Saturday, June 25, 2011

Life through a bug net

The growing season becomes even more challenging as we endure yet more rain and even a few frost warnings, in what seems to be turning into the coolest June ever in Nova Scotia! One creature thriving on the cool, wet atmosphere is the biting kind and despite our bug nets the black flies and occasional mossies persist and succeed in decorating us with truly bloody bites. Between us we look like we have had a serious attack of the measles. Feeling unsightly I have been donning a scarf in public.
I've started my escape-the-farmwork-plan and have begun a summer job for a day or so a week at the local pottery. Since butter-fingers managed to break something on my second day, I'm not convinced it's the most suited career move. Part 2 of my escape-the-farm work plan is to help sail a schooner that sits in the local marina, so fingers crossed the wind behaves itself.

Our German Wwoofing volunteer has not only been a great help in the fields keeping pace with Farmer Jamie and playful Eddie but has been a hit with the neighbours who much to her embarrassment (and our delight) presented her with an enormous lobster which we took every delight in devouring.
 As a result of one rather rainy afternoon we now have a pile of signs for the field and one for the market stall thanks to a creative Wwoofer and Jamie's wood burning tool. All we need now is for things to grow so we can identify them since Jamie's illegible note taking has left us pretty clueless as to what might be growing in most areas.

Finally this past week we succeeded in transplanting goodness knows how many hundreds of flowers, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, peppers and tomatoes. So when the sun decides to shine for longer than a day at a time, things can really kick off. Many of our fruit trees and perennials are doing well especially all the herbs. I have now taken my food safety course so will be concocting various relishes, jellies, syrups, breads and teas to sell. Wild roses are in full bloom and their scent is so delightful that overcome with excitement I made some Rose Petal Jam. The colour is incredible but the taste is like a mouthful of perfume so I haven't noticed everyone rushing to eat it! It's an acquired taste I believe.  We're coming up to Canada Day and the last week of lobster season so no doubt we'll make the most of that, plus Jamie is visiting some puppies tomorrow so there could be a new addition to the farm very soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lupin time, oh and rhubarb of course

Well, the grass is growing, the weeds are shooting up and there are faint signs that some of our seeds might be germinating so something is happening, just rather slowly. We have peace in the yard, however, since we gratefully gave away our beautiful, golden, noisy, fearsome rooster who was prone to attacking and crowing at every hour. Admittedly our remaining rooster is not so big or handsome but he's definitely on the gentler and quieter side so it makes for a less stressful farmyard. Annabelle, our lady duck has started making cute bird like chirping noises and is sitting on a nestful of eggs so with any luck in a month or so (when we have totally forgotten about it) fluffy ducklings will join us on the farm (let's hope Mr Fox isn't reading this). This week we've been to 2 markets with the rest of our allium harvest, together with wild iris, scented phlox, columbine, honeysuckle, forget-me-nots and lupins which seem to be everyone's favourite. The predominate colour is definitely purple!
We've been joined by Katharina from Germany who will be giving us a hand with things, though it's pouring down with rain right now so noone is very keen to get outside. I've been busy cooking up brown sauce with as much rhubarb as I can get my hands on, hopefully the 12 bottles I ended up filling will see us through until next rhubarb season.
evening harvest

early morning market prep

Lots of very brown (rhubarb) sauce

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sea food extravaganza topped with fresh herbs!

Boy oh boy, too much of a good thing - yes for us and our land, we are maxing out on treasures from the sea.
In an attempt to rid me of my all too expensive lobster craze, Jamie ordered a dump truck of rotting shells for the "good of the soil". So on a balmy summer evening last week the truck arrived, dumped its load and then got stuck in the squidgey field. (oops!!!) Jamie has since courageously and single handedly proceded to spread the load over all of our cultivated fields. His work clothes now live out on the deck in an attempt to rid us of the lingering smell. It smells very much like the seaside when we go about our work in the fields especially since we have also spread kelp and eel grass on the beds, and we now have to watch our fingers when planting and weeding, since those spiney little buggers manage to spear us even from the dead.
We had a fabulous harvest of alliums (purple sensation) and following a forage for wild ferns and grasses as filler, several bouquets later I ventured out with our wares to the farmers market. All of our herbs are looking (and tasting) brilliant so they were also very popular.
Fulfilling yet another life-long dream, Jamie set out on Sunday with the help of some local lads to forage for wild seafood and I must admit his harvest was most impressive consisting of razor clams, oysters and a new to us discovery of Quahog (kwahog - think big clam, I mean BIG - see pics). Albeit charged with beer and suffering from the cold, he was grinning from ear to ear when he returned home with his wild harvest and I can understand his irritation at wanting to buy seafood when if you have time, enthusiasm and a penchant for lingering in shallow water, you can reap a wild harvest for free. Check out the pics...

Lobster arrving

Spreading the rotten stuff

Preparing alliums for market

Meet the Quahog

Yummy razor clams


ready to eat