Archive for the ‘Diary of a Transplant’ Category

Diary of a Transplant: Harvest Time


Harvest season is in full swing over here.

Despite a terrible summer for gardens (too much rain, then too much heat, then too much cold), we have so much produce to eat without ever leaving our property. Kale, arugula, turnips, radishes. Sun chokes, the last of the tomatoes and raspberries, beets, apples…

We’ve planted a late crop, too: radishes, carrots, and salad greens. And kale and beets, hoping they’ll overwinter, if we keep them covered when the cold hits, and give us fresh greens in early spring.

Our freezer is full of duck and lamb, and will have turkey and pork within the next few weeks. Much of this will go to barter, but we’ll keep enough back to keep ourselves well fed through the winter.

It’s a deeply satisfying feeling: food stocked up for the winter. And we worked so hard all  summer. Looking forward to sitting by the fire with a full stomach, and some slow winter projects! More photos of the bounty after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Diary of a Transplant, Farming, upstate new york

By: larissa | 10 October 2013 11:55 AM | No Comments

Diary of a Transplant: The Delicious Season

Another entry from writer Larissa Phillips, who left Brooklyn for Greene County, and the city for the farm.

It’s happening. We waited through months of cold fluorescent aisles at the grocery store , and then we were teased with the early spring months that just brought the tiny gifts of nettles and baby lettuce in the hoop house, and we are still being tortured with all this rain, but it is definitely happening.

The abundant season. The delicious time of year. The time when, on a farm, you choose your lunch by going down to the garden with a basket.

Here are some of the things we’ve been having:



Lemon cupcakes with icing and our own strawberries (courtesy of Megan, age 9, incredibly tart and sweet, and a probable entry in next month’s Greene County Youth Fair).

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Diary of a Transplant, Farming, Food, upstate new york

By: larissa | 13 June 2013 01:00 PM | 3 Comments

Diary of a Transplant: Waiting for Spring

After a brief hibernation, writer Larissa Phillips is back to tell us about her bucolic, post-Brooklyn life on the farm.

The last time I wrote for Upstater, I was all content with the stasis of winter.

That feeling is as gone as the icicles off our roof and the snow from our pasture. Enough with the cold already! Bring on the budding leaves and the daffodils and the asparagus and the nettles and the strawberries!

It is no longer winter around here, but it isn’t spring yet either. It is half-spring. Here are some signs of the times:

The hoop house is mostly planted, half with lettuce, beet, and radish seeds, and half with seedlings — kale, chard, calendula, lettuce, and a couple fool hardy tomato seedlings.



The horses are enjoying the sun.




Our friend Erica’s goats have begun kidding. Her goat Gidget had quadruplets! Our goats aren’t due to kid until May, so we have been getting our goat kid fix at her place, and helping her to bottle feed.




The teenager chicks are going outside for the day. We’re still bringing them in at night, but they are loving the sun and the dirt and the room to stretch. The grownup hens all come over to check them out.



Crocuses, finally.




Easter eggs.


Happy Spring, all. It really will happen

Category: Diary of a Transplant, Farming, upstate new york

By: larissa | 4 April 2013 02:00 PM | 2 Comments

Diary of a Transplant: Winter Energy

When I lived in the city, January and February were months to survive. They were cold and boring, and sometimes depressing. March finally came – and then I’d remember that March sucks, too. It was only in April that the world would once again expand past the confines of the front door.

One of the the surprises about farm life is how these months have changed for me. January and February, it turns out, are not dead times with no meaning.

Anything but. First of all, they offer a much-needed quiet time. There are projects to be done, and cozy nights watching movies, eating pie and knitting.

And there is excitement brimming just under the surface, steadily picking up speed and power. The solstice happened weeks and weeks ago. Light is on its way back, and showing itself in so many ways.

We are on the upswing around. There is more light every day, which means we spend more time outside every day. We do the chores later. No more rushing home at 4 pm to feed the animals before full darkness. Now we don’t do the evening chores until 5:30. And when the sun is shining, it’s bright and warm and full in a way that it wasn’t just a few ago.

The chickens have begun laying eggs again. Hens are sensitive to the light, and they stop laying in late fall. A week or so after the winter solstice, we start seeing eggs again. We are in full egg season these days, with quiche and scrambled eggs back on the menu.

At neighboring farms, baby goats are being born, and everyone is talking about what animals they’ll have this season. For us: turkeys, ducks and geese, and a bunch more chickens, some for meat, some for eggs. We have a bunch of eggs in the incubator, 25 New Hampshire Reds coming from Sandhill Seed Preservation, and we’ve placed an order with our friend Barbara at Wings of Change Poultry for ducklings and goslings.

Perhaps most exciting, it’s seed-ordering season. Surely this is a great pleasure in life – curling up by the wood stove with a blanket, a cup of coffee, and a stack of seed catalogs. You circle the glossy photos of the heirloom tomatoes and the unusual carrots and the beautiful lettuces. You plan the layout in your mind. You can’t sleep at night sometimes, planning the work you’ll do. You imagine the potlucks and the parties with this amazing abundance of food. You can’t believe it will once again be the world in which you walk in flip flops to the garden before each meal, and walk back up with an armload of food.

Everyone gets involved in the planning. “Don’t do celery. Use all the celery space for fennel.” “Can we have these round carrots?” “Can we do tons of pumpkins?” “Make sure you get yellow tomatoes.”  “Lots of cayenne peppers, right?” “Don’t do that weird basil again.” “Sunflowers. The goats love sunflowers.”

I have already started several trays of seeds – earlier than usual because we have a hoop house with beds than can be planted at least a month earlier than outside. I’ll also cover our outside beds with protective row covers, and try for some earlier outdoor plantings.

There is so much to be done, and time is speeding up. Is the brooder set up for the chicks? Have we figured out the fencing for the new garden? Have I ordered all the seeds we need? Have I started enough seedlings? Are we ready for the piglets that will be available next month?

Hurry! How could this ever have seemed like a slow dark time?

Category: Diary of a Transplant, Farming, upstate new york

By: larissa | 14 February 2013 12:00 PM | No Comments