Thursday, April 19, 2012

urban farm

I love that our neighborhood is so established that we have giant pines like these, even though we're squarely in the city limits of Charlotte. When I get tired (working two part-time, in-between jobs, living in-between a conventional life and the homestead life we're striving toward), it's medicine to sit in the backyard and stare up at these trees.  They seem content enough to stay where they're rooted; they have sunlight, the beautiful moon, and nourishing rain.  I can make it work here, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

figlets in the afternoon

Our fig tree produces two harvests - one late spring/early summer, and one closer to August.  The first harvest is tentative and smaller, the second is the mother load when we make jars and jars of drunken fig jam. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

The bunnies in the freezer wouldn't make much of an Easter photo, so we asked Franc to stand in.  He didn't hardly mind at all  is secretly afraid of everything (Cash, chickens, airplanes, blow dryers, vacuums, loud noises, quiet noises, new places, new furniture in old places, starvation, the Apocalypse), including internet humiliation, but don't worry.  He was bribed generously and by now, he's used to it.  (We may have a rich, meaningful family tradition dating back to another life that involves homemade get-ups for holidays.) (Your apparent disdain reveals your hidden admiration.) (I might have a problem.)

*When do you turn in to your mother?  I became mine when I first dressed my babies in homemade outfits and started publicly displaying the photos.

Friday, April 6, 2012


After a slow and demoralizing start, things are finally starting to come together in our aquaponic beds. We're ready for some pay-off after digging out the pond, investing in the liner, buying the clay balls and working to set it all up.  Favorite thing about aquaponics: no weeding required.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How do you solve a problem like broccoli flowers?

I go straight to the experts.

If you've never grown broccoli before (and this is our first time, too) and you're a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-overalls sort of gardener in an unseasonally warm spring, you might get in trouble.  You might start to see tiny buds that resemble broccoli forming on your plants. You might get excited, but acknowledge their tiny size and carry on your business.  The next day, your tiny buds might be flowers and you might scratch your head wondering how you missed part where the broccoli plant grew broccoli.  You might realize too late that your plants are not supposed to flower.   

When you turn to gardening books for advice, they will make you feel like an idiot by giving you advice about preventing the flowers.  They will cause you to fear that it's too late.

But don't despair!  Luckily for all of us, your beautiful broccoli flowers are as edible as the rest of the plant, and they taste kind of like broccoli and kind of like honey.  If the buds are still semi-closed, the flowers should hold their shape if they're cooked, but they're lovely in a salad or as a greenhouse snack. While you're eating the flowers, go ahead and eat the leaves and stalks, too. Put aside your fear that they'll be woody and tough like the stems of the store-bought vegetable: unless you grow your broccoli til the stalks are the size of small tree trunks, the whole plant will be delicious.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wonderful choices are easier on Tuesdays.

Monday was hard.  All day at work I had clients with terrible problems and terrible attitudes.  I rushed home to wash dishes and start on my (million item) to-do list.

I took this picture out my car window at a stop light just off my exit, because the wildness and the flowers pleased me. When I got home, I spent some time wandering around the yard checking on the Growing Things - the fig tree gaining tiny, hard green fruit, the dried, gnarly grape vine advancing tiny florescent leaves. It was peaceful and nourishing, and then I went inside, freaked out about my messy kitchen, and yelled at my husband.

The world is a beautiful place, and I am in it. Somehow, I have to learn to turn off the frantic inside me and just take in the wonderful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

chard for all

Between the greenhouse and weather we've had this spring (downright hot), the seeds we started a month ago are already producing more than we can eat.  Today I brought a grocery bag of swiss chard to share with my coworkers.

It's nice to have something to share so early in the season.  Soon I hope we'll have a handle on how much our garden and greenhouse can produce beyond what we need.  At that point, we'll either try a micro C.S.A. or set up shop at the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market.  Til then, chard for all!