16. May 2015 · Comments Off on Our first CSA delivery will be May 20 this year. · Categories: season update · Tags:

Dear CSA Members and other friends,

Our first CSA delivery will be May 20 this year.

You are receiving this e-mail if: 1) you have signed up for our CSA, 2)You have been in our CSA in the past and you have not yet told us you don’t want to be in the CSA, 3) You are an immediate family member or other friend/colleague who we think might like to read the essays that often come after the CSA business information, or 4) we have mistakenly included in one of the other 3 categories.

If you belong to category 3 and wish to continue receiving these e-mails, there is no need to reply.  If you belong to one of the other categories, we would like to receive a reply, 1) to confirm everyone who needs to get this message is getting it, and 2) to hear from those of you who wish to be removed from the mailing list.

Some time in the next few days, if all goes according to plan, everyone on the CSA e-mail list will receive and individualized e-mail to check if these e-mails are being screened out, or otherwise not received by some of you.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off on Shares, Update, Farmland · Categories: season update · Tags: , , ,

Dear Once and Future CSA Members and Friends,

SHARES.  Diane is beating Jim about the ears and screaming about only having 13 shares.  Jim tries not to worry about it and have faith we’ll fill up.  We suppose its time for us to ask you to let us know whether you are in or whether you are out.
UPDATE.  The winter (now spring) continues to be unprecedented in its mildness, giving us more opportunities to get started planting early than we have ever seen in recent memory.  The peas are up and Diane has scattered a thin layer of grass clippings over them to hide them from winged marauders.  The direct seeded spinach is up and we have been able to add a bed of transplants to those.  We experimented with planting out a row of tiny walla walla seedlings to see if they will take off.  We’ve also risked small plantings of radishes, carrots, beets, arugula, broccoli raab and napa cabbage.  These are crops, some of which we often don’t get to until May if the rain keeps us out of the fields.
We are rebuilding the green house that blew up in the second big wind storm this winter.  We bought it for about $200 about ten years ago at an auction and a friend hauled it from Hillsboro for us.  It may cost more to rebuild than we paid for it.
Jim is enjoying walking our renter’s puppy,  Zuki, a husky/German Shepherd mix.  Diane, who Jim often calls “the pet police” is making sure the owner gives him the proper food, gets his shots and brings him in before dark and during rain storms.  As Jim likes to say, “It takes a village to raise a puppy.”
FARMLAND RESCUE.  Jim submitted an edited version of the following piece to the Battle Ground Reflector.  We didn’t see it last week, but it would be more timely this week, anyway.

Letter to Battle Ground Reflector (not yet published and edited for length)

We felt deeply wounded when a county planner characterized the county’s small scale farmers as hobbyists growing food for our own use and the food bank (not that these aren’t worthy goals) [Battle Ground Reflector, 1/7/15]. Thankfully your editors don’t seem to share his view, as they provide coverage of our growing produce, vineyard, horse and alpaca sectors.

We would characterize our small scale farmers as a group of purpose driven entrepreneurs striving to provide wholesome locally produced products, and secure our local economy from the vagaries of global booms and busts.

And don’t think that our small farm community doesn’t care about our larger scaled brothers and sisters. If the Lagler family must leave the county, their milk and their competent farming practice will be sorely missed. While the truck picking up their milk bears the Tillamook brand, the milk is destined for the Portland area fluid milk pool. Chances are that at least one of the gallons we drank in the last month came from Lagler cows. We small farmers aren’t ready to produce milk on that scale.*

While small farm may not yet dominate the local farm economy, our contribution is meaningful and growing. Take our 10 acre farm. It supports Jim and Diane Hunter, provides low cost housing for two aspiring young men, is home to two historic structures, a home for 10 to 20 abandoned cats and two rescued dogs, as well as habitat for a host of wildlife species including deer, coyotes, great horned owls, red tailed hawks, pileated woodpeckers, yellow bellied sapsuckers, and many others including a diversity of pollinating insects.

Of the ten acres, much is in grass and forest. We making our living on approximately 2 acres of vegetables. We feed 30 Clark County families their servings of vegetables for 20 weeks a year. If that seems small, we mean it to be. You see rather than the conventional approach of producing the most that we can, we strive to produce only as much as we need, while consuming the smallest possible stock of resources to do it.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Grinnell College, one of the finest colleges in the country (google it if you don’t recognize it), and a masters from WSU’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics. Diane worked the first half of her career as a bookkeeper. Somewhere an anthropology professor and a bookkeeper hold “family wage” jobs because Jim and Diane found a higher purpose and can live on a lot less. Mr. Madore has described us as “exceptional.”

If the Lagler family must leave, you could fill the land with vegetable patches like ours and support 300 couples like us, leaving 600 “family wage” jobs for 300- 600 other families.

Join us in urging the Laglers to stay, or if they must leave to find a higher agricultural purpose for their land.

We all need to consider the alternative. Some may tout the proposed industrial park, as jobs, jobs, jobs, but what if it just becomes a place to park raw materials destined for Asia, or goods produced in far off factories destined for our big box stores. Where are the jobs in that?

Are we called to serve the greed driven global economy, or a purpose driven local economy. We must choose now, for as a wise philosopher once said, “You cannot serve two masters, for you will love the one and hate the other…” Diane and Jim have made their choice, how about you?

Come to the Rural Industrial Land Bank Open House, April 15, 5:30 to 7:00 at the CASEE Center at 11104 N.E. 149th St. in Brush Prairie, and share your views. Oh, and get your taxes done early so you can make it.

*As it turns out, this information may be out of date. Lagler’s milk may actually now travel to Tillamook, Oregon where it may be used for ice cream, butter, yogurt, cheese and other products. A study conducted in the process of de-designating the dairy as agricultural resource land, implies that since it is sold to a firm outside the county, it is not important to the local economy or food system. We can think of dozens of reasons why that’s not true.

19. March 2015 · Comments Off on CSA Shares 2015/ Farm Updates · Categories: Farm Thoughts, season update · Tags: , ,

Dear Once and Future CSA Shareholders and other Friends,

We’ve had a good early response to our first CSA communication with several of you renewing your membership, plus some new folks as well.  So don’t miss out if you haven’t contacted us yet.  A check or your proposed payment plan will reserve you a spot. Again shares are $500, winter storage shares are $125.  The season will start sometime in mid to late May and end in early October and will last 20 weeks.  We are hedging on the dates a little this year because of the phenomenal weather, which may push for an early start.
FARM UPDATE.  Diane continues to fuss about the need to communicate with you more frequently, on a variety of topics.  First, of course is her desire to know who will be joining us this year.  But there is much more afoot at Hunters’ Greens.
We have been keeping up pretty well on the farming thanks to the glorious weather.  Jim saw the first sprouts of the sugar snap peas emerging this morning.  We also have planted three 50 foot beds of direct seeded spinach.  There are a score of trays of spinach transplants leafing out in the green house as well.  The walla walla onion starts are up and now we’re germinating cabbages and kales.  We have many more beds in the fields ready to receive seed and transplants than we ordinarily would this early.
SAVING THE LAGLER DAIRY.  Somehow around our farm work we have taken on trying to save the Lagler Dairy which is just down the highway from us, and is slated to become a rural light industrial land bank (don’t let that word “light” fool you).  We just can’t bear to see 600 acres of prime farm land turned into warehouses for cheap foreign goods destined for big box stores that put local merchants out of business (or something worse).  Our number one strategy is to put together a consortium of investors to buy it before it gets converted.  Jim sent an e-mail to Eco-trust recently, which captures the spirit of our quest:

Dear Mike,

I visited the Ecotrust website this evening, and your contact information was on the page that looked closest to what I am looking for.

My wife Diane and I operate a small CSA farm in Brush Prairie, Washington, about 12 miles northeast of Vancouver, Washington.  A large dairy farm about a half mile from us is being proposed as a light industrial land bank.  We believe this is a poor land use decision for a variety of reasons.

As you may know, Clark County Government’s council members are very conservative and are likely to support the conversion out of agriculture.  As a life long political activist, I’ve tired of beating my head against that particular wall.

So, I got inspired to see if it were possible to put together a consortium to buy the dairy farm and re-purpose it into a community of smaller, more diverse farms.  I imagine this including several small diversified produce farms like my own and some medium sized more conventional berry acreages, which are the dominant use adjacent to the property.  A smaller, possibly organic, dairy could utilize some of the existing infrastructure, and the property has enough beauty to possibly attract a winery/tasting room complex or a micro-brewery.  An adjacent Battle Ground School District environmental education center might be a launching pad for an agricultural/environmental public education center similar to Lake Farm Park in Ohio.  The possibilities seem as diverse as a person could imagine.

Working from a greener perspective than most local Clark County folk, I believe that there is enough value in diverse agricultural uses to compete in the open market with a vague proposal for a land bank hoping to attract light industrial development.  However, considerable financial backing would be necessary to shepherd the project from its present state to a working alternative.

Initial contact has been made with the seller’s legal representative, and the seller is willing to consider a proposal.

Despite a good liberal arts education and a background in community organizing, I find the prospect of researching and implementing such a proposal overwhelming (particularly when the sunshine beckons me to my principal livelihood).

The name “Ecotrust” has come up in a number of conversations with others who support this idea.  Is this a project for which Ecotrust could provide technical and/or financial support?  Would someone there be interested in exploring and assessing the possibilities with myself and a small group of co-consirators?

Sincerely,

Jim Hunter
Hunters’ Greens Farm
15716 N.E. 112th Avenue
Brush Prairie, WA 98606
huntersgreens@spiritone.com

So, that’s our Quixotic agenda for this year.  If anyone has ideas of investors, lenders or donors that might look favorably on this project, be sure to let us know.  And know that when you sign up for a share with Hunters’ Greens, this is the work you are helping support.  Of course in the spirit of full disclosure, know that you are sharing the risk of Jim getting carried away and neglecting the farm a little.  But also know that you all saw us through the period of coordinating care for Jim’s ailing parents and the process of settling their estate, and none of us went hungry.  This may be a slightly larger challenge, but hopefully not as gut wrenching.
Thanks again for your awesome support.
Jim and Diane Hunter
Hunters’ Greens Farm
360 256-3788
p.s.  Diane wants to add that Jim may neglect the farm, but she will be the ever present shrew in the background crying for justice for all, including the CSA shareholders.
09. February 2015 · Comments Off on Happy Valentines to all our CSA friends · Categories: Farm Thoughts, season update · Tags: ,

We hope you all had joyful holidays.  Here at Hunter’s Greens we are struggling to emerge from our winter hibernation phase and get back in the swing of preparing for another bountiful growing season.

Caylor Rolling of the Portland Area Community Supported Agriculture (PACSAC) gave us a little nudge to wake up to the marketing aspect of our business.  PACSAC is holding a kind of Valentine’s day promotion contest to help the CSAs in the area get rolling.  The idea is that we ask you (our tried and true CSA members) to send an e-mail or face book post to PACSAC about why you love us.  All this is a bit beyond us, so we’re glad Caylor is helping us out.

Here’s how Caylor said it for us:

“Send some love to CSA

You can help us win a gift certificate for our farm from Concentrates. The Portland Area CSA Coalition is inviting CSA members and friends to send Valentines about their farm. Valentines could be a memory of the farm, a photo, a recipe, some sentences describing why our farm is important to you.

Post your Valentines on https://www.facebook.com/PortlandCSA. You can also email them to Caylor@portlandcsa.org.

The contest ends on February 14, and they’ll draw the winning farm on the 15th.  We thought this might be a fun thing to do this time of year, and we hope you’ll join us. Thanks! ”

So that’s how we’re kicking off our marketing, we’d be tickled pink for Valentines Day if you joined in.

Meanwhile we’ve been taking a break from our hibernation to stick some garlic in the ground between rain storms.  Jim has been whacking back the blackberry vines that are creeping towards the vegetable beds.  Diane is pleased by the tidy order of it all, while Jim worries about destroying bunny habitat.  When it gets too dark or wet (most of the time) we snuggle up to the stove and pursue our winter hobbies.  Diane quilts, while Jim spreads family history papers all over the dining room.

 

There, now we’re rolling, so we’ll be writing again soon.

Jim and Diane Hunter

Hunters’ Greens Farm

 

 

21. August 2014 · Comments Off on Yesterday’s share: August 20th, 2014 · Categories: season update

Dear CSA Members,

Apologies for the late e-mail.  The shares take a little more time to harvest and pack this time of year, and that can cut into writing time.

Yesterday’s share should have included: 1 3/4 pounds of cherry tomatoes, large and/or medium and small zucchini, green and yellow cucumbers, 2 medium to small walla walla onions, mokum carrots and a large bunch of red russian kale.

SALAD, NO LETTUCE, NO CRY.  We are now firmly into the lettuce gap.  Jim thinned the next crop today and came up with a grocery bag full of thinnings.  Dividing that 32 ways didn’t seem realistic, so we will just have to eat that bag ourselves.  But while you’re waiting for the next crop of lettuce to come in, you might try a summer salad like the one we’ve been marinating in our fridge.  Basically we chop up most of what’s in the share: onions, cukes, zucchini, cherry tomatoes (we split them in half), pour a vinaigrette dressing over them, and stick them in the fridge.  Occasionally we will add a little balsamic vinegar or salad oil, some pepper, a dash of sugar, some herbs (dill, fresh chopped basil), some garlic, a small hot pepper finely chopped.  We just keep adding veggies and dressing when needed.  We also added some of the thai pickled cauliflower we made a few weeks back.  We serve it in little bowls, but sometimes Diane likes to put it on her dinner plate so the dressing mingles with the main dish.

Well, we really have quite a bit to tell you and natter on about, but Thursday evening (our Saturday, of a sort) doesn’t seem to be an inspiring time to do it.  Hopefully we will get inspired for a between shares addendum.  Next week we plan to be adding beets and fingerling potatoes to the menu.

So, until we write again.

Bon Appetit.

11. August 2014 · Comments Off on Today’s Share (Well, this week’s): August 11th, 2014 · Categories: season update

Dear CSA members,

The heat/humidity has us getting an early start on the weekly newsletter.  As we have mentioned before, when we write early, we trade timeliness for accuracy.  We can forecast what will be in your share, but don’t hold us to it.

This week we hope to have chard, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, basil, tomatoes, tomatillos and a choice of peppers/chiles.

CHARD.  The chard is finally ready to pick.  It’s not Jim’s favorite, so it often doesn’t get seeded on time, and this year it got lost in the weeds, and when Diane finally cleared the brush from around it, it needed a couple weeks to adjust to the daylight.

Chard has a similar flavor to spinach, and is closely related to beet greens.  Steamed or sautéed and dressed with a little vinegar is nice.  You may want to separate stems and leaves and cook the stems a little longer.  We have two varieties this year: fordhook giant –  a classic green leaf/white stem chard, and bright lights which offers a rainbow of colors.

LETTUCE.  The lettuce may look like it has gone to hell and back, let’s hope it doesn’t taste like it too.  We have been experimenting with letting the pig weed grow up around the lettuce as a way of shading it from the extreme heat.  The downside may be that the pig weed sucks water and nutrition from the lettuce.  This batch saw a little of both treatments, so it’s been on a bit of a roller coaster ride.  This is the last crop before the infamous lettuce gap, so make the most of it.  Note we were able to bring lettuce tomato and cucumbers to your table the same week, but barely.

TOMATOES.  It looks like there are enough small tomatoes out there for everyone to get a sample this week.  And alas thundershowers are in the forecast, which might split the fruit and/or get the blight started.  Tomato picking is next on our agenda when we can stand to go out.  The potential is out there for an exceptional tomato year, with just a little more cooperation from Mother Nature.

TOMATILLOS.  For the uninitiated, tomatillos are a relative of tomatoes that provide the basis for Mexican green salsas and sauces, a.k.a. salsa verde.  They come with a papery husk.  Removing the husk is the first step in preparation.  Next you rinse some of the waxy substance off the fruit’s skin, then they are almost always cooked, either boiled or roasted.

Once they are cooked they can be blended with onions, garlic, cilantro, a little salt and various chiles, depending on the end product and your taste for heat (jalepenos for a medium hot salsa, anaheims or poblanos for a green enchilada sauce).  This week’s share should have most of these ingredients (except the cilantro, which we can’t seem to time right).

PEPPERS/CHILES.  Our friends at Dandee Farm passed on an assortment of pepper/chile plants they couldn’t use.  There are a few of several varieties of various levels of spiciness.  They produced fruit much earlier than our own plants.  We plan to pack up small bags of each for share members to choose from according to taste.

Well, it’s time to see if there is a window between sun and lightning to pick some tomatoes.

We’ll keep you posted.

Jim and Diane

06. August 2014 · Comments Off on About those Cucumbers · Categories: Farm Thoughts, season update

Dear CSA-ers,

One of you called about the cucumbers.  Diane got the message, but Jim is responding, so if he doesn’t  address your question correctly it was lost in translation via the Hunters‘ Greens post office.

It appears Jim has been doing this too long and has lost the ability to empathize with those who are just discovering the diversity of vegetables that he has come to take for granted.

Some of your cucumbers may be yellow, and some may even be a combination of yellow and russet brown.  This is a weird variety Jim decided to try from India called something like Poona Kheera.  So don’t be alarmed by the color.

The message may have had something about them being soft.  This may be.  We apologize.  If they are, we picked them on Tuesday and probably didn’t keep them moist enough over night.  Which raises the question of how to store them.  We are “binging” that question on our molasses slow computer as we speak, but if memory serves, cucumbers don’t really like to be cold, but they should be kept moist.  Maybe a damp towel over the colander or bowl they are in.

As with the zucchini, we pick all sizes, and the smallest ones will get soft first.  So… we don’t think there is probably anything seriously wrong with them, just a little dehydrated.

So… if we have not totally confused you already, the message may have said something about telling the difference between zucchinis and cucumbers.  Alas you may have two shades of green zucchini and one shade of yellow zucchini, as well as green and yellow cucumbers.  We guess the key is that the zucchini all have a fat stem, where as the cucumbers will have a tiny stem or the stem will be absent.  Once you cut into one it should be obvious.

So… our computer choked on the storing cucumber question, so our memory will have to do for now.

Good night to all, and to all a good night.

Jim (for Jim and Diane)

06. August 2014 · Comments Off on Today’s Share: August 6th, 2014 · Categories: season update

Dear CSA Members,

Today’s share was heavy enough to tear some pillow cases.  It should include: Some zucchini (small to large), some cucumbers (ditto), one medium or two small oak leaf lettuces. 2+ pounds of red potatoes, a large, a medium and a small walla walla onion, a cabbage, and a dozen gravenstein apples.

GRAVENSTEINS. Gravensteins are a tart apple, good for eating as is, but also good in pies, crisps, apple sauce etc.  For a quick crisp, grease a casserole and slice 4 cups of apple into it.  Then lightly blend a third cup flour, a half cup brown sugar a quarter cup butter and a teaspoon of cinammon, mix a cup of oats into this mixture and sprinkle the mixture on top of the apples.  Bake at 350 until apples soften and topping crisps.

ZUCCHINI LARGE AND SMALL.  We pick our produce once a week, which creates a situation when harvesting zucchini.  In order to keep the giant zucchinis to a minimum next week, we harvest all of the zucchini from this week’s giants to the tiniest babies.  Then the question becomes how to distribute such diverse sizes.  Some consider babies, particularly with blossom intact, a delicacy.  We’ve heard of the blossoms dipped in tempura batter and deep fried.  We’ve tried breading them and pan frying them.  They can be stuffed with cheese or a bread stuffing.   In our farmer’s market past, a wizened old plant nursery vendor would show up at the end of the day, when his sales were good and carefully sort out the best of our tiny summer squash with blossoms for stuffing, which ran $4+ dollars a pound.

Giant zucchini, while less prized also have their uses.  We had another regular customer, a plastic surgeon with the e-handle “nose blade”, who, while he could certainly afford the babies with blossoms, preferred our bargain giants, which we dumped on the market at fifty cents a piece.  He said he would slice them length wise, slather them with olive oil and throw them on the grill.  The recent recipe for cabbage steaks recipe might fit in with this idea.

Another big zucchini idea for the coming lettuce gap comes from Sue a recently returned member from our past, who cuts a horizontal slice as a lettuce substitute on a sandwhich.

And then of course there is Eileen, who for years has unburdened us of our largest Moby Dick zucchini and makes the best zucchini relish we’ve ever tasted out of them.

CABBAGE.   Jim tried a Thai pickled vegetable recipe this week.  He used cauliflower, but the recipe called for cabbage, broccoli and cucumber as well.  Zucchini and carrots might be good additions.  The recipe called for about three pounds of mixed vegetables that are blanched in three cups of vinegar with one and a half tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.  They say to blanch for one minute then set aside to steep and cool.  Jim blanche a little longer.  While the vegetables are steeping, blend 4 cloves garlic, a medium onion and chile peppers to taste into a paste and then fry for a minute or so, then add the vegetables and syrup back into the pan and cook for another minute or so.  Short enough to keep the vegetables crisp.  This can be garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro and served warm, or cooled and stored in the fridge for a week or so.

FAREWELL TO CHARLIE.  We bid a sad farewell to Charlie, one of Diane’s feral cats.  Among the ferals, Charlie was the most domestic, loving to lie on Diane’s chest as she laid with them for their twice daily socialization.  He also had a wild side, despite being fixed, he insisted on peeing on anything new that came into the feral quarters, keeping Diane’s ancient Maytag under a heavy load of the blankets and towels she uses to line the feral room.  Recently Diane noticed Charlie getting bloated after eating and then his kidneys enlarged.  Lab tests indicated kidney failure.  Subcutaneous fluids were not an option for a feral, leaving us little choice but to end the suffering.  Charlie is survived by a brother Grace and sister Libby.

A NOSE STING.  Ever been stung by a wasp on the end of the nose?  It happened to Jim this week.  It was one of the top three most intense pains he’s felt in recent years, up there with smashing his fingers, falling off a latter onto his elbow and gout.  We’ve learned Jim’s response to intense pain is not to cry, but to curse and shout.  Diane is learning not to take it personally.  Jim said his nose felt like he was J.P. Patches.  Diane missed the reference.  Jim must of been exposed to some Seattle t.v. in his youth,  apparently that’s where J.P. broadcast from,  any way for you borderline Oregonians, J.P. had a bright red maraschino cherry of a nose.

Jim took a Benadryl and stomped off to bed (a fine excuse for a nap) and was right as rain within an hour.

And that’s the drama at Hunters‘ Greens this week.

Until next week…

Bon Appetit

30. July 2014 · Comments Off on Today’s Share: July 30, 2014 · Categories: season update

Dear CSA members,

Today’s share should include about 2 pounds or so of Shiro yellow plums, a butter lettuce and a “deer tongue” lettuce, 2 Mediterranean cucumbers (thin skinned, peeling optional) one large or 2 small zucchini, a large walla walla onion,  15 large red russian kale leaves and a small bag of basil leaves.
CABBAGE RECIPE. There’s no cabbage in the share this week, but some of you probably still have some from previous weeks, and there may be some next week, so I’m passing on this recipe from Patt one of our new members this year:
Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks By: Everyday Maven, Serves: 
4 Ingredients 1 (approx 2lb) 
head of organic green cabbage, cut into 1″ thick slices 
1.5 tablespoons olive oil, 
2 to 3 large smashed garlic cloves, 
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil spray OR non-stick cooking spray. 
Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Pull outer leaf off cabbage, cut cabbage from top to bottom (bottom being root) into 1″ thick slices. 2. Rub both sides of cabbage with smashed garlic. 3. Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the olive oil over both sides of the cabbage slices. 4. Finally, sprinkle each side with a bit of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. 5. Roast on the middle rack for 25 minutes. Carefully flip the cabbage steaks and roast for an additional 25 minutes until edges are brown and crispy. A very nice optional condiment would be adding balsamic vinegar on the top when finished cooking.
 
 
THE TREPIDATIONS OF TRACTOR COGGLING.  Long time members may remember us writing about coggling early in our farming career.  Coggling is a term we picked up reading Gene Logsden, an early promoter of organic agriculture.  Logsden learned the term in the Ozarks or Appalachians or some backwood country.  Coggling is when you make something or fix something using readily available materials, rather than driving to town to get just the right parts or materials.  
 
We have continued to hone our skills at coggling over the years, but one of the last areas of DIY activities we’ve ventured into is electricity.  However, when your tractor stops running out in the middle of a field some where, the options for taking it somewhere to fix it, or have it fixed are limited and prohibitively expensive.
 
There are different levels of sophisitcation in coggling, and we have to admit that we our previous efforts at crude coggling may have contributed our most recent and dramatic incident.   For instance, some time ago Jim lost the screws that hold the cover on an electrical junction box that houses several wires, a fuse for the lights and an ammeter.  Jim’s crude coggle was to tie an old sock around it.  This coggle has never actually failed, but the current incident inspired Jim to do a little better job.
 
No, the coggle that probably failed was the application of yards of electrical tape to the the spaghetti of wires leading out of the junction box and the ignition switch.  The wire insulation is the old fabric kind and between weather and being painted with red tractor paint, it had become brittle and cracked.  Probably compounding the whole issue is the fact that the previous owner had replaced the standard 6 volt battery with the more common 12 volt variety.
 
Ordinarily, the 1954 Farmall Super M roars to life with the slightest tap of the starter switch and spin of the fly wheel.  Exceptions are when you forget to turn on the ignitions switch, so the starter cranks the fly wheel, but there is no spark at the spark plugs, or you are out of gas.  Both result in repeated cranking that drains the battery.
 
This time, to Jim’s suprise and horror, the wires around the ignition switch began smoking.  It was a black acrid smoke.  By the time he had run the short distance to the kitchen and retrieved a fire extinguisher, the smoking had stopped.
 
Jim quickly disconnected the battery and then examined the damage.  A section of insulation and electrical tape had gone up in smoke, and some bare wires had that stiff burnt look.
 
Clearly this called for stepping up a level of sophistication in coggling, and Jim proceeded with caution.  First he found some 10 gauge automotive wire that looked as heavy or heavier than the wire he was replacing.  We don’t understand much about electricity, but someone once explained that bigger wires are like bigger water pipes, so there can be considerable harm in undersizing, but none in oversizing.
 
But the wires needed the little metal connectors that crimp to the wire and screw down to a bolt or post.  Fortunately we had picked up a container of them at a sale somewhere, exactly for this kind of coggling eventuality.  After trying a few on for size, Jim noticed they were labeled with the gauge numbers.  Yellow ones fit 10 gauge wires.  Unfortunately there was only one that had the right sized ring to fit on the bolts we needed to attach them to.  So Jim used one that had forks rather than a ring on it.  
 
The next problem was that some of the bolts that we needed to attach wires to were rusted on, not surprising after 60 years.  So Jim hacsawed through them.  But this meant replacing the nut and the bolt.
 
Jim has a bucket full of mixed nuts, bolts, screws, nails, staples, washers and sundry other bits of hardware that he goes sorting through when he needs a part.  These were small nuts and bolts, so they were hard to find, and tended to sift to the bottom of the bucket.  Sometimes we wonder whether it would take less time to run to town than to search for the right bolt, but then we remember that we could run to town, get the bolt we needed and get home and find out we needed another one.  After several searches Jim came up with all the nuts and bolts he needed.
 
However, in the process of disassembling the parts, Jim broke a little piece of electrically insulated “board” that held two terminals that needed to be isolated.  It was that kind of board you might find holding the circuitry of an old radio.  Not something we use any more.  
 
Jim was a bit stymied as to what to replace it with.  He figured it couldn’t conduct electricity and it had to be inflammable.  Eventually he figure a piece of electrical outlet cover should be safe.
With all the necessary parts in hand, Jim began reassembling the various wires into the junction box.  He attached the crimp on connecters and tightened everything down exactly the way he had disconnected, inserted new bolts to attach the cover with the added precaution of inserting plastic plumbing washers between the bolts, nuts and cover.
He cranked the starter and breathed a sigh of relief when there weren’t any errant sparks or black smoke.  But alas there was also no ignition.  Jim had already wasted a good part of a farming day, so he walked away from the problem for the rest of the day,
The next day he came back and opened up the junction box.  The forked connector had pulled off the bolt.  Clearly it could not be relied upon to stay in place, but there were no ring connectors the right size.  After pondering using the wrong size ring connector for a while Jim noticed a flat metal connector that is meant to slide inside another connector.  He decided to drill a hole slightly larger than the bolt he needed to attach it to.  Once this was done, he reconnected everything and cranked the starter again.  The engine roared to life, just like old times.
When Diane noticed the tractor in a new spot, she sang Jim’s praises, declaring him a genius.  Unfortunately after a few passes of harrowing, the tractor sputtered and died and refused to start again.  Praises were rescinded and Jim once again found himself an idiot.  But there was no black smoke, and that was victory enough for him.  Sometime a spare moment will present an opportunity to diagnose the next problem and if need be, coggle a new solution.  And the beat goes on…
Got to run, no time to check for typos.
So until next week…
Bon Appetit.
Jim and Diane
23. July 2014 · Comments Off on July 23rd, This week’s share · Categories: season update

Dear Intrepid Food Adventurers,

This week’s share should include: a walla walla onion, one or more zucchinis, a medium to large cabbage or 2 small cabbages, a bit of broccoli, some cauliflower, a small butter lettuce and/or a small bright red lettuce, some dinosaur or red russian kale.

CABBAGE.  The size of the cabbage crop has been a bit of a surprise, so we’re aware some of you may be challenged by it.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a quiver full of recipes to send off, so we thought we’d just tell you what we’ve been doing to try and keep up with the blemished ones we try to eat up ourselves.

During the last heat wave, Jim did some experimenting with some southeast Asian salad rolls we used to have at a restaurant in Bellingham.  One of the toppings was a carrot/daikon pickle with a chili pepper zing.  We tried adding some cabbage to the pickle.  It’s made by soaking the vegetables in a sweet pickle syrup (vinegar and sugar).  We used a dash of cayenne for the chili.  Try following a pickled beet recipe to get the syrup right.

The salad roll includes a rice paper wrapper and a butter lettuce leaf filled with rice noodles, the pickle, some cilantro, some basil and some meat like a satay or Asian sausage.  This is wrapped up and dipped in a sauce made of broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch (mixed in a pan and reduced to thicken).

We added cabbage to mixed vegetable stir fries and fried rice.

This week we made a cauliflower fritata, but a cabbage fritata might work too.  Then we sliced up the left over fritata and put it in the fried rice.

Next we’re thinking of incorporating into our mexican recipes, like a cabbage and rice burrito smothered in a chili sauce.

Oh yes, we also used two giant split ones in Henry’s homemade diet dog food (is that cheating?)

ZUCCHINI.  Jim has a troubled relationship with zucchini.  In the past he has never rushed to get it in early because once it starts coming, we’re all stuck with it until it frosts out.  Some folks grow it at home, while others will receive extras from those that grow it.  But we can’t not grow it!

On the other hand, Jim is always turns into a green eyed monster whenever someone brags about producing it in June or early July.  So with the warm summer we’re having he gave into the monster and planted early, so here it is for the rest of the season.  Cucumbers will also be along next week.

THE RUNAWAY LETTUCE FREIGHT TRAIN.  Many of you may feel you’ve been run over by the runaway lettuce freight train the last couple weeks.  One of our gardening gurus has a chart of how to produce an even supply of lettuce throughout the summer, but it was produced in Australia and we could never translate hemispheres.

So we seed lettuce to beat the band in the spring, because then it grows slowly,  but we forget it’s going to speed up, but even if we didn’t we’re not sure how to alter the timing.  So then the huge supply starts hitting us and we send it on to you as fast as we hope you can eat it.  Then it starts getting away from us, and we try to decide whether to give you the crop that has to get out of the field right now or be too mature, or just skip that bunch and give you the ones that are perfect right now.  What will the perfect crop be like next week?

About this time, we get really busy and forget to plant more lettuce.  It doesn’t seem urgent, because we have so much now.  But now the days start to shorten and it takes longer to grow, and we hit what we call the lettuce gap.  Often this is compounded by a bout of germination failure due to various and often mysterious causes.  Those who aren’t accustom to a salad with dinner every night breathe a sigh of relief.  Sadly the lettuce gap often hits about the time cucumbers and tomatoes start ripening, so the perfect salad becomes a fantasy for a week longer.

Eventually we close the lettuce gap, but by now growth is slow enough that we have to mete out the lettuce stingily for the rest of the season.  We keep working on this, but don’t expect any miracles.  Hopefully we’ll have it worked out before its time to pass the farm on to a new generation of farmers.

In the mean time,

Bon Appetit!

Jim and Diane