The Circle

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I’ve been out hunting nearly every day for the last three weeks and until yesterday hadn’t seen a thing.  The season ends in a week, so I was beginning to think 2015 would be a year without tacos, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, tenderloin, chili, stew, cubed steak and summer sausage (and liver for Ginny).

But yesterday evening nature provided a big buck.  So now the pressure is off. There will be red meat in the freezer and on the table next year.

I know the subject of hunting bothers some people.  I totally understand that.

I take no pleasure in killing animals.  But I do get some satisfaction from knowing that no animal will die to feed me without first living a pleasant natural life on this farm.  The deer that I took yesterday was not fattened with GMO corn on a filthy feed lot.  He didn’t have any hormonal growth promotants implanted in his ear. He wasn’t slaughtered on an assembly line. And neither was he terrified and chased around the county by a pack of dogs while so-called hunters waited along roadsides for a chance to shoot at him. Instead he died instantly and without stress or fear, with a belly full of acorns, leaves and wild grasses. In the several years he’s been roaming around here he’s probably fathered dozens of offspring–and likely enjoyed some tasty meals in our gardens. He has been part of the organism that is our farm and so even now, he lives on.

I like being aware of where my food comes from.  As long as I eat meat, I prefer to know its true cost.  I don’t want to eat animals without ever getting any blood on my hands.

Before I field-dressed the deer, I thanked God for providing him.  I thanked the deer for his sacrifice.  And I asked forgiveness of both of them.

I’ll go hunting again today and every day next week.  It’s an important part of this season in this life.  I will try to take at least one more, if possible.  But if not, so be it.

Eggplant

Late December isn’t the time I’d normally expect to be doing a post about eggplant. But as we’re preparing our 2015 seed orders and garden planning I realized that eggplant is another one of those vegetables that were not part of the food culture here when I was growing up, but has now become an important part of our farm.

I don’t recall ever eating eggplant until I was an adult.  I was probably married before I ever had any.

It was one of the veggies that I added to the summer gardens as an experiment one year. I remember thinking the experiment was a failure, as flea beetles skeletonized the leaves.  But I learned that summer how tough the plants are, as they eventually outgrew the flea beetle damage and produced fruit right up to the first frost.

We grow a lot of eggplant now.  During the summer we eat a lot of it, put up a lot of it and sell a lot of it.   Last year’s crop was our best ever.

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It’s tempting to add some new varieties this year.  Baker Creek offers lots of interesting heirlooms from around the world. But I think for now we’re just going to stick with standard Italian and Asian varieties.  I don’t think Danville is ready for white or green eggplant.

As with everything we’re ordering we have to keep in mind that there is a limit on how much we can grow.  Our focus has to be on the tried-and-true varieties that we know we’re going to like.

Whether we add some unusual new variety or not, we expect to have plenty of delicious eggplant next year.  It’s one of the best things about summer here now.  What was once only an experiment is now a staple of our summer gardens.