The Homestead Organic Journal
September 14: I've been keeping a journal of farm life for readers this year. Excepting the odd fictional flourish thrown in for good measure, it has been a true account of my farming experiences, neurotic internal dialogues, and foibles. And it's almost complete. I have a good, lucky feeling that I'll close this thing out by Thanksgiving, which, though not technically the end of my season, is about the point that my joie de vivre gives way to a soif de sommeil. Plus, I subscribe to the notion that an entertainer should always try to leave them wanting more. Though in my case I should probably aim a little lower: I'll be satisfied if I leave you not wanting less.
September 26: Last night I gave a talk to a dulcet group of listeners at The Bohemian Cafe, where the Okanagan Institute stages a bi-monthly speaker series. The gist of my speech: stop revering small-scale farmers. Stop demonizing big farmers. Realize we all face tough choices between stewardship and profit on a regular basis. Had you heard the whole speech it would have seemed a lot less like the verbal equivalent of a wet blanket. I hope.
September 30: Rhetorical question: what's more fun, giving a speech to adults at The Bohemian or giving a farm tour to a bunch of six year old girl guides and a few moms this eve? I'll answer your question, Mr. Question Asker in my head, with some of my own. Did the Okanagan Institute give me Girl Guide Cookies--two boxes!--as a thank you? Did a Bohemian attendee peer into a box of old veggies we were about to feed the horses and check with me to make sure horses "like gross food?" Did anyone at the Bohemian ask their mom to bring up a smartphone photo of the giant pumpkin she grew and proudly show it to me? Did anyone at the Bohemian buy me a cocktail? Actually, yes, yes they did. That was pretty cool. And the girl guides did not ply me with any booze. So, that's a point off, girl guides, and an improvement you may want to consider for next time. But you still win, hands down.
October 7: While at market in Penticton last Saturday, two chefs from Joy Road Catering approached my left flank, armed with, like, a honker of a loaf of sourdough bread. Turns out they baked it using wheat I grew for fun last season, that I "donated" to them in a very annoying, unthreshed form. They had etched little wheat plants in the crust. It tasted like a warm embrace. And it was so damned big. I greedily ate four slices doused in home-made apricot jam when I got home, and barely dented it. I carved off a hunk and gave it to Joe and Jess, who were as tickled as I was to eat bread made from our farm's wheat. Another hunk's worth of slices went to propping up a lemony zucchini hash I made for dinner the next night, and I still had enough for the 3/4 of a pound I needed for a French tomato and bread soup we had for lunch the following day. Oh, man. Full belly, happy heart.
October 8: Thanksgiving this weekend. Perhaps not my favourite holiday--I'm a sucker for eggnog and full stockings--but probably the most meaningful for me. Traditionally, a time set aside to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, a notion that is still very relevant for us here. So much can go wrong in any given farming season. And some stuff does. But this year, it mostly didn't. We had enough water pressure all season. That's a big one. I found the markets necessary to absorb our expanded garden. The deer behaved. So did the marmots. And we enjoyed a lot of support--from Joe and Jess as always, but also from Ryan, and Ian, our stellar farmhands, and Nicole, and from our customers--Jennay over at Paynter's Fruit Market, Harry and Brenda at IGA, Noreen at Nature's Fare, Our chefs at Joy Road, Hillside, Lake Breeze, Vanilla Pod, Brodo, Local, Blue Rooster. And of course, all of the eaters who shopped at our market stall or subscribed to our veggie program. A heartfelt thank you to all of those people. And to anyone who took the time to read these stupid journal entries all year. Have a great Winter.
**drops mike to look cool, subsequently trips over it**