Kate’s visit! Popsicle fest and extreme garlic harvesting

Another epic blog is in the works here…

I just dropped off one of my best friends at the airport after a whirlwind three-day visit from the East Coast. Kate, aka Kato, is a native of Cape Cod living in Boston and is completely new to farming. We were all amazed at her ability to jump right in to harvesting garlic for hours in 100-degree weather without complaint. She weeded, harvested squash, watered the chickens and even got herself up at 4:30 a.m. to milk the goats with me on her first day here.

We encountered a bit of drama from the get-go. My rear drivers’ side tire blew out on an exit ramp as I went to pick Kate up from the airport. CJ was in Tucson and picked up Kate for me as I called AAA, then they both met me on the exit ramp just before the AAA guy arrived.

Dismay over the popped tire…

… but psyched to be reunited!

CJ kindly put the donut on my car, which I realize now I was fully capable of doing myself!

Then, two nights ago, I actually changed my tire 100 percent independently. I replaced the donut with a spare that Adam had here at the farm, just so I could get into Benson and buy a new tire (which I did today). I’ll try to pretend I’m not extremely proud of myself here.

No big deal. Just changing a tire. Whatever.

Back to farming: Harvesting garlic will occupy much of our workday (and dreams, and olfactory activity) over the coming days, as we try to get as much of the upper terrace harvested as possible. We have a full acre of garlic planted now, and it has dried enough in the ground to be harvested, then laid out to cure even further. Before we started harvesting from the ground, Adam and CJ used the tractor to rip a furrow along the rows of garlic, loosening the soil next to the heads for easier pulling.

CJ weights the tool bar on the tractor as Adam drives

Garlic harvesting is lovely in the morning and less-than-lovely in the heat of the day. A forest of prickly tumbleweed adds interest to the task. (OK, you get it. It was hard.) Yet through it all, the work makes for a great photo op.

Ajo rojo

Adam and Sabrina check out the white garlic variety to see if it’s ready for harvest.

Loosening up the dirt around the hard-packed garlics

Sopa “helped.”

Kate and her facial expressions also make for wonderful photography. Here’s a visual run-down of her farming activities!

Milking the goats!

Popping peppers into trays with Vinnie

Harvesting garlic with style

Weeding with… aplomb?

At the end of the workday yesterday, we had a popsicle feast, sponsored by Peanut (the goat’s) gambling fund. If you recall, a few weeks ago, bunch of us put wagers on when Peanut would have her babies. Nobody won the $70 pot, since she STILL hasn’t popped out those baby goats and all of our estimated due dates have passed. Now, the money seems destined to go entirely toward popsicles, an investment I fully support. We killed about 10 boxes in this one extreme session.

Popsicle delight

CJ and his ninth (?) popsicle

Amanda administers Sopa’s first popsicle!

Here’s a group shot of some of us after work last night:

Adam, Vinnie, Sabrina, me, CJ

This morning, Debbie and her friend Kristin gave a really fun workshop on how to make their amazing goat milk soap:

Amanda avidly took notes!

Kato mixes lye into water. There is no lye remaining in the finished soap product, but it’s necessary to saponify the soap ingredients, creating the soap’s cleansing properties.

After the first part of the workshop, Kate and I went into Tucson for some gelato and lunch at Cafe Passe, where we were photographed looking rather spiffed up and unfarmerly. Then I dropped her at the airport. Kato, you are already missed here!



Backing up: On Saturday, we all felt the electricity in the air as a rainstorm approached from the West. Thunder boomed and lightning crackled and finally, after our lunch break, delicious rain poured down for about 10 minutes. Amanda and I stood in the front yard, dumbstruck, as fat drops landed coolly on our parched skin.

Here’s a shot of us awaiting the rainstorm during our lunch break:

Rain Watch, June 2012

In other news, Amanda has a new friend, a water cooler named Miguel:


And CJ is a ninja:

Photo bomb. Seriously. This was 100 percent spontaneous.

And Sabrina is the most photogenic farmer/Kentucky Derby attendee ever:

Derby girl

On the morning of the summer solstice, Vinnie and Sabrina acceded to my demands that they pose against the rising sun:

Vinnie is tall.

And Sopapilla is putting on about a half-pound a day:

Coming in at about 22 pounds now

Had enough? Me too. I’ll try to post again in a few days so my blogs are of a reasonable length. Thanks to those who made it through (Mom!)

3 Responses to “Kate’s visit! Popsicle fest and extreme garlic harvesting”

  1. Mom Says:

    Was it a long blog? I didn’t notice! Thoroughly entertaining! I love seeing all your pics and Kate looks wonderful! So glad she came to visit from Boston. That’s a long way for a short visit. You are fortunate to have such good friends! The sun rising picture is cool. Ever think of photography as a career after farming?? Love you!

  2. Gina Says:

    I made it through too! It looks like you’re having such an amazing and interesting time there with such a fun group of people! Good work on changing the tire, it’s ok if you were inordinately proud:)

  3. pat l. Says:

    hey, i made it thru and always do… love reading about your adventurous life!! i have to say, i love seeing that puppy! and all the pics!! you ALL work SO hard!! puts me to shame…
    continue to write for WE are reading …. thx;)

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