Bright Spots Under Grey Skies

"Keep planting those spuds Krist, this is what they'll look like in a couple of months."
It's the beginning of August and time for an update from the hobby farmer. Notice that it's "hobby" farmer. I came to this conclusion while glancing over my Twitter profile. It used to say "Musician / Farmer / Politico," but something rubbed me wrong about the farmer part so I preceded it with the word "hobby".

Purple Cabbage
I'm not a real farmer because I don't make a living at it. I guess I'm not a rational grower either. Why in the heck did I plant over fifty head of cabbage? I was compelled to do so by seeing all the little starts my mother planted in the hoop house earlier in the year. It was sheer compassion for the baby plants. I had space for them so I set about planting the purple seedlings. The same went for the cauliflower. There was no financial planning, watching the cabbage market or considering distribution networks - the things a real farmer would do.

I was at the local grocery store in the produce section when the sobering moment hit -- cabbage was for sale for less than a dollar a head. Wow, at those prices all my work is for less than fifty bucks worth of cabbage! Is this how rock stars are supposed to live their luxurious lives? Absolutely!!! I love it and it's indeed quite a luxury to be able to live out your compulsions.

I plan on eating fresh cabbage, trading or giving it away. I'm also into making pickles, so most of the purple cabbage will end up in jars. I've also planted a large mono-crop of McPick cucumbers and have the same plans for them.

I have neighbors who do their own food thing. One lady makes wonderful canned salmon and tuna that was caught by local fisherman. She's got this great recipe for preserving the tuna in tomato sauce with an excellent balance of spices. There are benefits to the barter system and the thought of acquiring this great food through trade gives me the energy to pull those weeds that sprout among my veggies.

It's been a cold and damp summer here in the rain forest. In an article this spring, I wrote about planting cedar trees. I'm happy to say that they're doing great. Sure, it's a dismal summer - but not if you're a recently planted cedar sapling! As I write this, a gentle drizzle is falling on the Arbor Vitae. Knowing this is a great way to punch through the damp, grey marine layer that that's been unrelentingly hanging over my head.

But all is not well here in the murky slough. Like a fool I planted corn. I'm sorry to say it's doing terrible. The catchphrase for corn is "Knee-high by the Fourth of July". Yeah right! There are a few that are calf-high, but the cold, cloudy skies are holding it back. It's kind of distressing for me, so I didn't bother to post a photo. (I couldn't bear the taunts in the comment section.) There are nice shipped-in ears of corn for sale on the roadside produce stands, and that's mocking enough.

My hops are doing well considering the cold weather. This is their third year tied to the hemlock tree I converted to a hop trellis. I've been brewing beer, so I'm looking forward to adding my own hops in the recipe.

Cascade Hops

Spuds are so far a success. They're starting to flower - as you can see in the photo above. I've heard that Marie Antoinette was known to wear potato blossoms in her hair. She did this in better days, I'm sure. I can lose my mind in gardening, but a big reason I do it is to keep my head screwed on straight.

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