Visit our website-in-progress:

Monday, October 19, 2009


Liz, Rachel and Brooke are now helping Mike Flowers with his deer-processing operation. First lessons in skinning on Saturday afternoon.

First lesson: experienced people are really, really fast...

Second lesson: deerskinning is really, really hard work...

They came home with some small deer antlers for Eric to use for knapping flint. Brooke says she's going to tan her first hide to make a skirt. We'll see.

Another number to add to our growing stash of Scottsboro statistics (thirty pounds of garlic plants out to about 600 linear feet, 200 tons of compost, 8000 pounds of summer squash, 16 quarts of pesto, and so on): neighborhood deer-processing results in 140,000 pounds of bones each year.

Third lesson: sometimes there is nothing more to say.

Country Store

On the neon sign down at Lewis Country Store on the corner:

New Fall Merchandise...

Scarfs, Hats, Purses...

Live Bait

Not quite haiku, but close. It's a pretty nice store, but we're still in the country!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Jeff Poppen has been here the last couple of days, and, in spite of the rain, worked all day with Zach, our heavy-equipment-equipped neighbor, on compost.

One of the windrows is 225 feet long, 15 feet wide, 5 feet high--just to give you some idea of the scale of this operation.

They layered up fair-doo, old hay, manure, and woodchips, raking it all out and fishing out fair-trash. And dosing it with biodynamic juju preps. And it was all tucked in by the time Tom and I got home from the hospital after seven.

Zach estimates (and he is very experienced at moving large quantities of stuff) that we'll have more than 200 tons of compost for next spring's garden. (There has been some discussion about whether the wood chips will be completely broken down.)

We do give thanks for the gifts we are given, and so offer up gratitude to Jeff, Zach, other workers and neighbors who helped out, Glenn for wood chips, the fair's assiduous manure-producers, and the men who loaded, transported and dumped the 18 or so fairdoo dumpsters in our pasture. Even if there was a lot of trash mixed in. No thanks for rain on this particular day.

(Pic of Jeff on a fairer day last spring, talking about garden plan.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Planting: from EricTheFarmer

Fall Planting!!!

-chard (three kinds!)
-collard greens
-bok choi
-chinese cabbage
-broccoli (pac man)
-turnips (purple top, amber globe)
-radish (watermelon, chinese rose, daikon)

In storage:
-butternut squash, acorn squash, kabocha, buttercup, sweet dumplin, carnival, kushaw, old time tn pumpkin, jarsdale pumpkin, etc.
-red onions!

Greenhouse Redo

Justin on ladder. I thought we had weird fire dance pictures, but can only find this one of Liz and Tom looking startled by flash. Pre-combustion.

Greenhouse Redo and Fire Ritual

Our neighbor Sean (a genuine red-headed irishman, complete with brogue and and infinite set of practical skills) re-roofed--well, re-plasticked--the greenhouse, along with a few volunteers. Justin, visiting from Atlanta, sent these pictures, and that is Justin up on the ladder, clicking in the zigzag wire clips into the rails.

Sean's greenhouse rites include the ritual burning of the cardboard tube that was inside the roll of plastic. The tube becomes a chimney, venting hot smoke, and then slowly turning, bottom up, into a column of golden leaves of ash and collapsing into itself. Another moment of bizarre magic. Perhaps enhanced by resident pagans Rachel and Buddy in a less magical moment of dance. Or not.

Edit: Bizarre. And strange. Or not. But it is only the greenhouse we re-plasticked, not a few volunteers. It's safe to visit...

Watermelon and Rain

The incessant rain and gloom paradoxically reminds me of that day last summer when I was home alone, for a change, and went out to look around the garden.

Feeling wonderfully wanton and wasteful (as well as alliterative), I smashed a watermelon on the ground and sat in a patch of sunshiny grass eating untidy brilliant handfuls of watermelon heart. Lulu the mastiff swiped a piece and huddled over it like a bone.

Of course, such self-satisfaction is inevitably short-lived. The calves pushed open the gate I had left unlatched and headed for me, watermelon, beans, peppers and celery, bent on havoc. Fortunately, Eddie and Patrick happened by and the three of us rounded them up and turned them back out into the pasture. Lulu was no help at all.

Like so much that we enjoy: a small messy handful of memory, delicious on a dark afternoon dripping with rain.

Kitchen Picture in Tennessean

Charming article about Tuesday's cooking in our kitchen. Even a kitchen picture with Brooke, wine glass, Chris, Rachel, Kay, and Maddy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Brook and Pesto and Heresy

This is homage to Brook, our animating gracious spirit, who seems to appear at all the right times to add a jolt of style to the farm and the farm table.

Here she is at last Saturday's potluck with butternut squash latkes--maybe not exactly like your grandma used to make in Brooklyn, but truly excellent.

It was a fine day, in spite of the stormy morning. Around noon the sun appeared and we had a sparkling autumn day, with bright-edged clouds scudding overhead and a little breeze.

After lunch and the garden tour, we made pesto, while Sean and a few volunteers re-roofed the greenhouse for the winter.

I'm not so hot with names, but I know Kathleen, the ricotta lady, came, along with neighbors Kathleen and Jim, and several other households. I know Scott, an ex-surfer from Santa Cruz, and Will, Long Hungry Creek Farm's resident leprechaun look-alike, were here, helping strip basil off the stems, and working on the greenhouse repairs.

Some of Julia's pesto didn't quite get the parmesan included (anyone who knows Julia will laugh affectionately at this point!) but is pretty good nonetheless.

My recipe, adapted from the Silver Palate cookbook:

2 cups washed, dried, packed basil leaves
1 cup pine nuts (get the big packages from Costco, although I must confess they are imports from China)--or walnuts
5-6 cloves garlic

Process above in food processor.

Add 1 cup olive oil slowly
Large pinch of salt
1 cup plus a little mixed parmesan and romano cheese


Pack in jars, using table knife to eliminate air pockets (pesto will turn dark exposed to air, though will still taste good), and cover with a thin layer of olive oil.

This will keep for months in your fridge!

How to eat?

We like it on fettucine. Mix pesto with a little pasta water to warm it up, and use some cream to thin it and help it spread around the pasta. I like a little yogurt, too, but Tom thinks this is pesto heresy. (But the only punishment heretics get around here is a little verbal needling, so heresy abounds.)

Or put it on grilled salmon. Or chicken sandwiches.

More Food and yet more Foodies

Too busy doing--well, other stuff--to blog.

But a legendary Tuesday dinner, amongst all the legendary Tuesday dinners, last week. Chris, an IT guy who likes to cook--clearly a vast understatement for someone who appears in our kitchen with his own Sabatier knives in a rolled-up sheath--showed up. So, in addition to Kay's usual superb turnout, we had Chris' grass-fed steaks, grilled, topped with his own home-cured pancetta. Then, peach icecream and a lovely odd lavender/pear ice cream. (Plus, of course, Kay's peach pie.)

There was a reverent silence in the Church of Outdoor Dining. Prayer can take many forms.

We still think about Chris several times a week, when Tom, who has carefully hidden the homemade bacon from careless and underappreciative consumers, slips it out, and skillet-fries a couple of slices. Which are then savoured with that small-bite, closed-eyes, chin-up concentration usually reserved for an excellent port, really good chocolate, or, minus the bite, sampling the evanescent citrus aroma of a night-blooming cereus.

Chris, wherever you are, come back, come back. Bringing gifts.

(pix from Justin H.)