Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dreaming of a family farm

I bought a turnip at the farmer's market on Saturday. I've always been a big fan of turnips, but this was by far the best turnip I've ever eaten. It was actually JUICY, something you don't see in your grocery store turnips. And it had a really good dose of that authentic turnip taste, which I won't even begin to try to describe.

I bought basil, too. And cilantro. And rainbow baby potatoes (a mix of red, white and purple). And I paid way too much for all of it (except maybe the cilantro). But it is all so GOOD!

I have a garden in my backyard. Maybe 8 feet wide by 20 feet long, I don't really remember. And I plant quite a bit each year (some of my plants would say I plant too much - they don't have room to really spread their wings the way they want too!). But I wish I had more.

I have fantasies of living on a family farm. I did live on my father-in-law's farm for a couple of years, but it wasn't the same - no crops and no animals. Just farmland. Beautiful, but not what I'm thinking of.

I've been reading a bit of John Jeavons book, How to Grow More Vegetables... (, and I like what he has to say.

I'd love to live somewhere where I can grow my whole family's produce each year. Eating what's in season while it's in season; canning, drying and freezing the rest to eat throughout the year. Right now, our garden produces enough that we can eat what we've grown for a few months, but not all year. I want to walk out my back door and pick a peach off a tree and eat it, sweetness exploding in my mouth, juice running down my arms and chin, while I stand in my yard in my bare feet. Home canned cherries in sweet syrup over vanilla ice cream.
Carrots, crisp and sweet. I didn't have to buy carrots for a whole month this year, thanks to our garden. I'm hoping I can get another month out of my second harvest, in about six weeks or so.

I could do it on an acre. It wouldn't be difficult. Two quarter acres of garden plot (one to use and one to lay fallow each year), a quarter acre of fruit trees, two by two. Not so much it's overwhelming, but enough to get a good harvest out of it. Room to plant asparagus, artichokes, and other perennials. Room for berries galore, those little antioxidant wonders. Teach my kids to play in the dirt, let them run free and learn where food comes from.

And maybe a few animals? Well, I'd need more than an acre for that. Maybe some chickens, for fresh eggs, a cow for milking and a few for meat... A big house, with a huge pantry and a couple of freezers.

There. That's my dream.


MamaZuzi said...

You just knew I'd comment on this one. Yup my dream too except when I'm just too darn tired. Get ready baby - its the wave of the future. Maybe you can help teach me a thing or two... and I want to check out that book - sounds great. I need to put in a second harvest - can I do it now?

kbeeps said...

Yep, you can plant a second harvest now - now's the time! sorry, I never did get those notes typed up. You can plant things like carrots, greens (collards, kale, stuff like that), beets, etc. now. has information about things that can be planted now. And Organic Gardening West of the Cascades (I think that's what it's called - I may be buying it at lunchtime today!) has a planting chart that's really good...