Thursday, April 26, 2012
It's finally happened. One of the hundreds of groundhogs in my neighborhood has taken up residence in the garden. We had a scare once before, the first year we were here, when the snow was just melting and a little guy awoke to find that the forest he'd fallen asleep in had become a field overnight. We cornered him under a giant tank, threw a sheet over him, sent the dog after him, stepped on him, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, threw him in a cage, and he still got away. He never did come back, though. That was four years ago, nearly. This one seems pretty content. Pretty settled in. Pretty hungry.
If I were around everyday like I used to be, I would be less concerned. As I worked out there yesterday, he kept his distance, scrounging around the grassy area behind the beehives, keeping his eye on me. Every time I made a move he'd scurry back into his pile. He'd peek out like this to see if the coast was clear, then duck back down again. So he didn't get very far. Since I work away from home two days a week now, though, I am nervous. Nervous for my beautiful bibb lettuce, the succulent peas, the baby cabbage, the edible flowers. What kind of damage will he do once he feels no threat? Once I am gone? For ten hours. Oh, my.
I have a cage set up- a real one this time, a trap. I put apples in it, but I hear they really go for melons. Since he watched me put it there, I doubt that he'll be all that enticed to go in. The only other thing I can think of is adopting him as my pet. Look at him looking at me. He's so suspicious. He'll never consent to that. Maybe if I had a melon.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I just tossed the last of our garlic into a pot of soup. From now until July I'll be buying the Chilean or Californian stuff at the grocery store like the rest of you suckers. Anticipation of this fact had me planting an extra bed of garlic this fall. And why not? It's the perfect crop, in some ways: plant it in the fall, mulch it, do nothing else until it's time to pull it up midsummer, at which point you have an empty bed for planting your fall cabbage or what have you. Plus, it's the second most popular item at the stand behind honey. Unlike the honey, it is not much of a moneymaker (I charge 50 cents a head for the larger heads or 3 for a dollar if they're smaller), but people are really impressed with fresh garlic. It's like magic to them ("You grew this?"), and I think it gets them excited about cooking the various other vegetables on display. So I think it's a win. If nothing else, hundreds of garlic plants hanging from the rafters of the patio roof makes me feel like I have a totally legitimate operation going. Sometimes I'll just take a walk back and admire them hanging there. And then there's the potential for my personal supply to last until the next harvest, and that is an exciting prospect indeed.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It's been seven weeks since the start of our farm stand. With the exception of last week, which was abysmally slow, it's been going surprisingly well for a poorly advertised, back street vegetable stand. The question is, was last week a fluke, or was it a sign of things to come now that it's summertime? Kids are out of school, so less pick-up traffic (we are right around the corner from John Wister Elementary). Time will tell I guess.
The nice thing about having a stand at the garden is that I can still get some work done if nobody shows up, although I'm not sure just how dirty I'm allowed to get before patrons are turned off. A possible fine line between authentic farmer charm and dirt-and-sweat-near-food gross out. Maybe stick to tying tomatoes and other duties that don't have me on all fours in the dirt on a 95 degree day in between sales.
My mom comes up every week to help me set up and she stays for an hour or two, depending on the heat (we are opposites in that regard, I'm afraid. She she starts melting at 85, 80 with humidity). People always seem very pleased to meet her. I think it's cute for them to see the two of us there together. She's also painting us a giant, beautiful sign for the gate (imagine that, a name posted out front and everything). As soon as she finishes it I'll post a picture of it. It's going to be great.
The refrigerator repair man is here now, to take a look at our Traulsen commercial fridge that's been either freezing everything or reaching a minimum temperature of 82 degrees, depending on the day. Here's hoping we don't have to squeeze everything into that tiny little fridge for much longer.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Today someone from the PA department of Agriculture came to make sure I was growing food so he could approve me to accept WIC checks. Approved!! Starting in June (which I guess is when they start giving them out) we will be accepting WIC farmers market checks at our stand. I even get my very own stamp with my very own vendor number on it. This operation is just getting more and more legitimate (and cost prohibitive?) by the day.