Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paw paws go mainstream!

Great and lengthy piece on NPR this morning about the joyous "secret" that is the paw paw.

They even covered the Ohio Paw Paw festival, which Leah and I had an absolute ball at earlier this month.

Hooray for widespread coverage of a local, sustainable, forage-able and delicious food source!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Please pardon our dust...

Please pardon the obvious visual inconsistencies whilst we update the blog template. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer into fall...

As the heat of summer smolders down and gives way to chills in the morning air (and sudden severe cravings for yams?), it seems that the seasons are changing again here in Ohio.

The days left in calendar year 2011 are dwindling, and here at the farm I once again find myself struggling to stand up to the massive pile of projects and expectations I've heaped upon myself for completion before hard winter sets in.

Having waved the white flag of surrender in the veg garden somewhere in our sopping wet spring, our efforts during the growing season this year instead focused on infastructure. We constructed a low stone wall around the entire house, as a permanent home for perennial herbs and small fruit bushes. Farther out from the house, we also built and installed around twenty raised beds, each approximately eight by four feet. Some of these are now filled with composting organic matter and horse manure, but a bunch still need to be filled before the end of fall. The still massive pile of said manure compost sits patiently in the adjoining field as a constant reminder that our work is not nearly done.

We planted a fair number of new trees on the property, bringing us up to around 80 distinct cultivated varieties of fruits and nuts (excluding the various wild and native species that abound here). We tripled the size of our budding little vineyard (in theory, we'll see which grapes actually come back in the spring).

We designed and have begun construction on what will eventually be a four-season, fully passive solar greenhouse (That's my father eyeballing some measurements above). While time doesn't permit us to complete all the insulation and heat sink construction that would allow us to use it year-round before winter, we are hoping to get it walled and glazed so we can at least start seeds on a much larger scale come April.

Our most aged structure at the farm, "Lena" the barn, finally gave up over Labor Day weekend and started collapsing wholesale. As her position relative to the new construction site made this process a huge safety risk, we decided to help her along and take her the rest of the way down. It was with a distinct sadness that we crudely imploded a beautifully engineered and functional structure that had admirably and humbly stood every test of time for well over a hundred years (at least). We will be salvaging as much of her wood and slate as possible, both for use here at the farm and also for sale locally to help offset the cost of greenhouse construction.

So there's manure to fork and a greenhouse to build and some 1,800 sq. feet of rubble and barn debris to sort through and store. There's my busted truck to repair myself, at least enough to get me to work a handful of times when it gets especially snowy this winter. There's a huge amount of firewood in the shed that needs chainsawing, splitting, and stacking. Thanks to some most awesome growers I met this past weekend at the Paw Paw festival, I even have some hops vines and a few fig trees for whom I need to find proper planting locations.

And that's just before winter! After the weather starts keeping us in, a whole separate crop of projects arises.

I will of course endeavor to update this more often, but as stretched thin as my time often gets, blogging can often be the first to fall to the wayside. I may try to boost both my posting on and promotion of this blog over the winter... so stay tuned for that (maybe).