Country Life Ups and Downs

| 7/17/2014 12:45:00 PM

Tags: Accident, Stress, Drought, Rattlesnakes, Recipe, Pam Tinnin,

Pam TinninThis is my second "fresh start" as a blogger for Capper's Farmer. In late May, we were in a car accident that left our little Honda Civic resting precariously on the passenger side on our twisting mountain road that had a steep bank on the "upside" and a steep drop into a canyon on the other. The accident totaled the car, but except for the deep bruising of the seatbelt marks across my chest and waist, all of us (my husband and I and Harold, the wonder pup) walked away. Well, I should say we walked away after we managed to climb out. The stress of a close call, shopping for a car, and some health issues, not to mention the worst California drought in recorded history, plus the rapidly increasing schedule of farm responsibilities, knocked me off my schedule for a while.

As for the farm, in the past six weeks, we've dug potatoes, picked peas (snap and snow peas) then pulled out the pea plants when they were done. Starting around 6 a.m. seven days a week, we pick squash. We've picked and picked squash, plus gathered lots of kale. We also dug regular size garlic and some gorgeous elephant garlic. The Contender beans have just started, and we sold a few pounds to a few lucky customers. Our house and farm water comes from three springs. So far they have held up, but we're being careful to monitor water usage.

We deliver veggies on Tuesday and Saturday mornings with a customer list of about 60 people. Everyone keeps asking for tomatoes, and while we have almost 200 plants that are loaded, most of the varieties are still green except for the few Peachvine Gold cherry tomatoes we picked and ate. Finally we were able to pick a dozen larger tomatoes yesterday. Heirloom tomatoes are our specialty and that's what folks anticipate each season. Every morning when I gather squash, I carefully eye the rows and rows of tomatoes, hoping to see more red or, at the least, a little orange. The brightest things in the garden right now are the "Baby Pam Pumpkins" and the Japanese Kuri squash.

Baby Pam pumpkin, small but tasty.

Because of the drought we have a somewhat unexpected garden problem. In the past two weeks, we've found three rattlesnakes, two of them in the garden rows. In 1981, when I first married into the family and moved here, my father-in-law told me that in dry years, rattlers will come in close looking for water. That would seem to be the case. Prior to this, we had seen only two rattlesnakes in the past 10 years. It makes me wary and cautious when I reach down under the big squash leaves. Now I push the leaves aside before putting my hand anywhere near the ground.

Rattlesnake found in the garden.

7/27/2014 8:59:16 AM

Pam, I'm glad to hear that you and your family are ok after your .... adventure? It has been busy summer for me as well. My garden this year is pretty slim pickings this year. The weather has devastated most every thing with a very late frost in the spring and then wind, hail, and flash flooding after replanting. June brought 14 inches of rain which is 10 more than normal. In addition to that the temperatures were lower 50s at night and 70s during the day all through the rainy June. All the plants just sat there and didn't grow. The harvest produced is really tough and hard and doesn't really taste good. My efforts have focused on garden structure this year. Fence building and garden bed preparation will continue to fulfill my garden desires. I plan on canning some soup for the winter months later in the summer. Ingredients will have to come from the farmer's market this year. ***** Snakes, yeah, I hate snakes. Although we have rattle snakes here in Nebraska, I've yet to see one and that's just fine with me. Most of the snakes in my area are the garter snake type. Even though they are beneficial to the garden and non poisonous, I still don't like them. I tolerate them as long as I don't have to see them too often. I haven't seen any this year but I just know they are lurking in the brush and woods that surround my garden area. I have not had a bug problem in the three years I've been gardening at Terra Nova Gardens so I contribute that to the snakes and the wild turkeys. ***** Have a great day in the California garden.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!