Monday, September 19, 2011

Foraging in the early fall...

I love this time of year. The air smells so clean and fresh and it is warm but also cool and never hot.

I love that I can snack my way around the yard while filling a bowl with goodies for dinner. Like the other night: roasted green and wax beans, cucumber salad, chicken (from the infamous chickies ruining the mud room escapade) and for dessert, melon (not from the garden) with plump blackberries cascading over the top. Everything was perfect. No fancy seasonings..just fresh taste.

It always amazes me just how good food can taste when it is truly fresh. Why did people ever want to stop gardening. Did they leave their taste buds home when they started shopping at the store. I can never quite understand that.

I have gotten so spoiled by homegrown foods that it is hard to buy even good produce at the store, and just forget meat. I used to think it was just tomatoes and corn that tasted better when grown at home. (That was when I mostly grew tomatoes and corn.) But then I added carrots and potatoes to the list. And then beans, and peas, and kale, and broccoli. Now I even think cabbage and beets must be grown at home because there is simply no comparing them.

I believe I am becoming a food snob. I really don't mean to be. Honest I don't. It is just that I can't help noticing the difference.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Strike, crash, boom

Remember when our house got struck by lightning a couple of years ago right around Thanksgiving. Well, when the lightning was jetting around from our house through all the electricity lines around the farm, it ended up jumping to one of our very tall fir trees and swirling up (or was it down?) the tree in a beautiful spiral.

It left behind a long spiral burn mark on the tree starting thick at the bottom (this is why I think it went up) and peetering out fairly near the top. The force of the strike also split off the top of this very majestic fir and sent it flying into the pasture below where it pierced the grass like a skewer. All in all, very dramatic.

And while we admired the beauty of the burn mark, and the power of the lightning, we feared it would kill the tree. All last year we watched as the tree slowly lost it's vitality. Late last winter it finally died.

Ever since then, Steve's been itching to get out there and cut it down, But last winter and spring the pasture was too wet. When it dried out this summer Becca was in the middle of her daycamp sessions.  And with Becca's campers around he didn't dare fall it in case it got hung up or something on the way down. Trees can be unpredicatable in how they fall and he didn't want to create an unsafe situation that he might not be able to get back to for a few days. Thank you Steve.

So today, his first day out of the office since Becca finished her camps, he jumped at the chance to cut that tree down.  He bought some extra equipment because the tree was so big, he didn't want to take any chances.  He spent sometime on youtube watching professionals fall especially large trees. And then this morning he spent a couple of hours diddling around inside, which I later figured out was his way of gearing up because it was a big, dangerous job and he wanted to do it right.

Then he made us promise to keep the puppies inside the house, shoe-ed Becca and I out of the pasture where we were picking blackberries and then asked Aidan to come out and help. I made Steve promise to watch out for Aidan.

About 15 minutes after he started sawing, the chainsaw stopped and I heard this very loud CRACK. And then a louder boom. I saw the tree go by out of the corner of my eye and I knew it was down. We went outside (leaving the puppies in still) to investigate and there was the tree. Lying all the way across the pasture exactly where Steve said he was going to drop it,

Good job Steve,

It took the whole rest of the day (with many helpers) to clean up and stack the slash and limbs which will make good firewood this winter. That's a lot of tree to take that long to clean up.

Now he is in search of a portable mill because he would really rather make some wood than firewood out of this beautiful tree. Let's hope he finds one.