Farmer John Writes: Life Wants to Happen
Harvest Week 20, November 14th – 19th, 2022
Here we are, the last week of the main season. Year after year, the season is always a new adventure at Angelic Organics, and I hope it is also a culinary adventure for you.
Important: if you do not have an extended season share, then this is your last delivery of the 2022 season. If you are unsure about your delivery schedule for the rest of the season, please check your delivery calendar in your membership account.
For those of you who are receiving popcorn this week, shell it and pop it like you would regular shelled popcorn from the store. It’s not easy to get the kernels off by hand, but it is a fun challenge, and it can be done. But first, do a popping test to see if the kernels are dry enough to pop. If not, let the ear or kernels dry for a couple of weeks and try again. If you use a microwave, place an ear in your microwave on high for two or three minutes. It’s fun to watch it pop, but it can be a bit messy. For less fun and more tidiness, place the ear in a brown paper bag in the microwave and pop it. Here is one of many videos on the internet that demonstrates the tidy method of microwave popping in a bag.
Brussels sprouts have been very slow this season. We might have some for the extended season deliveries, but they have been doing even more poorly than the broccoli.
Last of the Lettuce
We made the last of our lettuce available for this last week of the main season—not enough to go around, but nice heads for some of the lucky shareholders.
Some of the fall broccoli did not form heads, in spite of the late fall. However, there was enough to give everyone this week a beautiful free head of broccoli. It’s our way of celebrating the bounty. Whatever the size of your broccoli head, it was probably half that size three days before we harvested it. It grew exponentially in those last few days of warmth we experienced. This may seem implausible, but it is so.
You can see from your share contents that we have been quite blessed with abundance and quality.
We did some overdue cutting of dead trees last week. With our boom lift, it’s now much easier, safer and faster to bring trees down. The main trees we felled were two ash trees that had been dead for years in the yard of the converted one-room limestone schoolhouse where Haidy and I live. These were the two trees that we turned into pumpkin trees this fall.
Like millions of other ash trees in recent years, our ash trees succumbed to an invasion of the emerald ash borer. I suspect that otherwise they would still be thriving. The one closest to the schoolhouse was thoroughly spongy from the borer damage. I am surprised that it stayed upright as long as it did. As we were deciding how to fell it, we noticed that it was swaying in any slight breeze. We could actually jiggle the enormous tree a bit just by pushing on it. After tying a strap to it up high, Pollo and I tried to down the tree by just pulling on the strap. We were unable, but I think that if we had added a couple of other husky workers to the pull, we would have toppled it by hand. We did not cut it at the base ahead of toppling it. Our John Deere pulled it over with almost no resistance at all.
The school was built in the 1840’s. I suppose these ash trees were planted sometime in the 1800’s.
Angelic Organics farm is situated across the road from the schoolhouse. My dad attended the school in the early 1900’s. He occasionally mentioned how much he liked those ash trees. A woman who grew up next door also attended grade school there—that was in the 1930’s, when my my mother taught there. She showed up a few years ago with her daughter for a picnic under one of those ash trees—the one further from the schoolhouse (referred to as the other pumpkin tree below). She just laid out her blanket and had the picnic, didn’t ask anyone if that was okay, didn’t introduce herself. I guess she felt like the tree belonged to everybody who had attended school there; it was part of the commons.
There was once a third ash tree in our yard. I wrote about this drama in Farm News several years back: a storm was approaching, the wind was picking up and the windows were open in my truck in the driveway. Kimberly, my farming partner at the time, was about to head out and close the truck windows when she became fearful of the wind blowing a tree over on top of her. I scoffed and said it would be almost impossible to get a tree to fall on oneself, even if that was what one wanted. She paused a few seconds to take that in, then mustered her courage and ran out the door to close the truck windows. Fortunately, she had paused to hear me proclaim that it is almost impossible to get a tree to fall on oneself, because with that amount of delay the third ash tree snapped off in front of her, not on top of her. She would probably have been crushed without that delay.
Notice that a cedar tree is growing out of the stump of the other pumpkin tree. Life wants to happen.
Update on the Shop Color
In last week’s Farm News, Its Own Spiritual Force, I wrote about choosing a paint color for our machine shop. After enduring several years of glaring white on the overhead shop door, we painted it last week. I think the expanse of red and the detail of marigold do a good job of subduing the pulsating Mixed Veggies color.
Our Charismatic Driver Zdenek
Many of you have had the fortune of encountering Zdenek. He is the source of much entertainment when I encounter him in the mornings before he leaves to make deliveries, bubbling with jokes, wisecracks and laughter. I am sure he has entertained some of you, also. He probably won’t be driving much for the extended season; Nathan will be doing many of the remaining site deliveries.
Retired dairy farmer:
“Knees gave out in ’98. Sold the cows and four days later the barn blew down.”
Thank you for being with us this season. Extended season is coming next, for those of you who signed up for it.