want to become farmers. Since most of that land has lain fallow for years, the problems of toxic herbicides and pesticides
are less, while the weed problems for vegetable farmers will be more for a while, we know this from our experience.
I know that picking up from a CSA or a farm store is different from going
to the supermarket, but think of both the increased healthfulness of the food, and the increased economic healthiness of our
Monsanto vs farmers update: This arrived in my inbox
Monday Morning from Inside Council, a legal review journal I read. CLICK HERE to go to the article.
Monday, February 6, 2012
False Spring, a poem, a recollection, and a recipe
12:59 pm pst
Rainer Maria Rilke
Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.
For a week or two the False
Spring of Puget Sound will warm us. If it lasts too long, the fruit trees will begin to bud. Today, the farm looks just as
Rilke described a day in his poem Early Spring (above). When the cold rain returns, they may rot depending upon how
mature they are: the more mature, the more delicate. This respite from the cold rain offers a promise that won’t be
fulfilled for months: true Spring.
This is the February that I remember
from all those years I’ve lived here. I remember sunbathing (well sort of, we just hiked up the skirts of our dresses)
on the front lawn of Central Kitsap High School. My parents liked the sunny days because it gave the creek time to carry the
excess water away and let the fields drain.
The False Spring is no guaranty
that frigid weather is done. It may snow or sleet. I promise that the cold rain, which tries to turn our garden into a clay
pit, will return.
We maintain Spring in our High Tunnel which is producing
like crazy. Out in the fields, last week the crew picked our over wintering Purple Majesty potatoes. They will be in the shares
and at the Farm Store. See what else is in tomorrow’s bag by clicking here. If you feel like rejoicing in the sunshine, make a potato salad from them.
New Potato Salad
1 pound small new potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs, cold
1/3 Cup mayonnaise
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 pound dry onion, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
chopped green onions
1/4 Cup julienned sweet red pepper
1/4 Cup minced fresh parsley
Boil new potatoes whole
or quartered 12 to 14 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool for 30 minutes. Slice eggs into 1/2-in. pieces.
In a large
bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes, eggs, onion, celery, green onions,
red pepper and parsley; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
10:51 am pst
The chickens and the ducks are laying. We have many dozen eggs. If it is not Tuesday, please
give us a call so someone can help you at 360-692-2504. If you are here, look for Cliff's number posted in the cooler
SPRING SHARE STARTS FEBRUARY 21/22
WINTER SHARE LAST PICK UP DAY FEBRUARY 7/8