Have you smelled rosemary and garlic bread baking at 6am?
This is my Saturday morning. Woke up, picked herbs, baked bread that Matthew kneaded with herbs last night while I was making some headway through a bottle of white wine. I have a sprig of rosemary in hanging in my window, Matt put lilacs in his cabin this morning and Matthew posted a bouquet of blooming chives in our window. On Thursday and Friday, I learned about herbs.
I would consider myself a cooking novice, most definitely. Other than basil and some parsley, most of what I’ve put on my food has come from a spice jar. But for people who like to cook, and like to cook well, Keith’s herbs are the best of the best.
Thursday we replanted tarragon in black plastic (which is convenient because it really keeps the weeds out, but we pull it up at the end of each season to reuse and to keep it from deteriorating, which Jay and Matt say is a huge task. Also, we had planted this tarragon without the plastic, but Keith backtracked because not having to weed would save us more time in the long run, – as someone who goofs up, I like to be reminded that it’s okay do it), and mulched, hoed and weeded beds and beds of herbs. Anise, sorrel, chives, garlic chives, more tarragon, winter savory, mint, hyssop and a maybe half a dozen others. As we went the boys showed had me taste everything. Matt smells everything we pass in the fields, and he and Keith explain their uses and popularity at the market.
Matthew and I finally finished our fourth band of potatoes and cut the rest of the spuds. He’s been keeping us up to our eyes in the most amazing breads and cookies, and as the two babies of the crew (1988 Libras, represent!) it’s nice to have someone around who’s also pretty new to this whole thing.
Matt took me to the tunnels and showed me how drip irrigation works. Drip tape runs the length of a row and regulates water dispersion over several hours. You hook it up to lay flat, which is hose that runs all over the place near the tunnels and can withstand tractors running it over constantly. This will feed our rosemary, basil, tomatoes and peppers in the tunnels.
On Thursday I felt the weight of my learning curve. Twenty minutes into weeding Jay realized I was using the hook and crook, a neat little hoe designed specifically for Keith’s garlic, backwards. Womp. And we’re growing a ton of things I’ve never heard of or tasted before – summer savory, sorrel, quince? I was also the fool who left her boots out to dry overnight, which was fine until the 4am thunderstorm. I dumped about an inch of water out of my boots Friday morning.
Friday we went back out in the herb beds to paper mulch, weed, weed, and weed. Planted basil in the high tunnels, thinned tiny basil seedlings, and Keith suggested I start learning the ins and out of the greenhouse and potentially take over that area of the farm duties. More on that later!
Friday is Friday everywhere, whether you’re in an office or on a farm, and we counted down excitedly to 6pm. The boys have been doing pretty much all of our dinner cooking, with a delightful brinner Thursday of homefries, eggs and bacon, and Tacos on Friday. Two of them are coming down to Philly with me for the weekend while I run Broad Street. I’m just feeling good about the whole living situation in general. Plus, living with four guys gives me permission to be a little gross (aka not showering).
At night on the way to the store we pass a bunch of ponds that are alive with spring peepers. Jay found a fiery red salamander in the mulch and held a bumblebee in his hands while it trundled around looking for a way out of the high tunnel. There are garter snakes in the mulch and swallows in the barn. I caught myself just sitting up in the herb beds this morning listening to the birds and the hum of the woods around me, and though I’m excited to adventure into the city with some new friends for the race this weekend, I am also excited to spend more weekends here, wandering property with Kobe and, as Jay said in the tunnel with the bee, just being.