Back on the Farm

We’re home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in France.Β It was a great vacation–our first in over 12 years. I’ll probably blog more about the trip in the future.

We’ve been busy trying to catch up. There’s a reason farmers don’t take vacations in the summer.

I’ve spent much of the last two days harvesting sweet potatoes. We have a bumper crop this year.

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I’ve harvested about a thousand pounds so far, and I’m only half done.

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Occupational hazard. Black widows like the sweet potato garden.

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Sweet Potato Man

I wish I could say the same for all of our fall crops, but that’s how it goes. I have no grounds to complain about anything these days.

This summer will be a tough act to follow. But I’m looking forward to a great fall.

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42 comments on “Back on the Farm

  1. A bumper crop! Congrats Bill. ❀
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. freethnkr1965 says:

    Welcome back and looking forward to hearing about your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks. I don’t want to be that annoying friend who shows you every picture he took on his vacation, but I do intend to blog about it. I didn’t keep a journal. I told myself that instead I would do a series of blog posts to help me remember the trip. When I get around to it I hope some people will find them interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    Your sweet potato man looks like he’s a little disappointed he couldn’t go on the trip with you. Welcome home — and happy catching up. I always dislike that part of it, but i mostly have to soothe the kitty psyche and do laundry. You have a little more on your plate!

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    • Bill says:

      We were transitioning between seasons so it was as good a time to leave the farm as any, but it looks like you would expect it to look if the farmers left it for two weeks. We’re adjusting our expectations for the fall accordingly. πŸ™‚
      I know what you mean about soothing the kitty psyche. Our ungrateful cat, Mr. Fabulous, ran away a couple of weeks before we left. We just learned that he’s been mooching off a neighbor up the road for the last month. But our prior cat Dixie once bit Cherie (the one and only time that ever happened) after she returned from being away awhile. It wasn’t anything serious. Just her way of saying “Don’t do that again.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. avwalters says:

    Welcome home. When the jet lag is faded, and the farm feels like home, we’re sure we’ll here lots about the trip and its epiphanies. You were missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks friend. There were epiphanies of a sort. I’ve pondered how I should be spending my time and considering giving up blogging, for example. But I enjoy the outlet and the company of good folks, so the blog slogs on.

      But I did realize powerfully that I’ve been neglecting some of my other interests. As much as I enjoy homesteading and the issues surrounding it, I’m a nerd addicted to learning. I love history, philosophy, art, literature, and nerdish things of that sort too. After soaking in them a couple of weeks, I’m resolved (for now at least) to try to cultivate those interests too. We’ll see how that works out. For now I’ve got sweet potatoes to get up, honey to collect, goats to move and neglected gardens to tend. It’s a good kind of busy.

      Liked by 3 people

      • avwalters says:

        It’s a blessing to have more interests than time to fulfill them. I’ve been pondering my blogging future as well. I have barely written all summer–mostly because we’ve been so busy. Who knew there were so many steps to building? At the same time, I’ve suffered a crisis of faith. Not the usual kind, but a total meltdown in my regard for the political institutions that are supposed to be the hinges of our philosophies of governance. If we cannot trust our political institutions (parties, governmental entities, etc.) is it only corporate money that rules?
        If so, I may bury my head in homesteading and let the rest go–doing my best, on this small, but beloved place, to save the planet from here.
        Otherwise, we’re still canning the last of the garden produce. There won’t be much honey this year–mid-seasaon swarms cost us much of our production. We think the hives were just too hot–may need to devise sun screens for future hot spells.
        November is coming. Time to get the wood stove in, and get ready to get back to serious writing. NaNoWriMo.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Bill says:

        You’re a Renaissance woman: pioneer, homesteader, lawyer, novelist, artist, art historian. Well done. πŸ™‚ I do hope you find the time to write this year. It would be a shame to bury that talent. At the same time, I totally understand what you’re saying and I often think that way too. Obviously I think there is merit in that way of thinking and living and I’m perhaps crazy enough to believe it does contribute to making the planet better. One of my favorite quotes is from Gary Snyder: “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A bumper crop indeed. Welcome back!

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  6. M and I were just talking about you this morning and wondering why you hadn’t posted lately – mystery solved! Glad to hear you were taking a vacation.
    M is trying to get me to commit to a vacation in France so I’m looking forward to reading about your trip. Don’t get me wrong – I want to go but there is a house to get on the market, a farm prep area build out to be completed, animals to consider and of course we need to get started on getting a home built at the farm…
    Maybe I’ll just have to enjoy France vicariously through you – at least for now.
    Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks. I’ll be blogging about the trip in the future, so I’m pleased to know that a least a few people will be interested. Believe me, I know exactly what you mean about not being able to go away. I’m not sure when we’ll take another vacation but I can tell you from experience that there will never be a “good” time to go. If traveling is important to you, then you’ll just have to find a way to build it into the schedule, even though it won’t be easy. I’ll probably write more about that later. I’m not sure how to do it best but I don’t think that giving up vacations permanently (as we had done) is the best solution.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So how many pounds roughly are there in that mitt-full of sweet potato you’ve got in that photo? Black Widows? ARRGGH!!!

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    • Bill says:

      I’d guess that is about 6 pounds. I haven’t weighed the yield per plant (and it varies of course) but it is very good this year. Sweet potatoes like hot dry weather and we had four weeks with no rain just as they were starting to mature. I’m guessing that’s what accounts for the good year. Last year we had a lot of rain at the end and the yields were terrible.

      Because the ground is wet I’ve been digging them up my hand individually. I saw a lot of black widows yesterday. They’re an unsettling sight, especially when they’re inches from your hand

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I had forgotten about the vacation so I was wondering where you disappeared too. I’m getting ready to harvest my sweets too and hoping for a good crop this year .. the majority of the garden was a disappointment this year here so hoping for a strong sweet potato harvest.

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    • Bill says:

      Hope you have a great harvest. Our yields this year are literally ten times better than last year! That helps me not feel so bad about the fall crops we lost to deer and drought.

      Like

  9. Laurie Graves says:

    Love sweet potatoes! But I’ll pass on the spider πŸ˜‰ And maybe, just maybe, you could post a few of your pictures of France? This reader would certainly appreciate them.

    Like

  10. Scott says:

    Welcome back, Bill! Good to see you back. πŸ™‚

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  11. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your time away. I often wondered how the farm was doing with all the weather that went up the coast through Virginia. Did any of the torrential rain hit your farm?

    Sweet potatoes are difficult to grow here in Nebraska and don’t really get very big because of the short growing season that doesn’t have enough heat. The soil here is too sticky for sweet potatoes. They need more of a sandy soil like carrots to grow really well. Regular potatoes do grow well here and I’m about to dig them up before the frost hits. The normal frost date is October 15th for my area but this year is unusual. We just had three days last week with temperatures over 90 degrees when they should have been in the 70s. The tomatoes were shutting down but after that heat, they have on last flush. I’m hoping to make some tomato soup for Winter time consumption.

    I’m into the Fall garden cleanup mode with more than enough to accomplish. I’m one that likes to hear about other folks and their trips but as for me, I’m glad to just stay home and travel to different placed on the Discovery Channel. πŸ™‚

    Have a great trip memory day on the White Flint Farm.

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    • Bill says:

      The soil in our sweet potato garden this year is red clay, which is one the reasons I’m surprised they did so well. They need a long hot growing season though and you probably just don’t have it there. It’s good that our sweet potatoes did so well, given that our white potatoes did so poorly. Go figure.

      I thought about our frequent discussions on the subject of technology while we were travelling. Our rental car had a navigational screen on the dashboard. We just plugged in the address we were going to and the computer gave us directions. It was amazing. We’d be driving along a pleasant voice would say “In 500 meters, leave the roundabout at the second exit” (for example). It was especially helpful in getting out of big cities. We drove over 1300 km and never had to worry about being lost. Amazing. That technology didn’t exist 10 years ago.

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  12. Welcome home, Bill! Your sweet-potato man reminds me a bit of Popeye. And good for you on the vacation. Don’t wait so long next time. πŸ™‚ –Curt

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  13. BeeHappee says:

    Bill, I really missed your posts, followed all your trip photos on FaceBook, but I very much enjoy reading your well thought out articles on here. Happy to hear you will keep posting. Welcome back and best of luck finding hundreds of sweet potato recipes!!!!

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Bee. I continue to enjoy your journeys and adventures.
      We’ve enjoyed two new (for us) recipes already this week. If you’re going to have an overflow of something, sweet potatoes are a good choice. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. hamertheframer says:

    It’s good to see you home again but I want to see all those boring holiday photos! I hope you enjoyed France.

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  15. avwalters says:

    Is there something about sweet potatoes, in particular, that attracts the black widows? So you have them in such numbers elsewhere on the farm?

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I don’t recall ever seeing them like this in sweet potatoes. They like to hang out underneath vegetables that lie on the ground. So you always have to be careful when picking watermelons, cantaloupes and winter squash. The yields on sweet potatoes this year are so good that some of the potatoes are poking up out the ground. My guess is that the black widows are camping out beneath those potatoes. I’m seeing as many as we would have in the watermelon garden. They’re not aggressive, but they’ll bite you if you touch them. You definitely have to pay attention when picking those crops.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ann says:

    Welcome back Cherie and Bill…loved the few pics you sent out of your stay! What a contrast…to the rich earth of VA…with its joys and jolts! We have seen a lot of black widow spiders here on the south side but few beautiful home grow sweet potatoes like that hand full! HAPPY FALL!
    Ann and Bill

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    • Bill says:

      Hey Ann. Great to hear from you. Hoping all is well with you and yours.
      I’ve never seen so many black widows in a garden! I’m used to occasionally finding one under a watermelon but I’ve seen dozens of them in our sweet potatoes this year.
      It’s been an great year for sweet potatoes. We have literally ten times more than last year.

      Like

  17. Those sweet potatoes look amazing, but, note to self…I’ll never be planting those!

    Like

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