Living With the Spooks

March 30th, 2017

I believe in a world of infinite possibilities and unlimited dimensions. When it comes to ghosts, goblins and strange phenomenon who am I to say these things don’t exist. Admittedly in my life time I haven’t had any encounters of the strange kind, I can not claim to have seen a apparition and yet our farms history is rife with stories of the ghostly kind. As a kid I would listening with arrested attention to the many stories my father, mother or visiting extended family would tell about their ghoulie interactions. The two favorite characters where Grandma Drake and Marsha the horse. The Drake family was the original homesteaders of this farm and old Grandma Drake was the last remaining member of the family when she died at a ripe old age, in the kitchen no less. As far as ghost go she was a good one, she was a protector, though I’m not sure how much help came from thinking those thoughts on the rare occasion when I was home alone. Old houses creak and grown, they take on a life of their own. As an adult I feel the spirit of past lives weaved into the very foundation of this home and so in a sense the ghosts of our passed do still roam the halls for it was with their hands by which our house stands.

Marsha the horse was an unfortunate casualty of an arrant lightning strike (so we where told) back in the farthest pasture from the house. Of course as a young child these stories shaped both my view of our house and of the way out there pasture, especially during the night. Inevitably during my adolescent years when this was a dairy farm I would find it my duty on a dark and stormy night to head down into the valley and find the one cow who didn’t come to the barn for the evening milking. Nine times out of ten she would be back in the haunted pasture, hiding in the shrubs, often with a baby calf, talk about perfecting the art of speed walking. Imagine being ten years old standing on the peak of a ridge, head filled with ghost stories, behind you the warm electric glow of civilization, below and in front, a deep dark valley occasionally lit by jagged bolts of lighting. I believe they call that building character!


The Farmhouse 1953

Happy Spring!

March 21st, 2017

Ahhh, Spring! At times it feels like this season will never be here, then all of a sudden one day you walk out the door and notice the new chorus of bird voices, you smell the distinct fragrance of an awakening earth, and there is a tinge of green in an otherwise gray/brown lawn. Then there is the noticeable difference in the strength of the sun, the warmth which soaks into your garments and warms our sensitive winter skin. I love Spring! All the planning and dreaming we do in the winter is finally put in motion, step into a greenhouse and warm rays turn into steamy heat. Our hands are finally in the dirt again and little green seedlings begin sprouting though potting soil on their way to developing into those delicious ingredients which will round out another healthy meal. This year I was able to plant in ground in my hoop house the earliest I have ever planted, February 6th. It’s my second year of planting in ground in a hoop house and I still have so much to learn. Admittedly it’s a bit nerve racking to think about those little seeds surviving some of these nights when the temperature is still dipping into the single digits. How can these plants even survive? This is often the question I have floating through my head as I make my way over to the hoop house on a frozen morning. But then I walk inside and am struck by the difference, yes it is still cold but the warmth is accumulating quickly and in the absence of a bitter cold wind the ground is unfrozen. Now days when I pop in it reminds me of late spring, warm, boarding on hot, especially if it’s sunny. The colorful salad mix, carrots, radish, spinach, asain greens are putting on rapid growth.

I hope you get a chance to celebrate this change of the season. As a gardener we live in these changes. As food lovers at the very least you get to go on this journey with me though my writing and through the bounty you see coming in your CSA share. Happy Spring to all of you, let us breath that fresh earthy air and take a moment to listen to the songs of Spring.