Autumn may be my favorite time of year but this month sure is close. To spend all day with my hands covered in dirt planting seeds that will become food is my favorite pastime. Not until my tired post-Winter body finally yelled, “Enough!” did I grab a beer and head to the porch to see all we had accomplished. Emily and I spent the whole weekend digging up the front yard. While others tend meticulously to the non-native grass borders, applying weed and feed and watering, Emily and I had different plans. A full working farm on our minds.
Steve brought over their rototiller for us to borrow and we put Doug to work plowing eleven long rows. We went back through digging and releasing weeds and crabgrass creating a divot in the dirt that we then filled with organic garden soil and blended it all together.
Colonies of ants came forth, small black, monster black, and stingy red, eager to eat seeds that we would offer them. I gave them cornmeal instead. This works in the house as well. They take the cornmeal back to their colony and I am afraid they do not return. Now I am a peaceful girl. I do not want to kill. I have been vegetarian for twenty plus years. In high school I cut my own hair and botched a section, shaving a small piece off by accident. I had my sister shave a peace sign out of it. She mistakenly only did two lines making it a Mercedes sign. I had to use a marker to fill in the third. (My father was incredibly mad!) Anyways, I promote peace. But ants can be really destructive in a garden and a nuisance in the house. Rather than bringing out toxic chemicals, Raid or who knows what else, simply sprinkle cornmeal about. Works like a charm.
Then in went the seeds. Black Aztec corn and multi-colored Smoke Signals corn seeds went in for festive Autumn décor and cornmeal. Bantam corn went in for sweet eating. All heirlooms. Next to them went Bird’s Egg speckled beans that were brought over by covered wagon, large brown Dutch beans for winter simmering in a Dutch oven, and small, white cannellini beans for sage and white bean soup. Six different tomatoes. I do hope the “Mortgage Lifter” tomato does its job! Six different peppers. Orange watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini. All organic.
Since the farm is called Pumpkin Hollow, the rows in front of the house will be overflowing with tangles of delightful color. The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch in the world, were you to ask Linus from Charlie Brown’s Halloween special. Strawberry colored princess pumpkins, Jack Be Littles, Heirloom pumpkins, organic sugar pumpkins, and today I seek out one more varietal. Perhaps the awesome white Luminaria pumpkin.
The front row nearest the sidewalk will have herbs scattered and clustered about for medicinal and culinary use. A fence is planned around the perimeter of white picket with a welcoming arbor. My dear friend, Rod, is creating wood burned signs for the farm.
We have been offered free alpacas and plan on getting their “barn” (the garage) ready. I was showing Steve the tour of what our farm will look like (use your imagination)….here are the large garden beds, more in front, alpaca and goats, new fruit trees….He asked what I was doing with our oversized dirt driveway. “Festival Parking!” I exclaimed. Can you see it? A roadside stand. A pumpkin festival. Field trips for children at the nearby school where they can go back in time and see how to hand wash clothes, make butter, spin wool. The piano and fiddle playing folk songs. Period pioneer dress. Vegetables growing everywhere and fuzzy farm animals. Education, inspiration, teach kids that food comes from the earth, not the grocery store.
We have never missed our annual pumpkin festival that we attend with the children every year. This year Maryjane will go with us. Us big kids and Maryjane making a scarecrow and touring the old structures at Four Mile Historic Park. I would love to create a place like that for young families to make memories.
In the meantime, I have pumpkins to plant.