Well, it is finally raining in Georgia. We suffered another severe drought this summer. Hopefully this now endless seeming rain will help bring the water table back.
What does this mean for us at the farm? Despite the rain we have been busy; planning gardens, transplanting, and cleaning up.
This has been our first pecan year at the farm. So far this season we have probably collected around 100 pounds from around 12 trees. There are still trees out there that haven't dropped yet, which is good because we are not looking forward to crawling around the moist grass in search of nuts. We are enjoying the bounty, snack time is nut cracking time. Often Adam and I find our self in competition for cracked nuts with both the dogs and the boys, we just can't crack them fast enough for all the hungry nutmunchers as Adam likes to call them.
We had a large brushpile that has been growing from our first spring on the farm. We finally took the plunge and set the pile on fire for the first step in prepping the area for our perennial veggie and berry patch. Now on my to do list is weaving some more trellises for the blackberries. We found a nicely crowded patch of young pines in the woods that we have decided to cut into a forest hideaway for the kids that will provide the necessary poles for the project. I am looking forward to putting aside time to play in the woods with the boys and harvest our poles.
Adam and I are enjoying looking through seed and plant catalogs, dreaming about future purchases! We have already placed our seed order which includes seed potatoes and sweet potatoes, both a first for us at this farm. This year we are planning a large garden down the center of the Pecan grove that we will plant in the Native American Three Sisters style; squash, beans, and corn. I haven't yet picked out the beans for that yet. I have yet to eat a pole bean that I truly enjoyed, any suggestions? We are thinking maybe a been for shelling, which means a lot of canning, but we do eat a lot of canned beans throughout the year. Probably a good bet.
Almost all of the hundred garlic cloves I planted this fall have shot out of the ground. Can't wait to taste fresh garlic this spring.
I am hoping for a strong strawberry patch this year. I have always struggled with this plant, but I think this year we have at least the best chance yet. They are now in the ground long before spring, soaker hoses in already, lots of sun, and high hopes. We just need to combat the weeds that seem to have infiltrated from the mulch pile. I think I will put in a request with the custodians at school to start saving me cardboard again to line the rows organically before the real warmth of sun hits. All the strawberry farmers use black plastic and even though there fields are all weed free something just doesn't sit right with me and black pastic in my garden.
Adam has been inspired to delve into his big landscape dreams for the property. The driveway rockery has begun and transplanting is in high gear. We are again thankful for the rain as we truck loads of plants to the farm from our old property. It is amazing to me that we planted a half acre property and cultivated it to the point that we are able to remove enough plants to completely landscape this five acre property. We were fortunate to buy a property that had once been a cattle farm so the soil was rich and black, so unlike the typical shovelfull of red clay that we expect here in Georgia. Adam also discovered the free local mulch pit which provided hundreds of yards of rich organic material which created a "Little Shop of Horror's" effect, lots and lots of healthy happy plants growing. Perennial gardening is where it is at if you like to move plants around and grow your gardens. Variety is lacking however and we are enjoying putting aside a little budget to add some new plants to our iris and seedum laden beds.
On my list of to-do's is to get a few chickens. Adam pulled the tools out and built a chicken tractor recently, a movable coop that we plan on moving around the pecan grove primarily. For one the electric dog fence doesn't go there, remember Leo is a chicken killer, and the other reason is that Pecans like Nitrogen rich soil. Spending time at my sister's over Christmas and enjoying her farm fresh eggs has re-invigorated our desire to bring chickens to the farm.
Adam has also cleaned up his pallet area. This has become a winter routine for him. During the busy season stuff just accumulates from pallets, rock cages, and pots. The pallet stack was getting so tall I was beginning to worry that it may fall over and potentially endanger something living.
Pickles, we need to eat a serious amount of pickles before growing season begins. Jelly too. A goal for next year is to be more creative in my canning endeavors. Tomatoes are a breeze, I just freeze those and use them throughout the year. I just made a delicious pasta sauce from our summer tomatoes. Tomatoes are so easy to through into chilis, curries, and soups. Now that I have an immersion blender it is even easier to turn the tomato harvest into something the kids will eat happily too. We still have peppers in the freezer, need to think up something good for those. We are eating the frozen peaches almost daily in smoothies. Still have chili peppers in the freezer, one of these weekends I am going to attempt my own hot sauce. Definitely need to think smarter about food preservation next year, learning through experience what works and what doesn't. One goal-instead of jelly...wine. I think I will put Adam on that one.
On a sad note, our cat Luna has disappeared. We haven't seen her since before Christmas. I know how cats can be and I have not given away her food yet, but with each passing day we know that the likelihood of her return goes down. She was always rather aloof and rather prone to scratching for no good reason, but we did enjoy her daily visits for a quick nibble and pet. It was nice having a cat around, I can't remember many times in my life when there wasn't a cat nearby doing the cat thing. Luna wasn't the closest cat I have ever had but I do miss her little black face and her little crooked neck. We miss you Luna, wherever you are.
On a happy note Rama just had his thirteenth birthday! His face is getting whiter by the day but he still manages puppy play when something sparks his interest. Mostly he just lays around keeping his eye on any potential goodie that may come his way. Summer is going to be hard for him I think. I don't think he is in hiking form anymore. He was a trooper this summer but there were times on the trail that I began problem solving how we were going to carry him out of the woods. I really don't want to be in that predicament, nor do I want to see his face when we have to leave him behind. That decision is going to suck.
Ah well. Life just has a way of going and going and going. Fleeting moments of frustration, happiness, and all out exhaustion...are we lucky to be here navigating the road.