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Archive for September, 2012

One Less Rooster Soup

It’s what was for dinner… all our currently mature birds were raised for meat and are long overdue for butchering. The most aggressive, a Dominicker who had chased and pecked at the five-year-old, attacked the three-year-old and secured his appointment with the machete. Soup or stew is about all these birds are good for, as we’ve let them get too old and tough for much else, but the soup is delicious and deeply nourishing. Sea salt, vinegar, onion, garlic, peppers, potatoes, a bit of basil, and a long simmer. Yum.

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This farm lies along the Coosawattee River floodplain. Cultures have resided right here by this river for over ten thousand years, and archaeological sites are fenced off or otherwise indicated in several places on this particular piece of land. What isn’t marked on any map are the sinkholes that punctuate the periphery of some of the fields. My father-in-law came to a stop in one of the combines, on what appeared to be solid ground, only to have that ground fall out from under one side a few minutes later. Looking beneath the harvester a six-foot-deep cavern had revealed itself. We had to borrow a backhoe to dig it out the next day.

Nonetheless, picking and trucking continues. We’ve filled over twenty-five trucks so far and are about two-thirds finished here. If the weather holds we’ll soon be done here, the equipment will move on to our other fields, and the field road dust can settle once again.

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Summer ends. We are grateful now that the tomatoes are spent and that we have corn to harvest. Fourteen truckloads have lumbered out from the first hundred or so acres, filled to bursting with a thousand golden bushels each. The next field picked won’t have nearly as much yield, Brad expects, but it will still be worth picking, and with 150 acres remaining to harvest here we will meet our contracts and continue on. We know we are lucky this year.

filling a truck

The severe weather laid waste to much of my canning plans, but we did manage fourteen quarts of green beans and around seventy quarts of tomatoes, sauce, and salsa.

green beans

Battles with squash bugs largely lost, we hope to make enough butternuts and spaghetti squash to eat, but it is as yet to early to tell. For now Brad focuses on harvesting and the seasonally requisite mechanical work, as one combine loses a wheel, the other overheats… I focus on homeschooling and keeping the hearth tended, enjoying the turning of the year, my youngest turning three, and the shifting from outward to inward as the work load lightens and gardening projects wind down. At the Equinox, may we all find balance, and for those who celebrate, happy new year!

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