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Mia’s Garden Plan for 2009

Posted by on 12 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: about me, gardening, kids' crafts, local food, spring

Normally by this time of year, we have our garden all planned out, our seeds ordered and some even planted. But last year was an abysmal year for our little garden and it has sapped a bit of our motivation. Oh, we’re still going to try, but we’re missing the usual get out in the dirt right this second bug that’s usually bitten us by now.

Mia, on the other hand, is ready for spring. On the way to preschool one very warm morning this week, she said, her little voice almost trembling, “The birds are making my heart beat faster because their song is so beautiful.” I love that kid.

And this weekend, in the 80 degree weather, she went outside to inspect her beloved strawberry plants that every year take over more and more of our garden. We never have the heart to stop them. Who can destroy a strawberry plant? Not us. Especially not after getting a taste of one of these sweet, sweet berries.

But back to Mia. She came inside, drew a garden plan and composed a song, which Tony wrote out for her. She also added butterflies, drawn from the letter “B” just like Fancy Nancydoes, though inexplicably she left out two of her favorite veggies — Snugger Shnap Peas and Tomatoes! Still, I think it’s pretty perfect:

Mia's Garden Plan for 2009

Chile Llama Farm

Posted by on 12 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: family, friends, gardening, local food, winter

My friend Melissa and I made habit of frequenting the little farmer’s market that opened near her house last spring, and our favorite vendor is Kevin, a very kind, helpful and talkative man whose small-scale farming operation is called Chile Llama Farm.

The end of farmer’s market season here has been rough. Although our freezer is stocked full enough to eat vegetarian chili once a week and pesto twice a week until next July, we miss the vast quantities of fresh veggies we had at our disposal from May-early December. Here’s a one-week haul from our CSA last summer (and that’s not counting our additional veggies from Chile Llama):

Farmer's Market Haul 6/28/08

After New Year’s, I called Kevin, and he said he had enough lettuce and spinach for our two families to come out and pick our own. We were thrilled and drove out to see him on Saturday, which dawned a beautiful, cold and sunny day. The following pictures were taken by Melissa and her husband Christian.

Our girls had a wonderful time eating “candy carrots,” as the organic gardener Elliot Coleman calls them. In winter, the carrots that are still in the ground freeze, and their starch turns to sugar. I’m afraid the girls didn’t leave any for Kevin!

Harvesting Candy Carrots

Candy carrot

Lucas was mostly interested in playing with the rainwater collection containers and other farm gear, but also tried his hand at picking lettuce.

Little man

Chile Llama lettuce

We had a wonderful time, enjoying the moment, but also enjoying the ripple effect of our children knowing where their food grows, and the wonderful, fresh, organic veggies we’d be eating over the next few days. (Tonight’s dinner was pasta with raw cherry tomato sauce out of our freezer, fresh Chile Llama spinach sauteed with garlic and Chile Llama greens with a vinaigrette dressing. We also roasted Chile Llama beets for tomorrow, one of our little ones’ favorite foods.) It was just a wonderful, beautiful day.

Future farmers

More fun with friends

Fun with friends

Right about this time of year, I start getting the urge to sit down with seed catalogs and plan our garden. And in two months, we’ll be able to start planting! But tonight, I’ll be working on the Valentine’s Day Countdown Calendar. It’s coming along nicely, but I may have a couple of late nights to have it done by Wednesday!