Saturday, November 20, 2010

ah, the end of the Market....

I think I responded to the question/statement "bet you're gonna enjoy the TIME OFF" at least 50 times today...maybe many more!

To revisit the issue...yes, it is the end of the Market, and NO, I hope I won't get up at 4:15AM next Saturday. But, it's not the end 'til Spring...not by a LONG shot!

You know that garlic you savor? It's in the ground growing as you read this. It will be growing all winter and into the early summer. During that time, it is monitored, weeded, fertilized and watered. In late June or early July, it is harvested. That involves digging it, hauling it to a drying shed and spreading it on racks where fans blow 24/7 to dry it. It is then trimmed and readied for sale. A lengthy process by any definition.

The lamb that everyone thinks is "delicious, wonderful, simply superb..." takes approximately a year to get from the planning stage to the table. A ewe's gestation is 5 months, it takes another 4-6 for the lambs to get big enough to "harvest".

The tomatoes of August are started in March and babied for months in the greenhouse before heading to the garden. They have to be trellised and weeded and worried over. ...and that, my friend, is just the tip of the iceberg...lettuce! ;)

Our growing year never really ends... November 20 was the last Market day of 2010. We will head to the butcher's this week to pick up the last lamb chops of the year, before celebrating what may be the THANKSGIVING of a lifetime with our daughters and sons-in-law. Despite the "holiday season" the seed catalogs beckon. The hoophouses need our attention...and yes, oh YES! the ewes are beginning to "show". There's end of the year book work, plants and seeds to order, research on new crops and products to offer. The cycle of life and farm work continues.

Our "winter sales" start with a newsletter on December 1. This entails surveying the products for sale, emailing "the group", and following up and delivering. The winter "down-time" has become a productive and profitable time for us as well as summer.

I once read an article about the "homesteader's BLT". In it, the author told how much planning and waiting goes into a simple sandwich. There's the time to grow the wheat, the hog, the tomato and lettuce. Then there's the processing of the grain into flour and then bread. The hog must be processed as well. (from personal experience...that it a BIG job!)

Once the entire process is known, the food we take so much for granted is far more appreciated. And (shameless plug here) those who produce it are a special group of folks! This is what we do, who we are, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

No, we're not headed to the Bahamas, or any distant, exotic shore. We're off to the barn, the garden, or possibly the feed store. The routine continues. But, hmm, maybe, just maybe we'll get to sleep in next weekend!