August 23, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
I saw the most spectacular moonrise around midnight this past Friday. I was walking and leaving a message on my cell phone when I caught a glimpse of this glow on the horizon. I had to hang up and just watch as this immense orange orb started climbing up the eastern sky. The horses in the barnyard were confused by the moon shadow and unusual intensity of light. They were unsettled and refused to go into their stalls. This beautiful natural event also seemed to usher in a shift in the season.
Suddenly my thoughts were turning to autumn, to cooler, shorter days. There was a tang in the air that a week earlier seemed unimaginable as we all struggled with the heat and drought. Late Saturday evening we went to Chris Braney’s annual corn roast and barn dance. There was a lovely breeze blowing through the barn and we danced with many people to the rock and roll beats of Chris’ band featuring guest artists like Justin Ruttledge and Geoff Heinricks.
I hadn’t really examined my garden and vineyard for a while. On Sunday I toured around and looked closely. A week ago the vines were finally starting to show signs of drought stress. Their leaves were yellowing and many had dropped to the ground. Now it seemed that the rainfall of the past week had revived them. I wasn’t counting on the vines producing much fruit this year. The past 2 years had proved very challenging for my little vineyard. Instead, I focused my attention on maintaining good health and vigour in the vines so that next year’s fruit would be abundant once again. I had so little fruit on the vines this year that I didn’t even bother to put up bird proof netting on the vines to protect the fruit. It didn’t take the birds long to ferret out what little fruit I did have and gorge themselves. Note to self: Don’t forget to put up the bird netting next year!
The tomatoes have really been enjoying all the sun they have been getting all summer. The rain has sped things up and now it looks like there might be tomatoes for this Saturday’s dinner. We are also enjoying a second cycle of some of our perennial herbs like chives and mint. It is amazing and gratifying to witness how nature rebounds from a sort of paralysis brought on by drought to this hopeful reanimation of green sprouting everywhere by something as simple as a good rain.
This weekend I am looking forward to welcoming a few of my friends from the food and wine community to help animate our dinner event on Saturday evening. Collectively they will bring stone ground corn, wine, cheese and chocolate. That alone would make a fine dinner! My team and I will fill in the blanks for what promises to be yet another wonderful evening of gastronomy and storytelling.
photo by @jodickins