The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.
Thank you, everyone, for all of the words of support and encouragement while Jon and I went on the longest walk down the aisle in the history of weddings! Our walk across Spain was inspiring… both for Jon’s woodworking business (he took 2000+ photos of elaborate Spanish doors and windows), and for my gardening vision. It also served as a great reminder that there truly is no place like home. In any case, now we are officially, “the Basiles”, and I SWEAR I didn’t marry him just for his last name, although I can’t think of a better name for a CSA farming family ;).
Anyway, we tend to baby our animals a bit. The joke around here is that our home is old, drafty, and COLD… but our chickens are warm and toasty under heat lamps in the barn. When I want to warm up, I go out to collect the eggs. They are comfy, and still laying for us, so eggs are still available if you want them for your holiday baking. Check the egg fridge in the barn, or shoot me a text or email…
It’s great to be back! Especially as we pass the winter solstice mark, and there is a promise of more daylight to come…
Happy solstice, happy holidays, happy wintertime!
This isn’t a reference to the “Game of Thrones”, so if you clicked on this link by accident, keep on reading about our chickens. I assure you, it’s just as riveting.
I love this Indian summer we’re having, warm sunny days, cool nights… it hardly feels like winter is coming. But since it’s getting dark out around 7 instead of 10, and on some afternoons I find myself racing the light when I’m out there harvesting… and also feeling the end-of-season tiredness that sets in when my thoughts turn to, “is it really worth picking these last few tomatoes? They’re probably sick of peppers and eggplants by now, even though the plants will keep producing more until the first freeze”.
The pole beans have yellow leaves, the tomato leaves are thinning and have changed from a dark vibrant green to a tired limey color, and the squash and cucumber plants are mildewed and have all but given up. But most of all, I know that winter is coming because the chickens have all said, “NO MORE”.
Over the past week, I’ve only collected a handful of eggs compared to the 2 dozen-a-day production that has been normal all summer. Chickens don’t care if it’s still warm outside… their bodies respond to day length. Much like ours do, I learned, during my first couple of years in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not the rain and clouds that mess with our head chemistry and makes us tired, depressed and caffeine-addicted in the wintertime… it’s the lack of daylight. Something I also experienced when I lived in Alaska, but I had forgotten all about. I wasn’t farming back then. I wasn’t paying attention.
My first couple of years with chickens, I treated them much like I did myself…. with timed coop lighting and lots and lots of supplements. They laid eggs all winter long, and with no CSA to provide an outlet for our eggs, we were inundated all winter.
I used to think that so long as I can trick my brain into thinking it’s summer, I’d be happy and productive. But now I’ve come to realize that sleeping until the sun rises is better in so many ways, and it’s OK to not be as productive in the wintertime. It’s OK to rest, knit, watch movies, read books, make plans, drink tea, be quiet and calm. When spring rolls around again, I’ve got fresh energy to start another season.
I started to stress about having to be ‘ON’ all the time in the winter when my mind was in rest mode, and started thinking about the chickens in the same way. Every day in the summertime they produce this amazing thing, like clockwork, that is so full of protein and minerals. Every single day. That’s a lot of work for a chicken. They deserve a rest. We all do.
So no more supplemental lighting for our birds, and no more ‘happy light’ for me. We’ll all live longer that way! But sorry to say, there won’t be much in the way of eggs anymore for the season. You can still check the fridges, because the ducks seem to be on a different schedule (they’re young and don’t know better), I’ll keep stocking them with whatever eggs we get…
Meanwhile, some of our ladies are retiring… we have about 10 of them we’d love to re-home. They’re done producing eggs for the season, but will pick up again in the spring (maybe not an egg every day, but they’ll lay a few a week for years to come). If anyone is interested, they’re beautiful, fat and fluffy and want nothing more than to clear your winter yard of bugs and weed seeds. Contact me if you’re interested.
I keep thinking the season is coming to a close, but the long-term forecast says otherwise. Sunny days in the 80′s and nights in the 50′s stretch as far as they dare project, well into October. Last year, I often thought to myself, “thank goodness I’m not farming wine grapes this year”. But this year I’m almost wistful for what looks to be a perfect grape growing season.
Anyway, this morning I woke up thinking… 6 more weeks of CSA deliveries, and there’s still time to PLANT stuff!! We still have lots of fall crops in the ground, and surprisingly, the summer veggies are still hanging on and cranking out summer squashes, peppers, tomatoes, melons, eggplants. Soon we’ll start harvesting more of the beets, onions, leeks, leafy greens, winter squashes, cabbages… and hopefully the broccoli and cauliflower will do something interesting this month. If not, you may get a call from me in December to come and get some winter ‘extras’.
But meanwhile, the big news of the month is… Jon finally decided to get down on one knee and commit to putting up with me, my hordes of animals and a house full of drying seeds, herbs, pumpkins, random canning projects and whatever other projects I get us into… for the rest of his life, the poor guy. Our plan is to run off to Spain at the end of October to catch the last of the Camino de Santiago hiking season and get married along the way. SO, we MAY double up on your second-to-last boxes (the week of October 14) so that we have time to put the gardens to bed before we leave. These boxes will be full of winter storage crops, so should last for a long while.
The Breadboard breads and the Fairview Farms goat cheeses all freeze really well, too. If you want a few extra loaves/cheeses for the winter, let me know and we’ll get them to you in your last boxes. Also, if this winter is anything like last winter, we’ll have eggs in our egg fridge for you all winter long. Just because the CSA is over, doesn’t mean our egg supply goes away. The chickens slow down some, but they still do what they do despite the weather.
Stay tuned for emails in your inboxes regarding specifics in the next few weeks!
These beauties are called “BINGO” beans, and I harvested them just short of ‘dry’ so that you can experience this one-time-per-season phenomenon of fresh beans. These need to be popped out of their shells (get the kids on this job) before cooking. They don’t need to be soaked the way you would to rehydrate a dried bean, and their cooking time is way shorter 10-15 minutes, or until tender. You can use them in your favorite recipes the way you would a dried bean… but since they coincide so well with corn and tomato season, there are lots of recipes on line for succotash or quick shelling bean sautes with summer veggies and herbs. Chef Cheryl is leaving us for her restaurant internship in NY for the rest of the summer… but she’s left us with these words of bean wisdom:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, concasse (blanched, peeled, seeded, and chopped)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 pounds shelling beans, shelled and lightly steamed til tender/firm
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
8 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta; about 2 cups) or medium pasta shells
1 pound broccoli crowns, separated into small florets (about 5 cups)
3 tablespoons freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; continue to saute and stir another minute or so. Stir in tomatoes with juices and 1/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook orecchiette pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli florets; cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite and broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes longer. Ladle out 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain orecchiette and broccoli florets; return to pot.
Add tomato sauce and reserved pasta cooking water to pasta and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
****** I’ll add to this that Jon and my favorite way to eat these little gems is to saute them with a bit of garlic, then braised down with some chicken stock, add sliced up kale leaves until they’re cooked and top with some grated parmesan and crumbled, crispy bacon… and eat it like the Brits do. On toast. Delicious Bread Board Sourdough toast. -nadine
- 5-6 peeled and sliced apples (tart/sour variety)
- 1/2 to 1 c roasted, peeled, and seeded chiles (any variety of green), chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 c sugar (or less)
- 1/4 c brown or raw sugar
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 9″ pie crust (frozen or homemade)
- 1/2 grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp butter, diced in small pieces
- 1/3 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c flour
- pinch salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 c pine nuts (optional)