Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mobile Hiigh Tunnel - The plastic is pulled!

What an exciting day last Friday! In the midst of Black Friday, deer hunting, and holiday travel, about twelve hearty volunteers from yoga co-students, tai chi students and teacher, CSA members, friends all came out to help pull the plastic on the new mobile greenhouse.

As usual I missed the big dramatic pull as I was cooking and directing people to site. But unlike the other big pull, I did get to participate. Once the plastic is pulled, it is stretched evenly into place and bent wire called wiggle wire is snapped into a metal channel to hold the plastic in place at the shoulder.

Then more wiggle wire is set in place to hold the plastic just above the crank part way down the sides. Then the plastic is trimmed and flipped so the straight, uncut edge can be placed and set with wiggle wire below the crank for a skirt.

Then sand bags are placed on the skirt to hold it down.

And ropes are zig zagged through loops on the sides.

Meanwhile brave height hearty folk climb up and down ladders to trim the plastic along the arches on the ends. Other people placed the lower skirts on the ends in place with more wiggle wire.

And these amazing people did ALL this in about two hours.

My main job was to reward them with food once the job was complete. We stuffed a squash with brown and wild rice with marinated pork, onion, and herbs. There was also cornbread, sauerkraut, bees with fennel, cultured vegetables, tossed green salad, apple crisp, squash pie, and more desserts brought by workers.

Ken has been working soil and getting ready for planting - hurrah and grateful thanks for all their help.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pork in the Freezer, Lard in the Jars

I picked up the pork yesterday and got it in the freezer. This morning Ken roasted bones for stock and rendered the lard. He got it all in the jars for me.

Many people have a negative attitude about lard. Lard like all animal fat will contain toxins when the animal has been fed or exposed to toxins - they are stored in the fat. BUT fat from animals fed a natural, non-toxic diet and that are outside in sunlight, contains high levels of vitamins A, D, E & K. This is in marked contrast to hydrogenated and denatured fats which irritate arteries and stimulate the body to increase cholesterol production.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ken in the Night

The other night I awoke and as I headed down the stairs, there was Ken and the cat at the computer!

Mobile High Tunnel Update

Ken has resumed work on the mobile high tunnel.  He had taken a break to catch up on harvest, fall plantings and other farm work.  He had not expected to be able to get back to the greenhouse, but the weather has been with him.

He worked on some bracing and then has been cutting pieces of end wall and installing them.   He is nearly finished!

Goose Herding in Snow

Ken had moved the geese to the field a few weeks back.  He moves them through areas and they clean up old crops and green manures.  This gives the yard a rest during the time the grass grows more slowly.

Saturday he, Jenny and I went out and moved them back in the snow.

Other than the two stragglers it was quite easy.

Now they are in their winter quarters, and once we have some snow, Ken will let them roam the yard.

Oscar the Wonder Dog

Oscar, our younger dog, had a surprise a couple weeks ago.  On Monday, November 7th, Ken went down to pull the fence posts from the pig yard.  Oscar was with him, but leapt ahead to chase a squirrel.  Ken heard a couple blodd curdling yelps, and as he approached Oscar, he noticed Oscar was on three legs and a stick!  Oscar had impaled himself on a sharp stick in the woods.  Ken pulled the stick from Oscar's right armpit - buried about three inches in.  Oscar limped to the house and lay down on a dog cushion.

Ken called our vet tech friend, and she explained that punctures need to drain - watch him and report back.  After some blood and clear fluid, Oscar seemed back to his old wild self.  Then Ken rigged up a towel so Oscar could not lick the wound and it would seal.  Oscar resembled an ox in yoke as the wide towel went under his neck and was tied above with string so the ends stuck up and out.

I am happy to report Oscar seems to be fine - only a small scar.  Oscar the Wild Dog!

Sorting the Winter Vegetables - the big ones!

Here we are - wrapping up outdoor tasks as it becomes an iffy thing once we get to Thanksgiving.

I have been sorting the vegetables to bury in sand in the root cellar.  And here are two that were huge.

When Jenny and Sean came out they were helping us with various tasks.  Jenny held this daikon so I could get a photo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

There are more hoopettes now
Greetings from the Garden!  This week's box has lettuce, salad and braising greens, broccoli and / or cauliflower, green peppers, carrots, onions, garlic and shallots, pie pumpkins, and sage.

Field Notes.  Ken says. "Nice to have such an elongated fall - doesn't put the push on things.  Always tough to predict..."  The mild fall means great greens.  Last year we had a very cloudy, rainy October, and there just was not enough sun for things to grow.  This year we have had mild temperatures and lots of sun - we could use some rain or snow.  Last year's early snow acted like a blanket and the frost did not go into the ground so we had greens late in fall and early in spring.

 Earlier work on the end wall with Bentley
The warn sunny weather meant Ken took a break from work on the mobile high tunnel to catch up on field work.  He has done so and now has returned to working on the mobile high tunnel.  He has tightened up supports and is now cutting and putting end wall pieces in place.  Once he has finished that all that remains is pulling the plastic.  Either we will do that this fall, or more probably next spring.  Ken plans to plant the stationary hoop in late winter and then the mobile with hot weather crops in spring.

From the Kitchen.  Thanksgiving and fall cooking have begun.  Ken bakes squash and then makes pie from any leftovers.  He also has been using up the utility apples in pies.  I continue steam juicing the apples and am trying some apple elderberry wine.   

The carrots in this box are small or oddly shaped - they don't make the cut for root cellaring, but there is no compromise of flavor.  Maybe glazed carrots for Thanksgiving?  We also include a few shallots in the box as some of the best stuffing we ever had was made with our shallots - great idea.  And of course we include pie pumpkins and sage for the season.

The stationary tunnel has provided us with green peppers for Thanksgiving - this is a first.  And we may even have a tomato for each box.

At this time of thanks giving, we wish to express our thanks for all your support.