Saturday, September 11, 2010

basil

Earlier in the year, when I purchased trays of seedlings from a local non-profit, I had ordered one tray of basil.  I don't remember this, but apparently it's true because I have a whole row of basil.  Unfortunately the CSA has plenty of basil so can't purchase it from me.  But I go through a lot of basil at home in spaghetti and pizza sauce, which we make at least every week, so keeping it is not a problem.  I went to the farm today to cut and collect my basil so I can hang it to dry and put it in jars.  There is so much of it.  It's wonderful.  I foresee personal, homemade Christmas presents.  I hope it is the right variety for the flavor I'm looking for (that classic flavor you buy at the store). There was so much of it I filled a wheel barrel to overflowing and there's still a third of the crop left!  The SUV smells so good.

While I was at the farm I gleaned the other ripe crops and decided to grab some carrots, too, for the week.  Problem was... and this is the most stereotypical, city-slicker, hilarious-yet-humiliating mistake... I had just gotten a manicure.  Yes.  A manicure.  And pulling the carrots made me chip the paint on one of my nails.  ha ha.  So that endeavor came to an end.

I brought my dog with me.  OK, OK, it's not really my dog.  It's my neighbor's dog but I pretend she's mine.  I bring her to the farm as often as I can.  She just loves to romp around the fields.  It's like doggie heaven.  Plus she's nice protection.  Not that I'm really afraid.  OK, who am I kidding.  I'm never afraid.  When the acclaimed  Zogby poll called and asked me, amongst their survey questions, if I felt "safe in my neighborhood"  I replied "yes".  Even though there are drug dealers outside my back window.  ha ha.  I digress... One time another farmer was working in his field next to me.  We worked peacefully next to each other for hours and then out of the blue my dog starts barking at him.  I try calling her back and walk toward her to, hopefully, grab her collar, but she keeps moving forward until we were a few feet from that poor other farmer.  I started backing up and that did the trick.  The dog was trying to stay between us.  I locked her in the car and apologized to that poor other farmer but he was totally cool about it.  He said, when the sun went down it probably made the dog more wary, or maybe her vision wasn't great in the dim light.  Anyway, I learned my lesson.  I wouldn't let her roam free near other people again, though the situation hasn't arisen.

At home I grouped the basil into small bunches with rubber bands and then hung them upside down to dry.  The hanging required some real ingenuity.  I used a 60ft extension cord, because it was strong and I didn't have any twine.  Then I clipped the stems to the extension cord with tie-wraps.  There is quite a bit of basil there.  It's in the garage and when we open the garage door I almost wonder if the neighbors think we are harvesting marijuana or something because it looks like a mass production of herbs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I had promised some jalapenos and tomatoes to the CSA I am a part of, yesterday.  So after work, at dusk actually, I took my 2 and 6 year old with me to the farm to collect jalapenos and tomatoes.  I knew it was a crap-shoot taking them with me.  They could enjoy it.  More likely they would make my peaceful-nature-savoring-enjoyment-all-to-myself  time absolutely miserable.  Of course they did the latter.  But I had to take that gamble because now that I'm working  at my new job the kids don't see me all day and I'm a firm believer that children spell love: T-I-M-E.  I had actually had a horrible day at work but I didn't want to take it out on the kids because that's not fair to them, so we sang songs on the way up.  We sang the old Sunday-school song: "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart...."  And then I explained to Dimitri that that song is particularly fun to sing if you are Cambodian (which he is) because in Khmer (Cambodian language) joy means the f-word.  ha ha.

 So we get there.  It's getting quite dark quite fast.  I've got zip lock baggies and I'm collecting jalapenos in bags of five.  I get 25 or 30 bags of them so that was a great success.  Then some cherry and sungold tomatos in the cute little pint containers I buy at the restaurant supply store for $.25.  I was supposed to pick up a dozen full sized tomatoes too, for the drop, but I accidentally left them at the farm.  It was for the best though because they were not of the quality that I would want to (figuratively) put my name on. 

 So, as I said, the kids were miserable.  Saphira cried some and made me hold her a lot- which is perfectly understandable given that the weeds are up to her shoulders (embarrassed blush).  Dimitri kept trying to steal my keys because he wanted to turn on the car and practice driving!  He got them on two occasions and I had to chase him once and I hit him the second time, which completely goes against my discipline views, so I spent the next half hour debating, in my head, as to whether spanking/hitting is ever appropriate in discipline and if I crossed a line, or is it necessary in the same way that you may need to slap a baby's hand when they try to touch something hot.  (Of course, in that situation, you would always remove the temptation.  But in some hypothetical situation in which you could not remove the source of heat.  Say, you live in a cabin and cook on a fire and have no fencing.)

I finished harvesting the crops.  I drove to the drop off point.  At this point it is pitch black outside.  Thankfully there were other farmers there making drops so it didn't seem so eerie.  Dimitri, at one point dropped a pint of tomatoes.  I thought they all had fallen (thankfully only some did).  I wanted to cry.  But I remained calm.  I got to show the kids the walk in refrigerator, which is pretty cool.  It's inside a small feeder truck.  If you could see it, you would die.  It's loaded with fresh organic fruits and vegetables from local farms.  It smells so good.  There are crates and crates of peaches and cantaloupe.  You can almost taste them. 

I left the tomatoes in the outside drop off point because it's not good to refrigerate or wash those. 

And with that, we were off, to hit the hay and start a new day tomorrow.  Hopefully a better one.