Dishing Up the Dirt

The Farm Diaries

December 14, 2016

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The snow has arrived and just like that, life feels like it’s on hold. It’s the end of the farm season and the abrupt arrival of the snow happened so quickly, seems like days apart. We’ve been looking forward to this “off-season” for some time now, but this month the weather has been relentless, making it hard to fully relax and embrace our “winter break”. The snow has been falling heavily for days now, and Taylor has been the one waking up in the middle of the night to go and shake snow off the newly built greenhouses (we cannot afford for those puppies to collapse this winter).  We wake up first thing in the morning to shovel (and re-shovel) the pathway from the chicken coop to the girl’s water source (they’re still laying eggs despite the cold weather and dark days!!). The power has gone out multiple times, wind has been an issue, and damn…I guess this is winter! As harsh as it’s been, we’ll take the moisture (we need it) and cross our fingers there isn’t spring flooding.

Taylor and I finished our last farmers market of the season at Thanksgiving time and have felt so awesome about how well this past year has gone for us. We don’t want to jinx anything, but our record book speaks volumes and this year was our best by a long shot… Pinch us! We’re moving in the right direction and with each successful season we can re-evaluate our budget and figure out the necessities we need to help make life easier on us. We’re getting older and the physical labor of farming is starting to take its toll on our bodies. We’re eight years deep into our farming career and our backs feel much older than they should. With a little more money in our pockets from a good year, we can purchase equipment for our tractor, irrigation system, greenhouse setups, etc. to help make physical demands better in the years to come. When a bad year strikes (and trust me I’ve been doing this long enough to know we’ll face bad years too) we’ll have to go with the flow and possibly do things the hard way. It’s a gamble each year, but we’ll count our blessings and move forward with optimism into 2017. Taylor and I will be farmers until the day we die (as long as we continue to have customers that is!!) and we want to be in damn good shape so we can continue to feed honest, good food to ourselves and our community.

The 2017 seeding schedule is upon us, so we’ve been hunkering down with spreadsheets, seed catalogs, and our notes from last season. It’s a big deal creating a timeline for the whole year, which changes from season to season, but it’s also fun to tweak things and feel like we’re creating the “perfect” schedule that won’t fail us (I’m joking–it’ll fail us somehow but it’s fun going in with a clean slate).  We always do our schedule in the winter (along with our seed order) so that once spring hits we don’t have to think about it–it’s on the calendar and we just work off of that. We’re so excited to get our CSA members back in the loop after the holidays and see who’s on board for next season before accepting new members. I love this time of year, the farm season feels far away, but the planning is in full swing. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. We get to map out the season while wearing slippers and drinking coffee.

I’m whipping up some fun recipes this week.  Hearty soups are on rotation, with local meat thawing from our freezer.  Also up are cookies, because snow days at the farm call for baking dozens of cookies! Late next week Taylor and I head to Massachusetts to visit my in-laws for Christmas and we’re thrilled to get away for a quick trip. We’ve got a buddy who will be taking care of the farm while were away and Henry is off to pet camp (sniff sniff..I hate leaving him!)  It’s always hard to be away from Tumbleweed but a good break with thousands of miles in-between us and the farm is good practice in letting go (even if only briefly). We’re leaving the farm in good hands so hopefully we can just chill out a bit. I know we’ll be eating good food in MA, baking up a storm and relaxing and hanging out with some of our favorite people. We can’t wait!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the flavors of the season and surround yourself with a warm kitchen, good company, and nourishing food. Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

 



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21 thoughts on “The Farm Diaries

  1. Bobbi Stapenhorst says:

    Dear Andrea and Taylor,
    Safe travels and warm holidays with family is my wish for you. I’m a NEer and Love Ashland, OR – think of it as VT “light”.
    Enjoy your recipes and hope to share a few of mine as I go along.
    Bobbi

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you for your kind words Bobbi. Merry Christmas to you and your family. XO

  2. Lynne Mowry says:

    You write to beautifully and I wish to heavens we lived closer to you (we’re in Mendocino, CA) so I could join your CSA and support you in all you hard work, creativity and sweet focus on saving the world through good food!

    1. Andrea says:

      Lynne! Your comment made my day. Thank you for following along and for your kind words. Have a wonderful holiday season. Cheers! xo

  3. Jan says:

    All the best from “Down Under” where we are having record-breaking December HEAT !!!

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you! Stay cool down there!!! xo

  4. Sally says:

    Another good wishes from ‘downunder’ where it is always interesting to read your beautiful posts and live such an entirely different life, by proxy! Happy holidays to you both, take care xx

    1. Andrea says:

      Sally! Thank you for your kind comment and happy holidays from the other side of the world! cheers. xo

  5. Brent says:

    Snow here in Ontario too, the kale we didn’t pick now buried you sound so well organized hope you enjoy some down time happy solstice

  6. Carol Kapteyn says:

    Hi Andrea,
    I love reading your posts – and vicariously living on the farm. Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes and ‘touches’ throughout the year, and congratulations on your successes! I hope to learn soon about that new book that will be coming out, and ordering our very own copy. Have a safe and enjoyable trip to MA! Merry Christmas!

    1. Andrea says:

      Carol, thank you for your kind words and for reading along. Merry Christmas to the Kapteyn clan!! xoxo

  7. Rya kaiding says:

    Stop in Jackson on your way back 🙂

    1. Andrea says:

      Yeeehawww!! We’ll make it happen sometime this winter or next!

  8. Robin Fink says:

    Your blog is lovely- your way with writing and beautiful photography! I found you through Janet at The Gardener’s Cottage, a long time favorite of mine. I love what you and your husband are doing!! Such passion for growing real food! I have been a longtime fan of the Nearings, Elliot Coleman, and now, Jean- Martin Fortier. I have my “little” home garden, but have admiration for your tenacity. All the best for a wonderful 2017!! From here in Umbria, Robin

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment and for following along! xo

  9. Carlotta says:

    Hey, I just found your blog and you send so much inspiration into my grey, wanna-be snowy, office job day. I can’t focus on work anymore as I am dreaming of working with my bare hands, feeling my body and experiencing all the weathers and lights of each and every day. I believe it’s super tough work – all my respect – but it also gives me motivation that my journey might not end at a desk – there is so far to go. As my agrar/food fanatic boyfriend and me are currently discussing lots different ways of living and eating – you come around as a perfect role model – love the philosophy! Thanks for nourishing my dreams.
    Keep strong! All the best and from Germany!
    Carlotta

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m happy you found the blog. Good luck on your journey! xo

  10. Lauren Kelso says:

    Just a quick note about those aches and pains of farm work. It seems 30s feel a LOT different than 20s on the farm right!?! If you aren’t doing such a thing already I’d really recommend finding a good physical therapist or body worker (depending on your east-to-west medicinal leanings). I’ve started getting acupressure treatments at a near-by clinic a few times a year and I practice really simple yoga at home for a few minutes most days – there’s hardly more time than that in any given day. But anyhow, the cross-training and body work have helped my daily pain levels a lot so I thought I’d send a note to that effect. I don’t know much about this magazine, but I did find this article you might find interesting too – http://modernfarmer.com/2013/06/yoga-for-farmers/

    1. Andrea says:

      Hi Lauren,
      thanks for the lovely comment. Yes, we have a natural path that we see often for our aches and pains. It really does help for the most part and we just need to get better about seeing her during the farm season and not just in our off season!! Thanks for passing along the article too, I’m heading to check it out now! Cheers.

  11. Jean - a gardening granny says:

    Enjoying reading your blog so much, I’m flitting around all over it, enjoying checking out the recipes, and reading about the vegetables and what I can be doing with the veggies I grow in my tiny allotment. I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and we are in the middle of a heat wave. Temperature is in the mid thirties celsius – completely opposite to your seasons. Thanks again for your wonderful blog.

  12. Bobbi Stapenhorst says:

    Hi Andrea and Taylor,
    So how do I continue to receive your blog and recipes w/o a “smartphone”. Our cell phones are “flip” style and send and receive, calls and brief texts – we’re kind of dinosaurs… (but contented ones!!) Have so enjoyed reading and making your wonderful recipes from fresh, in-season produce available here in Ashland, OR. Now I see you have bound version of same. My mission is to get a copy for myself. Thanks for continuing to supply those of us to whom eating in-season and close to home is a goal!
    Happy fall!!
    Bobbi

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