Sunday, December 11, 2011

"And the seasons they go round and round..."

Greetings! Here it is winter, and I haven't written a thing since spring! There's no good excuses, except to say that there is a constant supply of chores involved with this type of living. While the ground is workable, there is constant tending-- seeds or starts to plant, then weeds to pick, then harvesting and giving our neighbors tree suckers and perennial offcasts a place to live. Weekly farmer's markets and keeping up with online sales and deliveries to local restaurants (while one of us holds down a job in town) keeps us running. When not fixing irrigation or tinkering with tools, there always manure to move, compost to turn, mulch to add, wood to cut, rocks to pick, fence to fix... you get the picture. Of course, we wouldn't sacrifice the whole season to work, as what would be the point? We traveled to visit with friends and family a bit and found time for a six day whitewater canoe trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in early September.
Farmer George enjoying the water.
Updates from April include the status of the hoophouse, shown in the last post as a frame.  Well, as stated, it was a rough draft.  And we will be preparing for a final draft after an afternoon of spring winds in the 60 knot range tore the used plastic and ultimately knocked over a nearly bare frame.  All the parts except the plastic are still useable, but we are back to the drawing board on that one.  The good news is that the vegetables that were already growing in the hoophouse survived to make a productive crop of spring-planted vegetables available only a few weeks later than if the structure had remained upright.   

In other news, the moon isn't the only thing round in the valley anymore! Around Father's Day this past June, we discovered that we are expecting a new addition to the Round Valley Farms family!  My belly is getting round as the full moon as we are in about the 32nd week of this first phase of parenthood.
The new farm help (ha ha) is scheduled to arrive whenever he or she decides to, around the first part of February, 2012.  The baby will be born in Montana, as we have access to a place to live and a very experienced midwife as well as a great circle of friends to help us through the transition.  We anticipate being back in the Round Valley by the end of February with our first child in tow!  This is a very exciting time for us, and we are honored and blessed to have a large community of honorary aunties, uncles and grandparents here in the Round Valley who have showered us with homemade gifts and useful items, as well as love and support. It gives us great hope to bring a child into this world with a community as wonderful as this to help raise it up right!  As with all of our growing adventures, we expect to learn a lot and be humbled often over the coming months...

At the risk of getting long-winded, suffice it to say that we had a very successful first market season, selling a lot of salad greens and carrots in the early and mid-season. The garlic was ready for harvest in late July and we began selling it in mid-August, having more demand than we could meet.  We set our standards high for putting out a quality product with a good response from customers near and far.  We planted a lot of seed from our own crop and ordered a bit more from other organic producers in the region, getting it in a little later than we planned.  Luckily, Mother Nature cooperated and gave us some sun well into November, allowing some hired help and a fairly pregnant me to finish getting the crop in before the ground froze, as our main farmer was off planting trees for a restoration project.

2011 garlic harvest.
2011 early summer garlic.

 Things are quiet around here now, with everything sitting in frosty silence.  The solar panels are due to be installed before the new year, and we did manage to make a little progress on the house this year as well.  All in all, it was a good spring, summer and fall.  We put up a good crop of carrots, potatoes and other vegetables to eat through the winter and we look forward to going round the sun again!  Keep in touch and merry solstice!

Early winter powder farming.

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