One Month In

The less you hear from me, the busier I likely am. Such is the case since my last update on the farm. I spent a week manning the farm by myself while the family headed down to Texas for the wedding of Sam and Katelyn, who run the urban farm in the Detroit area I visited a few weeks back (and again yesterday, for a brief bit). We’ve been planting in the vegetable garden, seeing the world through the new eyes of the baby chicks, and making progress on the food forest.

On top of that, the tax man wanted lots of money in the form of the self-employment tax, so I’ve been using my down time to make some extra scratch to send the government’s way. Finally, I was enjoying myself and didn’t bother to take the time to write.

Now that my justifications for lack of content are done, let’s see what’s been going on.

One Month Anniversary!

I can’t believe I’ve already been here a month. I’ve gotten into a routine by this point, and I feel pretty confident. The vegetable garden is mostly under my sole jurisdiction by this point, and the entire farm was left in my command the other week. That was a wonderful chance to see what kind of work is required to keep an operation like this going. Nature has a way of making sure things happen when they need to, so the farm survived my tenure with flying colors.

Of course, I had a little bit of help from Jack while I transplanted tomatoes.

jack helps transplant

Farm Marketing

In addition to my outside work, I was also tasked with creating a website and some flyers to hand out at the farmers market. The site is up at http://heritage-gardens.net if you want to get a sense of what the farm is all about. There’s plenty of work yet to do and lots of content to add, but you can get the general idea.

I was pleased with how the flyers turned out. Kudos to the local print shop on a job well done!

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The market starts up in May, so the clock’s ticking for us to get things ready.

In the Greenhouse

packed greenhouse

We delivered the Lacinato kale to the urban farm in Hamtramck yesterday, which opened up a lot of extra space in the greenhouse. It’s just in time, since the peppers, tomatoes, and herb seem to be expanding every day. There’s plenty of transplanting to be done to get the little plantlings ready for the market. Every plant gets her own little cup, which serves as an apartment until someone takes her home for good. Since Kathy has planted a number of new seeds in the greenhouse, space is at a premium.

In the Vegetable Garden

The vegetable beds are coming along, and it won’t be long before we have lots of little sprouts coming up. I’ve planted beets, radishes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peas, leeks, onions, and potatoes so far. Soon to come are the carrots, beans, and melons. When we can trust the weather to stay warm, I can put out the peppers and tomatoes.

Animal News

Teddy, the golden retriever, continues to have a blast running around and saying hello to everyone. He caught a mouse the other week and ate it in two bites. I have also spotted him with, at one time or another, the back half of a rabbit, the skeleton of a large fish, a tennis ball, and a chewed-up stick. He’s a fun dog.

Buddy, the mostly blind roly-poly of a dog, is also a lot of fun. He joined me for the sunset one night during my week alone, even though I had to tell him what he was looking at.
Buddy at sunset

The cats are all doing well. Pixel has outed himself as an emo cat who prefers to spend the day hiding in the dark basement until 11:30 at night, when he wants to go outside. Jack continues to wander around and keep an eye on the farm. Patches misses Mr. Bumble and Max, the only cats around who would lick him. Crazy Tony is having a blast chasing the baby chicks around the yard.

Did I mention that the baby chicks are finally old enough to go outside during the day? We let them out this week for the first time, and it’s been fun watching them learn what their doorway means. They now scratch around the mulch and compost looking for food, and I’m hoping they get too big to fit through the fence by the time they venture near the vegetable garden. Otherwise, our seeds are toast.
chicks on the prowl

The rooster finally let me get close enough to capture him crowing for a brief moment. You can see how embarrassed he was by the way he runs around the corner right after seeing me filming him.

As for the ducks…we had a delicious duck egg quiche the other night. They’re all doing well, quacking about as they do.

My own reputation for not letting the majority of things on the farm die must be spreading. I’m now sitting on offers to work at two other WWOOF farms in Indiana whenever I decide to move on from Heritage Gardens. Plus, I found $20 in an Easter egg today. Things are looking good.
Self Portrait During Isolation Week

Bonus: Book News

On the trip to Detroit yesterday, I paid a visit to the fantastic John K. King Used & Rare Books. There are four floors of used books stuffed to the gills. I intended to buy one book but obviously walked out with four. I’m excited to enjoy them. Here they are — respectively, they are a recommendation from a friend, an old favorite I haven’t read in ten years, a classic I should have read by now, and the wild card that called to me from utter obscurity.

Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
The Short Stories of Saki – Saki (H.H. Munro)
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
November Grass – Judy Van der Veer

I’m in the middle of a book called City of the Bees, by Frank S. Stuart. This was given to me by my friend Jonah, who also recommended me Winesburg, Ohio. Stuart spent a year studying the activity of a hive in Scotland, and his book is a unique mix of science and poetry in telling the life of bees. The Queen is an omniscient goddess, and the survival of the hive is her great epic.

Today I came upon his description of a single drone bee that floored me: a “little exquisite pellet of living dust.” Aren’t we all?

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