Autumn Already?

Dry Leaves

It’s only the end of July and the red alders are starting to drop some leaves. Trees can produce more leaves in the spring than they can support when it gets hot and dry during the summer. And so the extra leaves fall.

Dry Leaves in Wheelbarrow

On the Move


The hatchery chicks are on the move. I had two broody hens and gave each of the hens half of the chicks nine days ago, the morning they arrived. The hens keep the chicks busy much of the day, from earlier morning until late afternoon. See how she tilts her head from side to side to see if there is danger ahead? And when a chick needs some reassurance, she’s never too busy to comfort it.


The Miracles We Eat


It’s early in the morning and I’m cleaning the onions I just pulled out of the ground for today’s Bow Little Market. How do onions do it? How do they make all those thin layers without them sticking together? How do they make that last thin skin? With what fine brush do they paint the thin green lines on their white flesh? And they do it all without any hands. You need to be a gardner, a farmer with their hands in the dirt, to be full of joy and wonder at what a special place we live in this infinite universe.

We’ve sent Voyager more than 20 billion kilometers from earth. We’ve peered far into distant galaxies, and we’ve yet to find another home where onions grow. Our precious earth is a treasure beyond compare. Making sure that for generations to come, people can wonder how an onion grows is something we owe our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and on and on and on. Nothing is more important than pure air, clean water, soil free of poisons and teaming with life. It’s what keeps us alive and happy.


Pink and Fuzzy


What is pink and fuzzy in a summer garden? Mint in bloom. In a moist climate like here in the Pacific Northwest, mint will grow and spread with wild abandonment. If you want just a little keep it in a pot. It is such a vigorous grower that you can use it to make low hedges. No matter how many times you trim it, mint will spring back quickly.

This is mentha suaveolens, also called apple mint, pineapple mint, woolly mint or round-leafed mint.


Time to Study


BooksIt’s time to study. Two books that I’m studying are Rebsie Fairholm’s The Lost Art of Potato Breeding and Carol Deppe’s Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties. I’ve learned that a reason you only see seed potatoes and never potato seeds for sale is that due to the genetic complexity of potatoes, potato seeds don’t grow true. Which means, that when you plant potato seeds from one plant, you end up with a whole variety of different potatoes. It does mean that developing varieties of potatoes perfect for your specific garden is possible. Plant enough potato seeds, see which of them do best in your garden, and then keep replanting the tubers of those selected potatoes, and you will have your own unique variety of potatoes no one else has.

The Early Bird Gets the Tomato


I had some tomatoes for Bow Little Market on Thursday. They sold out quickly. The only ones who got any were the early birds.

This year I’m severely pruning the tomatoes as they grow, limiting each tomato to a single main stem. I’m also removing half of the flowers to limit the number of tomatoes which develop. It’s working. The tomato plants are very manageable, and the resulting tomatoes are nice and plump, up to a pound each. A few more weeks and I’ll have a full basket of tomatoes for the market each Thursday.

Something New Every Day


There is something new every day. Even if you think there isn’t, during the night while you slept, the sun has taken you about 7 million kilometers, over 4 million miles, from where you were when you went to bed. Every morning you wake up in a new spot in the universe, millions of miles away from where you were yesterday, and there is no going back. Or as they say, “To infinity and beyond!”

Not as dramatic, but 15 baby chicks I ordered arrived this morning. It has been many years since I’ve ordered live chicks, but I wanted to add Brown Cornish chickens to my flock and have not been able to find a reliable source for fertile Brown Cornish eggs.

Since I had two broody hens, both sitting on wooden eggs, I ordered the chicks, and this morning, as soon as they arrived, I carefully placed them under the two hens. It was a lesson again as to why every chick deserves … actually every chick craves a mother. The 15 chicks were peeping their heads off when I arrived at the post office just after 7 a.m. to pick them up. They peeped all the way home. But as soon as I placed them under their respective mothers, all peeping ceased. Later this afternoon, I found the chicks singing. When little chicks are happy, they make a singing, chirping sound which you can hear in the video below:

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I’ve been checking on them throughout the day, and the two mothers have taken well to their new chicks, and the baby chicks are happy as can be. It’s a fallacy that baby chicks don’t need a mother. Oh, they’ll get by and grow up, but all that frantic peeping they do when they are tiny is them crying out for a mother who never comes.


Also at the post office this morning was the new tofu press I ordered from Earth First Innovations. The sturdy press has a wooden handle and a plunger that you hold down with sturdy rubber bands to press your tofu.


The timing was perfect. I was making tofu this morning. After filling up the press with curds, I pulled down the handle and secured it with two rubber bands. Thirty minutes later, I had a nice block of tofu.


The Soft Time of Day


The sun is down behind the trees. It’s the soft time of day when the colors drift off to sleep, slowly, quietly.

A flower falls onto the soft leaves below.

The dogs pounce like foxes in the meadow.

The heavy grass seeds bend to the ground.


Flowers sigh for departed bees.

A stone rests on a warm block of tofu, pressing it into shape.

Pressed, the block of warm tofu floats dreamily in cooling water.

The soft time of day is a poem which flows like a gentle stream into night’s pleasant dreams.


Punctuality is the Virtue of the Bored


Writer Evelyn Waugh is said to have said, “Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.” I chuckled when I read that in a BBC article about the punctuality of the Swiss. Many of my ancestors were Swiss. When I visited the farm in the Jura mountains where one of my great-great-grandfathers once lived, I couldn’t fathom why he decided to leave. The area was a paradise of forests and green pastures. It turns out that he left because a tavern opened a mile or so away from his farm and he did not want his children to grow up so close to drinking and dancing. I don’t think his decision to move all the way to rural Ohio was the best choice, but who am I to judge. His action didn’t work as there is beer in my fridge and wine on my shelves.

The need to be punctual fails me when I’m at my desk in the garden. I’m never bored, so maybe I’ll never be good at being punctual.


The dogs are never bored either. They always find something meaningful to do, like trying to rip the weaving off a lawn chair. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just wanting to take it apart to see how it is made. Dogs are curious that way, you know.


What Do Potato Flowers Dream Of?


She’s a shy one. This little Turken cross chick is growing up fast. She’s got a very protective mother. Get too close and she will attack! To get a better photo, I’ll need to get the camera with a zoom so I can stand a long way back when I snap the shutter.


The Korean red garlic are bagged and set aside for planting in the fall. Next year, I should have plenty of them to sell all summer.


Out in the garden to gather ingredients for supper, I caught the potato flowers going to sleep. At the end of a long, summer day, potato flowers close their eyes and slumber until dawn. What do they dream of when the stars come out? Do any peak to see what the night sky looks like?


Supper’s are best when they are fresh out of the garden. New potatoes, mustard greens, and beans, we’ll eat well tonight. The only thing missing is a salmon stream meandering by the garden.