I was a herbalist in a past life. I am not sure exactly why I think that, but I do know I have always been lured to herbs mystical qualities. As a little child I would take a plastic pail with the shovel still attached and walk around for hour collecting little pieces of leaf. I remember it had to be a certain kind. I have no recollection of what it was that I w collecting but it remained my passion to this day. I have every book available for identifying plants. I have been seed collecting since I grew my first plant. I only learned in the last year that you can dry your collected goodies in the microwave, I used to bundle them all together and hang them to dry. I have to ad it they would get dusty before I got around to storing it. Even then the stalks were a pain to pick out. I learned this technique from an educator and I have it a try the other day. I could not believe how easy it was and how little stalk was left in the mix.
I find it quite funny, that I have become such a meat snob. I can honestly say that I have only purchased chicken a few times since I watched Food Inc on Netflix. Even then it was begrudgingly. Yesterday as I went to work I informed my 11 year old daughter that she was going to help with the culling today. She said that she knew that this day was coming and was prepared for it. I was impressed at her maturity. I explained to her that John needed her help so that the ducks suffered little to none, It was our responsibility to make sure this is done properly. I have been telling her for the last year when we were very much vegetarians because I could not participate in inhumane raising of livestock. We ate very little meat in the last few years.
It was a lesson she approached with strength and maturity. It will be her generation that relearn a that meat doesn’t come from cellophane packages. Upon reflection of the day, she was very proud of her accomplishment. She helped to ensure that the animals were treated respectfully and lovingly . I am very proud of my children and their leap into this journey with us. I just wish I could convince my sister who lives in ignorant bliss about the protein she ingests.
Farming has quickly become an every moment thing for us. We are in full swing raising the ducks, turkeys, chickens and rabbits, I have grown quite fond of the ducks, I didn’t want to get the ducks and my husband didn’t want to be the turkeys, We decided that we would try both to see which would mesh better with our rabbitry. We decided that we would get a modest amount to experiment with. I have found that, like the rabbits, the animals value is so much more than the food they provide. By creating a comfort for them, the pool, they are creating an ease in our gardens. Providing a source of nutrients to the soil when we dump the soiled water onto our plants. Each day we live more consciously, each day we realize how much less we need to maintain a sense of balance. This summer has definitely been one of discovery.
We are having a wet summer. A very wet summer. I have found that the weather apps have become my closest allies. I found myself growing irritated by my lack of sunny days to enjoy in the garden. I found that we were having so many rain days that I was harvesting on the sunny days and then spending most of the sunny day inside, processing my harvest. Now thanks to modern technology I am better able to plan my days. I still harvest but just before the rain starts, however, I can then feel better about the processing part as it takes place during the rainfall. I am harvesting peas, Swiss chard, rhubarb, spinach and lettuce.
Most of the lettuce I harvest goes to my rabbits. They absolutely love it. We have many baby bunnies growing. The turkeys and ducks seemed to have doubled in size. We ordered 25 day old chicks that will arrive on August 13th. I have been able to purchase fresh berries and have made a total of 18 jars of jam. I am slowly watching our pantry fill up once again. It is great to know that all next winter we will be eating great food.People are purchasing our eggs, laying claims to our extra turkeys, ducks and chickens. Farming has become extremely satisfying. People love to tour our little farm. The transformation of our lawn has become so much more to look at. Our ducks travelling around in a little pack is so entangling. We just cannot get enough of quality hours in the day anymore. We bought a pool for our ducks. They absolutely love it. When asked if we are getting too attached to our animals our answer is no. We made a pack to ourselves to integrity farm. Ducks love water..it only made sense to get them a pool. Their lives will be short but their lives will be loved.
I have to admit I am a bit of a lazy gardener. When I was little one of the things I hated most in the world was having to pick rocks and weeds out of our garden. When we first started to keep rabbits we used to go out every night and pick greens for them. It was a treat and one that they would look forward to every night. We were able to handpick the greens quite successfully every night in about 15 minutes. The critters were happy and we enjoyed spending time with them.
Our broccoli and pea garden this year was last years tomatoe garden. We have a thing for heritage tomatoes and unique tomatoes so the re-seed of our gardens happends naturally. I am a HUGE fan of surprise plants. Often our gardens will re-seed because of our inability to harvest everything on time, and our compost will end up in the garden. That usually means that cantalope, squash and seeded vegetables will randomly come up. I love it when that happens. I let the random tomatoe plants grow. I can sometimes make rows by selectively picking the plants that have decided to sprout into the garden. Often I can work around the other plants easily. By the end of the garden season I will have a whole new garden which will be a complete surprise.
The tomatoe plants are growling freely amongst the broccoli and peas.