A Place For The Future Past


Beets and Babies
June 25, 2007, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

Last week we harvested beets, pulling several pounds worth. The beets Em cooked and canned; the tops I blanched, divided into baggies and froze. A few beets I snagged from the cookpot and chopped up for killer borscht (served warm or cold). We peed bright red for days. The only problem with the borscht was I didn’t make enough, it seemed to melt away as we were all dipping and tasting, snagging a mug here and a bowl there.
Today I made a huge pot of it, hoping to be able to freeze some of it — if we can keep our purple-dyed paws out of it.

Spinach has all bolted, and the old plants cleared to make room for growing eggplant and cauliflower. Some of the growing thyme, basil and sage have been moved out to the little kitchen garden with the wooden bridge. There it joins rosemary, winter savory, lemon balm, mint and dill.
Tomatoes are setting fruit and onions are growing rapidly, as are the leeks and bush beans Lettuce will be soon past its prime, soon it will need clearing and their beds refortified and resown.

In the forest, foxglove, daisy and columbine are blooming, with a very few remaining iris. During a trailclearing session was discovered an orange tiger lily, hopefully there will be more. And wild rose is everywhere, Em has so far been thwarted by the quickly changeable weather in gathering petals — best done on a hot day after a hard rain, the scent is best then for beadmaking. Hopefully today will be the day…..

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In the barn, all babies are eating well and growing like weeds — which is cutting into the milk-for-cheese supply. But soon weaning will begin in earnest, already some of the mothers are starting to cut off their kids after a few moments, and the kids are nibbling at hay, grass and mash. In the house, Wikka and Winnifred are doing very well, little Winni is a far cry from the glassy-eyed rag doll she once was. Still the tiniest, she is gaining on the others in size and strength. Wonka has been getting leash lessons in anticipation for his grand entry into the Pe Ell Fourth of July parade (yes I must make a little goat sized costume). He has already made a few forays in to town with Em and Red, causing quite a few second and third takes. Ladies have been known to leave their registers and customers unattended to come out and gush over the little guy, who is fast gaining the reputation of being quite the ladies man. We occasionally have drop in visitors to visit and look over our “operation”, but no fear — Em has been keeping a spotless barn, and the manure gets raked regularly and put into the gardens and compost piles — next years’ gardens should be double the size and scope of this year……

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Inside, one of my biggest challenges has been to create a working space that helps to keep me on task — previously my sewing area has been a tiny cornet of the living room. However I have come to realize that such a strategy has kept me from my machines — it’s too tempting to follow the call of the outdoors and grab a shovel or loppers or rake or reins and leave my workbasket untouched. So a large area facing the windows and the unparalleled view of the giant maple tree has been commandeered and is slowly developing into a work area. I will just have to make the effort at keeping my projects neat and put away when not working, so it does not get out of control. Easier said than done when my usual method is to work at least four projects at any one time…..

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