Last Saturday I went to the farm co-op store to buy some seeds. I picked out packets of spinach and sugar snap peas (my mouth watering in anticipation), "sweet lettuce mix" (excluding spicy stuff like arrugula, which CP detests), red beets, and mini carrots, plus a scoop of white onion bulbs. It was a balmy day, the soil was sufficiently dry after recent rains, and I was desperate to get something started growing in the dirt.
I hoed some rows and was about to start dropping the little green orbs when I re-read the package. They were not the sweet, eat-'em-off-the vine kind, but shelling peas! Such was my disappointment that I sat and mentally debated whether I should ditch them and buy the snaps, finally resolving to plant the dumb things anyway.
The second bummer was finding that somehow the lettuce packet never made it to checkout. By then I was feeling like a scatterbrain. The third bummer was that the baby woke up crying, limiting my agricultural accomplishments of the day to one double row of shelling peas. Company was coming, and it was time to prepare supper.
Earlier that sunshiny day, we visited a small family farm not too far from here. Driving up the winding lane toward the historic white farmhouse, I saw what looked like a cold frame constructed of lumber and heavy sheet plastic. Later I learned that it was a portable shelter for two hefty, copper-colored pigs. They move with their "house" around the garden section by section, rooting out weeds, grubs, and old potatoes, and fertilizing the garden in preparation for spring planting. Now that's efficiency!
The farmer and her middle school-aged daughter led us through a small orchard of sweet cherries and pears, past the house to a chicken yard where the fowl ran around eating their fill of whatever they find in the dirt and grass. Young broilers and layers huddled inside the chicken house with heat lamps.
We purchased a dozen hand-gathered eggs--ranging from white to milk chocolate in color--for a mere $2. Hopefully we will be seeing these folks with their produce at the local farmer market when it opens in May.