Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prayers for Pa

I'm waiting for some things to work out.
Kinda like a warlock making a wish. Yup.

While I'm waiting, let's take a look at some things I've been doing.

Before Mother's Day, I replanted my Norfolk pines, which I probably should have done last year.  They like to be pot-bound and typically need to be transferred about every three years, but, this was the fourth year. So, I was a whole year behind and it showed.  My two Norfolks are about 11 years old now!  I got them in 2003 at Whole Foods in Philly when they were petite little ladies to decorate my apartment for Christmas and I still have them.  I'm guessing they were about a year old when I got them. 

Here's one with the planters I was preparing for Mother's Day:
My 11 year old Norfolk pine with some prepared planters for Mother's Day.

I made pretty planters for Mother's Day again this year.  I like giving a beautiful, reusable planter potted carefully with organic soil and organic, heirloom seeds of edibles to the mothers in my family.  The seeds, latent with life, slowly bursting forth with nourishment upon proper tending seems an apt gift for acknowledging motherhood.  This year I gave (organic, heirloom) Sweet Marjoram to my sister and (organic, heirloom) Lettuce Leaf Basil to my mom and my mother-in-law.  My son's teacher also got one planted with Sweet Marjoram (the rooster planter with the marjoram went to the classroom) since she mothers him so carefully and well during the school day.

Sweet Marjoram and Lettuce Leaf Basil planters for Mother's Day.

Oh, and I did plant some stuff in my gardens.  Here's the plan I used:
Chicken Scratch, I know.

Here's the shed garden.  It took a bit of time to weed it and "recondition" it.  We put almost finished compost into the gardens at the end of the season last year and let it overwinter.  The compost gets rained on, snowed on, freezes, then defrosts again etc. and finishes breaking down any bigger pieces.  In the spring, I weed the gardens and finish breaking up any chunky bits of the beautiful, rich compost by hand.  It's quite fun!

My Swiss chard (left) and sage (center) overwintered. 
Just look at all those weeds and tree sh** that fell into the garden!

After a while, I got it to look like this:
Ready to be planted.
On May 9th, I put in (organic, heirloom) cilantro, parsley and a few nasturtiums I had left from last year.  I'm sure the groundhog will eat my cilantro again, but that's OK.  She likes it!

Beware the Elven Archer of Haddonfield:
He Who Guards the Gardens is ever watchful.

Ah ha! A groundhog! Get him!

And the garden is safe once again.

More overwintered chard:

A video of Pa .  This airplane was awesome.

Prayers for Pa!

I might be offline for a bit, so, if you leave a comment, know it is appreciated!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Berry Wranglin'!

Well, it's May! Time to wrangle up some berries down on the farm.

 Just look at those bright red darlings!

Here I am at the farm.  You really shouldn't watch this video.  Nope!
YouTube isn't behaving right now and won't let me upload the thumbnail but click on that link and it'll take you there.  But you shouldn't.

Anyhoo, ya'll know how to pick some berries, right? No?  NO IDEA? Well, here's how:
'Cause I know nobody's got no clue at all how to pick a damn berry.  What was I thinkin'?
 Had to annotate it some to make it a little more excitin' like.

After we picked 'em, we got ta eatin' 'em in style.

Then, we stopped by Katona Farms (just down the road a touch) to get us some asparagusses.

 They had thin, medium and thick asparaguys for all your asparaguy needs.


And I made a farm kitty friend!

I think I'll make some easy strawberry jam with those berries now.

Hasta pronto!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Box O' the Bounty: CSAs!

If you want this...

You gotta get yourself a share! 

If you want fresh, organic (or nearly organic) produce for the entire growing season (around here it is June through November) and you can't (or don't want to) grow your own produce, it's not too late to join a CSA this year!  CSA= Community Supported Agriculture.  For more information on CSAs, check out my overview of CSAs including programs in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area here.   All of those have convenient delivery sites (as in you don't have to drive to the actual farm to pick up the box, the farm delivers the boxes to a pick-up location).  If you are able to drive to the farm itself, though, there are more options--farms that offer a CSA program with pick-up at the farm itself.  (Farms that offer a delivered shares program often also offer on-farm pick up).
This is a really nice article on several additional local CSAs came out last month in South Jersey Magazine, check it out!  It describes more NJ farms that offer CSAs (including Honey Brook) many with on-farm pick up, and provides some interesting background on the CSA program in general.  One farm not mentioned is Fern Brook Farm, and though they do not have any delivered boxes, they do have on-farm pick-up in Chesterfield, NJ (same town as Honey Brook!) but it looks like they are sold out for this season (2013).

2. Wimer's Organics Farm
This is an organic, Lancaster, PA based, cooperative farm that has delivered, boxed shares in many locations in the Pennsylvania 'burbs and Philly proper.  It offers biweekly shares (this is a great thing, trust me!), egg and yogurt shares (if you are interested in that) and "summer" and "fall" shares to split the growing season as this would be the whole season for other CSAs.  The "summer" season is 18 weeks, and the "fall" season is 12 weeks.  The whole growing season is 30 weeks if you roll like that.

If you are in NJ, Honey Brook Organic Farm (the CSA I belong to) still has some shares left (delivered boxed shares) and I'm sure some of the other farms still have shares as well.  They have a large range of delivery sites, so you may be surprised to find a convenient location near you!  

Squirrels eat all my tomatoes, beans, and other good stuff, so I NEED that CSA!!

For gorgeous pictures of what you get in a typical CSA box at Honey Brook Farm at the height of the season, check out this post: September's Bounty (2012).
The precious CSA pumpkin!

Anyway, stay tuned to Vegan Fazool for CSA action starting again in a few's almost here!  

Here are some highlights from the 2012 season:


Oh, and this pie, we LOVE this pie:
Green Leek Pie from June, 2012

The Fresh Garlic alone is worth the CSA! And Garlic Scapes!

And the TOMATOES!!
Oh my word!

And positively giant scallions from weeks #3 and 4 of 2012! 

The peak of the season looks something like this:

Oh, and don't forget THE BEST potatoes in the world come from your CSA:
Oh. My.  These are the only things worth putting my oven on for in August!

Get ready, folks!  The growing season is upon us.