Today is harvest day. Of course, I had coffee and stevia first. Well, after I had some well water. Every week during the growing season we harvest food for 12 families, not including all the people we feed throughout the week. Whatever extra is left is sold at the farmer’s market, bartered and given away. Today is a good day to be in the early morning cool gardens. I ate breakfast as I went along: green beans, the first of the okra, a few tomatoes, a carrot, and a few different types of leafy greens. The strawberries are usually my favorite garden harvest snack, but they are now past production.
I did have a later snack of eggs with all the typical ingredients from the past few days. Those nutrients gave me the energy I needed to move the electric net fencing for our mob grazed sheep and steer. I hope we have enough pasture regeneration this year to feed them through the fall. All of our ruminants will be sold to other flocks or butchered for meat at the end of the growing season. We can’t afford any more off-farm inputs; a vacation seems like a nice idea.
Our plan is to grow vertically from our tiny land base, like a big city with skyscrapers. When you have no more land and you want to house and feed more people, the best way to build is up. Once we have our food forest of trees – fodders, nuts, fruits, berries, vines, and canes more established – we will bring the large animals back in, who can help the system to be productive, like elephants in the savannahs of Africa or the mastodon savannahs that once existed here in the Midwest.
For lunch, I watched others make cheese quesadillas and turnips cooked in butter. That sure looked good. I wanted to, but did not taste.
I ate potatoes, onions, swiss chard, tomatoes, tomatillos, and arugula. The arugula gave it a nice little kick. The best part of lunch was the drink. I made a hibiscus and roselle tea. I should have added moringa to the mix. That would have given me all kinds of needed minerals, protein and vitamins. Moringa is a miracle tree that grows in warmer climates, but not here. We can only grow it here as an annual. We do grow a few tropical and subtropical plants here. Our hope is to push our growing zones and try to overwinter things that usually won’t overwinter in Zone 5b temperate climate. We want to push the boundaries of what is possible. Maybe one day we will develop a cold hardy moringa tree through mass seed selection.
I had to run errands this afternoon. On my drive I was more keenly aware of all the ways to get easy and cheap food. So many food stops with such great marketing on every corner, cheap food produced the same way it’s priced. I sensed the food places on every corner luring me in. Today it was a difficult thing to resist. We live in a broken system that makes it so easy for us to just keep going its way, sucking us in, telling us the same lie as in the garden, the original garden.
We are trying to produce food that is rich – rich in nutrients, rich in care, rich in community. However, rich food, rich community, rich earth comes at a price. It requires sacrifice; it requires more. I think it will always be hard as long as the system is broken.
For dinner I ate broccoli greens, arugula, carrots, radishes, turnips, and the best chicken one can get, with herbs galore.
Well, off to lock up the stationary and mobile chicken coops, and then going to bed with the sun.