It’s a pity I left my camera in Florida last week. I’d love to share some pictures of the farm. It is always beautiful here, but the time of transition between seasons always seems particularly pretty.
The chickens seem pleased with the cooler weather, and are showing it by significantly increasing the number of eggs they’re laying. The dozen new chicks that I added recently are in that awkward chicken adolescence. Their mother doesn’t protect them any more, so they’re having to deal with the fact that they are at the bottom of the pecking order. It sort of amuses me to know that within a few months a couple of them will be established at the top as our new roosters. Chicken karma I suppose. They’re still too young for me to be able to tell their sexes. I usually can’t tell until the little roosters start trying to crow (which is hilarious to see, by the way). Hopefully all but one or two will be hens. But that is really unlikely.
Earlier this summer I had to be away from the farm for a while and the blackeyed peas weren’t being regularly picked. Of course we had already put up all we’d need for the year, but still, being OCDish, I don’t like to see them go to waste. I was a little disappointed and assumed they were done at that point. But I was wrong. They’ve surprised me by continuing to produce. Even though a huge amount dried on the vines, the plants just kept blooming and the peas have just kept on coming. I’ve been picking and shelling them nearly every day to give away.
Blackeyed peas, like okra, are originally from Africa. Technically the blackeyed pea is a bean, not a pea. They are, of course, a staple of Southern diets. We’ve had a really hot and dry summer. In fact, my fall greens have yet to emerge and soil in the gardens is like sand on the beach. But this is no problem for blackeyed peas. They thrive in hot, dry weather. In the South, it is traditional to eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. I didn’t like them when I was a kid but my mother would force me to eat at least one, lest I bring bad luck upon myself. One of the possible origins of that tradition is the fact that blackeyed peas saved many Southern families from starvation during the Civil War. We’re in no danger of starvation this year here on White Flint Farm, but we are thankful for a bumper crop of delicious blackeyed peas.