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Posts Tagged ‘meal’

Happy Halloween! The final harvest is upon us. We woke to our first frost this morning, glad to cross picking peppers off our list of things to do. Brad’s milling corn, in red, white, and yellow, and his red and yellow popcorn fill bins, dump trucks and combines, thousands of gleaming pounds of kernels waiting. Hay bales stacked three tall fill the hay barn, calves graze apart from their mamas, and mamas graze fresh fields not yet worn down from their plodding hoofsteps, gestating.

playing in the corn bay

I used to think that all farms always have All The Things that a farm might produce, but in truth this is our first year growing pumpkins of the variety and quantity that I have always coveted. Thanks to the squash bugs our plants produced mere fractions of what we expected from all these varieties, but we did grow several large Lumina pumpkins, and this makes me happy. As none of our Howden pumpkins (the standard “jack-o-lantern” type) made so much as one, all our lanterns this year we carved from Luminas:

This pumpkin has white skin and pale flesh, with size comparable to a typical jack-o-lantern, perhaps rounder, and smoother. We also have a smattering of pie pumpkins.

Lumina pumpkin, carved

pie pumpkins and Luminas

 

Now that frost has struck we can stop wondering what else we’re going to get from the field. Winter wheat now waits in the wings for another rain to ready the fields for planting. Almost back into calving season…

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Today’s forty-three degrees feels almost warm compared to yesterday’s high of twenty-six. Intense cold complicates even the most basic daily chores: yesterday Brad visited each of the waterers with a hammer to bust up the ice after the previous night’s low of twenty-one, and the fuel pump froze on the tractor bearing the hay bale spear, delaying feeding until afternoon when he thawed it with a torch. A driver moving one of the semis we borrowed to haul soybeans had to cut through the yard to get around the tractor, motionless in the cold sun in the driveway. Today we are grateful to be spending at least part of the day above freezing.

Still no calves, but the full moon is in a few days, perhaps that will bring a few on. Meanwhile the mundane tasks of living consume my minutes and hours, cooking, feeding children, cleaning, wash, rinse, repeat. The seed catalogs wait patiently for me to finally sit down at the kitchen table and begin this year’s plans for vegetables and flowers, fruits and herbs. For a couple of days now Brad has been picking the last of the soybeans planted along the Coosawattee River; today he shifts gears, taking a break from driving a combine to go to the Main Street Market in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This morning after checking the cows he finished milling stoneground grits and meal, his market staples. He’ll bag those up in one- and two-pound hand-stamped bags and head north. Tonight he’ll come home with freshly roasted coffee, honey, and raw milk he trades for from his fellow vendors, plus some surprises perhaps. I’m hoping for fresh mushrooms, but they may have all frozen in this last cold snap.

I look now at the foods we eat with a critical eye, weighing the path taken to get to us as heavy as price and nutritional content. We do eat most of our foods from local farms, both our own and those of our friends, but we still consume a fair amount of nonlocal edibles. The global market has spoiled us to year-round availability of all that should be seasonal; it’s a tough argument, giving up cheap and available produce in winter just because there’s no way we could have grown it here, now. As I make my first pass at this year’s garden planning, this is foremost in my mind. What’s missing here that we want to have on our table?

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