Month: June 2016

The Nicotiana at Eminence

Eminence sits on the highest point between Lexington and Louisville in Kentucky. At least that’s how he always described it. It is where he would grow up and where he would raise and harvest tobacco. He would tell me, his granddaughter, about it 50 years later. “The tobacco worms were as big as this,” he would say, holding his thumb in the air with his eyebrows raised, waiting for me to widen my eyes in shock. He spoke of Eminence as a magical place on the hill where memories were made, families were raised, and legacies were honored. He would describe in full detail how he would climb the tall rafters of the drying barn when he was a young boy to hang the tobacco to dry. Being the smallest and youngest on the farm, he was always volunteered to go to the very top. He’d look down on the hanging plants and smell the sweet fragrance of tobacco in the hot, humid, southern air, the golden summer light pouring through the slats of the barn. My grandfather graciously, and without being asked, …

Lettuce Crank up the Beefs

We come up short on a lot of things just about every day, but one thing that we’ve done really well is making sure to eat as a family pretty much every night.  Ok fine, so about two or three times a month it’s at La Herradurra, our go-to Mexican restaurant in Bloomington where all the servers know our son and that he wants guacamole the moment his butt connects with the booth.  And yeah sometimes we sneak in some boxed macaroni and cheese or make a frozen pizza because we’re just too exhausted to even think about making something.  But in the midst of all this imperfection, we’re still sitting down together.   Tonight was one of those meals that you wait for all year.  We were able to make it using ingredients almost entirely from our farm and beef from my parents’ farm, just 8 miles away.  A steak salad might not seem like an amazing feat, but after all the work that was put in to getting it on our table, it tasted …

Real Men Make Elaborate To-Do Lists All By Themselves

As we leap into June, we’re tackling an ever-growing list of projects, some of them long overdue.  I currently have a 3-columned to-do list, each column noting whether or not the items are “high,” “medium,” or “low” priority.  The idea was that I shouldn’t move on to the “medium” and “low” priority tasks until all the “high” priority ones were down, but if I did it that way then I really would get nothing done.  So, each day I’m plugging along and trying to check as many things off my list as possible.  Our half-acre gardens are almost entirely planted at this point.  Only a few raised beds remain empty, as we wait for a couple late shipments of flower starts for some of our late-season weddings.  Pathways are getting mulched, flowers are getting trellised, potatoes are getting hilled, weeding/cultivating never seems to end, and the list goes on and on.  The shop is getting organized and re-organized as we try to lean up our operation and maximize our efficiency.  We’re far from efficient at …