Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Fresh air is great. So are vegetables from the backyard garden. Watching the deer mill about under the apple trees is a very pleasant sight just after the sun rises. But the thing I love most about living in the country is the subtle day-to-day change of the seasons. You need to pay close attention to notice it, but every morning comes a bit later these days, every evening a bit earlier--and the colors of the leaves and the sun are in constant, gentle flux.
Then, last weekend, we had a freak-show blizzard that ruined everything. As of this writing, we still don't have electricity at the farm. What we do have is perfectly frostbitten kale that came a little early this year, thanks to that snowstorm.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
This may surprise you, but I didn't eat my first squirrel until I was well into my adult years, and it wasn't at the farm, or even in this country: It was in jolly old England, where squirrel has been all the rage for a couple of years. (The Brits are either more enlightened or less so than we are, depending on your worldview.)
I was at St. John restaurant and the chef, Fergus Henderson, was running a squirrel special. Before the waiter had finished describing it, I was eagerly nodding yes. The dish was served with porcini mushrooms and a deeply porky sauce, and I have to say, it was really, really good. The meat was a little bit woodsy, a little bit rabbitlike but unique unto itself. There was no doubt that I was eating game.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
We've been planting new fruit trees--apples, pears, etc.--annually for about six years, which is about how long it can take a new tree to fruit. We keep having to plant new trees because they don't all make it. Some die in the first year from harsh weather. Some die in the second year from attacks by bark-hungry deer or root-hungry groundhogs. Of the 10 trees we planted six years ago, just one survived to maturity. It was an Asian pear tree and would have fruited this year save for the fact that my father accidentally ran it over with the tractor.
But there are two ancient apple trees that keep bringing us fruit year after year. God only knows how many young trees had to be planted for these two to survive. I'd imagine the number to be in the dozens, if not the hundreds. As it is, we've got more apples than we could ever eat, so we press some of them into cider.