Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 10-28

We’ve reached the point in the season where there is little, if anything, of interest happening on the hill.

The last of the garden produce has been harvested and the hens are waiting impatiently to start their clean-up detail. That requires that some temporary fencing be put up around the garden. The sheep also need to move to greener pastures. 
waiting for greens

frozen okra
But, none of that could happen because it rained…again.

Friday rain

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  

With the gardens finished, there is a lull in activity. We won’t be taking the last of the lambs until next week. and, it looks like it will be at least two weeks before we can get the culled sheep off to the stockyard. It’s way too early to get excited about lambing season. Or even any “off-season” projects. So, it seemed a perfect time to take a little jaunt across the mountain. We make an annual pilgrimage to get some local apples and celebrate the Boss’ birthday. Ordinarily the changing leaves make for a amazingly colorful trip.

This year, however, the leaves had barely begun to change. And, many were battered and brown. We aren’t the only ones noticing this phenomenon. There have been newspaper articles and news segments detailing the issue.  It’s just been a weird weather year. And, that seems to have affected everything. But we did find some pretty sights along the way.

To say that the weather made for production challenges would be an understatement. Growing produce was difficult and in some cases, simply impossible. Numerous vendors have had previously unheard of catastrophes. And, then the marketing said produce has not been without its challenges. Between the seemingly endless parking garage renovation, various downtown activities and numerous rainy mornings, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Market earnings are way down for the year. I’m fairly certain that everyone will be glad to see the end of the season.

Piney River pumpkin farm

As the Market season winds down, there are fewer and fewer vendors. This is not unexpected. The market is more an avocation than occupation for the majority of folks. By October, those who grow produce outside are done, and some of those who provide other products often have other things to do.

Sadly, the majority of these pumpkins are weather-damaged

Fall activities abound and many feel that these negatively impact Market attendance for vendors and customers alike. There were countless opportunities for trick-or-treating, so there were lots of costumed folks wandering through the Market. While I must agree, this doesn’t really help sales, it does make for an interesting/amusing sight at the Market. ("borrowed these from the Boss' Facebook photos...thank you, dear) "Rosie" is my favorite! But, the next one is great, too. It's a storm chaser and a twister. (LOL)

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The costumes almost made up for the miserable weather. A cold rain began Friday and didn’t clear completely until late Saturday afternoon. The weather was far more suited to napping than shopping at the Farmers’ Market. (or, for that matter, SELLING at the Farmers’ Market) But, that is what we do…who we are. And, since we don’t have any other creative ideas as to occupation…and there are three more weeks left of the season, we were there, doing what we do. Although we need to find some positivity in the whole deal.
pretty leaves at Market

slim pickin's

WET leaf at Market

But, personally, positivity is not coming easily of late. I am distressed by the constant barrage of horrifying things in the news, the complete disregard and disrespect for human differences that are spouted forth and tweeted out by the highest office in the land and the lack of consequences for this awful behavior. I am stressed and triggered and exhausted. I can only hope that the upcoming election will provide some relief.

winter woodpile
early morning Alleghenies
another sunrise
early morning contrails

gorgeous light on gum leaf

  baby lettuce 
see the rainbow?

  lovely view from the kitchen window

north mountain

the hunter moon

In the meantime, I will practice mindfulness and gratitude, attempting to be fully aware of the blessings that make up my little corner of the world.

And, it is my sincere hope that you are able to do the same.

breath-taking Sunday sunrise

Have a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” us again soon.

Here's the link to the Boss' market Facebook pics.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 10-21

The first frost is inevitable. As are the dire wintry predictions that are always sure to follow. But, it’s October…the latter half of October, it should come as no surprise.

But, the wind is SO cold. And the mornings are SO dark. It’s a toss-up as to whether we go for hibernation or preparedness. In reality, we just get prepared and wish for a period of hibernation.

frosty leaf

cold morning

beautiful October light

It finally dried out enough to get the potato harvested and in cold storage for the winter. Despite the weird weather patterns, the yield was good. (and we got a big job checked off the “to-do” list!)

Potato harvest has begun!

picking up 'taters

lots of potatoes

Potato harvest took the better part of two days

With the potatoes harvested, the Boss turned over the back garden to allow it to rest during the winter. 2019 will see that portion of the farm used in a  slightly different fashion as we review and revise our strategies for keeping this place sustainable for the long haul.

It seems that we just keep saying “never seen that before”! The fall brassica crop was no exception. Some of the plants are stunted and the heads (cabbage and broccoli) looked odd. When I went to cut them, the problem revealed itself. The stalk of the plant was full of water! The entire middle was hollowed out and rotten. While many of the plants were fine, the entire planting smells of decaying plant matter. YUCK! This previously unseen anomaly cut down the yield considerably.

cabbage full of water

now you understand
"rotten to the core"

To add insult to injury, “bambi” found his/her way to the garden for the first time ever.

"bambi" in the winter paddock
Last week, my investigation into the ferocious bark-fest going on in the backyard revealed a young deer in the winter paddock. She/he was not at all frightened and actually stomped his/her foot at the dogs. Repeatedly. I’m still not sure if this was bravery…or stupidity. The dogs outweigh her by a good deal. (but, that fence between made a big difference) This happened two days in a row. Then I discovered large bite-marks in the broccoli/cauliflower plantings. No serious damage, but enough to know that deer have come to the garden…and we will have a new issue to deal with in planning for the crops of 2019.
deer have come to the garden

deer damage

But, there are positive signs, too. 

The green garlic is sprouting well and the germination for some winter greens is looking good. (before anyone gets excited, I don’t know that I’m going to share these at all) The sheep and chickens are thriving, although the hens are getting a little anxious to get started on garden clean-up detail.
"the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"

here come the ewe lambs!

ewe flock grazing on a clear October day

pullets under Karma's watchful care

I don’t know what happened to the week, but it sure seemed like Market prep day came along more quickly than it should have.  Not that there was a whole lot of preparation to do…

early morning trip over the mountain
everything is "okey-dokey"
cool weather brings out the barberries
cool sunset

dogwoods over Lewis creek

October morning light-show

We’ve reached that point in the season where the Market thins considerably. After a difficult growing season, numerous vendors have packed it in for the year. The chilly, dark mornings have our customers enjoying their warm, cozy homes rather than venturing out to see what wonderful veggies they can find at the Market.
Remy was looking for warm and cozy, too.
Despite the fact that the Market has been opened from April 1 to Thanksgiving for more years than I care to recall, there are always people who are surprised that we are still open after the first of October. So, for the next couple of weeks we will feel like we are just biding time until the final Market of the season. Generally, that is a phenomenal sales day as everyone attempts to get ready for Thanksgiving AND stock up for winter.
dark start to the Market

threatening skies
over a late season Market

Our  TEAL Pumpkin indicates we will offer non-food treats for any trick-or-treaters
Someone asked how I grew it that way
('s fake...)

Personally, I’m ready for the end. A little “hibernation” and down-time sounds delightful. And, before someone points out that I say that every year…you’re right. Market season is long and challenging. After twenty years of early Saturday mornings, it’s safe to say we are both tired. Very tired. It’s hard to be “on your game” and upbeat despite the weather, production challenges, customer whims, the economy, current events, etc. every single Saturday. But, being a grumpy vendor certainly doesn’t do much for sales! Sometimes there are political, environmental, personal conversations that all require far more engagement than my brain can handle while calculating the proper change. Yesterday was one such day and I had to take a nap when I got home!

grazing at sunset

But, it’s a new day. Time to re-group for a new week.

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

sunrise grazing
Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” us again soon!

Check out the Boss' Market photos: