A year ago this spring, we planted a new strawberry patch. The new patch got fairly weedy last summer, and when winter rolled around the deer hammered those plants repeatedly until there was scarcely anything left. This spring when the remaining plants began to re-grow, the patch was so scant that turning them under was the best option. We didn’t have any fresh strawberries to eat this spring, which was a painful thing! But we never got around to planting more strawberries this spring in preparation for next year’s fruit. So it goes.

But the thought of NOT having strawberries again next year has been lingering in our minds. We recalled, however, that the nearby Amish community plants strawberries each fall, covers them with row cover through the winter, uncovers them when they begin to flower in the spring, harvests a boat load of berries, and then turns the crop under… treating the strawberries as an annual crop instead of a perennial. So we did a little research and found a variety, “Chandler”, that fit the bill. But when I went to the community to pick up our weekly milk, my milk lady had a bunch of flats of strawberries in her front yard (the same variety we researched) awaiting planting. I asked about them and she told me that another neighbor had ordered a bunch for the whole community and was pretty sure there were extras. Indeed!IMGP2049IMGP2047So, in the spur of the moment, I picked up three flats hoping that Eric would agree with my decision and not think me too crazy for adding one more project to our already too long list. Lo and behold, he was very pleased and got right on preparing a couple of garden beds. The next morning, we spread compost and got those berries in the ground! It’s always fun to try something new, especially if it means we will have strawberries next spring after all!

plum tuckered

IMGP0715The rain is starting to fall right now. Last week when I mentioned how our potato planting was laid back and we were not in a wild rush to finish before a storm or something… well, that was definitely not the case with our onion planting this morning. Wild rush. Frantic high-speed-all-hands-on-deck sort of planting time. Something like 4000 onions by 9:30 am, and after milking the cow and moving the livestock and breakfast. These intense times serve their purpose just the same, I suppose, balancing out the calm times. Gets the heart pumping. IMGP0717So, yes, we planted onions this morning. Our friendly UPS man delivered them last evening, after an already long day in the garden, while we were up on the hill doing our evening chores. By that time we were already spent and looking forward to a good nights rest. But looking at the weather forecast, we knew the morning hours of work-time in the garden were limited. We knew we would have to bust ass if we wanted them in the ground before rain.IMGP0721During the night last night, about 1:30 am, Olivia started screaming for me because she could hear a wasp buzzing in her room. She was afraid of being stung while she slept and wanted to come into my room for the rest of the night. So she did and fell back asleep and slept soundly. For Eric and I, however, that pretty much ended our peaceful slumber. Between the brightness of the moon and the looming thoughts of coming rain, neither of us could sleep worth a hoot. I did manage to fall back asleep, although fitfully, but Eric’s wheels started turning and he designed a row marker for the onion planting while he laid in bed, unable to sleep. He was up at the garden, just as it was getting light, constructing his vision/version of a rolling row marker. “Wouldn’t want to be just laying in bed wasting time, right?” said Eric this morning as he tested his new tool. (Which worked expertly, I might add.)IMGP0720All three children were very eager to lend a hand with the morning’s planting, and if not for their involvement I’m pretty sure we would not have finished. Too bad I couldn’t pause even for a second to get a good picture of the Smith family work crew (plus Jesse, but he’s like family, too) in action. We worked like a well-oiled machine and left the garden feeling satisfied and ready for breakfast number two. IMGP0726

Now, with the rain falling I’m ready to put my feet up for awhile and work on the cool hat that I’m making. Maybe even steal a little cat-nap if the stars align just right. I’m plum tuckered out. I wonder if the little pepper and eggplant seedlings wouldn’t mind waiting just a few hours before being potted up…

garlic lullaby

IMG_8299Today was all about garlic. As soon as morning chores were wrapped up and our bellies were full of a hearty breakfast, we headed to the garlic patch. There is supposedly rain headed this way, so our window of dry planting time is about to slam shut. Typically, once the November rains set in and the cooler temperatures are upon us, the soil conditions might not be dry again until next March or so. And a year without garlic would be unfathomable. Not only would it suck to not have garlic for our culinary and medicinal uses, we would also lose all of those years (and years!) of selecting and saving our own seed. IMG_8295IMG_8294IMG_8296IMG_8288So today, we planted and planted and planted. My thumbs are incredibly tender from popping the bulbs apart, my knees ache from crawling around on the rocky soil, and my shoulders… well. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the day was good and hard and honest and grubby. And the garlic is in the ground. And I’m ready for bed.

You’ll never guess the sweet music I hear right now… rain falling on the tin roof. The best bedtime lullaby I could ask for…IMG_8286