Summer on the farm is, of course, the high season for our work. Planting! Followed soon behind by weeding! (Lots of that this week.) And then harvesting and harvesting! And all of that at the same time, all through these warm, growth-filled weeks!
It’s good. It really is! And the farm work can also creep into every daylight hour (of which there are many!) if allowed.
Since starting the farm over a decade ago, Casey and I have always had a policy of working hard and then making sure we have time to also rest and play hard too, even in the summer. But still, before we had kids, the summer work hours were long and the play was tucked in here and there (mostly limited to much needed trips to the river on hot days).
But kids change everything. Our life right now is also their childhood, and it has been a [challenging] pleasure to realize that we need to fit in more play for them, which means at times more play for us too. And, summer is a peak season for outdoor play.
Hikes are a longtime play staple for us, but this summer we’ve added two new adventures: first, Casey decided to give one portion of a scheduled cover crop field a new purpose by working it smooth and sowing perennial grass. Voila: we have a small playing field just past our yard now! It’s the perfect place (albeit with gopher and mole holes, of course) for our kids to grow up a bit in their playing skills: beyond just running around to throwing and catching (frisbee) and kicking (soccer ball) — just in time for the World Cup!
Rusty also graduated this week out of the tandem kayak with Mama and into his own very little youth-sized kayak (on sale!). He’d practiced paddling plenty with us — I often let him do most of the paddling when we’re in the tandem together — so he was definitely ready for the work of motoring and steering himself around the river on his own. The kayak is light enough that he can even haul it to the river himself, making it a new privilege as well as a new responsibility. A milestone for our family!
And, of course, there’s still plenty of fun and hilarity in the farm work itself — especially with kids in tow! We finally finished up the apple thinning the weekend, with just a few “apple bombs” lobbed our way by the kids (when they weren’t distracted by looking for early ripe plums and building castles with chunks of dry dirt in a nearby field). As we neared the end, both kids joined in to help finish faster, hands flying high and low in the final apple trees, followed by a ride back to the house in the bed of the Gator.
It’s definitely not all fun and games out here, but summer days do bring a special kind of joy to much of what we do. How are you playing this summer? Share your favorite activities with us at pick-up!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Cherries — These cherries are from the two acres of “Lambert” cherries on my parents’ property next door to ours. They are an older style cherry, not really planted anymore, growing on super old style trees: full size cherry trees! This means that ladders or lifts of some kind are needed to pick them, something that contemporary orchardists avoid (because standard-sized trees take longer to come into production and picking from ladders is slower and much less safe). This orchard was planted over 70 years ago. We’ve watched neighboring farmers slowly remove their similar-aged trees and plant the newer, smaller cherry trees with newer varieties. Those trees are certainly easier to care for and harvest, but they won’t live as long as the standard full-sized trees. And while the newer varieties are delicious, we’re fond of this dark purple, plump, sweet, old style cherry.
- Zucchini & new potatoes — The first of these staple summer crops — still limited as we wait for full production to get into swing (soon!).
- Basil — Basil! Limits still this week until it gets into full production.
- Green beans — The first of the green beans! Limits this week!
- Salad mix
- Head lettuce
- Rainbow chard
- Napa cabbage
- Fava beans
- Fresh onions