Ok, sorry, but I have to write about it. Yep. The weather. I wouldn’t bore you with another humdrum tale, instead, I will write of the day this week when our dear Flat Rock Creek, the lovely meandering water that defines the boundaries of hill and hollow farm, raged. It was Monday, the ground was already saturated (any questions you can read my past newsletters…..) there had been flash flood warnings on and off for the past week, so while we took care and minded the storms, we were proceeding with life as usual. Our family from Boston was visiting and farm life was wet but festive. Deanna and I were up working on the garden at the Farm Stay, the men folk were in town running errands at Lowe’s and TSC, Grandmom and Aunt Phoebe were minding the kiddos. The Farm Stay is up on a ridge and Deanna and I finished our project just when the lightning verged on scarey, we gathered some items we needed to work in the barn under shelter and the torrents began and continued with ferocity I felt the primal urge to locate the family and in the minutes it took us to gather together by candlelight at Grandmom’s over 6 inches of rain fell. The storm raged. As soon as the downfall ceased, in the moments that should have been quiet( at that time we had no power, so there was absolutely no noise) the sound of the creek was deafening. I headed out the back door and saw a sight I hope never to see again. The creek was raging across our lower pastures, running over two of our fields. I slogged back and forth and tried desperately to get a glimpse of my beloved milk cow and her calf. they were in a pasture on the other side of the creek and my heart sank thinking we had lost the pair. Luckily, they had found themselves a tiny knoll above the raging creek and stood there safely. We rescued the horses who were swimming to safety in their pasture and settled into the night. Whew.
The next day dawned crisp and cooler, we had a delightful early day until storms rolled in again, nothing quite as dramatic, but another 2 inches and again without power for over 12 hours. I have to admit, I was over it.
Now, this evening, as the darkness falls over the harvest day complete, there has been three entire days with no rain. I am feeling quite fine. My general optimism has returned full force, crops that survived have been remulched and weeded. We have had an abundant harvest and there are hundreds of young seedlings just waiting for the ground to dry out enough to be planted for the late summer and fall season that lie ahead. Thank you all for reading my tales. Please know I remain thankful and full of excitement for this wondrous life we lead, twists and turns and events out of our control: just what we need to take pleasure in all we have. Happy eating friends, it is tomato season after all!
week eleven in your basket:
summer squash or zucchini
Refrigerator Pickles, a couple of choices
5 medium cucumbers
1 Tablespoon pickling salt, sea salt, or kosher salt (but not iodized table salt)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water 1 head dill or small bunch dill leaves
1 clove garlic (optional)
3 black peppercorns (optional)
Cut the cucumbers into spears or slices, as desired. To increase the crunchiness, you can sprinkle the cut cucumbers with a couple of tablespoons of salt, let them sit for 2 hours, and then rinse and drain before proceeding, but this step isn’t absolutely necessary. Prepare a quart jar with a lid by running it through the dishwasher or washing it in very hot soapy water and letting it air-dry. Any jar with a lid will do; the wider the opening, the easier. Place the dill in the bottom of your jar, peel and crush the garlic clove (if using), and drop that in along with the peppercorns (if using), then put in the cut cucumber. Mix the salt, vinegar, and water in a separate container, stirring until the salt is dissolved, then pour it over the cucumbers, filling the jar right to the top. Pop on the lid and put the jar in the fridge.
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup white vinegar
6 cups peeled and sliced cucumbers
2 cups sliced onion
Stir sugar, salt, and vinegar together in a plastic container with a lid until sugar is mostly dissolved. Place cucumbers and onion in the vinegar solution; stir to coat. Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally.