Saturday, June 28, 2008

Let's Get Real...

Perhaps it is because I grew up on six acres of mid-coast Maine countryside with stone 
walls, a small apple orchard and idyllic summer nights, that I romanticize this farm life. Let's get is a lot of hard work, but very rewarding! Today is the first day that I feel like there isn't a huge impending chore that needs to be done outside! Beyond my meal planning for the week, party preparations and little weeding in the gardens, I feel like I am on vacation!
So here's what's growing in our gardens:

We didn't plan on planting a large garden...the surgery and timing just wasn't right. What you see in the photo are two rows of herbs, some of which we haven't identified yet, rhubarb, lamb's ear, horseradish and some berries! I finally weeded around them and then started tilling the rest of the garden. 
Matt planted buckwheat today in the majority of the tilled space.  Our hope is that the buckwheat will increase the nitrogen levels of the soil and really get it ready for a big garden next year. Our home school preschool group planted two of our six raised beds with lots of goodies including strawberries, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, eggplant, okra, sunflowers, lettuce....that is all in addition to the pumpkins, heirloom 'maters, acorn squash and basil I had already planted! We'll have plenty to harvest!! The horseradish we inherited with this grand home is growing everywhere...including along side the rhubarb. They are good friends in the garden, but in my mouth I think they'd be foes! I have no idea 
how to harvest horseradish, so thank goodness for my master gardener friend, G, and the internet!

Of course we haven't had much time to devote to the flower beds, but they
 really haven't needed it either!
The previous owners were fabulous gardeners and landscapers and there a few amazing perennial beds that "simply" needed some thinning and weeding. I really didn't anticipate pulling weeds to be such a struggle
for me during the healing process, but it really was up until about two weeks ago. I could carry Arlo, but yanking a good thistle really hurt! So the beds had to wait...but they are lookin' good now! 

The photo below was taken in what we call "the back 40", a big farm term referring to the back 40 acres. Of course we don't 
have 40 acres, but the north acre and a half or so is mostly meadow and trees, some berries and wildflowers.

 I love being back there as long I keep moving...the skeeters
 are awful!

As many of  you know, along with the amazing house and acreage, we also purchased a 27+ tree fruit
orchard. We weren't aware of it at the time, but there are also black walnut trees, a variety of berries and we discovered six small trees in the 
north end of the orchard that we thought were currents, but are actually Nanking Cherries or Manchu Cherries! 
They are a semi-tart little berry originating from Nepal and China and are great for making jellies and pies! We also have lots of apple trees and a few peach or apricot, cherry, and pear! Sam keeps asking when the fruit will be ripe and I keep reminding him that when he starts school, we'll start picking the fruit! He had a blast picking the Nankings, even though we had to be soaked in the nasty bug stuff to make it out there long enough to pick three quarts!

Aside from what's been going on outside, not much is happening inside....other than lots of cooking! I feel like I am in the kitchen 90% of the time I am in the house....
I even joked with Matt about buying the commercial kitchen floor mats for my aching feet. I am trying to make everything from scratch which means I have to be more organized about my cooking. I have been planning 3-4 meals in advance and then buying what I need for those meals. It works out great, but I have to devote an hour or so each week to thinking ahead and planning. Our CSA share is forcing me to try new things and we ate lots of Kale last week and Kohlrabi! It was really good.

This Friday we are hosting a huge 4th of July party. We've invited just about everyone we know here and hope it to be akin to those parties the Skertich Family hosted in Jardine, MT for many, kids, good food, a scrabble game here and there, and friends enjoying each other. We have tents up for folks to stay the night and we're having a brunch on the 5th to make the party last even longer. It should be grand.


photomum said...

That sounds like great fun, Amanda! Your home and property is BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I like yours too!!! We should definately hang out more :). I am trying to make my life simpler and that includes spending more time with friends and family (vs. the evil social work world)...and it seems to be working slowly.

karen said...

It looks wonderful, what a beautiful place and great garden! Wish we were closer by to come and play in your garden! Have a wonderful party, I know it will be great, knowing how lovely the gatherings at your home always are. Glad to hear of your progress and the happy times you are creating there.

Queen of Scatterville said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the pictures! I have been making the majority of our bread, and try to make all our meals from scratch too... it is a ton of time in the kitchen. So jealous of your fruit trees. We have figs and thats it. I am ordering apples next year and strawberries too.

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