fall week 2

This week has been so full, so exciting, it is hard for me to focus. I have been in this state before and I will choose chronology as the only way to legitimately organize my thoughts. It began at the end of last week with the hay. We have been trying to get the hay cut at “granddad’s place” since we bought the property earlier this summer. Hay is no simple affair requiring 3 enormous and expensive pieces of equipment for its modern harvest; the mower, the rake and the baler. We know a few neighbors that make hay and at each opportunity we have asked even begged them to do the job, this has led to no hay harvest. Nights have been spent contemplating acquiring all of these implements, but that is expensive silliness. Finally the call came, one of Granddad’s neighbors from across the road could no longer stand to see the beautiful hay go to waste. James, an exuberant 50 year old running a local drilling company, cut it, along with his own, last Friday. We knew it would sit for a couple of days prior to raking and baling, it needs to dry out as it cures for the highest feed quality. Rain at this time is a disaster and of course it rolled into the forecast. Panic ensued, but all calmed when rain averted us to the north and the hay was rolled on Tuesday. Seven 6 foot rolls that will not meet all of our animal’s needs, but it will help, and it is OUR OWN HAY.
Wednesday, my birthday, dawned with big plans. We wanted to harvest our own fresh indigo leaves and dye some of our farm’s yarn. We have been working with our friends from artisan natural dyeworks in nashville to harvest and utilize the stored blue in the Japanese indigo plant(polygonum tinctorium) for many years,but the time had come for us to try solo. With book and chemicals on hand, we proceeded to heat the leaves slowly in water for nearly an hour, add washing soda to alkalize the liquid, oxygenate by pouring back and forth from vessel to vessel for 10 minutes, reheat the liquid then add sodium hydrosulhpite to reduce the liquid: all of this to make the beloved color blue stored in those leaves available to our woolen yarn! Dipping,rinsing and drying followed and we miraculously achieved a collection of yarn, 4 delicate shades of blue : gorgeous, happy birthday yarn!
Meanwhile, we proceeded with readying our new high tunnel site. After a few phone calls and site visits, our phone company moved the buried cable in the way of our earth moving. Larry Reliford would have come today, harvest day, to bulldoze our site, alas we were delayed by a steady rain that began pre dawn. Next week will begin with another grand project. It has been a productive, exciting week in the hollow and we can’t wait to share the harvest and excitement of all these projects with you tomorrow!
In your basket:
swiss chard
hakurei turnips
butternut squash
hot peppers

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