Peas Aplenty

I spent much of yesterday harvesting purple hull peas.  We have a great crop of them this year.

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Purple stained fingers.

Purple stained fingers.

For better or worse, our gardens are safe for creatures.

For better or worse, our gardens are safe for living creatures.

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We’re pleased that our local university will be serving them in their cafe next Tuesday as part of “Local Food Day.”

Last night Cherie fixed us an delicious dinner of cornbread, rice and a purple hull pea stew, which is one of my personal favorites.

It’s a great time of year.

Mr. Fabulous

Our son and his family took in a stray kitten. Because of his prominent tail, they named him Mr. Fabulous.

Not long after taking him in they contacted us to find out if we were interested in having him. The cuteness of Mr. Fabulous’ spunk had worn off quickly once he started getting into the food in their pantry every night.

Cherie asked me what I thought of taking him and without giving it sufficient thought I answered that we could use a barn cat. We were having trouble with mice getting into the feed we store in the barn and I thought maybe a feisty cat could solve our problem.

Mr. Fabulous has been with us over six months now and he has yet to spend a moment in the barn. We put him out every night and he seems to enjoy his nocturnal prowls. But every morning he’s waiting at the door when we open it and this is how he spends his days.

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We probably still have mice in the barn.

Date Nights

Eric Schlosser has had a pretty dramatic impact on our lives.  Cherie read Fast Food Nation while she was recuperating from a severe bout of food poisoning.  The book inspired her to change her diet and started her down the road toward an organic sustainable lifestyle.  Her journey inspired me along the way and eventually I got on board too.  Obviously we’ve made some very significant changes to our lives since she read that book.

So when we learned that he was coming to speak at N.C. State University in Raleigh we decided to make that a “date night.”

On our date nights we try to find something fun and interesting to do away from the farm. We’re fortunate to have several colleges and universities within a couple hours of here and that’s where nerds like us can usually find the kind of night out that we like.  This year we’ve seen Charles Eisenstein speak at UNC and Carrie Newcomer perform at Duke, for example.  As was the case with Eric Schlosser’s talk, the events were uncrowded and free to the public.  Next month we’re going to see Vandana Shiva at Wake Forest. Also free.

Mr. Schlosser was discussing his latest book, Command and Control, which examines the history of the handling of our country’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and specifically the near-disasters that have occurred. I haven’t read the book but I have added it to my long list of wanna-reads.

There are plenty of loud and expensive ways to spend an evening away from home.  But I’d guess that nearly everyone has within a reasonable driving distance of their homes plenty of enjoyable, entertaining and enriching “date night” options that cost nothing other than the gas to get there. I’m glad that we do.

Pear Time

There are plenty of great things about this time of year. One of them is ripe pears.

Last year we had great production from our Kieffer tree. This year it only has a few pears on it.

But our Asian pear tree is producing abundantly and I’ve been enjoying a pear or two from it every day.

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Asian pears are my favorites.  They’re ready to eat right off the tree, with the crunchy texture of an apple while exploding with juice with every bite.

This is the time of year for planting fruit trees.  I try to put in one or two new ones every year. This year I think another Asian pear tree would be a good idea.

Rest

With each passing day the sun comes up a little later and goes down a little sooner.  The pace of farm life, while still very busy, is starting to slow down.  Nature is moving toward a period of rest.

Rest is an important part of the natural cycle.  Plants become dormant, animals go into hibernation.

We incorporate periods of rest into our garden rotations here.

And I try to build a time for rest into every day.  A few years ago I started the practice of taking a 20 minute period of rest after lunch.  Sometimes I nap.  Other times I just lie resting.  Either way I find the break refreshing and I’ve become so accustomed to it that I feel tired in the afternoon if I don’t have it.

In some religious traditions a period of rest is a sacred time.  Like the rest of the natural world, we need our rest.

It’s very difficult to incorporate a time of rest into the hectic workdays of most lives. I can’t imagine taking a 20 minute nap in the afternoon when I was practicing law.  If I felt tired then I’d just have another cup of coffee.

But now I’m an advocate of rest.  If you’re not already doing this, try stopping and resting quietly for 20 minutes in the afternoon.  Taking a 20 minute break won’t make much difference in the amount of work you’ll be able to accomplish in a day, but my guess is that the folks who find a way to do it will feel a lot better and probably end up being more productive than those who don’t.

Breakfast at the Farmer’s Market

Six days a week I have a wholesome breakfast of food entirely from the farm.

I don’t have an appetite until I’ve been awake a while, so on Saturdays we leave for the market before I’ve eaten.  I have an enjoyable breakfast there, but it’s certainly not the kind of diet I recommend for every day.

Yesterday I started with a fried sweet potato pie from the Malones.

Mr. Malone

Mr. Malone

Shut my mouth.

Shut my mouth.

Next up was an amazing cinnamon bun from the Shreib family.

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I’m annoyed that this isn’t in focus.  I hadn’t had my coffee yet.

I didn't remember to take the picture until after I'd already started eating.

I didn’t remember to take the picture until after I’d already started eating.

And I washed it all down with a large cup of freshly ground and brewed Ethiopian coffee from Sam and Mina.

Providers of the awesome coffee that keeps me going on market day.

Providers of the awesome coffee that keeps me going on market day.

I usually only drink one cup of coffee in the morning.  But on Saturdays I have one at home, then one for the road, then a cup of their coffee at the market.

Starting every day with a fried sweet potato pie, a cinnamon bun and 3 cups of coffee would not be a good idea.  But I don’t think it will hurt me much to do it once a week.

This morning I’ll return to eggs, potatoes, cantaloupe, and a single cup of coffee.

But come next Saturday it will be another Farmers Market breakfast for me.

Transitioning

Just a couple of weeks ago we were bringing in crates of eggplant and peppers.  Now the pickings are slim.

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But just as one set of crops fades away, another set arrives.

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Thanks to an unusually wet end of summer, we’re a little behind on our fall gardens.  They’re coming though.