PROJECT DONE. It was just past noon on tuesday, it was blazing hot without a hint of wind. Painful as it was, these were perfect conditions to meet our goal of placing 2 separate sheets of plastic, each 100 feel long by 48 feet wide, over the top of our second high tunnel. Any moisture or wind can ruin the project in a moment. Luckily, with plenty of sweat, a few tears, and much rejoicing, we succeeded. This project has been on the list for a full twelve months and completed within hours of our deadline. To say a weight has been lifted off our shoulders would be an understatement. With barely a moment to catch our breath and revel in the success, we immediately turned towards the gardens that have been all but neglected the past 2 weeks while we stayed focus (not easy) on the construction. We made quick work of it despite the soggy conditions after a weekend of rain here on the farm. The new tunnel was first to plant as it was the first to dry out enough to work. One morning saw all the beds prepared, paths mulched and all of our eggplant and remaining peppers set. Next to the field, not yet dry enough for the tractor, but suitable for hand work, we spaded and hoed the holes in which to set the last of our tomato crop. 180 plants went in that afternoon, sun golds, jet stars, san marzano, bob cats: we all dug and dropped and set while dreaming of salsas and salads and sauces. The tomatillos were next, a single row hoed out again by hand, and set. With all the moisture in the fields right now and the knowledge that this too shall pass, we set off after rolls of hay to use for mulch. We are huge fans of mulching. We use hay, straw, grass clippings, whatever is available. With its dual purpose of holding in precious moisture and suppressing weed growth, all the while adding organic matter to our land, how could you go wrong? Amazingly when I call ed our neighbor to arrange the hay pick up, he invited me to pick his sour cherry tree. This is not an invitation that comes often, so I jumped at the chance. Cherry jam is a delicacy, we love the stuff and rarely get it. We used our siesta that day to pick fruit while Paul loaded and unloaded 2 roll s of last year’s hay. It was a long day and a late night, but well worth it. We have 10 pints of jam to look forward to this winter. The pickers and pitters in my family needed only a fresh pie for desert to reward them for their labors. Now, it is late afternoon on harvest day. More work is being done in the fields, laying out and planting the winter squash beds and planting the final bed in the high tunnel with a crop new to us: ginger. It is all so fun. We have accomplished a lot this week, we breathe a bit easier knowing we have completed a project huge in scale that will provide food for all of us for years to come!
Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch kale
juice of 1/2 a lemon (I have improvised a mild vinegar if I didn’t have citrus on hand)
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I have also done a version with sesame oil with tasty results)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
Suggested add-ins (pick any of these or improvise)
hemp seeds, sunflower seeds
cooked protein: tempeh, tuna, salmon or shrimp
De-stem, wash and chop the kale and put it in a large bowl
Drizzle on the lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper.
Use your hands to massage the leaves and really break them down.
Toss in your add-ins.