Driving home from an appointment in Albuquerque late this afternoon, a heavy storm could be seen east of the farm, bringing what looked significant moisture. Nearby areas west had already received this moisture. Not expecting the storm to travel in our direction, we arrive at home. Winds begin to blow. We wait. Large drops of rain begin to fall and continue for several minutes. The first significant storm of the season! Rejoicing and thanksgiving abound!
The early morning is quiet here. Younger children rest a bit more, while young and older adults begin the day anew. The brilliant morning sun peaks over the horizon spilling light onto the crops; crops that needed respite from the intense heat of the past day.
Farmer's wife steps out into the fresh morning air. A time to see how the garden is faring, delighted to see the resiliency of plants, which by evening, are weary of this dry summer heat and wind. This morning they are refreshed. Looking carefully through various plantings of vegetables, inspecting for pests and disease, baby vegetables are growing below vivid yellow blossoms.
Blossoms are inhabited by bees. A lovely sound is heard - bees busily doing the work they were designed for.
Grateful for each new morning and the opportunity to see vibrant life here on the farm and within our walls. Another day on the farm has begun.
Each morning is cool and refreshing, quickly turning to hot and dry. We are irrigating with less water... running behind... continuing to pray. We see the crops suffering and wonder the outcome. Farming anywhere has it's challenges, we know. We count our blessings and we wait, sometimes not so patiently... continue to put our hands to the many tasks at hand... seek to maintain a right perspective... enjoy the six blessings right before us.
On approximately three acres on the farm, we have a market garden. It also serves as our personal garden. In this garden we grow a wide variety of vegetables for personal consumption and for sale at our Farm Market and a few local grower's markets. In this garden we grow: Black-eyed Peas, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Cucumbers, Gourds, Green Beans, Kale ,Onions, Peas, Peppers, Pie Pumpkins, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes and Winter Squash. Today we (Mr. Mallett, Mrs Tune and I) worked on weeding, which is done by hand over the course of a few days. Weeding is one of my favorite jobs. So satisfying to see wilting weeds around lovely, lively plants. My favorite garden tool? a hula or stirrup hoe. If you have never used one, it is so much more efficient over the traditional hoe. What is your favorite garden job and tool?
Tonight, after supper, the children and I venture out to catch Farmer Dean hilling potatoes.
What is hilling potatoes? It is the process of putting additional soil around the base of your potato plants.
Why hill potatoes? The extra aerated soil allows these tubers to expand more easily. The extra soil on top of the potatoes keeps them from sun exposure. Hilling also keeps the potatoes from sitting in excess water, as it sheds off the potato hill. Additionally, hilling aids in weed control and during harvest, hilling allows for easier digging of those tasty, long awaited potatoes.
How often do we hill potatoes? Usually, Farmer Dean hills once the plants emerge, without covering the plant entirely. Then once again at beginning of bloom, when the plants are approximately a foot tall.
Must you use soil to hill? If the extra soil is not available, you can use mulch, such as straw, to accomplish hilling.
On my way home from the potato patch, I could not pass up showing you the deep green bolitas growing in the field nearby, as the sun dips down on another day on the farm.