Monday, July 30, 2012
Hard Work and Abundance
5AM....laying in bed, gathering my thoughts about the day I hear John's whistle, loud and commanding, which usually mean one thing, escaped livestock. Then the phone rings, a breathless John, worried that my early training to his whistle in the pre-cell phone days had some how been forgotten. I realize I'm not fast enough for him.
6AM....pigs are resettled into their pen. They hate when the rain transforms their bed into a swimming pool. They had hightailed it towards the tomato houses, across Broadturn Road, where John found them, on the brink of some massive destruction, as they were about to enter the hoophouse full of a season's worth of ripe tomato plants. We asked the crew if they might possible start the vegetable and flower harvest without us as we had to take a little breakfast. There is something about a morning pig hustle that leaves your dander up for a bit.
6:30AM...out to cut the last bit of flowers for the wedding work of the weekend. My very sweet friend, Kimberlee Mitchell of Blue Cloud Farm in South Bristol, was visiting to get a little extra experience under her belt. She is a flower farmer who sells bouquets at the Damariscotta Farmer's Market and is starting to build her wedding flower business. Her field is gorgeous and her work is lovely. Of course, my ability to answer her excellent questions at 6:30 was hampered by a delayed caffeine intake.
7:00AM...the rest of my flower crew arrives, the shop, which I meant to clean at 5 is a wreck. We dive in anyway.
7:15AM....Flora wakes up with no plan for her day....or should I rephrase that to say her parents have no plan for her day.
8:00AM...the rest of John's vegetable harvesting crew arrives, in the rain, ready to roll. A big produce harvest, a full crew for both of us and a day full of work ahead.
8:45AM....Megan, the summer camp co-director calls to say there are 4 wet, shivering kittens dropped at the end of the driveway and asks if I want them.
8:50AM....heart melts upon sight of 4 little kittens
9:00AM....A Plan for Flora's day emerges. She will gather supplies and build them a bed in the store, warm up some fresh cow's milk and muster love enough to make them feel welcome. These are her favorite pastimes.
9AM-3PM....shop full of a revolving set of campers holding kittens, many gorgeous flower arrangements being made and tucked away in the walk-in for delivery on Saturday, CSA customers streaming in to visit the kittens and pick-up some extra flowers or lettuce in the farmstand.
3-4PM...shop full of a revolving set of campers and their parents holding kittens
4PM....disaster averted when we cave to a kitten for Flora. She had an emotional breakdown as they started to get adopted. In between sobs, she confessed to being the cat whisperer and said only she knew best that these kittens, or at least one of them, belonged with her. (ps...if you are the one who dropped off those kittens, consider John's grandfather's technique....a sack, a stone and a swift river).
4:30PM phone call from the British mechanic (for some reason, this make him seem so trustworthy) that our car, gone for 4.5 weeks due to a need for a new hybrid battery and transmission is now ready. WooHoo.
5:15PM....rush hour in Maine....flower bouquets dropped off at Aurora, car picked up. Start dreaming of cold bottle of white wine in fridge.
6:15PM....somehow we ran out of carrots at the CSA pick-up.....haul the truck out to the carrot field and madly harvest a few bunches. White wine will have to wait.
7PM...pour wine to drink while I milk the cow.
Saturday progressed without as much hubbub....the flowers were all delivered, accompanied by the newest addition to our crew, little Daisy.
She even joined us for a getaway up the coast.
(uhm, so no sack, no rock....but these would be the waters where the ancestral kittens met their fate...Flora hated hearing that story)
And, while I wax on about our summer crazy, I am reminded that the pattern for all of us who make our living in food in Maine, means long days, hard work and moments of abundance. John's sister, Layne, is a fisherman. This time of the season, she is out for lobsters. In the winter, she shrimps. Her boat, her life, her work, are all a source of great admiration for me. The price of lobster is way down. The only way to really support the industry is to buy directly from the fishermen themselves. If you are heading up the coast through Bath and you want some lobsters, give Layne a call (207.751.1079). When we all get a family evening to be together, eat lobster with vegetables from the farm on the side, its a real moment for gratitude.
Here's to a very mellow Monday.
In the harvest this week:
summer squash/zucchini and patty pan squash (just a little FYI...these can all be used interchangeably)
I think this is the week for a lovely grilled vegetable bonanza or a delicious ratatouille.
Blessings on the meal-
at 12:57 PM