Monday, November 3, 2008
Thoughts on this year's harvest and what the future holds
I just finished up my final week of garden work and preserving food for the winter. I planted my fall crops such as 68 cloves of garlic, about 25 Egyptian onions and I worked about 15 lbs. of llama manure and A LOT of compost into my garden beds. I also insulated my new fig tree and piled my leeks up with leaves to insulate them for the fall and early winter, I have about 40 so that should get me through until spring, or close. I finished shelling all of my garbanzo beans and I should have enough for two batches of hummus. I canned the last of my tomatoes and I got 4 pints of stewed tomatoes, so that bring my tomato total up to 25 pints and 6 quarts of whole tomatoes and 6 quarts and 4 pints of stewed tomatoes. I am hoping that is enough since we use an average of 3 pints a week. I also am thinking about grabbing some more down at the market this Saturday if there are any left and doing another big batch of stewed tomatoes.
We have almost 50 lbs. of pumpkins, I think for the first year that is not bad. I have acquiring recipes for the use of pumpkin, because I hate pumpkin pie and besides it is just too boring. Along with a friend we are trying to figure out an amazing madras curry pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and I think we have it close, I am trying out the recipe today with a couple of adaptations to see how it goes. I also was told by the same amazing womyn about pumpkin kibee so I am trying to find a recipe for that and I found a recipe for a pumpkin cinnamon pasta sauce. I wish I had an ice cream maker because I love pumpkin ice cream, but I guess I will just have to settle for the pumpkin spice gelato at Whole Foods-which is beyond amazing! I am realizing there are many uses for these beautiful fruits. I also started the process of cooking down some of the pumpkins and pureeing it to freeze for use this winter in breads, cookies and whatever else I may experiment with.
As far as my garlic goes, well...I thought about planting more since I use about 3 heads a week and I am already out of hardneck from this last year. But if I were to do that, it would take up a lot more room and I haven't thought that much about what I will be planting for next year so I guess 68 will have to do and fingers crossed that I don't loose any. This last year I harvested 36 heads of hardneck and 14 softneck and I had planted about 40 of each; my softneck didn't do so well this year, I think I didn't fertilize it enough, who knows!
Anyway, I am happy and sad the season has come to a close. I still have to dig out some of my herbs and bring in for winter use, pull the last of my beets and carrots and then I will officially be done. I am happy because now it is time to do projects inside the house and read. I love to sit with something warm to drink and curl up with a good book and there are many on my shelves that are beckoning me. As far as the house goes, there is always something that needs to be done. I will try to get some painting done these next few weeks before it gets too cold-although I think the cold is already here to stay. All of this is almost as exciting, although I will miss plunging my hands into the earth and talking to all of those worms and micro-organisms that help me out.
I was asked recently why I spend so much time and energy on such garden tasks when they "seem" more work than what they are worth. I stood in amazement ( I am sure I had a dropped jaw) and didn't even know where to start. It was during pick-up last week at my daughter's school and I didn't have time to go into my whole philosophy about food, politics, health care, the environment and poverty...because they are all interconnected. So all I could do was say that I was sad to hear so many people have lost their connection with the earth and that there are numerous reasons to know where your food is coming from; if for no other reason health being the primary. I then decided as I drove home that I would send this womyn an email with a link to the brilliant article, "Farmer in Chief" in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago by the well-respected Michael Pollan. I am hoping that she reads this and gets a tiny peek into what is going on with agriculture and farming right now and not just discounts it as biased liberal media given to her by a vegetarian, environmentalist liberal (which is what I am almost positive that she sees me as).
Even if you may think that this is not an important issue I added the link to the article so that you have the opportunity to understand how the food policy needs to be a priority to everyone including our next president, whomever he may be. And also to educate on why our food system in this country needs attention. This article might just help some people understand why so many like myself have made a commitment to producing as much of their own food as they can and what they can't produce they take control over where it comes from.
So as this election comes to a close we will soon have a new President and even though I am hoping for Obama I am also praying that either way, Obama or McCain, that this new President will take on this issue, because we can't afford to continue using insecticides and pesticides, planting GMO crops and eating heavily processed foods; we need change. We need a sustainable future for our country and our mother earth.