I feel like the seasons at the peaks of the year (high summer and deep winter) are some of the most elemental. In deepest winter, the elements visit us daily in the form of regular fires in the stove, blustery days, endless rain, and mud on our boots. In the peak of summer, we find ourselves in daily kneeling contact with the earth, afternoon often brings dynamic breezes across the fields, and we immerse ourselves in that beautiful cool flowing water of the river as often as possible (as well as spend countless hours moving irrigation pipe across the fields!). Fire, usually, comes in the form of the SUN and its vibrant heat.
But, this last week, air and fire visited our farm in unexpected forms. You may remember that on Wednesday, I wrote a newsletter extolling the mild (so far) summer. Of course, no surprise, the next day brought warmer temperatures to the valley, and everyone at pick-up suggested that I somehow jinxed us all (what power this newsletter would have if that were true!). But that brief heat wasn’t to last, and as part of the subsequent shift back to milder weather, the afternoon turned quite blustery. Windy even. Hot and windy. Before too long, we heard sirens and saw many firetrucks racing down 2nd St (Facebook told me it was likely to a brush fire in the county). Interesting, I thought.
As I drove home myself later, I was struck by just how windy it had become. Many hazelnut orchards on my drive had recently been cleared and mowed, and the dust blowing across the roads was incredible — like a desert storm.
Then, as I drove on to the island, and toward our intersection, I saw several emergency vehicles parked on Grand Island Rd, just down the road from our house. Next to my parents’ field and the land we own across the creek.
I drove down cautiously to see if I could learn what was happening. A neighbor told me that a tree in the creek had fallen in the wind and snapped a power line in two, leaving two live wires on the ground on either side of the creek — one in my parents’ field and one in the field we own but rent out. Between the wind, the electricity, and the dry brush, fires started quickly. Thankfully our neighbor saw it happen and called the fire department immediately. Both fires were put out before any damage was done to property or to crops, and no people were injured. Hoorah for fast first responders! We are so grateful for our volunteer Dayton firefighters!
Casey took a photo of the burned area this weekend:
Again, we are so grateful that our neighbors near and far were able to quickly end this story in a positive way. Fire, like all the elements, can be very scary when out of control! And last year’s wildfires in the region (including the one that burned around Holden Village) instilled in us great respect for how Small Things can grow into Big Things.
But, Casey also found himself a little fascinated by the question of what our field would be like if the fire had spread. Because we live in a region that was shaped by fire — both by regular wildfires that would clean out the undergrowth in our forests but also here in the valley, where people would intentionally burn fields regularly in order to maintain cultivated fields of camas for fall harvest. We live in an era when intentional fire setting feels so very irresponsible, but it used to be part of the routine of living here. Our imaginations often wander to those previous times and those previous occupants — what this landscape looked like to them, how it felt to live here.
Thankfully, the rest of our week was less eventful, although still very elemental. Plants are growing like crazy in these fields of ours, especially in the slightly warmer temperatures that have arrived. We’ll see what August brings us next.
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: So many summer flavors this week!
- Chehalis apples
- Plums — Yellow plums are available again, along with a new red plum that is meatier than those that have come before. Today I ate four yellow plums in a row as I sat by the river. The juice ran down my chin and my arms, and I didn’t even care because I knew I was about to jump back into the water anyway. Summer is good.
- Green beans
- Tomatoes – cherry, roma, slicers oh my!
- Eggplant — The first of the year!
- Green peppers
- Kale — Our new planting of kale is coming on!
- Green onions
And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:
- Eggs — $6/dozen
- Goat — Goat chops are $14/lb. Organs and bones are $6/lb.
- Beef cuts — Roasting type meats are $10/lb, and steaks are $14/lb. Organs and bones are $6/lb.
- Ground beef — The best ever — $10/lb
- Beef stew meat — $10/lb
- Pork organs, fat & bones — $4/lb