December 16, 2007

I realized yesterday that I had invented a new way to make smoked turkey. Rake up all the mess in the turkey pens into little piles just prior to sunset, add accelerant, light, and watch as the roosting birds vanish and reappear amidst great drifts of billowing smoke. Okay, bad joke. With rain coming, we worked long hours this weekend to do as much as possible before the wet weather. We sowed three full beds of the rare, Afghani black garbanzo beans that I worked last year to grow into a seed stock. We sowed a second solid bed of heirloom lettuce. Transplanted dozens of turnips, chard, fennel, and arugula. Weeded. Cultivated. Harvested and stored yacon tubers and whatever those things are that will grow into next year’s plants. And of course, raked and burned the big poultry pen. In case anyone is wondering why we burn all that mess, the answer is, it’s just easier. In the course of a summer, almond sticks, old vegetable and fruit rinds, weeds, manure, straw and molted feathers create an unsightly layer on the ground. It would take more than 10 wheelbarrow trips to remove the debris, in addition to the extra shoveling, to remove all the mess. And that also implies that the chickens will stay away from any given pile long enough to even get it shoveled into the wheelbarrow…….So although no one really enjoys the smoldering, the mess actually all gets burned up, our backs are a little less sore, and the chickens don’t seem to want to scratch piles that appear to be on fire. During the nights we’ve been weighing, packaging and labeling different dried products like sun dried tomatoes and lavender. Or just trying to cook and eat. And clean the house a little against the next tide of mess. Oh yeah, and Ken is trying to get the heater installed for the greenhouse. Lately I’ve had to light hurricane lamps in there to try to get the temperature up about 5 degrees higher on some really cold nights.