My goodness gracious. It has been so hot and DRY lately, things are dying all around us. Lawns are brown, trees are loosing their leaves, the people are wilting themselves. Team WWOOF is so bored, I can tell. They spend a lot of time, all day usually, watering. You see with the CSA, we can’t let things die on us. Our customers are depending on a crop. Let me rephrase that. We could totally let it ALL die and the customer would have to understand, because they signed a piece of paper, and something like drought is part of the liability. But we’re too nice, and since we have a lot of help and it’s too hot to do much else, we put a hose in their hand. It’s funny, because as I type this out, it is currently raining. The rain, which has only been going on for about 20 minutes or so has prompted me to write about the dryness, because I’ve been needing to. One of our CSA members asked me the other day how things were growing. I let him know how tough it’s been and how some things are just wilting away. He totally understood if the bags were empty for the next few weeks. He shared the story of his garden with me. He said he and his wife had been gone for three weeks. Even though they had someone watering it for them, they returned and their garden was dust. This “heat wave” that the weather man has talked about has lasted for two months now. It’s more like a heat tsunami! This wave won’t leave. I guess my message to you dear reader is respect the fact that there is produce at your grocery store, and there are many, MANY factors that go into its survival. Uh oh, the rain knew I was talking about it, it just stopped : (
We started off by playing hookey from the Sunday farmer’s market, shhh. It was very nice to not have to get up early and schlep everything in the truck and schlep it all back, but it did feel like I was skipping school and quite possibly was going to receive a call from the principal. Paul did the honorable thing of making breakfast for all of the WWOOF’ers and the family, and we went to work on the farm (not me). We shared lunch as well, and McKenna surprised me with a cake and candles, then she took off for Arizona. THANK YOU MCKENNA! And everyone else for keeping the secret cake in the fridge a secret. After lunch Paul took the kids and I out to the “country” to visit Mark Cain who owns Dripping Springs Farm. Talk about one of the kingpin growers in this area! We had been invited out on several occasions, but those of you who glance in this blogs direction or share the same profession know that the farm never sleeps. But it was a special occasion, so we went. I wore my bathing suit, because I had heard of this epic swimming hole and I was ready to wash the 20’s out of my hair! This farm is off the beaten path, traveling for mile on nothing but dirt roads, did I mention epic? Mark was very nice, taking time to show us around and talk about all of his goings on, we’re such big farm nerds! I feel like I didn’t take enough pictures, but I have some to share, I hope Mark doesn’t mind.
Isaac was asking if he could have a pepper.
Mark picked Isaac a ripe one, purple mmmmm. I’m glad he did, because Isaac might have ripped half of the plant off.
Inside one of his hoop houses.
This is the outside of the structure.
A view from the inside corner.
Another hoop full of snapdragons!
Isaac kept thinking this whole process boring, and kept trying to drag me to the creek. I wanted to go badly too, but I also wanted to finish the rest of the tour. Don’t you realize where we are Isaac? This is Dripping Springs!!!
Onions drying upstairs in his barn.
Garlic curing downstairs in the barn.
There are no pictures of the creek. It didn’t occur to me to bring the camera, but for good reason. The creek/swimming hole was magic, heaven on earth, see to BELIEVE! So, you’ll just have to volunteer some time to gain access…and it’s totally worth it!
The Ozark Slow Foods movement held a potluck here, as part of their effort to support local foods and local farmers. Paul and our neighbor Pauline, the produce manager at Ozark Natural Foods, were interviewed before the event by Kyle Kellams, for Ozarks at Large, promoting the event. Please click on the link if you wish to hear the interview. It’s funny in the write-up how they butchered Paul’s last name, Chapracki. It was a nice turn out, where good food was shared, which had to have one local ingredient present. So, needless to say, there were a lot of potato dishes. The event also gave us time to promote our CSA to a new crowd of people who were ripe to listen. Most of the people who came, came because they heard the story on the radio and were intrigued. Thank you to all of you who attended.
After we pulled the garlic out of the ground, the next step was to bunch it together and hang it to let it cure. Once garlic is pulled, it is not dry like the kind you buy from the grocery store, it’s moist, still usable, but for any kind of storing purposes you must cure it. In order to cure garlic, you need to hang it in a shady spot, where it won’t be rained on and that gets plenty of air flow. Proper cure time is two to three weeks. We had a couple of places to consider, one being a tool storage area in the goat barn, the other being under the front porch of the office. We chose to hang it under the porch because it would get more airflow. Mckenna, Marine, Annie and David were the WWOOF team dedicated to getting this task done.
This task looks easy, but it was definitely a learning curve. Last summer, I hung the garlic by myself up in the attic of my house, near the opening with fresh air hitting it. It worked, but I think it was too hot up there for it. Garlic has to be kept somewhat cool…as cool as it can get in the summer heat.
Since these pictures were taken a few days ago, Mckenna has left the farm. She was needed in Arizona a few days ahead of schedule then she had planned for, so like the wind poof. It wasn’t a sad goodbye, they can be sometimes, but we seem to have a pretty good “swing back through rate”. So, like others before, McKenna will be coming back through at the end of July. She plans on taking David and Marine to her native Kentucky, Louisville, to visit and see the sights. She’s even going to bring them back that crazy girl…but I’m glad somebody is, they have a two month commitment here.
Shiori and Keyohei have also taken leave of us after six weeks of service. However, as old friends leave, new friends arrive, to swing a mattock in the heat of the day, all with smiles on their faces.
Here is Rose, volunteer extrordinaire, milking “Girly” Friday. I wasn’t out there while she did it, but looking at these pictures, I enjoy seeing her confidence. I’ve milked that goat once, and let me tell you, you get hand cramps…it’s not easy, atleast not for me.
Let’s also pay a visit to the American Red Cross website, and see how you can help those affected by the storms this week.