Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Home, home on the farm

I am pretty sure that today was my first day to spend ALL day at our farm, from waking up in the morning to right now, about 8 pm, and I am not going anywhere tonight except to bed!

I often meet two special friends on Wednesday mornings, but they both needed to spend the time elsewhere this morning. Our Ann Arbor Wednesday Farmers' Market started today, but even that did not entice me to want to drive all the way into town. I could have been doing something (anything) at our other house to finish sorting and moving stuff out, but the hardwood floors are being sanded and stained right now so the noise and smell in the house is awful. I could have/should have done many other things, too, that would have taken me away from the farm.

Instead, I got up early, checked to see if any deer were hanging around the house, checked the bird feeders, filled up the feeders, scrubbed out the bird baths and filled them up, did my exercises to strengthen my forearm muscles to help with the healing of my sore tendon on my inner elbow (called golfer's elbow or medial epicondylitis, although I don't golf and this injury likely came from all the painting and scrubbing I did at the farmhouse over the winter).

I made a smoothie for breakfast, had a shower, actually wiped down the tub and walls, answered some email, watched the eagles on the Decorah, Iowa webcam (I confess, I am a fan and love watching the three eaglets behavior and their growth), found and cleaned our hummingbird and butterfly feeders, made some sugar water, filled them and hung them up. A male ruby-throated hummingbird was there flashing his gorgeous throat in the sunshine (yea - sunshine!!) within minutes.

I sorted some stuff in my office, sorted some of my clothes (very little is organized yet), made some necessary phone calls, and then made a real lunch for me and my husband who was home by that time wet and freezing cold because the hose broke and somehow turned on him as he was doing some outside work at our other home to finish getting the yard ready "to show" when the house goes on the market.

After lunch, I finally planted the 8 baby spruce trees that my brother and I dug up at our other house (all volunteers in our yard from a neighbor's tree). So far, they are only planted in a nursery since we really don't know where we want them permanently. I also transplanted 3 columbine plants we also dug up and brought to the farm, all volunteers and in spots that did not look 'tidy' at our house soon to be put up for sale.

Next, I went to help my husband harvest our green garlic, which is the earliest garlic of the season. Green garlic is the early green garlic shoots with the clove that was planted last fall, all dug up together, washed and cleaned up. It is rarely seen in grocery stores (maybe a well-stocked Asian grocery store), but chefs love to use it in various ways, and you will occasionally see it at a farmers' market.

The garlic taste of green garlic is very mild, and we have found that you get the most 'bang for the buck' in terms of garlicky-ness when it is simply chopped and used raw such as mixed into any type of a salad, blended into a salad dressing, sprinkled over a stir-fry or scrambled eggs, mixed into the ricotta cheese for manicotti stuffing (heated a little, but not at a high temperature of a stir-fry), as just a few examples.

If you do find it for sale at a market, don't be too surprised at the high price. By harvesting the garlic now as the 'green garlic', we are sacrificing the plant that would produce a whole bulb or head of garlic later in the summer.

After spending the afternoon with all this transplanting and harvesting, we were both whipped but very satisfied. Tonight is the start of doing daily farm clothes washing! My husband will take care of washing all the green garlic and preparing it for our local chefs. We will keep and use the really tiny stalks, at least some with dinner tonight.

Right now I'm icing my elbow while typing (the tendon is healing - my pain level is way down from when this all started several months ago). I'm also watching my bird feeders at the end of the day. My thrills are seeing:
1) Both male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds
2) Male rose-breasted grosbeak
3) My small flock of white-crowned sparrows (I will miss them when they move on north soon)
4) Male and female cardinals
5) Male and female downy woodpeckers
6) More chickadees than I can count
7) Hearing a house wren singing during the afternoon near the house I put up for them
8) My husband calling me to see the egret fly over our farm
9) I could go on and on and on :-)

It's 8:30 now and time to make supper. My husband has changed clothes (I did that earlier) and is cleaning the green garlic in our triple sink while watching hockey in the basement. Supper will be something simple like a tofu stir-fry with Swiss chard served over brown rice and sprinkled with chopped fresh green garlic, toasted Naan bread and hummus and olive oil, followed by some frozen yogurt and stewed rhubarb (we need to use up last year's canning as the rhubarb crop will be coming soon!).

We'll be in bed before 11, up before 7, and maybe even during the night too if my husband hears the coyotes again like he did last night (I slept through the whole episode).

A day on our farm. As I said, it was a very satisfying day. I cannot wait until we are here full time. I don't mind going into town to run errands, and I love going into town to meet friends, but I'm weary of splitting time between two homes and completely ready to just have one home to settle in with my mind, body, and spirit. My husband and I were recently (only somewhat) joking about the constant full-speed pace we have been on for the past two years, hoping that pace did not lead either of us to an illness or running away to the sea to be a sailor like Piglet did (or at least talked about) in one of the Winnie the Pooh books.

Staying on the farm for a day,  harvesting the green garlic, and putting up the hummingbird feeder all sound like 'doctor's orders' to me. I'm glad I listened to my own inner wisdom without needing doctor's orders to take care of myself and finally take a day to enjoy our farm.

Sigh..........of contentment. :-)

PS - I missed my dog Kaya a lot this afternoon, realizing that when outside working, I am always looking at or for her, wanting to know exactly where she is (wondering if she is lying down and squashing something) while I am weeding, harvesting, etc. So I had another 'first', my first day of working outside on the farm without her. Our plan is to start thinking about getting another dog sometime after our older son's wedding in June. I want to be able to focus on a new dog and have that dog know its home, without the intense chaos of back and forth between these two homes like we have had these last two years and especially these last several months. I should have anticipated missing Kaya in this way, but I have been too busy and too tired to do so, which made the sudden awareness all the more poignant. 

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Kateri said...

It sounds almost like a day spent in heaven! I'm taking five days off starting Friday to get my garden underway, plant some roses and trees, pull garlic mustard and hopefully clean up the property some. It will be so nice to be outside and at home for five days in a row...with my to do list, I should have taken a month off, though. :)

Hard to believe, but I've never eatten green garlic. I will have to harvest a bit and try it.

Elaine said...

Sigh...of contentment.... from me after reading this account of your day on the farm. It is bittersweet, though, as I can understand how much you miss Kaya. The timing for thinking about bringing a new companion into your lives sounds good :-).