Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Sunflowers are Beasts

You might notice, I didn't include a picture in this post. Why? Well, for one, I don't own a camera because I'm lazy and cheap like that. My "smart" phone has a camera, but it is mediocre at best and doesn't do well in low light conditions. But the main reason I didn't include a photo is that it's busy on the farm and we hardly have time to take pictures (Carolyn has a camera, but it turns out it's challenging to take pictures when you're doing nothing but weeding and harvesting and insect killing for 70+ hours a week). Just to give you an idea, Friday, our harvest day, began at the relatively late hour of 6:30 a.m. and didn't really end until around 11 p.m. My alarm then woke me up at 5 a.m. on Saturday (which is today--I think) so I could finish some harvest-related stuff before heading to the farm.

This past week has been a full one. Katie gave birth to an amazing and healthy boy, and on the farm we've been trying to control a cucumber beetle infestation on top of trying to knock back the most voracious weeds of the season thus far. And then there's the harvest. And starting new plants. And trellising tomatoes. And generally keeping tabs on the health of our crops.

Which is what I was up to this evening. I quit working at 2:45 p.m. (is it crazy that I feel the need to specify the p.m.?), took a small nap,  and relaxed a little. I went back to the farm around 8 to water the seedlings and close up the greenhouse and then decided to roam the field to kind of soak things in and see what was what. I was happy to see tomatoes and peppers producing a lot of fruit. I was anxious after seeing the pigweed invasion in the newest planted parts of the field; the hoeing never ends, let me tell you.

But most importantly I found myself standing next to our sunflowers, a few of which are almost as tall as me. The sun was starting to dip below the horizon, and it was fairly still for a change. The absolutely amazing rotating heads of those sunflowers were cocked westward, sucking up every last drop of sunlight. I just stood there, peered through the canopy of those sunflowers, glanced at the broken horizon, noticed the possibly ill-fated but resilient cauliflower trying to do something in this heat--and the oregano thriving, and the beets continuing to size up, and the zinnias looking all beautiful despite Japanese beetle damage,  and the weeds trying to make it too--and really felt what it is I love about basically spending my life working outdoors in the soil with so many living organisms. It's amazing and undoubtedly weird that all this stuff grows from tiny seeds into these huge, delicious and/or beautiful plants that sustain us one way or another. It's a whole community out there on a farm like ours. Lots of different life forms working together in ways that aren't easy to see sometimes.

It's easy to forget when you're busy. But it's a huge part of why I do what I do. Farming is crazy hard work at times. But the rewards are immense.  

Happy 4th to everyone out there. Hope you're enjoying your veggies and flowers. Let us know how everything is tasting and how you're using your share.


  1. Enjoyed your arugula tossed with chimichurri and then topped with grilled skirt steak. Delicious!

  2. we just blanched the tatsoi and golden frills mustard greens (yes, everything that we got today) for about 2min and then sauteed with garlic and some chopped up deep purple scallions. oh lordy! it was soooo delicious! everyone needs to try this. it is truly out of this world. the only problem is that i used up all our tatsoi and mustard greens... i am so looking forward to trying the raw beets with cumin seeds recipe. 2 of our favorite things over here! we really appreciate all the hard work you farmers are putting in, no matter the temperature out there. we were too chicken to even come look at the farm with the boys on thursday because of the heat! you are all amazing and an inspiration. keep up the wonderful work. we are enjoying every bit of it!

  3. We are thrilled to hear you are enjoying your veggies! Your support is appreciated and is no small part of what makes all of this work feel so worthwhile. Thanks for sharing that recipe, as well! It sounds amazing. We will share your recipe with our FB friends so they can get their blanch on.:)

  4. Thanks Three Plaid! We made a quinoa salad with some arugula, deep purple scallions, tomatoes, and garlic. Delicious! Also had some whole grilled scallions as a side - what a great, unique way to prepare them! Can't wait to dig into this week's share.