Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still at it...just more slowly

We had thought that September would see us winding slowly down as the weather got cooler and days got shorter...What foolishness! For the last few weeks we've been enjoying the summer we never had, basking in the warmth and thankfully continually picking flowers and filling the cool room. So you get the picture, you know the routine by now...pick amazing flowers, put together stunning bunches, cart it all off to market in the mystery machine, return exhausted...start all over again.
But the end of summer has brought on a certain rebellion amongst the ranks (me, Jamie, Eddie, Bertie, ducklings and chicks). Having worked so steadily in the fields since they were first workable and with the end so nearly in our sights, our va-va-voom is waning. When we wake up to clouds we're even tempted to lie in, when we see the sun, we head to the beach, trying to grasp the summer that we never fully enjoyed.
The September winds have picked up so windsurfing for Jamie has been awesome and sailing for me has been the best yet. I even persuaded Jamie out on the boat and with him at the helm we made 9 knots. woohoo! Plus we have been out on the water playing in a friend's laser. We've even been to a few parties and are taking full enjoyment of our camper van. (at least we were until it broke on Saturday).
One of the ducklings keeps disappearing and then mysteriously reappearing, Eddie even found one that had been chased under the barn by a playful Bertie who we think was trying to round up her herd.
Despite the blight which ruined half of our tomatoes we are enjoying the pimientos de padron, new potatoes, carrots, tomatillos and it wouldn't be a proper harvest without a glut of summer squashes of all shapes and sizes.
So, it's not all farming and flowers thesedays...we're having lots of fun!
Since I wrote the first part of this we have survived a frost which has seen the end to many squashes, zinnias and all that lovely basil. However in the autumn sun it all still looks wonderful. Enjoy the pics.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carrots in the laundry basket

There is a certain pressure that descends upon the producer at this time of year when nature's growing magic is in its prime. As if it wasn't enough simply slogging ones guts out since the spring to produce mountains of fresh lovely stuff, the real challenge seems to lie in harvesting in time, trucking it all off somewhere and convincing customers to buy it. It's immensely disheartening wittering away a good 24 hours of finest floral design (ie. bunching of flowers in the barn) only to have it return to the farm post-market withering and accompanied by an even worser-for-wear farmer. Don't get me wrong, our flowers are adored, we are simply blessed with so blooming many of them.

We are now brave enough to venture at 4am to the city of Halifax as well as our local village market. (Well Jamie is anyway).The cool room needs to be about 4 times the size and despite selling a good majority of our flowers, by Monday it seems to be full once again. The gladioli are simply stunning, though due to no fault of our own, instead of planting 500 white stems we have produced 500 hot reds! Not quite what we were planning for the wedding season. Sunflowers are beaming their sunny faces everywhere and the dahlias continue to flounce around the garden. Sweet peas are the hot favourite amongst a certain crowd. Statice continues to be one of my personal favourites, closely followed by Nigella and Asters and think Jamie's is safflower but we are both overwhelmed by the celosia. What am I talking about? Just trying to impress with my floral vocabulary, the fact of the matter is, I really don't leave the farm thesedays.

As if we haven't taken on enough by growing an uncountable number of flowers, we also have heritage tomatoes, beans, courgettes, salad greens, garlic and now carrots to add to the fun of it all. I even discovered artichoke cunningly defying the weeds in our strawberry patch. Running out of places to put all our harvest every available receptacle from the barn to the kitchen is used. I appreciate that I am getting off rather lightly with carrots in my laundry basket.
Fortunately the hurricane went the other way and by some stroke of luck the crazy high winds didn't have any adverse affect on even our tallest of stems.

After having a rather full house with guests from Germany, Quebec and BC, it's just Jamie and myself at the farm now since all the volunteers have moved on to gain experience elsewhere. It's a quiet relief to have the place to ourselves again, good job we have a quarrelling pair of dogs to keep us company and nip us every now and then lest we were actually taking a moment to relax.