The Final Countdown!

I meant to write this yesterday and post it this morning. Instead I am writing it before I go to bed, and will probably only post it tomorrow morning. So by the time you are reading this, tomorrow morning will really be just morning, and the title will no longer be as accurate, but somewhat accurate nonetheless. Was that sentence long enough for you?

I realized yesterday that I only had 10 days left on the farm (8 1/2 days by the time you read this). I watched the sun set behind the trees earlier today (it was beautiful) and realized how important it is for me to enjoy every second I have left here. It’s amazing to be able to stand out in the field and feel completely alone (in a good way) and take in the beauty all around me. Breath the fresh (yet sometimes pungent) air, listen to the birds, feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Just like when I left South Korea, leaving the farm will be bittersweet. I am very excited to return home to family and friends, a new job, a new home and a different lifestyle, but I will surely miss the life I have been leading here. As I was approaching my trailer the other day, I realized that I had been living in a trailer all summer (if that makes sense to you). The farm and the trailer have been home to me, and I’ve been very comfortable here. Granted I don’t have a bathroom in the trailer, or running water or a bathtub, but really I could have even less. And the lack of these amenities has only increased my appreciation for them.

But to get back to the point, although it has only been 5 1/2 months, this has been a big chapter in my life. One that has shaped me and affected my future in an unbelievable way. It almost feels like the first chapter in a new book (hopefully a long, loving and entertaining book). Which makes me think about how I would describe my earlier books…

Perhaps the first one would be called: “I can do it all by myself” (my parents may be the only ones to get that). The second: “The joys of trying to get Sara to go to School”. The third: “Nun Therapy” (bet that will leave you scratching your head). The fourth: “Sports, Sports, Sports” and the fifth “The Travelling Hobo”. Yes, I think those titles sum up the past 25 years pretty well.

The last title would be in reference to my life as a travelling vagabond. They call me “The Bag Lady”. Travelling from couch to couch, and country to country. However I am no longer a hobo (apparently I am a hippie, or so I’ve been told) but I am now a hippie with a home.

What the next book will be called, I am not too sure, but I know it will be awesome.

I also know that I plan to thoroughly enjoy the last days on the farm. I hope to soak up as much sun as possible. Eat as much fresh food as possible. (And cram in as many episodes of Buffy as possible without turning into a vampire.)

And with that, I bid you a good week and a good night for I am off to bed. The sun went down a long time ago, unfortunately, and it is time for me to follow.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

Sorry for another biweekly blog. I had meant to get back to writing weekly blogs, but have been busy landing a new job and apartment for when I get back. So I am very excited for my return but also enjoying the last few weeks (literally, I only have 3 wks left) on the farm, although the weather has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse.

I am actually writing this on the last day of summer, although as Rebecca just pointed out, it feels more like the first day of fall. Last Friday when we woke up to harvest at 7AM it was only 0.9 degrees outside! My toes were frozen for the first 3 hours. So this weekend I brought back some of my father’s wool socks with me.

The season is slowly coming to an end. We have harvested all of the summer squash, winter squash, onions and shallots from the ground. We ran out of carrots for awhile (which is nice, because they take up time on harvest days), but have another 6 beds growing for storage. The few things left in the ground right now and growing in the cooler weather are: carrots, beets, radishes, kohlrabi and cabbages. We’ve planted kale and spinach in the greenhouse (as they did last year) so that it can grow and then lay dormant over winter, providing an early batch in the spring.

Our garlic has been dry and good for storage for awhile now. Our supply of music (a garlic variety) is quickly dwindling, and I believe the rest of our garlic we will keep for replanting. You should have seen me the other day actually. The garlic is very “dusty”, as all of the dirt has now dried and it seems to like to stick to me face. We cleaned garlic for most of the day at one point and I looked like a miner all day long. Only me however, not Rebecca. I provided everyone with a good laugh and had to wash my face at every break. I seem to be a magnet for garlic dust. Wonderful! It certainly doesn’t help my allergies.

I began this blog at lunch, but am finishing it off before bed. I am lying down, trying not to die. You see, I have this horrible tendency to overeat. And we had cheese fondue for dinner. My first cheese fondue ever. And it was sooo good! And of course, everyone got full, but there was still cheese left in the pot. And well, I couldn’t just leave the cheese in the pot! I told everyone to take it away from me, but alas, they left it there to taunt me. And the cheese pot won. And now I am paying the price. Thank God I am doing physical work outside all summer, or else I would have come home an extra 300 lbs. If we could eat without gaining weight, I would eat all day, literally. What a joy! Maybe that’s what heaven will be like for me… I am drooling already. Did I mention I had ice cream after the cheese fondue…

At least I have Marie-Lou the cat sleeping at my feet. She slept with me last night as well, and I woke up at 4 in the morning to find her right beside my head. What a wonderful companion. I am tempted to bring her home with me.

So that is the recap for now. I can’t think straight, too much cheese. Tomorrow we will be harvesting our sweet potatoes! Here’s hoping they are big!

Permadirt

For those of you unsure of what permadirt stands for, it stands for “permanent dirt”. Permadirt is what I have on my feet, arms, hands and under all of my nails. I swear I shower regularly, and I do a good scrub down on the weekends when I go home, but it is impossible to get off. However, it is the mark of a farmer and so I wear it proudly.

It is presently Sunday morning and the sun is shining. Marie-Lou, the 19 year old grey barn cat, who is still in surprisingly good condition, slept with me last night and kept me company. It was wonderful to have company and I was relieved to wake up this morning and not find any kitty surprises lying on the floor.

I was actually shocked when I woke up to so much sun. When we wake up early, the sun is rising but it’s not very sunny at such an early hour, and yesterday, when I slept in until 830, it was grey and rainy so the amount of sun I woke up to this morning at 730 got me right out of bed.

I made my way to the house for my morning pee (TMI I know), and decided to look up a recipe which my mother had told me about. It’s simple really, no need to look up a recipe, it’s just pancakes made from bananas and eggs. I did look it up in case there was anything more to it, but nope, that’s pretty much it. All you need is one big banana and two eggs. It makes about 4 small pancakes. I did add few things to mine of course. I have read that just the banana and eggs on their own can end up tasting like, well, eggs with bananas. And so to mine I added a touch of baking powder, a couple of tsp of flaxseed meal, a dollop of organic peanut butter, some cinnamon and a touch of vanilla extract. Mash the bananas and throw everything into a blender and pulse just a bit. Pulse it too much and it will become too thin. Then just throw it into the pan.

And you know what? They were delicious!!! I have so much energy at the moment, I’m in a great mood, they were so good and light, and I must tell you all about it. So yes, the next time you are craving pancakes give them a try. You can add whatever you like to them, and they are great for one person. And if you are more than one person, remember: 1 banana and 2 eggs per person.

I was actually lying in bed last night trying to figure out what I was going to make/eat today. I have a tendency of doing that. Food just makes me so excited. Last night I actually made my yummy carrot ginger soup, with a veggie shepherds pie (sweet potatoes, thyme, carrots, onions, tomatoes, lentils), accompanied by some steamed broccoli, for Johnny and Daizy. But yes, I often go to bed thinking/dreaming about food preparations for the next day, especially if I go to bed slightly hungry. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make crepes today, eggs with hashbrowns, or have a try at the banana pancakes. I finally told myself I had to fall asleep and I would let my stomach decide in the morning.

This week and or next I also hope to make a potato soup, or a potato and leek soup, maybe even a beet soup. We have potatoes out of the ying yang at the moment and they do take a while to cook so I haven’t done much with them lately but I really should. Cucumbers and carrots are easy and great to eat raw in a salad or with some hummus. The same goes for zucchini, it’s quick to chop up and quick to throw in the frying pan. Beets can be roasted at the beginning of the week and eaten as a side or thrown into a salad. OR they can be made into delicious beet and chocolate cupcakes with pink beet icing! Daizy is an amazing baker and we had them last night for dessert. (http://sweetandsavourypursuits.com/2014/02/13/chocolate-beet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-icing/) So yummy, I actually think I might run into the house and grab one after I finish writing this.

Yesterday I owed some work hours so I went out and picked beans for 2 and 1/2 hrs after the rain passed. I collected 25lbs of beans, which is quite a lot. Last week we sold out of beans and so we figured we should harvest some more. But with the rain yesterday, there weren’t too many people at the Saturday market. So hoping we sell a lot today at Brewer to make that work worthwhile. And if we don’t, well that means more beans for us, or for the food bank, so it pays off anyway.

And then I made dinner yesterday. But today, I have nothing to do. Or at least nothing too pressing. It is wonderful. After this I plan to do the dishes, start searching for apartments for when I get home, just to get an idea of what is out there. Call some friends and family members, clean a bit more, workout at some point (though I am sore at the moment from yesterdays work out), and continue designing my garden landscape for next summer.

I’ve gotten back into the habit of jogging and am so happy for it. I love to do a quick 5K whenever I can. Jogging at night is the best, especially during the summer. However, what with the only road I have to jog on being a 80KM road, and not having any luminescent gear, I have been jogging at 530/600PM after a day’s work. I was enjoying my jog so much the other day that I had this crazy idea about jogging across Canada to raise awareness about healthy eating/organic foods. Now this is highly unlikely, but hey, it’s always a possibility.

I actually shared this idea with my neighbour, Fran, the other day. She rollerbladed across Canada in her 50s to raise funds for cancer. And she promptly brought up the idea of biking with me across the states for her 72nd birthday. So apparently, I might be biking across the states in a couple years. Exciting yes, but holy moly will I have to train to keep up with Fran. She is a powerhouse. Even if I am in half the shape she’s in when I am that age, I will be happy.

Anywho, these are all just ideas. Just like the idea of doing a yoga/meditation retreat in South America, or volunteering in Bangladesh, Nepal or Africa. I’ve done quite a bit of travelling already, and am looking forward to coming home and settling into a routine for once. But I will always have the travellers bug and it’s great to know that anything is possible.

Ok, but back to the farm. We harvested almost all week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and even a bit on Thursday. Thursday we harvested all of our shallots and onions. They are curing in the greenhouse at the moment. They will be for storage. We also harvested our potatoes on Thursday for market because we had a long list of things we wanted to bring to market and simply would not have had time to harvest and clean everything on the Friday.

And unfortunately, I will have to take the time to honor another soul that has left us. Farley Mowat, may you rest in peace. For those of you who may have forgotten who he is, he was our beloved rooster. He and the chickens have been roaming free for weeks now. They have been so happy to be let out of their enclosed area and explore the farm. Over time, they have gotten braver and have travelled farther and farther away from the coop (not too far though, I’m talking about maybe 40 yards or so). But it’s no surprise to wake up in the morning and find them scrounging around our trailers. Molly (the dog) gave them a scare once or twice but since then has become their friend and protector.

The other day at lunch they were all making a racket (which they often do, chickens can be quite annoying, definitely not my favorite farm animal) so it wasn’t until I heard Molly barking as well that I knew something was up. Unfortunately, it was too late. It seems a fox got to Farley. Molly chased it off but the damage and already been done. Farley may have shown up on this farm with lice and mites, unaware that he was a rooster. But he left us as a handsome black and green feathered rooster, the boss and protector of his flock. And this is how we will remember him.

I hadn’t planned on ending this blog with that piece of bad news, but I did want to pay my respects. And alas, we do live on a farm, and such things can happen.

So here’s to Farley, the greatest and most peculiar rooster I’ve known!