Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rainy Days Means Mud

Rainy Days Means Mud
How funny! Here it is Saturday again. I seem to be in a pattern with my blogging. So sorry it has been so long since a post. It has been a tad crazy here on the farm. The Spring weather has been beautiful for the past week. Brillant blue skies, coolish temps and sunny days. Daylight is longer now so some chores can wait until after supper instead of that rushed get it done before dark dash to get it all done. I even had a few minutes to walk through the woods and see what Mother Nature has been doing. The dogwoods, crabapple trees, privet (ugh) and some of the blackberries are in bloom. Ferns are unwinding from their long winter sleep and I am seeing  new patches of Sassafrass and Solomon Seal showing new green. I can really tell we had a wet winter. We are living in a green tunnel of new leaves.
The farm is showing some new life this year. Over the years many of the raised beds that the herbs were grown in also known as the tour gardens were removed because there just wasn't enough time in the day to be in the greenhouses, marketing, shipping, doing farmers markets and well, living, to get an acre of gardens weeded to be suitable. So, when the farm closed to the public in 2006 we took out a lot of the beds. Now, instead of a lot of herbs to look at and manage, fruit bushes are going in. Bush Cherries are going in. These bushes grow four feet up and out and provide a midseason harvest of 7-10 lbs of fruit per bush. They are a Montmorency type of cherry which means sour enough for jellies and pies. I am hopeful that there enough harvest to share at markets but that is another year or so down the road. Golden Raspberries are going in where the Ajuga was along the fence next to the barn. No more ornamental plants around here. They must provide something. Whether that is flavoring to a culinary dish, medicinally, or a food such as fruit. I won't take out the Japanese Maple planted fifteen years ago or the Hydrangeas that bloom pink, lavender and blue but it was close. The Elderberry, figs, blueberries, and strawberries are already in and blooming. The deer have been around leaving their hoofprints but so far so good with the nibbling.
Business has been crazy good this spring. A late spring in our neck of the woods means local deliveries of wholesale plants came late but it has been very steady for the last several weeks. This is temporary but it has put enough demand on me that I have had to miss a Saturday market now and then. I expect to be back full time before Mother's Day. Last Sunday was Opening Day for the 2013 season of the Chattanooga Market. It is the start of my eighth season and I am right back where I want to be in my favorite spot surrounded by my favorite farmers. Sales were brisk and the crowd was massive. Learned some things last week and am making some simple changes to help me serve everyone faster. It just takes a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things.
Being back at the Chattanooga Market meant fresh lettuce from Lee and Gordon's Greens and eggs from the ladies at Sheerlark Farm (and Larry too). There is nothing better than fresh produce and food after a long winter of store bought. Sorry, BiLo and Publix, I won't be in your produce departments for about nine months or so. I am anxious for the CSA to start with Brown Dirt Farm but content myself with looking at the photos of the plants going into the ground up there in Dunlap.
There are some things in the works for later this Spring. Research is needed so consulting my massive bookcase is first because I have BOOKS on almost every subject relating to farming, raising food and herbs, chickens and kids. Chickens were just the first installment in this homesteading adventure and the installation of the fruit bushes was second. Much more is to come if this is to be successful. Just hope I don't run out of space.
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