Thanks for Food
Summer is busy for just about everyone I know. There are the visitors, travel and of course camping–be it at music festivals or in the woods. And of course, we gardeners feel the frenzy of the season grow with the lengthening days. And this year, there’s been an added element that has taken up significant time: watering. With Ithaca and this part of the Finger Lakes region having experienced the worst drought in a long, long time… plants have been extremely thirsty.
Since we’re blessed with an overflowing source of water (Buttermilk Creek, from nearby Jennings Pond, which feeds beautiful Buttermilk Falls), we’ve generally been able to water without too much interruption. But we have needed to water a lot this summer.
Lots of five-gallon buckets carried from house to community garden and orchard.
Lots of extra time spent watering the gardens.
And yes, lots of mulching to keep that precious moisture in the ground.
And then there have been the browsers. Most of us are used to the rabbits and deer by now, and have fencing to hopefully keep them at bay–though my old deer fencing I put up when we first moved in is no longer worth its weight in thistles, and the rabbits enjoy leisurely jaunts into the garden for a kale feast. (New fence coming in the fall!)
But as the gardens mature and are more productive, everyone else notices too.
Like the voles, who took out all of my calendula, echinacea and bush bean plants. And have done damage to countless others.
Like the rats, who, in my neighbor Steve’s backyard, have taken to climbing up his corn stalks, nibbling at the base of an ear till it falls, when their little hooligan gangs devour every tasty kernel.
kids eating peas.
Not that it’s all been for naught, of course. Earlier in the summer, the snap peas were the only snack my 17-month-old daughter would eat for weeks on end… she’d toddle over, pull off a pod, take a nibble, and discard for another one. The lettuce and kale are always such a treat, contributing to fresh salads early on. And experimenting with perennial veggies like Turkish rocket, bronze fennel and sea kale, along with my first-year asparagus bed, has been both fun and delicious.
We’ve been sharing cherry tomatoes around the village, with plenty more varieties at the early stages of ripening. And of course, plenty of zucchini being pickled and otherwise put up for colder times. Looking forward, the winter squash and corn in my “two sisters” beds (since the rabbits got the beans) are looking promising as well.
More than anything, these trials continuously impart in me a great respect and thanks for all those who subsistence-farmed in the past, and who continue to feed so many throughout our world today–especially those who do so with minimal chemicals and poisons.
And we’re of course always thankful to the earth for giving us whatever ends up on our plates at the end of the day.
And, an update from 12 White Hawk Ln:
(the new house on the block)
The front of #12, with the balcony that many of the White Hawk kids (and some adults) cannot wait to play on
Rear view: south facing wall full of windows, with an awning just yearning for some grape vines…
This is the first floor with pex tubing for the in-floor radiant heating, pre-concrete
The concrete has been poured!