Well world, I blinked and summer was OVER, the leaves are changing, the air is a little cooler and I cannot believe where we are right now. The end of the year is in sight, and we my friends are still alive!
What’ve we been up to lately? Well, for one, dealing with the metric tonne of tomatoes that my first vegetable garden has put forth. I have thrown away more perfectly good tomatoes than I care to admit, because it is physically impossible to deal with all of them. The freezer is packed to the brim with pasta sauce, cherry tomatoes, diced tomatoes, baked tomatoes and on my laziest days, whole tomatoes shoved in bags. I’ve eaten egg and tomato omelettes with kale (another bountiful garden friend) every day for months and I am DONE. All of that aside, I’m very proud of my budding green thumb. I never truly appreciated the deep sense of pride that comes from eating food you watched appear before your very eyes. The garden has also produced a petrifying number of poblano peppers (no idea what to do with them, but they are very cute looking), and the most delicious green capsicums. Those I was able to eat at the pace they grew, because I am the ultimate consumer of capsicums with every meal. My key takeaways from my first season as a vegetable grower are: visit your plants every day, tell them you’re proud of them when they give off fruit, and harvest regularly, since I felt for every one kale leaf I snapped off, another ten would shoot out the top. Bonus tip, snap kale leafs from the bottom of the plant, so that the energy keeps shooting up.
The major enemy in my veggie patch was a little bastard called the tomato hornworm. When the plants were weighed down with green tomatoes that were just not ripening, we noticed that there were leaves disappearing, looking like they’d just been munched right off. Turns out this is the classic calling card of this mean green tomato machine, and we spent several weeks hunting and squishing the disgusting things until they left my tomatoes well alone. While I was initially devastated, the tomatoes were so prolific I almost wish they had eaten a few more off so I wasn’t feeling so wasteful.
Other than the quaint life of veggie farming, I harvested a bajillion raspberries, blackberries, and black raspberries in the hottest weeks of July. Across our farm are lots of wild berry bushes, and myself and Taco the berry hunter would spend hours filling buckets with berries that I turned into cobbler or froze to later top pavlovas or make jam. I haven’t actually made the jam yet because I realized I actually don’t eat jam that much and kind of love berries in their original form too much. Taco also loves berries in their original form, and would literally snort like a pig while eating the ripe ones straight off the vine. We had some magical afternoons in the woods at the back of the farm exploring for new plants, getting prickled and dripped on and stuffing our faces. You’d almost think he was a fellow human.
We continued to learn daily the trials and tribulations of running a business. We’ve both been expanding our skillsets – me into mastering the bookkeeping and taking on permitting, and the husbo into scheduling, and both of us into mastering the plant material that makes up the idyllic northern Michigan landscapes. There is an infinite number of diseases to learn, watch for and combat, and new plant varieties that come out each season, but the magic of living in the greenscape of Petoskey is that we can watch it unfold. The leaves are starting to turn and my pumpkins are starting to ripen, so a whole new set of learning is about to take place as trimming season kicks off, and larger landscaping projects come back online after the summering crowd departs to the real world again.
And why stop there? I’m proceeding with studying for the various tests that make up passing the bar in the State of New York (who knows when that will be, but I’m hoping February 2020), and decided to bite the bullet and get certified as a personal trainer, which has always been an ambition of mine. We have wonderful plans for a two week escape to New Zealand, and to defrost in Australia in January. And if that isn’t a whirlwind high level update on the random things that make up life here, well I don’t know what is. Although I did forget to mention that I am OFFICIALLY A PERMANENT RESIDENT, and I opened a bank account and my debit card has the Disney princess castle on it.
Looking forward to sharing more regularly as fall comes up.