Monday, December 12, 2011

December Farm Days

Just a few photos of our day today. It was surprisingly warm (in the 30's, sunny, and no wind = warm in Michigan during December!), which made heading outside to finally finish up our garlic for its winter nap both inviting and pleasant.

(Photo: Our rows and rows of green garlic, finally all mulched. This year we planted them in our family garden space to make more room for garlic heads in our fields. Green garlic is harvested at the end of April or early May so will leave space for putting in our own tomatoes, basil, corn, peppers, etc, after we sell it. We have misplaced our machete, essential for whacking down the corn stalks, so that will get done later this winter after the eventual organization of the barn and garage sometime after the holiday season.)

(Photo: Our lower garlic fields - the right half was planted for 2011, the left half that is mulched is planted for 2012. This part of our 2012 crop was planted in October before all the rains and floods so these early planted cloves had time to put down a good root structure while also growing many green leaves that are taller than the mulch. We'll finally get the swing put away when our two strong boys come home over the holidays, although I have to admit that I have sat in it more during the Fall months - maybe 2-3 times - than I ever did during the summer, which was close to never! I love the view of the curved gravel road coming to our farm.)

(Photo: 'Welcome Friends' - the greeting at the entrance to our farm - we mean it!)
(Photo: Our upper garlic field, finally all planted and mulched. We didn't finish until sometime in December, I know it was finally after Thanksgiving. Rain, rain, mud, mud, snow, rain, rain, mud, ice, floods, I think we are close to a record rainfall in our area. We have no idea how our crop will be affected by this difficult Fall for planting. Only the earliest planted in this entire field had enough time to develop roots and green shoots. We are hoping all of them are not water-logged at this point and will survive the winter nap.)
(Photo: I know it is hard to see, but the paths are still flooded in many spots, now frozen. Finishing the planting and mulching was difficult, cold work, and even treacherous. The paths were so muddy that hauling wet straw from one end of the rows to the other was heavy, slippery, and 'mucky' work. Next year we'll have all the straw put into the barn and bring it out only on the day(s) when we are actually mulching, which sounds like more work than just putting the bales at the end of the rows when delivered, but I am here to tell you that moving wet, even frozen straw, is even more work and also potentially risky in terms of falling, straining muscles, etc. We are ALL about injury prevention on our farm as we need to show up for work every single day, and there is no time for inaction!)
(Photo: Pine cone suet feeder that I made yesterday. I finally took a day to make our own suet feeders for the winter, which involved finding the grinder attachment for my food processor, figuring out how to use it again without the lost owner's manual, sweeping up - again and again - all the bird seed that is still all over the kitchen, melting and straining the suet, dipping, spooning, dipping, smearing - a cake decorator I am not! I now have several of these hanging all over the place so I can glance out of nearly every window and see one or more of them.)
(Photo: Bows, bows, bows, lights, lights, lights - harder to see - we still need some of each on the barn.)
(Photo: Finally, after years of being mostly packed away, our full Christmas village is found, brought out, and has a new home under our church pew in the dining room instead of on our window seats or under the Christmas tree where it was set up in our old home. It is fun to find new places for decorations, decide which ones are worth hauling out, which ones may head off to the thrift shops, etc, etc. Hmm, this now reminds me that we have not yet found a few other things, like our few pieces of that cute Cat's Meow Christmas Village.)
(Photo: It's hard to choose a favorite part of our village, but here is the barn and farm house in a special place of honor. No we don't have an old barn or an old house, or all the animals - yet, but we feel like we do, and we do have the deer. In fact just an hour ago, we had a group of 8 or 9 deer strolling within feet of the house. I took photos but had already downloaded these, and those deer photos were taken through windows with screens at dusk into the light so they won't be great. Yesterday morning I saw the two yearlings with the younger fawn born on the farm this year right outside of our bedroom. I didn't see momma. I am hoping that she was just hanging out with all her girlfriends, knowing these younger ones are taking care of each other. I'll bet the huge group we saw tonight was the entire baby-sitting co-op, all the neighborhood moms and their kids, on a field trip to the Dyer's bird feeders!)
(Photo: Red Lentil Soup, this very flexible 'stand-by' recipe today is far simpler than the linked recipe, with red lentils cooked in homemade vegetable stock in the crockpot first, then adding 1 quart of our canned tomatoes, chopped kale, curry, and even a tiny tiny bit of chopped fresh cilantro from our CSA Green Things Farm. Dick is making Glazed Rutabagas tonight, testing to see how they'll turn out after being well-frozen in the garden - oops, darn! Where are those 13 children - or interns would do, too! - when we need them - "Your job today ________ (fill in the blank with any name you want to choose!) is to go harvest and bring in the rutabagas from the garden. Thank you! We love you!)

Oh a last piece of fun news. We offered an activity in a local silent auction to support Growing Hope for making garlic brittle with us on the farm, in our kitchen. We haven't heard who the lucky winner is yet, but it was a BIG donation - thank you, thank you!!! We love Growing Hope, love supporting them, and appreciate the donation to them. We have made garlic brittle before (it was inspired by the garlic tasting we did at The Ugly Mug in Ypsilanti sometime this past fall), and as unusual as it sounds, it tastes quite good, even great! It will be fun to meet the people who were the high bidders for our donation and it will also be fun to make quite a mess in our kitchen. The large (and still very green) kitchen in this house is one of the reasons we took the plunge to buy this "unending project". We want to share our farm, our house, our kitchen, so bring on the mess and the fun!

Now, there is still time for a little more holiday decorating before we get supper ready. :-)

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

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Alice Henneman said...

Your photos are beutful -- take me to another time/place!

Diana Dyer said...

Alice - don't wait for another time or place. Come visit me now! :-)

Susanna said...

As I opened and read this this morning, Andy asked, "So, what's new with the Dyers?" and I mentioned your unearthing of the Christmas village. He thought for a moment (he hadn't looked at the pictures with me), and said he remembered it. In a few days we'll be off to Beverly Hills(!) and will no doubt set up some new Christmas traditions and memories! Best to you and your family!

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Susanna,
Have a great time developing new Christmas traditions in California, like being warm in December! When you get back to Ann Arbor at some point, make sure to leave enough time to stop out at our farm. :-) Diana

Elaine said...

Hello, Diana. Such a warm, beautiful post.

I feel like I've been at your home -- not just virtually but physically in-the-moment: walking gingerly through the fields (so sorry that fall planting was so difficult and dangerous), admiring the suet feeders and listening to the songbirds, and then coming indoors to sample some soup ;-) and examine every precious building, creature & human figure in your Christmas village. Oh, and did some deer just pass by the dining room window?

Oh, lovely, lovely Christmas on the Dyer farm.

Anonymous said...

You have a beautiful farm! I will try the lentil soup.