Commercial KitchenBeen a while since I posted. Late July into all of August is a marathon for us here on the farm. Not only are we doing 2 to 3 farmers markets a week, dealing with the heat, and trying to keep up with harvests and toiletry product production, but we’re trying to preserve food for our own consumption this winter. So batches of green beans and corn and kale get blanched and frozen, tomatoes get roasted, pureed and frozen or canned, rabbits get harvested for winter stews. It’s an abundant time. But its also a stressful time.

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, Walla Walla is having this HUGE concert the weekend of August 14th/15th. It’s called the Gentleman of the Road Stopover tour, with Mumford and Sons, Foo Fighters, and about a gazillion other bands. I’ll be at the temporarily relocated farmers market (corner of Spokane and Main Street) from 9-5 pm both days. Trying to figure out how to stock for this kind of event, which is new to this area, is pretty much impossible. So we’re all just crossing our fingers we went in the right direction, and have enough.

The upside? Two wonderful things. The commercial kitchen that we’ve been working to get approved by the state for the past 3 years is done and approved! We’ve been squirreling away stoves and triple basin sinks and flooring and light fixtures and storage shelving for several years now. It’s done. It’s awesome. And its in heavy use. I’ll wrote a whole blog about the process here in a few weeks…well, maybe in September, lol. And, MAN are we eating well. With all this summer abundance, most every meal consists of a giant pile of ripe tomatoes and other garden bounty. Yup, a lot of it will end up in a freezer for later use. But there is just nothing like a grilled bacon, cheese and ripe heirloom tomato sandwich with homemade bacon, local bread and cheese, and a tomato that you started from seed in mid March. Swoon.

So, here are some pictures from around the farm in the last few weeks, tthe good, the bad and the ugly, taken as we rush from task number 87 to task number 88 of the day, in no particular order.

Wild Turkey Mama

Wild Turkey mama and her four babies. We see them most every day around the farm.

Kenny and Richie

Kenny, doing his best to show Richie (the smaller one in the back) how its done. Do you have a raspberry for me? I’d like a raspberry please. American Blackbelly sheep.

Manimal Bear Fat Soap

Manimal Soap. Made with lard, tallow, coconut oil and BEAR fat. Ready in about a month.

Kirby

Kirby, who want to play, ALL THE TIME. Sometimes its hard to type for the paw coming around the screen. But he’s dang cute and he knows it.

Dianthus

Dianthus, that I started from seed in 2011, and then transplanted to Walla Walla from Spokane. It’s since spread, and weirdly, blooms in the heat of summer. I LOVE the color.

Turkey Family

The two remaining turkey babies are going strong. I think, but am not sure yet, that we have one male and one female. Sadly, we did lose our gray slate bird to a predator. She had a nest out in the tall grass by the garden and something got her. But these guys are doing well (and stay in the coop at night).

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace, ie. wild carrot. Can you see where she pricked her finger?

Hop Support

One of the support poles for the three Willamette hop plants. Needless to say, the plants are HUGE and we’re hoping we don’t lose this support before we can harvest in a month or so.

Morning Glory Metalic Insect

I got seeds for this morning glory from my friend Rachel in Durango. They reseed like crazy. But I love them, so I let them.

Grape Arbor

Was gonna have a spectacular grape harvest this year, and make jam for sale at market. And then the starlings descended. These are all gone. I’ll need to net it next year. The starlings also wiped out my entire Santa Rosa plum crop. It’s been a weirdly destructive bird year. They’ve been in my tomatoes too.

Blacktail Mountain Watermelon

Blacktail Mountain Watermelon. Ready in 70 days from transplant, which is crazy short. We ate the first one (and sold some at market) just last week. Wonderful! I just love the play of shadow on this one.

Hannah's Choice Canteloupe

Hannah’s Choice Cantaloupe. Seriously one of the best you will ever eat.

Squash Bug Pumpkin Patch

Squash bugs? Squash vine borer? Gopher? Hard to say, but this one was a gonner. Thanksfully, there are several more still doing well.

Winter Squash

The glorious winter squash row, BEFORE the squash bugs got the upper hand. I won’t be planting winter squash next year. I’m done trying to fight these buggers with organic controls. They win. We’ll take a year off and hopefully cut the numbers. I’ll still have some harvest this year, but not nearly what I should have.

Bees and Squash Flowers

I love when bees do this. Sometimes they seem to fall asleep in there, drunk on pollen.

Sunflower Bee

One of about 20 sunflower pictures taken this summer, cause I don’t have enough already.

Flashback Calendula

I grow Calendula because I use it in some of my soaps (its great for the skin). But I grow this variety, called Flashback, because I think its just stunning. The flowers seem to change color each time you look at them.

Sunflowers Sky

And yet another sunflower picture.

Ancho Peppers

Poblano peppers (called Ancho when dried). They are tall leggy plants. One of my favorites for homemade chili powder.

Gonzales Caggabe

The cabbage did very well this year. This is Gonzales. I like it because its early, and the heads are only 3 to 4 lbs.

YinYang Men's Face Soap

My first men’s face soap. I’ve had this one in my head for several years. Scented with lime/patchouli and colored with activated charcoal.

Copra Onions

All the onions have been harvested. These are Copra, which I grow as a storage onion for us.

DSC08930watermark

Morning Glories now in the garden too.

First Gravenstein Apple

The first eating apples harvested on our place. Gravenstein. My husband made the MOST amazing pie with these, even though they are more of a sauce or juice apple.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2015, where I wish you all a bountiful, productive and sane August!

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