Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roots, roots, and more roots!

Hi there blog followers! I write this many weeks ago and just realized that I never posted it! Oops! here's a little late fall news:

Greetings from Village Farm!

It was so very windy here on the prairie today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we are looking forward to being with friends and family for a good feed and some moments of raucous thanks and some moments of silent gratitude for all the wonders of food, family, health and happiness.

We have some new-ish pictures that illustrate what is going on around here. Among the last jobs the HB and Les worked on before they left for other adventures in early November, was the Annual Digging of the Rosemaries. I have had some of these rosemaries for ten years and each fall, we carefully dig up each rootball and gently place them in pots. The rosemaries stay out in the fall air for a few weeks before moving into the sunny but cool basement where they will spend the winter months. We can't quite send these Mediterranean natives abroad or to Florida, so the basement has to do. They will get replanted (again) in the spring and we will snip their amazing flavored sprigs all summer. This year we dug some thyme, sage and lavender as well to see how they overwinter chez basement.

Yet another fine group of Unity College students joined the Village Farm forces for a day in early November. What a stellar day it was! We chose a task that fit the weather and the many willing hands: moving all the irrigation pipe from the fields to its winter pile by the greenhouse. We chatted and walked, all the while carrying 20-30 foot long pipes together. Thank you Unity College students! Come back and visit anytime!

The simple beauty of some purple cauliflower on a wooden cutboard. Still roasting all the crucifers: kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. . . I noticed the Barefoot Contessa had roasted brussel sprouts on her Thanksgiving menu. (We will too!)

The last BIG job each fall is to harvest the trees and shrubs we grow for FEDCO. It takes us a few days but is good, wholesome work and so satisfying to see such healthy roots and beautiful plants up close. Prentice did a lot of 'timing' of the digging operation. In an effort to watch our efficiencies and also our profitability, we are converting a lot of anecdotal "oh, that takes forever" or "that just takes five minutes" into actual timed efforts. We are not racing the clock, mind you. Just keeping the normal pace but writing down how long different tasks ACTUALLY take.

This is the borrowed horse trailer full of trees and shrubs. They are buried in wet sawdust and bound for FEDCO's basement warehouse where they will sit dormant for the winter until they are shipped and sold in April and May. Witch Hazel, Red Maple, Snowberry, Coralberry, Roundleafed Dogwood, Brown Ash. . . and others.

And saving the best for last, this is the most fun we have been having lately. We grew about 500 row feet of mangel beets in the house garden and harvested them along with all the other fall roots. They got washed but rather than getting bagged and sold or stored in the walk-in cooler, they went down to the barn. These beets are for the cows. We covered a huge mountain of beets on the dirt floor in the barn with a tarp and hay for insulation from the frosts. We have been chopping two buckets a day for the six cows of Village Farm and as you can see should you click on the video below, it is a pretty fun job! Uploading the video is taking a good bit of time, so only one for today. (And I have no idea why it is so small.. . . ) Will post one of the cows eating the beets soon.

Warm wishes to one an all for a cozy and delicious weekend.

From all of us at the Village Farm, Polly