Archives for posts with tag: sleeping in

Today was a big day for our garden.  The last of the indoor seeds—the Orange Sun bell peppers—have germinated and started to sprout.  They are emerging slowly and reluctantly, like sleepy children on a cold morning who do not want to get out of bed to get ready for school.

Meanwhile, in the west raised bed, both the beets and the peas have popped up.  Perhaps last night’s thunderstorm startled them into action.  It has been gray and cool these last few days and it was nice to get a deep watering—and light show—in reward for suffering through it.

Although it has been two weeks since we planted the initial batch of root crops, we’ve decided to wait another week until sowing seeds for the next round.  Last year, the beets and radishes were slow to develop in the early part of the season and as a result, there was not as much elongation of the harvest period as we had expected.  The longer delay should account for the colder temperatures.  If it warms up, we will not wait as long before planting the final row.

The only seedlings that have not shown themselves are the carrots.  I have heard that they are very sensitive to drying out and even when kept properly moist, can take a long time to germinate.  We’ll continue to coddle them (but won’t let them miss the school bus).

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One of the things I like about traveling west is that the time difference actually works in my favor.  I’m an early-to-bed/early-to-rise kind of guy and when I visit California, my 6:00 am to 10:00 pm day becomes 3:00 am to 7:00 pm.  This means that I can get up late, at 4:00 am say (7:00 am at home), do a workout, have a cup of coffee, and still have an hour or two before meeting the family for breakfast (not usually before 8:00 am).

Those early-morning hours are useful for touching base back home (where the workday is just starting) and also great for writing.  It is quiet, there are not a lot of people around and the phone does not ring.  The only downside (and it’s a small one) is that it is usually dark (so outdoor activities are limited).  The Saturday we were in California (October 20, 2012), I sat down in the morning to write some further thoughts about our visit to Glynwood Farm (I misplaced the pages when we got home, hence the delay).

During more stressful times, I often joke about chucking it all in and getting a job as a ditch digger.  The impulse is partly about doing something mindless—in the sense of no thinking required—but it’s also about doing something that is more physical than intellectual, activities more connected to the land (and animals, too) than to the intangible concepts on which I labor in my mind.  Our visit to Glynwood touched on those feelings.

The people who work there have definitely made a connection to nature.  Many of their day-to-day activities are governed by what is happening with the weather, their vegetables and their livestock.  They are constantly responding to their environment.  (Their work requires a lot of thinking so it does not qualify as mindless.)  They make an immediate and positive impact on their surroundings and by doing so on a daily basis (farming is a seven-day-a-week occupation), they extend their influence (through example and outreach) to a larger area over a longer time period (indefinitely, theoretically).

As mentioned before (see October 12, 2012), Glynwood has a CSA program.  They also sell their meat and poultry at local farmers’ markets and are considering the formation of a community-supported butchery (like CSA, the program would supply a weekly share of animal products for a fee paid at the beginning of the season) as well.  As described in a recent New York Times article, the community-supported approach has been applied to fisheries with additional benefits to both the suppliers and customers and, of course, the environment.

The fisherfolk commit to low quotas on popular species (such as cod) that are in danger of being depleted.  To supplement their catch, they focus on plentiful but less well-known species like redfish (their motto might be “one fish, two fish; red fish, blue fish”).  On the other side of the transaction, the customers have to learn how to cook varieties of seafood that they might not have even heard of before.  The CSF helps by providing recipes and giving lessons in filleting (give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to cook fish and he is a customer for life).

A similar tack could be taken with Glynwood’s CSB.  The types of meat—beef, chicken, pork—are well-known but instead of mass-market varieties (according to Glynwood’s Farm Manager, a conventional chicken is hardly recognizable as such), lesser-known heritage breeds are raised.  And although most cooks know what to do with a chicken breast, ribeye steak or pork chop, fewer would have any idea how to prepare chicken hearts, beef kidneys or pork chitlins.  A key to the responsible eating of meat is avoiding waste.  Using every part of the animal is the only respectful and sustainable practice.

I think the folks at Glynwood get this.  Now, I wonder if they need any ditch diggers?

I have extolled the virtues of getting up early (see September 20, 2012, for instance) but at this time of year, as the day shortens and the sun rises later and later, I have to admit that it has been getting increasingly difficult to haul myself out of bed in the morning.  The setting on the alarm clock has crept forward to 6:30 and often it is not until closer to 7:00 that I actually throw back the sheets and launch myself into the day.

It is only temporary.  At some point shortly after the time change (which offers a brief reprieve), I will face up to the fact that for the next six months, I will be getting up in the dark.   By the time that happens, my metabolism will have kicked into winter mode (dropping temperatures will help with that) and I will have accepted that sleeping in will not be an option (unless I give up on getting anything done in the morning).

Until then, I will enjoy the extra time under the covers.