The Homestead Organic Journal
August 23: Haven't updated the ol' farm journal in a while. I've been doing so for the sake of That Portion of Posterity Interested In Hapless Veggie Production.
August 24: There is a Facebook thing happening lately where people are posting about what they're grateful for. I'm way too cynical and grumpy to do that. Plus, I mostly like to save my FB posts for radish selfies. If I were to jump on that wagon though, Gratitude #1 would definitely have to be for eggplant, that most overlooked and misunderstood nightshade. Properly cooked eggplant eases the pain. Give it a second chance, folks. Eggplant would die for your sins if it were called to do so. Also, Bulk Barn.
September 1: Just returned after a week--a week!--off for summer vacation. Never have Vanessa and I had the audacity to attempt such a thing in August. Never could we have attempted it without a stellar farm crew. After a season of learning the ropes on a middling market garden operation, Ian and Ryan got to take a stab at being a neurotic mess for seven days. You know the farm's been in good hands when you return to hear that your replacements sold produce to a buyer you hadn't even thought to approach. For cash! It's in the cupholder of the van, Jordan.
What do farmers do on summer vacation, no one asked? These ones hiked to a hut at 9300 feet in Glacier National Park, before a regrettable stop at Canyon Hot Springs, home of Revelstoke's largest public bath tub, before a flight to a wedding in Muskoka. I have nothing sarcastic to say about Muskoka. It's lovely.
September 2: My pumpkins are getting big. Sufficiently so, in fact, that they failed to escape the wandering eyes of a customer--a stranger to me--who dropped by about ten days ago. Ostensibly he was there for some carrots, which I sold him. That's when he started asking about the giants in my garden. I explained that I was fixing to take down the guy who won the giant pumpkin category at last year's Peachland Fall Fair.
There's a scene in Young Guns--a classic Western to Gen X and the Millenials--when Brat Packer Emilio Estevez's Billy the Kid feigns wide-eyed admiration toward a pompous coxcomb in a bar who brags about his intention to capture and kill the infamous outlaw. Billy goads him on--What does he look like? Can I touch the gun you're going to kill him with?--before revealing his identity, chillingly, by whistling in the manner the coxcomb had just ascribed to Billy the Kid. Then Billy shoots him dead.
I hadn't thought about that scene in a long time until my encounter with this stranger, who, after hearing me ramble on about my intentions, and about the finer points of growing Big Orange, casually informed me that he, in fact, was the winner of last year's giant pumpkin category at the Peachland Fall Fair. Then he smiled and went on his way. I'm not sure if he noticed the tremble that had developed in my trowel hand.
My pumpkins are big, but his was a monster. Whether Billy will succeed in shooting me down, though, remains to be seen. And, indeed, you can see it. The showdown happens at the community centre this weekend. Fittingly, the theme chosen for this year's fair is Western Flair. Hope to see y'all there.