• Tag Archives harvest
  • The Final Harvest

    Fall                                                Waxing Autumn Moon

    Going out today to collect the rest of the rest of the harvest.  A few potato plants I missed the first time around remain.  Leeks, those Musselberg Giants.  Some carrots, some chard.  Beans.  Rain has appeared in the forecast for the first time in weeks.  A good thing, but it reduces the clear days for harvesting and mulching.

    When I get those leeks inside, chicken and leek pot pies come next.  I’ll use carrots and maybe a potato or two.

    Still no news from Saudi Arabia.  The weather has cooled down in Riyadh, only 93 today.

    Been pushing to finish the fourth book of Game of Thrones, but will have to give up on ending it before the cruise.  Too many words, not enough hours.  I’ll have to finish it in a deck chair. Darn.

  • The Visa Quest Nearly Finished

    Lughnasa                                       Waning Harvest Moon

    Today we moved from conjecture to certainty.  The top person at English Gate Academy, Ahmed, e-mailed Mark and said he would write a personal note to the Saudi Embassy asking them to speed Mark’s visa application along.

    His papers cleared the Saudi Cultural Mission today and are at the Embassy so it should be a matter of days now before he has his passport back with his Saudi work visa in place.  At that point English Gate will send him an e-ticket.  He’ll pack and I’ll take him out the same airport where I picked him up in April, just as spring began to try breaking through the long and persistent grip of our long winter.

    It’s been a long and not always straightforward journey for Mark, but he’s got his head and heart in better alignment plus he pulled off the difficult in this US economy; he found a good paying job, better pay than he’s ever made.

    We spent the morning harvesting wild grapes, talking through the vine.  With the freeze tonight we had to get the sensitive crops inside.  Kate picked the tomatoes that will ripen over the next few weeks and a small bucket of raspberries while Mark and I picked a rose cone full of the small purple grapes.

    That means Kate the jelly and jam maker will appear, working with her alchemical apparatus to strain the grapes, add the sugar and pectin and can the result.  Wild grape jelly has a special and tangy taste.  Great for those cold winter breakfasts.

  • For Me and My Gal

    Lughnasa                                                    Full Harvest Moon

    Hay wagons filled with laughing teenagers.  Plants beginning to go brown in the garden.  Root cellars and pantries filling up from a growing season almost over.  Thoughts of how to handle snow removal begin to occur.  The first few leaves begin to turn, russet and gold tips on some maple trees.  Evening cool downs and chilly nights.

    All under a harvest moon.  The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, sometimes landing in September (usually), but occasionally in October.  Those who have any rural roots at all here in the Midwest know the scenes of hay baling, corn pickers mowing down corn stalks with their military grade blades, golden streams of corn flowing into the grain truck following nearby.

    Bulky combines in the wheat, moving castles of iron and computers guided by the cyber harvesters mounted in air conditioned cabs far above the fields.

    Farm implements move now from field to field, 20 mph obstacles on the back roads and highways, one set of tires, the right side, often on the shoulder, as these field creatures crawl along pavement, out stripped by cars and trucks whizzing by, creatures of the highway.

    All hale the gods and goddesses of the harvest, of reaping, of bounty.  This is the American advantage.  We have food, acre after acre of food.

    Yes, this September issue of Scientific American praises cities as efficient, creative, green.  Cities are the future hope.  Even the present hope.

    But let me tell you this.  No farms.  No cities.  Rural counties may be depopulating, and they are, but the need for the products of the country only increases as the greener, efficient, creative cities thrive.  It will always be so on this earth.

    So this harvest season maybe we should all put a temporary bumper sticker on our car:  Hug a farmer.

  • Bee Diary: July 18 2011

    Mid-Summer                                                                   Waning Honey Flow Moon

    The six new honey supers did not prove necessary since I’m still two supers ahead of each colony, but it does look like colonies 2 & 3 have already stored a lot of honey, especially in the two supers that went on in place of  the third hive box.  In colony 1, the colony I will overwinter, they seem to still be at work filling up that third hive box which will constitute their honey supply for the winter.  In 2 & 3 we will harvest the honey from the two super equivalents to that third full hive box.

    Looked at the garlic, which I’ve been harvesting as its leaves brown.  When two leaves are brown, I pull them and I have about half the crop out now. It looks like the best garlic crop I’ve ever had.  Nice fat heads.  I’ll save a couple to plant next year, continuing this garlic’s acclimatization to our soil and weather.

    We’re harvesting more frequently overall this year, getting beans, peas and lettuce before they over grow.  This part of the July is the hump part of the growing season.  From this point forward it’s either harvesting or making sure plants stay healthy until they are ready to harvest.  The bees are in mid-honey flow, storing and working like, well, like bees.

    Artemis gardens and hives is having a good year.

  • Harvest

    Fall                                      New (Harvest) Moon

    Second round of apiguard in the parent and the divide.  The top box on the package colony has gotten heavier, but I plan to feed them some more as I will do to the parent once the apiguard comes off in two weeks.  Sometime in early November I’ll get out the cardboard wraps and cover the hives for winter.  That will pretty much finish bee work for the year until late February or early March.  I’ve given away honey and plan to give away more.  Part of the fun.

    A quick walk through the vegetable garden shows kale and swiss chard looking good, a few rogue onions that escaped the harvest, plenty of carrots, beets and butternut squash.  The harvest is 2010-10-04_0351not yet over and will go on until the ground threatens to become hard.

    While I drove through the countryside on my way back to Lafayette on Monday, I passed field after field of corn and beans, some harvested, some not, about half and half.  Seeing those scenes put me right back at home, especially the corn fields.  Here’s a field near Peru, Indiana with the combine spilling corn into a tractor trailer for transport either to a corn bin, grain dryer or even straight to the grain elevators, all depending on the price and moisture content of the corn.

    Indiana is no longer home, Minnesota is, but Indiana has a large section of my heart, the chamber of childhood and early young adulthood, a room full of corn fields, basketball, small towns, a baby sister and brother, county fairs and James Whitcomb Riley poems.  I was glad to be there the last few days and to walk again in the part of my heart filled there so long ago.

    We move now toward Samhain, Summer’s End.  Blessed be.

  • A Time of Burnt Sacrifice

    85  bar steep fall 29.89  0mph WNW dew-point 68  Summer, warm and sunny

    Waxing Gibbous Thunder Moon

    We long ago passed the midpoint of summer, June 21, and have begun the fattening, browning, bursting journey to the harvest season.  It begins in earnest as July ends, but some early givers have offered themselves already:  lettuce, beans, beets, carrots, onions and garlic.  We all, at least all of us up north of 45 degrees latitude, await squash, cucumbers, corn, watermelon and the full seasonal abundance of beans and peas and tomatoes.

    Even the angle of the sun reached its apogee at the Summer Solstice and has begun steadily declining since then, shortening the day and lengthening the night.  The deepening shadows of afternoon tell the tale, too, as does the now far gone blooming of the daffodils, tulips and scylla.

    This partly benighted soul finds a comfort in the change, preferring the winter to the summer solstice, the sweet melancholy of fall to the bursting forth of spring.  When the wind direction swings to the north, and the winds begin to howl, then the weather begins to stir the deep reaches.  The inner cathedral gains in holiness as the need for candles increases.  Walking those corridors, those ancient trails of the interior journey, demand a commensurate gloom, or, at least, welcome it.

    Until then, Persephone above ground keeps us focused on food and external pleasures.  We soak in the sun,  till the earth, travel the highways and airways.  This is, too, a time of burnt sacrifice, smoked hecatombs appearing on decks and patios across the land.

  • Tending to Plants and Animals, So They Will Tend to Us.

    79  bar rises 29.79  0mph WNW dew-point 64   Sunny and warm

    Waxing Gibbous Thunder Moon

    Finished The Thief of Baghdad last night.  This movie, a 1940’s special effects pioneer, has its roots, loosely, in the Arabian Nights.  Just occurred to me that the same title might be used for a documentary on the Bush years in Iraq.  It is an engaging story,  though the actor playing Ahmed, a co-star with Sabu, who plays the thief,  Abu, didn’t seem heroic enough to me.  My favorite character was the Sultan of Basra (this movie has many contemporary reference points), who has a Wizard of Oz like persona.  He loves mechanical toys.

    I bought the Criterion Collection discs.  This is all in my hit and miss attempt to educate myself as a cineaphile.  I have a small library of books on cinema.  It has books on theory, history, technique and genre, but I’ve done little with them as a group.  The most I do now is watch the occasional old movie, like the Thief of Baghdad.  My 60th birthday present was 50 films chosen by the Janus Corporation as the most influential art films distributed by them in the last century.  I’ve watched 4 or 5.   I have to figure out a routine for watching more movies and I find that difficult because it interferes with my TV jones.  Problems, problems, problems.

    Don’t know about you, but some residual collective memory got triggered by the photograph of folks lined up outside the IndyMac bank to withdraw their savings.  A bank run signals danger to this child of depression era parents, a danger sign I didn’t know existed until I saw this picture.  The older man sitting on a metal folding at the front of the line, thick soled black shoes, gray trousers and a white shirt, worried look.  Ooff.

    Kate’s in food preservation mode.  She bought a pressurized canner to complement her older, hot water canner.  She’s been busy making jams and preserves, canning green beans and in general wiping her hands on a calico apron while waving a wooden spoon in the air.

    As the crops begin to mature, we are both more focused on how to preserve what we have grown and the lessons we have learned from this year’s crop.   Fewer onions next year, for one.  Do not know why I got so carried away on planting onions.  More beets and carrots.  About the same on beans and peas.  Garlic again, descaping this time.  Add some crops, though what, I do not know.  Harvest is the fun part.

    On August 1st we celebrate Lughnasa.  This is a first fruits festival that provides a festival around the time of the first maturation of crops.  There are three harvest festivals:  Lughnasa, Mabon (Fall Equinox) and Samhain, the Celtic New Year on October 31st.  A full quarter of the year has the harvest as a dominant theme and idea.  An old acknowledgment of the value and necessity of tending to plants and animals, so that they will, in turn, tend to us.