THIS OLD HOUSE.

We are just about exactly one year into our move to the new farm. It was one of our busiest years ever, growing-wise, and one of the mildest seasons we could have been given for our transition. Plenty of rain, warm-but-not-too-warm, great CSA members and just an all-around great year.

It was also a confirmation of our decision to move: abundant family time, a reconnection to community and involvement, and a new opportunity for us to serve the food-insecure. We miss our friends and neighbors, but we know this is where we are supposed to be.

We just returned from vacation (a real, actual vacation!) in Asheville. We had an amazing time, eating and hiking and eating some more and visiting farms and farmers markets. One of our days was spent in Pisgah National Forest, where we sort of stumbled into “The Cradle of Forestry” – a museum/tour that explored the old Biltmore Forest School established by the Vanderbilts in 1898, known as the “birthplace of science-based forest management.”

lodge at Pisgah.

We walked along a paved hike and explored all of the old buildings from the school – the residence cabins, the schoolhouse, the offices, the store. Jesse and I both felt a twinge of sadness walking into the log cabins – the smell very reminiscent of our own house in Bugtussle. Touring these structures made us realize that there has been one thing missing this past year at our new farm: our cabin.

Now, to be clear: we are not homeless. We have a perfectly decent house, a mobile home, in fact. It is lovely and, in many technical aspects, an improvement on our tiny cabin. It has almost double the square-footage, with running water and electricity, a REAL bathroom and even a washer and dryer! We are SO GRATEFUL for this home.

But we do not love this home. It is the polar-opposite from our little, hand-built home. It is not attractive, it is not solid-feeling, it is not ours. Again, we appreciate it SO MUCH and have admittedly appreciated some of its conveniences, but we actually want to get back to some of the simplicity of the cabin. We miss being in control of our water and power – we had a string of tragic plumbing issues this summer, not a good thing when your garden depends on irrigation! The desperate calling, trying to find a plumber (how are there not more plumbers?!), being at the mercy of their schedules and their prices – it was horrifying to us. Same with electricity – we have yet to install our woodstove, because it is just not safe for an older mobile home. We never had these problems at the cabin – it was hard work, but we had control (and peace of mind) when it came to our water turning on or our plants staying warm enough in the greenhouse.  Our walk through those handmade buildings in the woods in North Carolina really affirmed something for us, or perhaps simply ignited it: let’s build another cabin.

We came back from Asheville feeling inspired and refreshed. We are so fortunate to have this house – we live our lives in it everyday, sheltered, and we will be able to continue to live here while we (one day) start to build a new home, with our own hands, our own ideas, and our own needs in mind. Being excited and inspired is such a good feeling – and exactly the way you hope to feel after returning from a vacation. We also ate a lot of great food and a visited a beautiful farm – leaving us equally inspired to strive for better in the kitchen and the garden. We really had the best time in Asheville – thanks to everyone who offered tips and suggestions!

-Hannah.

 

ANNOUNCING THE FALL/WINTER SHARE!

the FALL/WINTER share

Hannah and I are super excited to announce our fall/winter CSA share. This will run for 15 weeks, starting in mid-October and ending in February (with a break for Christmas, of course).

For the moment, this will only be available in Frankfort, Versailles, and Lawrenceburg.

But can I talk about how much we love the fall share for a minute? I’m gonna.

We love the fall share! It is, as farmers and foodies, our favorite time in the garden. There will be loads of storage crops like butternut squash, acorn squash, garlic and the best dang sweet potatoes you’ve ever had! Also, lots of greens, green onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and many other Fall goodies. And of course, we will be delivering all these organic veggies straight to your door.

If you are interested please let us know ASAP as space is limited. You can send us an email at roughdraftfarmstead@gmail.com, or call (502) 598 – 8288. Once we have you on our list, you will receive an information packet about the CSA and details about delivery.

The price is $350 for the 15 weeks.

This boils down to an average of $23.33/wk, so slightly less expensive than the summer, if you’re looking to try the CSA in but are intimidated by the summer share.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We can take payments in person, by check, or online HERE.

Spinach, carrots and beets are already starting to germinate in the fields, y’all. Get ready! Hope to see you this fall!

Jesse and Hannah.

MY FELLOW FARMER.

As long as I’ve been a writer, the fact that editors don’t get bylines––that is, they don’t get their names attached to the articles they work on as the writers do––has always kind of perplexed me. I write an article as best I can, but then what the editor does to that work is something that, not in a thousand years of trying, I feel could I do on my own. Editors add. They refine. They remove. They adjust the flow. They ask questions I never considered. They clean it up and prepare it for publication. And without them I am pretty sure almost nothing I write would be worth reading. Perhaps nothing anyone writes. Yet it is my name that goes on the article, while the editor remains in relative obscurity.

And in some ways I feel this role of the editor is analogous to the role of women on farms throughout history. Men get the bylines. Men are often called “farmers”, while the women are simply called “wives”. As Audra Mulkern points out in her forthcoming documentary Women’s Work: The Untold Story of America’s Female Farmers, men are the ones whose pictures are taken, while the women can be seen harvesting in the fields behind them, or can’t be seen at all, despite their importance to the farm.

I think about this with Hannah. It is an unending inspiration the amount of work she puts in to refine and shape our farm. She is out there digging, broadforking, planting, harvesting, cleaning, packing, marketing, all of it. Hannah is as critical to our operation as an editor is to an article, but the analogy ends there because she is not my editor, she is the other farmer. And without her, there is no Rough Draft Farmstead.

The story of our food is one written by us both––equally––doing our jobs, using our different skill sets to accomplish something profound together: food, farming, life, and family. On our farm, Hannah deserves a byline with everything we do. There is no such thing as “women’s work” here. There is just a whole lot of farming, and two of us to try and get it all done.

-Jesse.

hannah.

THIS & THAT.

Some photos from around the farm this week.

khaki campbell.

One of our Khaki Campbell ducks – no doubt full of cherry tomatoes stolen from the high tunnel.

hornworm.We have been dealing with A TON of hornworm damage this year, so this is a beautiful sight. (Parasitic wasp eggs on a hornworm).

black widow.Although they always give us a bit of a start, we actually love finding black widows in the garden. They are very beneficial garden spiders and actually not really that dangerous.

fall garden.Fall seedlings next to our edamame row. Can’t believe it is AUGUST already!

honeynut squash.

Our little baby honeynut squash are coming along nicely! They are one of our favorite new crops that we discovered watching “Chef’s Table.” 

-Hannah.

THINKING AHEAD.

canning tomatoes.

It seems some sort of evil joke that the hottest weeks of the year are also the time of the biggest bounty in the garden – meaning I must spend hours and hours in a boiling hot kitchen, standing over a steaming pot,  cooking down tomatoes and canning food for winter. Each time I think I am done, I head out to our wash/pack shed and fine MORE tomatoes. Bins and bins of beautiful, ripe tomatoes. And I cannot let them go to waste. My future self calls out to me through time, telling me how much she is enjoying having tomatoes on a cold, snowy day. I hear her, and I obey. I can some more, I shuck and freeze corn, ball the leftover melons. Thinking and planning ahead, providing for our family and trying to make a little bit of this summer feeling of abundance stretch into those lean winter months.

I am starting to get a little bit burned-out on plain old tomatoes, though. Last night I canned ketchup, and next, I’m thinking about sun-dried tomatoes. How do you preserve your tomatoes? Anybody tried freezing them?

-Hannah.

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