Week 5: 5000 Pounds of Manure

Monday commenced early in the morning with a pre breakfast shoveling of horse manure. Once I finished that I moved onto pruning apple trees. I spent most of my day on this until Korbin came by and helped plant some of her seeds for the three sisters garden. I left her and David to that task as I prepared dinner, tortilla soup. The next day Ellis arrived mid evening at which point I had spent almost an entire day finishing the pruning on the upper trees near the house. We dined on leftovers to keep things simple and spent time with introductions and conversation. Wednesday I finished the monumental task of pruning the upper orchard. Ellis and I went to town to pick up some items at the store and run a few errands. We spent the rest of the day relaxing as the skies clouded and gave a few signs of rain. I cooked up some venison shank in a stew and Ellis completed the meal with coconut banana ice cream.

Thursday we started early, this time with Birte, slaughtering a chicken. With all four of us awake and kicking the kitchen was a buzz; it felt like I was back at work. David zipped around preparing our breakfast: polenta, eggs and bacon. Birte was leaned over the sink plucking the feathers of the freshly slaughtered chicken. Ellis and I were locked intently in the creation of the week’s sourdough loaves. Along the whole process he shared with me the technicalities of the bread; I learned it doesn’t require the addition of yeast to rise. As I looked around the kitchen, sun flooding the busy room with warmth and brilliant light, the novelty of what was happening around me began to sink in. Before I started in on my farm tasks I made a quick pasta dough and let it rest for the day. I began by heading to the garden and pruning the five remaining trees on the property. Once I had it cleaned up I then cut down the rest of the jerusalem artichoke stems and did some light cleanup around the garden. Ellis spent the day making a chicken and rice soup that was fantastic.
The day following was spent doing more domestic chores. Ellis and I finished the cleaning of the cabin for our weekend guests. We also took this time to build a small bridge across the creek that runs through the farm so the same guests wouldn’t have to wade through. I plugged some holes in the cabin with steel wool and wood plugs to make sure no unwanted occupants found their way inside and then helped Ellis reassemble the riding mower for use. On my way back to the house I helped David move some plants to the other side of the house. Midday I took Birte to town and then arrived back at the farm shortly before the guests arrived. Ellis and I treated ourselves to a pizza at Luna Valley Farm; each Friday they offer pizzas, beer and wine in a fabulous setting crafted from ingredients local to the area. Saturday started early with a full breakfast spread for the guests. David crafted a vegetable scramble and Ellis baked an apple crumble. We spent a leisurely morning over great food and excellent conversation. When our guests ran off the start their day, we took the chance to go for a quick hike to see some of the skunk cabbages in the marsh on Pepperfield’s Property.

When we got back I weeded the rhubarb patch. Once I got that finished I went down to the main garden and pulled out the remaining corn stakes. I took a break by wiring label stakes for future use. After that I went back to weeding and moving manure. We finished our day later than normal with a dinner of tomato sauce over homemade pasta and finished with a dessert of chocolate ice cream. Sunday’s breakfast was the same as the last with our guests. I made corn pudding to match the spread of other items on the table. We spent another fabulous morning among company and conversation before starting in on chores. I spent the first half of my morning moving manure, to total by my calculations over 5000 pounds since my arrival. I spent the better half of the afternoon in the upper vineyard with David planting grape vines for future harvests. We retired early after a busy week for wine time which slowly morphed into a relaxed dinner of polenta.

The weeks are getting busier but it still feels great. I am excited to start to see some of the fruits of our labors, some of which have already started to blossom!

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