There is snow to the knee where I live and feet of ice on the lakes, but my farmer friends Dan, Abby, Jake, Eric, Epsom Dave and I are already farming. It’s early, yes, but there’s plenty to do. Like starting seeds and building shelves and running off to workshops on high tunnels and the spotted-wing drosophila… .
And then there are certain photos we need to consider. Like the one above. A little something to rally the soul. Support for when we stand in our doorways and look out over the frozen fields.
(Thanks to the unknown/unnamed photographer.)
As it is mid-February and I’ve been working on my 2013 seed order, I dug up this vintage seed-catalog cover and placed it on my desktop. Out of hundreds of similar images that one can find online, this one has always seemed to me among the best. Continue reading
Posted in essay, Farm, Food, Gardening, Homesteading, Life
Tagged farmers market, ideas, New Hampshire, small farm, vintage art, work
Recently at one of the farmers markets I sell at, a woman and a teenaged boy approached my stand, paused for a moment to whisper together, and then stepped forward. The boy was maybe seventeen, the woman in her mid-sixties. I couldn’t place their relationship. The boy spoke for them, and he was shy.
“We were just wondering,” he said, “about those peas. If they’re the edible pod kind.”
I said they were, and taking a pea from a bowl full, I held it up, called it a snap pea, and showed them how to remove the string. Then I ate it.
“Would you like to try one?” I asked.
They both shook their heads no. But then the boy immediately changed his mind and said yes. He selected a pea, removed its string, and popped the length of it into his mouth. The woman and I watched him.
“The funny thing is,” he said, “is how we were just talking about this. I said you can eat the pods, she said no you can’t.” We laughed, and I noticed the boy had a habit of rocking on his toes. Every time he said something, he would lift himself with his toes.
Another thing I noticed (I had picked up on this immediately upon seeing him) was the kid’s shirt. He was wearing an oversized, black tee shirt. And plastered in huge on the shirt from the collar down to the hem was a image (in yellow) of a menacing young man giving the world the middle finger. The finger was gigantic. It was the largest middle finger I’ve ever seen. When the boy had reached for his sample pea, that finger had been inches from me. Continue reading
If selling produce at a farmers market makes one a farmer, then today I officially become a farmer. Because today is opening day at my town’s market, and I will be there, with my new, white EZ Up, with my tables full with lettuce and D’Avignon radishes, and tucked under the tables and out of sight, my coolers, each of them filled with backup produce just waiting to take the stage.
My journey to a time when I would vend at a farmers market has been a long one. 19 years, in fact, if you start counting from the day I happened upon a farmers market in Boulder, Colorado. This happened back in 1993 when my wife and I were two weeks into an improvised, see-what-happens camping trip across the American West. Continue reading
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. –Annie Dillard
The 2012 growing season started for me earlier this week with a quick planting of 200 cabbages. Small news to be sure, the planting of cabbages, but then living the small news is what my life on Saddleback Mountain is about—a day arrives, I build a few cold frames, plow a field, parent a child, dig a trench, watch crows, plant cabbages, the day passes—and so my small-news days. Is it enough, do you suppose? If I am mindful, if I attend, if I always remember to grow where I’m planted…? Continue reading
The summer solstice happened one week ago today, and as I was in the garden early that day, and still there late, I took in a good part the performance. Somehow I always remember the solstices. I don’t drum, or paint my face blue, or in any way make a big deal of them. I simply remember—that it’s the longest day, or the shortest, that it’s the beginning of summer, or the end—and thereby acknowledge my appreciation for the order of the universe. Continue reading