tea time

A conversation between the farmwives…

Coree’s thinking

I know we’re all about to dig deeper into planning the season to come, if we haven’t already placed a seed order or two.  This time of year always causes me to do some nice reflection on the season behind.

However weird or wonderful the growing season was – share with us a few tidbits that really stuck with you.  Vegetable varieties, recipes, working innovations, whatever…

Here’s mine: First, I’m enjoying the heck out of purple sweet potatoes (if you haven’t noticed).  They were easy to grow, a little harder to dig, but such a freaky looking treat, I can’t help but enjoy them.

Next, in literature, I read 1491, and am now into 1493, by Charles Mann, and I can’t recommend them enough.  They have been food for thought, and good material to integrate into homeschooling history-related conversations.  I also had an Isabel Allende revival of sorts this year and it’s been such a good escape!

Finally, in the garden, we managed to mulch our onion patch the Fall before we planted.  After so many years of battling weeds in onions, never quite feeling on top of that – we had a nice patch.  Now we just have to expand and perfect our storage facilities…  there’s always room for improvement.

Cher replies…

This is the time for reflection, no doubt about it. And, yes, the time to figure out what worked, what didn’t, what we want to try more of, and what we want to bag altogether!

Some of my gardening highlights of the year were the incredible peaches and figs (and their success has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my input. ahem.). Sweet potato growing is always a highlight. Last year the “Carmen” sweet peppers rocked, all eggplant sucked, and we grew a delicious new muskmelon last season called “Hannah’s Choice”. The watermelon harvest, because of the obscure weather, was spread out over the course of many weeks, instead of having an intense surge of them all being ripe at once (which is normal). This totally challenged our skills in figuring out which melons were ripe and ready for picking, that’s for sure!!! Oh, and the ginger. The ginger was out of this world. Now, none of our gardens will ever again be complete without the addition of this awesome and easy-to-grow crop.IMG_4816

To be very honest, I’m procrastinating a bit on getting my seed order organized. The catalogs are here, I’ve done a little thumbing through, but once my brain goes there, I begin feeling the pull of the gardens. Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been so enjoying my recent stint of sewing and reading that I’m not quite ready for that to end. And I’ve got a very dusty spinning wheel and a whole fleece from my friend (thank you, Kay!) that are just staring me down. So thoughts of the garden are still far away in my mind. The books that I am so enjoying right now are the James Herriot series. I read the first of the series “All Creatures Great and Small” a year or two ago. But I have borrowed the next three in the series and am reading them now. Even if you are not a farmer or a veterinarian, the stories are so tender and captivating. When it seems fitting with the children, I will read some of the chapters aloud for the whole family to enjoy. I highly recommend these books! And now that we’ve borrowed “1491” from Robin, the seed order may get put on hold a wee bit longer. There’s still plenty of time, right?

hi dears,

reflection, hmmm. the highlight of our gardening year was found in our first crop of blueberries, planted years ago, it had started to feel like we were never going to get any significant amounts, but this year proved patience is a virtue. blueberries in abundance meant we not only were able to eat them, we could make jam, muffins, pies, freeze them for winter…that reminds me, it is winter, i can take those sweet treats out!

a new twist for us on the farm came in our pig pen. we have had pigs in the past and used a movable pen. rotating  the pigs meant the weekly task of moving their pen constructed of t-posts and hog panels. we loved this method and used our strong nosed stock to clear many an area around the farm and transition them to pastures more suitable to our other animals.  with a few years off pigs, we got back into them this past year and are now using a deep litter method. the compost we are generating is a true boon to our gardens and we are really enjoying this different twist.


now, looking ahead, one never knows what the season will bring, but now that we have thawed from a severe cold snap, i might just be ready to ponder…with excitement for another year friends,


7 thoughts on “tea time

  1. Love hearing about the similarities your lives have, but also the differences – purple sweet potatoes, ginger, blueberries, pigs – how cool! Last year we did not have a garden because I was trying to figure out how to be a new mom, but I am excited to start fresh this year. With the 6 dogs, we have to build a proper, sturdy fence if we want to have any real chance at a productive garden. The wire we have used in the past just doesn’t cut it. I am looking forward to being able to have the little babe “helping” me in the garden this year, but I am very content to be sitting inside with my blankets and books right now – not rushing the “work” that will come with spring.

  2. Love this. I am deep into garden planning also, but only the burped catalogue arrived so far. What are your favorite seed companies? Whose catalogues do you love the best? This will be the first year I’m not restricted to planting in pots. I’m doing square foot gardening and I feel like the world is my oyster!

  3. Thanks for this lovely post! It’s great to hear about successes/not-so-successes – helps get me inspired for next Spring! We’re in the middle of wood chopping over here in Fairbanks, splitting and stacking for the next summer to come. Hopefully we’ll order seeds in the next month or two – this year we finally have a place to start seeds that isn’t the house(!!) which will be wonderful for everything. Always many lists up here as well (dog yard, greenhouse, new driveway, have a baby ( 🙂 ) but I’m excited to try many more root crops this year! I’m hoping to get a good crop of carrots, beets and potatoes. And I just might have to try ginger after reading all of Cher’s love poems towards this yummy plant! 🙂 xoxo anna

  4. Pingback: Summer 2014! | Maple and Me

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