Weather Drama

I am determined to get back to writing again in the next week, but for now I will share my latest piece that just ran in the fall Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association fall newsletter. For those of us farming in Maryland (and most everywhere else) climate change is hitting home.  Whether it was the release of the new USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map, this summer’s drought, last summer’s flooding, or learning the new word “derecho”, we have all been facing pretty regular weather drama.  My children know exactly how to handle a tornado warning now and it seems …

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Searing Heat – Nature Bats Last

So I never should have laughed at the heat wave and thought I had it covered with my cucumber water, nature bats last.  The heat has been unrelenting, overpowering, nerve fraying and exhausting.  Screen time in the house has gone up, creative play has hit rock bottom.  We are counting the hours until the heat is supposed to break. On the farm, first our chard and lettuce fried.  That was reasonable, it’s summer.  But than it got personal.  Our cucumbers, the cooling, abundant, gazpacho powering cucumbers — withered in the heat.  They are a summer crop, they got some water, …

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Surfing the Huge Heat Wave

First an overwhelming and unrelenting heat. My fellow farm blogger wrote about the heat here on her blog “A Year on the Farm” and it is good to know we are not alone. Spring was suddenly banished, sent sprinting off to northern Canada, and we were thrown into blazing hot days. Then a storm came through with winds so strong and loud it felt like another world, like a dream.  My two year old immediately recognized the wind sounded wrong, scary! She sat up in bed and yelled, “need Daddy, now!” With the strange powerful wind came cool air and …

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Cucumber Water: Take that, heat wave

It is very hot and too dry in Maryland, right now. It is the kind of heat that comes with pages of warnings attached to it on weather.com. We are laying low inside, without central air it is an effort to keep cool and hydrated. Somehow, my husband is out there doing farm work anyway, mostly irrigating and trying to keep crops from frying in the field.  At least the tomatoes are happy out there.  And the cucumbers, we are picking three kinds right now – regular slicers, Armenian and Indian Poona. Inside, I have been coming up with all …

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A Sunflower Seed and How I Got it Wrong

I recently took my children to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. After the party, the children were offered a choice of party favors. I was surprised when my 5-year-old son, the farm boy (like, we actually live on a farm), chose a little plastic pot with a seed in it (guaranteed to grow, just add water). I started coaching him to choose something else, saying, “Leave the seeds for other children. You have millions of seeds at home, so maybe a new eraser for school?” But he dug in and brought the pot home. As a mother, I should really learn to keep my mouth shut, because I …

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Why Toddler Picked Flowers are the Best

My children brought me these beautiful flowers this morning when I really needed a lift.  I was trying to finish a giant writing project on a deadline (a grant proposal) and I was feeling stressed and exhausted when they came bounding in with a great sampling of every single thing blooming in the front yard from tiny to large. I love how young children pick flowers — they go right for the bloom and pull off the very top. They  have zero interest in the things that stress out flower farmers like getting the right stem length.  And once they …

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Compostable Toys and Farm Photos

Again, I am guilty of not keeping up with the farm blog now that the farm is kicking into the real season.  We are so busy with the CSA, selling flowers to a wholesaler and trying to connect with more chefs that writing has been falling by the wayside, and so many writing ideas are slipping away! That’s OK, I will keep trying. I have to share this photo I took of a project my two year old did with the newly harvested baby squash.  She spent a long time moving them around and arranging them until she was happy …

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Lessons from Sunflower Seeds and Shelling Peas

There is so much happening on the farm now, it is hard to find time to write about it. We are already into our fourth week of the CSA season, and strawberries are sadly winding down already.  Deer attacked our late strawberry planting, so the season will end a little earlier than we hoped.  We are also harvesting spring onions, radishes, tons of lettuce, spinach, arugula, cilantro and peas. A couple of weeks ago we went to a birthday party and one of the party favors was a little plastic pot with sunflower seeds that children could water and watch …

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Spring on the Farm

I thought I would share some images of a few things happening on the farm. We are picking our first delicious strawberries – they are Chandlers and they are coming in beautifully right now.  My daughter (she is 2)  calls them Princess Berries and she plans to grow them when she grows up.   Of course picking and eating strawberries is great fun and the children love it. They are showing up in pancakes and smoothies too and will go into our first CSA shares that we deliver tomorrow. Last week, these two new hives of bees sat on my mantle …

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Kale Chips: A Surprising Hit with Preschoolers and Recipe

Last week, my sweet boy turned 5 and we celebrated by hosting his preschool class at our farm for a treasure hunt, pony rides with a neighbor, and lunch. He originally requested a party at one of those indoor bouncy centers, so I was very happy that we were able to coax, sell, and redirect him toward a homespun farm party. The day before the party, my husband brought in a large bag of tender baby kale from the farm–the first of the spring new growth. When I asked my son what we should serve as a snack for the …

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