Thursday, September 8, 2011

Regarding Potato and Worm Family proliferation

Saraiah regarding the ring on an earthworm: "Mom, this worm must have married another worm, because it has a ring on it." 
Me in reply: "What's the ring for?" 
 Saraiah: "Making babies."
Me:" That makes sense."

This guy was a little cuter than the married earth worm

Today was the first day of school for most kids in our town, but we were the exception.  I am glad the kids get to be home for some the best weather of the year, and also for the fall harvest.  I am reminded what a relic the summer vacation really is, and how sad it is that it no longer has a practical purpose.
When families do not grow food, they do not need the kids to help harvest it, thus summer vacation is moot, and sometimes a nuisance.  We're starting homeschool and our co-op on Monday, and we do quite a lot of work, so that when we do begin, we won't be able to get outside to work till mid afternoon.  

This means that this week is a frenzy of activity, trying to soak in the freedom of summer, while simultaneously doing the many jobs that need doing: goat shearing, chicken coop cleaning, potato and chamomile harvesting, cabbage harvest, onions too.  And on top of that, my in-laws surprised me by beginning to build me a barn for my birthday...even with my birthday over 2 months away!    
The girls and I worked hard on potato harvesting, but even at 2pm, it was very hot today.  We got a large basket filled, and then decided we had worked hard enough, and went inside for me to give Brandon (husband) a haircut.  I was very happy that the potatoes and tomatoes that I blogged about starting are all doing very well, and even in this wet summer, I was able to get one nice fat little sweet pepper from my pepper plants, with many smaller ones coming on.  The rest of the garden wasn't as productive, however, because I put all of my attention into these things, and because the wet spring rotted a lot of the seed.
proudly displaying her potato
I have decided that planting potatoes on the surface of the ground, with mounds of soil over them is the ideal way to grow on our wet property.  The little potato families of 8-10 seeds that we planted have yielded many large and healthy potatoes, mainly scab free.  The ones that had scab on them were the ones buried a little below the regular level of our soil.  I decided to try this method partially because I had read that the Azteks built Tenochtitlan, their main city, on an island in the middle of a lake.  Out of necessity, they created artificial islands on which to grow crops.  This is essentially what we created for our happy potato families, and they responded by being quite productive.

The tomato families are doing wonderfully too, even the ones that I started very late.  All the petting and pinching back we did has yielded some very healthy looking Stupice and Roma tomatoes, many of which are ripening and becoming a lovely snack/breakfast/lunch food.  The plants will be pulled up before the first frost (hopefully) and put into the garage to finish ripening the last of the crop. 

These are the buds I hope to harvest to make Balm of Gilead

I have become good friends with an herbalist who has given me an herb to try to promote healing in my injured foot.  It's called Yerba Mansa, or Anemopsis Californica, and is one of the few plants the native Chumash people, (she is half Chumash) of California, actually cultivated, because it is that effective.  I also had a conversation with the head of Cedar Mountain Herb School, which teaches wild crafting with local herbs.  She recommended making an oil with cottonwood buds, called "Balm of Gilead", It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  Also, she said I could make an oil with willow bark as well. I would assume that's for pain relief, since aspirin is derived from the willow.  Even exactly one year after I injured my foot, I again am able to have hope that it might heal.  Now doing all that bark and bud harvesting...I wonder how I will get the time for that.

potato harvesting!

first we pulled away the weeds

then we dug in the hills (dry!)

Out came a potato!

Weeds and dying potato plants

Just beneath the soil

she found a baby one

this was a very coveted caterpillar among the girls

the potato patch.  Only 1/3 or 1/4 harvested. 

Happy Romas

Inchworm on my calendula flower

Did I mention there are blackberries to be gathered too?  Reminds me of the line of the hymn , I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food."

Parting shot:  Yesterday, we ran into our good friend while walking on a trail near the big kids' taekwondo studio.  She  always makes me smile.  You can see her walking away right behind Saraiah's helmet.  


  1. Awww... Thanks Angie. You make me smile too. P

  2. Oh my goodness, she is so precious! :) I am a new follower of your blog! :) Erin

  3. thanks for following! your blog looks really fun too!

  4. Your potatoes look great! I love Saraiah's hat. What a cute farm girl she is!


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