Growing up just outside of Holland, I played in the creek, the pond and the river. I played in the trees, the valley and the fields. I caught crayfish, fireflies and frogs not to mention a few worms, turtles and butterflies. I played with nature, I watched and I learned.
The soaring hawk, the jumping fish, the lumbering snapping turtle all provided lessens to the curious mind back when I thought ‘to google’ (or was that ‘oogle’??) meant staring awkwardly at a pretty girl. Nature can still teach us many things but the internet sure can help fill in the missing pieces.
Today, we can still find many of the same things in the wild places but some are curiously missing. The Monarch butterfly is one of these. As kids we used to find the caterpillars roaming milkweeds and if we were lucky, a chrysalis would make it into a jar were we could watch nature literally unfold.
But it is rare to find a monarch anymore, the king of butterflies with their stained-glass wings that provided a sense of awe for generations are now being considered for addition as an endangered species. The high use of Neonicotinoids and GMOs (with the additional use of herbicides) in agriculture are the primary cause. While there is little hard evidence to show that GMOs have a negative effect on our health, it is clear they have a huge effect on our natural world. Monarch populations have dropped over 90% in the last 20 years.
Is this a good reason to avoid GMOs? Well, it is to me, it is also a reason we have way too many milkweed plants in every flower bed around the house and all through the valley. It is our hope that we can once again see these magnificent creatures and we can all say “long live the king!”
It has been a ridiculously busy week here at the farm, but what should we expect from spring. You have to look no further than our lawn to see the effects of the weather, we could spend every night just mowing and we could not keep up with the steady growth of vegetation.
The greenhouses are no different, we pick and pick and there just seems like an endless supply of lettuce but this of course also means endless seeding, transplanting, moving, washing, cleaning sheets and then we still have to deliver it all.
Friday, we were up at 5 AM loaded for Fulton St. market and then afterwards did deliveries and prep for Saturday only to be back up at 5 for another day of markets. Last night, totally whipped, we were heading to bed early only to have Pip the pup decide to poop in his crate. He then of course had to step in it and shoot past our legs when we tried to fish him outside. He sprinted through the house with a gleeful smile and a trail of puppy prints in his wake. Oh joy…
With exhaustion though, comes loads of great things to eat; in addition to loads of lettuce, we have tons of basil, bok choy, endive, mizuna, chives, thyme and edible flowers. We have a fair amount of arugula coming on and we should have kale soon too. Ginger plants are up, Artic Kiwi’s look to have made it past the frost and we have 4-6 mulefoot pigs already lined up too. It looks like it will be a busy summer.
Top of the morning, unless this is late in the day for you in which case you may replace it with a more proper salutation. It was a glorious day here on the Hill o'er Mud Lake. The grass is as green as I remember those lovely hills of Ireland, splashed with the dew like the sea herself had tiptoed about, and sprinkled them with mist. The wee pup was up early driving hard into the foliage sending out a spray like he was a freighter cutting through the open sea.
The bonny wife was a bit latter in greeting the morning sun, she had been weeding in the fields the day before and though she's not as young as she used to be, she is a sight to behold when a grass or a thistle dare invade her furrowed rows.
The greens are all in mighty fine form, you would be hard-pressed to find a finer head of lettuce in all the county. And the basil, what can you say, it is so green you would think must be Irish and not from that other place. Now to call bok choy Irish would be a tall tale to be sure, but the hues of color in a single plant can be downright mesmerizing and let’s be honest, it is far more green than any potato.
So pick up a pint, and strike up the band , grab the hand of a bonny lass and dance a jig for life is good. But it’s even better with a salad.
Today, another poem... (is this a trend? Not sure, but it seems Steve is in a rhyming mood lately)
Stinging nettles have a bite
But once you cook them they taste just right
Chock full of vitamin C
Not to mention A and B
Used in a soup or as a chip
Just avoid use as a whip
Bok Choy is a funny plant
Makes a killer salad and that's no rant
A thick stem with lots of crunch
Order this week and get a bunch
Here's a recipe for you to try
Or it can be used in a stir fry
Down right killer with ginger dressing
Add some cordial with little messing
That's enough of this marketing fable
Now go spend some time at Mom's kitchen table
Today, a poem...
Violets, bluegrass, clover and rye
Fescue, dandelions, my oh my
Together they dance, wild and free
The ripples of wind are plain to see
This frolic of springtime so happy and gay
Joyous new growth, see nature at play
So it is with reluctance I start the machine
The whine of the engine, commands of my queen
I hop on my steed, head down a straight line
The blades cut, rip and chew all that they find
Short and neat all in a row
A flagship of order ready to show
This too is rewarding it’s all organized now
But I somehow feel guilty but I don’t know how
I conquered the yard, bent it to my will
But seeing it wild was more of a thrill
The neighbors would grumble and call us a name
Like Hillbilly, or backward and something more lame
So to keep up with the jones, the smiths and Van Dykes
I’ll mow the lawn… but not as much as they like
And when the flowers are particularly bright?
Well, I just won’t do it as often as I might
So come join the dance and be wild and free
Listen to the chorus of the bird, wind and bee.