The garlic is all in the ground today, at least 98% is! My goal was to have it all planted by November 1, and after a great weekend of planting, we raced back to our house in Ann Arbor late this afternoon just in time to beat (most of) the kids going door to door for Halloween! Whew! We are close to having ~14,000 cloves in the ground and still have a small amount to plant from two new varieties that my husband ordered and what we decide to plant from the 17 varieties that "auditioned" for us this past year.
We had help over the season from several friends, a class of mostly student dietitians from Madonna College in Livonia, MI, the clinical dietitians from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, the farmer hired by St. Joe's in Ann Arbor this year, two dietetic interns from The University of Michigan, and several student dietitians from Michigan State University including one who helped us on the farm each week this past summer. We LOVE our "help" and reward them all generously next year with their choice of garlic.
Here are a couple of photos to see what we have been doing!
|(Photo: Dick showing the St. Joe's dietitian's the tricks to harvesting garlic correctly, i.e., without nicking the sides or bruising the heads)|
|(Photo: Garlic out of the ground and headed off to the barn)|
|(Photo: Some of the St. Joe's Staff with a small portion of the garlic they harvested for us in July, placed on wood pallets to dry for a few days first on the barn porch before being bundled to hang and dry for 3-4 weeks in the barn loft)|
|(Photo: Madonna College dietetic students helping in September to clean seed garlic to be ready to plant - they also finished weeding the garlic planting fields)|
|(Photo: Praying Mantis on old garlic stems in the garlic field - isn't it beautiful?!)|
|(Photo: Walking Stick found on the side of our garage - I repeat myself - isn't it beautiful?!)|
|(Photo: Diana and MSU students planting garlic at the end of October)|
|(Photo: Diana at the end of planting - never a fashionista, planting on a day when the temp was in the 40's and still windy, I have those heater things in my sturdy but dirty shoes, and I'm wearing warm socks, long underwear under my work jeans, long-sleeve and short-sleeve t-shirts, turtleneck, fleece hoodie that my younger son wore almost every day for 3 years when in middle school, fleece vest - my own, wristbands, earmuffs, work gloves, and knee pads - as I said, I have never been a fashionista, but I sure love being warm!)|
|(Photo: Garlic is up! This is the first variety we planted - Blossom - back on 10/7/10. Three varieties came up two nights ago and the next one planted came up last night. No problems if these little leaves get frozen or even smashed by deer. Seeing these leaves tells us that the cloves are developing a healthy root system to grow well next year and love their well prepared fields!)|
|(Photo: Kaya always supervising what I am doing plus guarding the yellow wagon filled with garlic planting supplies. She is really slowing down but still loves to eat and loves to bark bark bark at anything she thinks I should know about!)|
I was recently interviewed for one of my favorite radio shows, Food Sleuth by Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD, a show to be aired on Thanksgiving Day that covered a wide range of topics starting with the challenges of cancer survivorship, the importance of good food for healing, ending with a discussion about gratitude, and much more in-between. Melinda's final question was asking me if there was anything she didn't ask that I wanted to share. I was surprised but quickly had an answer.
Whenever I have the time to add something to my blog, I always do so with deep gratitude, thanks for all the various blessings in my life along with gratitude for being able to share so much of my life in so many ways. One of the most meaningful things I enjoy doing is sharing a grace or blessing for our food and those who grew our food before meals and often ending my blog postings. For some reason, I had a copy of one of my favorite blessings near me when doing this radio interview, so I quickly reached for it and read it on the air. Whether reading it for the 10th time or the first, I hope you find it as inspiring and meaningful as I do, with a deep sense of gratitude for your food and your other blessings on Thanksgiving Day and every day, too.
Be a gardener, dig a ditch, toil and sweat,
And turn the earth upside down
And seed the deepness
And water the plants in time.
Continue this labor
And make sweet floods to run
And noble and abundant fruits to spring.
Take this food and drink
And carry it to God
As your true worship.
~~ Julian of Norwich, c.1371
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD