McFarmer and I have stars in our eyes. Actually, to be more accurate, these stars are edible, tender, green and very... lettuce-y.
The summer lettuce seems to be working. It looks like...gulp... we might turn into a farm that can grow lettuce in August. And that has our heads swimming with excitement. And lettuce-shaped stars.
You've heard me comment (perhaps rant) about the differences in summer growing for the seed catalog-worthy climes of Maine, California and Vermont versus the savagely hot, humid, hurricaney and buggy land of coastal Southeast Texas. There's no need to tread down that rutted path any further.
We knew of farms in the hotter zones of our continent who have regular success with growing more delicate and desirable crops like lettuce in the summer. (Here's looking at you, Jenny Jack Sun Farm and Gundermann Acres!)
However, looking at our poor soils and the terrible time managing pests we had last summer, we were dubious. We went ahead and made plans at the start of this year to try heat-tolerant varieties and make a go of it. And so far, so good.
We've had to spray one round of Bt (bacillus thuringiensis--a naturally occuring bacterium often used in organic farming to combat caterpillars), but our canopy-laden darlings look as if this weekend might be the first harvest of what we previously thought would be impossible.
Of course, it's only reasonable that this weekend will be our first Sunday off from the farmer's market and only vacation of the year. We'll be out of town, right in time to miss our first harvest of that golden-haloed summer lettuce.
We tried to plan this trip to McFarmer's sister in Boston at a time when we'd hit the perfect slope of time when we could slip away without too much hubbub, and return in time to catch up with prepping for the next season.
There's something about best laid plans in there somewhere. It's too hot to remember what.
The lettuce will be fine, the farm will be fine. We have to remember that leaving the farm will ALWAYS feel inconvenient and impossible. We have plenty of loving help and support that will steward the crops while we're gone.
When your job is watching things grow, you get a little twitchy when you think about not being there to watch things grow.
(But we are excited to get a taste of summer that isn't completely sweat-laden. Here we come, Boston!)
I'm reminded of my past vow to never claim to have one-up on Mother Nature, and never to tout our ability to have it all figured out. I guess that calls for a footnote, then.
*While on vacation, lots of bummerific things could occur on the farm. Those damn cucumber moths from last summer could return and wipe out every single one of our prodigal lettuce sons. Furious tropical weather could sweep through, drowning every single plant in the field.
Summer is a season filled to bursting with life and death. Everywhere you look, there's a creature or organism just born, just died, breeding, preying or encroaching on or with one another. The fields truly buzz with winged creatures. Every second of sunlight give a little more strength and a few more inches to roots, vines and blades living only to, literally, spread their seed.
Yes, we definitely take a risk leaving the farm. But, we're always taking a risk. It's a farm, and our fate is constantly (and physiologically) cast to the wind. But we wanna see family, and so we do what we must.