There is an interesting rhythm to life on a farm. Most of my life, I’ve been at an office job every weekday by 8:00 am. I tried to cram in all of my “hobbies” during my non-working hours. Now, there is no 8-5 job, and the hobbies are now my life. And because I love what I am doing, I flit from garden to scrap woodpile to kitchen toiletry invention like a hummingbird sampling a field of flowers. It’s wonderful to be my own boss. It’s wonderful to set my own priorities. It’s not so wonderful to not have a day off!
I currently have a booth at two farmers markets weekly, one on Wednesday and one on Sunday. Days in between are generally geared towards making or picking things for the next market. The other day, after about 6 weeks straight of this, I hit a bit of a wall, and decided to recline in the hammock and read a book…for four hours. It felt like quite the indulgence. Butters the cat, who loves the hammock, was thrilled, to say the least.
I finally had the money to take a soil sample down to the Spokane Conservation District for analysis. Turns out, as I suspected from gardening evidence, that there is very little nutrition in my beautiful sandy loam soil. Nitrogen, needed for plant growth, low. Phosphorus, needed for good root growth, low end of middle. Potassium, which is needed for everything, low. Organic matter, low. Amount of chicken manure compost needed to amend my garden space? Two hundred and fifty pounds. There is a reason organic gardeners talk of building up the soil over several seasons!
But I’m slowly moving the rotted hay pile, and fertilizing with a mix of organic fertilizers, and while it may not be the best possible garden ever, it WILL be enough for this season. The peas are getting ripe, the lettuce has been beautiful, and the kale small but tasty. One can only do so much.
Meanwhile, many of the flowers in the flower section of the garden have started to bloom. The poppies, in particular, which were a free seed pack, have just been spectacular. The other day my husband and I watched as the flower’s cover fell away and the poppy unfurled like a time lap video sped up. Stunning.
Occasionally, my husband and I even manage to steal away for a hike, as we did over the Fourth of July weekend. We visited the Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond Oray – go figure) county park, which used to be a Washington State Park before the park system sold it off. It’s a lovely little spot. And you can’t beat sitting on a pick nick table and spitting cherry pits at the dogs as a good way to celebrate the 4th.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2011, where we’re miles away having the fertile rich soil we want, but that doesn’t keep us from stopping to appreciate the flowers.