Tag Archives: gardening

Kale chips {deer version}

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So I’ve been watering very conservatively this summer, trying to save money. Instead of leaving the sprinklers to come on automatically, I’ve been manually turning them on every few days.

Well, we’ve had a nice long stretch of hot weather—and I didn’t water enough. As a result, the garden is looking rather wilty/baked—especially the kale. What’s left of it. I checked on everything today, only to find that a deer has eaten the tops off of almost every single kale! Deer version of kale chips, I guess. I don’t mind sharing. There was way too much kale growing with what I planted this year and the volunteers from last year. It was hard to keep up.

I’m pretty sure it’s a deer, because: big bites! And also, I hadn’t seen many deer this summer, but a few days ago my step-daughter found one in our front yard {where the veggies are}. My step-daughter accidentally scared her away, but obviously she came back. Makes me happy. Really.

Evening gardening; bald eagle for company

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I got some gardening in this afternoon and into the evening. The kids and I have pretty much caught up on the front herb garden and I was finally able to finish it up and spread some wildflower seeds in the large bare patches. I don’t know if they’ll get going this late, or if any of them will hold on the steep slope, but it’s worth a try.

The lavender is starting to flower. We have several large bushes: Maybe this year I’ll actually harvest some of it, leaving some for the bees, of course. Even if I don’t get to it, I love the large purple patches of gently waving flowers, and the delicately scented air.

It’s finally warmed up a bit and it was a perfectly pleasant afternoon and evening. At one point, something white caught my eye. I looked up, and a bald eagle was making her way east to west above me. She almost looked like she was flying with her mouth open and a little erratically—maybe she was carrying something I couldn’t see. We’re nowhere near the river, or I would guess a fish. I can’t imagine that there are fish in the small ponds and irrigation canals, but who knows.

I came in about 8:30 and made some fresh pesto with farmer’s market basil. Then a couple of small pizzas using our regular bread dough. They turned out OK, but I’ve got to figure out how to spread the dough thinner (crust is too thick and “doughy” for me). Since then, I’ve been hanging out with the animales and the hub (kids are at their mom’s for the weekend). Just watched episode 1 of The Newsroom on the HBO website. I don’t know why I bothered—I enjoyed it, but they probably won’t release any of the other episodes online and we don’t have cable, let alone HBO. But I had heard good things about it and I miss The West Wing, so…

Sleep, raisin bread French toast, weeding, the show = Good Sunday

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Good Sunday:

  • Slept in.
  • Made french toast from yesterday’s raisin bread.
  • Weeded most of the rest of the front herb garden (with help from the kids). It’s amazing what 15 minutes a day from each of us accomplished in a little over a week! Also, with kids that can now mow the lawn without excessive supervision, it frees me up to get other things done.
  • Spent the afternoon and evening working on Tuesday’s show.

Late nights and good CSA news

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Good news: My favorite farm stand at the farmer’s market has a CSA share available for me this year! And they don’t raise animals to sell for food (although, unfortunately, they do raise a few animals for food on their own farm, for their “family and crew.”) And they take the share in two payments—now and in August, which allows me to get a full-sized share instead of splitting one with a friend. Believe me, with 5 vegans in the house, we’ll eat all of it. I really need to start a compost this summer too, for the small scraps or accidental waste, which I can then use on my own raised beds. {I read about an interesting method yesterday, of layering veggie scraps and straw right on the beds, skipping the compost step. That would be interesting to try. Now, where can I buy cheap straw? It’s supposed to keep the weeds down at any rate.}

So pros: certified organic, great variety, good deal, great payment options, no animals sold for food and thus no meat CSAs constantly being advertised. Cons: shipped over from valley so less local, they still raise animals for food (if only for themselves).

Next year, I’ll try to start researching my options earlier and may be able to go with the super-local, non-animal-raising farm.

Now, I’m off to bed already. I was up in the middle of the night last night with a sick kid, but got to sleep in, so my sleep schedule is wacked. And earlier in the day I optimistically agreed to a 7 a.m. dentist appointment for my step-son, thinking it was great that he could get his chipped tooth looked at before school, and before he leaves on his school trip Wednesday. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously. 7 a.m.

So, we visited the farm today

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So, we visited the farm today, which is about 10 minutes east of our house by car. Very nice guy in his early twenties, running a permaculture farm on his own. Not interested in becoming certified organic. Doesn’t use pesticides, uses compost made with manure from the local horse rescue (we discussed how this could contain antibiotic residues, etc.). He’s slowly building up the farm—last year he sold some through a “locavore” group, this is the first year selling some at the farmer’s market and also for CSAs. Very willing to work with me on payments instead of one lump sum.

The only bummer is that he’s raising several types of animals for meat—chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, etc., and he’s very much bought into the entire “circle of life” rationalization. I realize that probably most of the fruits and vegetables I already buy are in some way tied to animal agriculture, even if it’s just the fertilizer that’s used. I’m not sure about the larger farm organic veggies, but if I look very far, I’m sure to find a connection. One positive would be that since he does everything by hand, there is going to be minimal equipment incidentally killing field animals.

So, do I go with this CSA in spite of the draw-backs? Or go with the certified organic one from last year that was pushing the larger meat animals? Or just buy organic produce from the farmer’s market this summer, from places that probably do the same thing? If I get tied in with a super local farm, could I go there regularly and learn some tips to then modify for my own garden? Would it be an opportunity to open up a discussion, plant seeds of a different kind?

I sure wish I could find a farm in my region with a CSA based on veganic gardening practices though. Some people were raised to believe that it’s impossible: Clearly it’s not.

Also called stock-free farming, vegan-organics is a system which avoids all artificial chemical products (synthetic fertiliser, pesticides, growth regulators), genetically modified organisms, animal manures and slaughterhouse by-products (blood, fish meal, bone meal, etc).

veganiculture.blogspot.com

I’ve got to learn to grow more of our own food. And to can and preserve. I did a pretty good job growing two summers ago, and hey, at least we’ll have a lot of kale this year.