vicarious farming (and this week’s In The Garden)

May 1, 2012 in In the Garden, sketchbook by amy

It’s no secret that I love animals.  I’ve always had many pets and drawing them has been a way of understanding them better.  Studying how they are built and how they move helps me to see them more clearly.  This ideally and eventually leads to better drawings.  I’ve always had a somewhat romantic notion of what it would be like to have a small farm with a few sheep, some chickens, maybe some ducks and a pony…. but I am enough of a realist still to know that this not in the cards for me, at least not right now in my life.  That doesn’t stop me from admiring farmers and their farms, reading books about far flung farms both current and in the past and finding farmy animals to doodle when I have the chance.

Last summer during our regular trek to Maine, we discovered a little farm stand in the Lakes region we go to belonging to Winterberry Farm.  This farm, and it’s farm stand is run by a woman named Mary Perry and her 3 kids.  It’s tremendously beautiful and lovingly cared for.  We went there almost everyday to get our greens for the day, to buy a pie and to stock up on jams and honey to bring back to Ohio when it was time to leave.  Winterberry was simply enchanting and it’s recently been in the news up in Maine for Mary’s work in preserving her farm as farm land forever.  You can read about that process here.  I am looking forward to going back to Winterberry to spend more time and do more drawings this summer…

In lieu of a true ‘farm’ to call my own, I’m instead focusing on the patch of green we are fortunate to have here and learning about how to best care for it.   This week In The Garden, I’m trying to figure out what to grow in my little plot up at the community garden.  What makes a perfect veggie garden?  What are the best things to grow in order to eat them all winter long.  I’ve never preserved food in any tangible way beyond freezing it and this shall be the year to learn.  I have a few blogs that I read as beacon’s on my gardening journey.  My favorite is 6512 and Growing.  Rachel’s sense of humor combined with her knowledge of all things earthy make growing a garden and enjoying what you grow seem totally doable.  What are your veggie garden favorites?

While the sunshine warms the plots up the road at Amberley Green, things here in our little gully get shadier and shadier.  It’s a juicy time of year when you can just about drink the air.  That’s not likely to change again til maybe September.  Ya gotta love some Ohio River Valley humidity.  A dear friend originally from Ohio but now living in Denver came back for a visit recently and remarked that she’s like a raisin who plumps back into a grape when she’s back in Ohio.  The moisture here is really wonderful…. until it’s in the 90’s…..

I have a few new gifts in the garden thanks to a friend of mine who’s garden is well tended and bursting with extras.  Some Solomon’s Seal.  And a couple of Jack-In-The-Pulpits to hide in and among the crazy big ferns.

This week I attended a composting presentation held at a local park.  We got a new compost bucket for the kitchen and a sweet magnet for the car.  I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know, but was inspired to ramp up compost production a little bit by perhaps making a second pile and turning it a little more often.  With the new veggies to feed, I will be needing it!

We have tons of critters that share our green space.  There is the endless parade of deer who like to eat anything we plant which I find really annoying.  But then there are these little wild rabbits who are very brave and seem to really like the dandelion stalks.  This I like.  Chomp away little bunny friends!!

Some of these little guys come close enough to the house for me to get a peek for a minute to make some sketches…. until they spot me and take off running.

Thank goodness for cameras to capture source photos….. I’ll leave you with a little drawing….

How are things in your little green space?

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