Moon Dog Farms

Certified Naturally Grown family farm growing fruits, vegetables & flowers in the Texas Gulf Coast

MoonDog Farms is dedicated to stewardship of the land, reinforcing a healthy community and producing great food.  

Filtering by Tag: Autumn

Happy Impressigiving!

I love being impressed.  A mix of surprise and admiration, relish and's a juicy affirmation of how intrepid, how special humans (or wrens or badgers--I never said I only like being impressed by people) can be. I love being impressed by someone I already know and love even more. 

And boy, am I impressed.

My co-farmer Alex has nearly single-handedly completed our orchard addition for 2013.  We made a pledge at the beginning of the year--when the weather was very similar to today, cold and rainy--that before the year was out we would add new plantings to our sleepy orchard.  

McFarmer has to get the vibe of the tree before the pruning begins...

We've got a plan for revitalizing this beautiful swatch of trees and brambles; introducing something new and fast-producing with tasty rewards was one of the first goals to be met.  Not only has Alex been systematically cleaning out the orchard (i.e. removing by chainsaw hundreds of tallow trees and other brush that have fortified themselves mightily over the past 10 years) but as of today, he's finished all the gruntwork required to call our 2013 muscadine and blackberry planting "DONE."  

(I wanted to include photos of these newly-planted delights, but they were transplanted in cold gray rain, it's been cold gray rain since, and anyhow---they're a bunch of little sticks at this point. When the weather clears up I'll send out a first-class shot of our growing orchard addition.)

Let me clarify gruntwork, and let me convey to anyone out there reading this how....well, impressive the work is that Alex undertook all by himself.

I truly did next to nothing here.


One stretch of orchard that is to be future spot of new addition. Every tree you see needed to be cut out. The first, second and third stages of mowing/weedeating had already been done at this point.

Lots to be done before planting could commence...

And POOF! It's ready to go.

And POOF! It's ready to go.

You can't see it, but SO much chainsawing, measuring, mowing and sweating went into getting to just this line of mulch.

You can't see it, but SO much chainsawing, measuring, mowing and sweating went into getting to just this line of mulch.

Post hole dug, filled with rocks and metal trellis post ready to be secured with cement!

Beautiful, huh? Just imagine it with heaps of blackberries and grapevines next summer!


Poor McFarmer. He was allowed sufficient time to mourn the digging out of 2 brand-new trellis posts that we didn't realize till AFTER their installation wouldn't cut the mustard. You live, you learn, right?

1. Post-hole's something that is truly beyond my physical capabilities. I look like a stork mixing a milkshake with its feet. Plus, they're clubfeet. Alex on the other hand, churns these holes out like it's his day job. Never mind that it's his day job.


2.Rock-hauling...if you followed the saga of digging rocks out of the dirt for our underground irrigation project, you know where we've been mining rocks for this job. Many buckets of these were toted out to the orchard to help secure the trellis posts.

3. Stringing the's exactly how it sounds, except more difficult than you thought it would be. There was cursing.

4. Mulching....this one I did help with, but let's just go ahead and declare Al the winner of the game, "Who-Can-Pitchfork-Mulch-Into-The-Bed-Of-The-Truck-The-Fastest-And-Then-Unload-It-Again-Twice-As-Fast-And-Then-Do-It-Again." His pitchfork skills far exceed mine. I specialized more in insisting that the fabric mulch layer be centered exactly on the row beds, scrutinizing with my keen artistic eye. At least, that's what I told Alex.

5. Everything Else... like I said, this McFarmer was out in the orchard as often as possible cleaning, clearing, cementing and perfecting this newest project of ours. He made it so I could worry myself over everything else (which I was gonna do anyway) and I didn't have to worry one snit about this. I am thankful for that. 

And impressed. Since it's Thanksgiving, I suppose I should put more emphasis on the thankful end, but truly--I'm really, really impressed. Initiative, fearlessness and drive-- those are 3 characteristics I greatly admire in a human, and thankfully, the person I run a farm with has got 'em in spades. 


We'll have you out next year to taste the grapes and berries.

I bet they'll taste impressive.


Chill out. Wear a sweater.

Each harvest day, I deep-clean the sinks at our washstand.  I soap and soak 'em up real nice so the fresh-cut lettuce and other goodies get rinsed in a basin free of dirt and other assorted farm crumbs.

It was during this very chore last weekend that I was called upon to perform an emergency rescue mission.

The drainage bucket under the sinks was brimming with soapy runoff, forging a iridescent mountain of bubbles.  Some poor something was frantic underneath, its skinny dark figure wriggling and flailing in attempt to breach the dome of suds.  I could only vaguely make out its slender shape in the foam, and I hoped I wasn't about to find myself with a very clean young cottonmouth. 

Brushing aside some fluff, I found this little fella, looking weary and incredibly nervous...


Mr. Anole squeaky clean ( and undoubtedly a bit frazzled).

Mr. Anole squeaky clean ( and undoubtedly a bit frazzled).

I placed him on the sink's edge and there he stayed, drying out and catching his breath.  He hung out for nearly 2 hours while I washed lettuce. He was good company.   

Now, that's an Autumn Moon Dog night.

Now, that's an Autumn Moon Dog night.

And I must say, although we didn't experience a miraculous rescue from suffocation in a giant tub of suds, Alex and I are enjoying a similar feeling of catching our breath lately.  

Before summer was here, we had thought (naively) it would be a slow time for us, due simply to the facts that heat would prevent us from working too hard in the middle of the day and we'd have less crops thriving in the high sun.  

We were half-right, but we forgot about how long a summer day is.  And how all the creatures under that sun are working twice as hard to survive.  

More often than not we worked past 9pm trying to catch up with tasks impossible to accomplish during the day for fear of brain-boiling.  I've recounted our dramas with summer pests on this blog several times, and those experiences were indeed part and parcel of a hectic season that was anything but low-key.


Thus, Autumn makes a very welcome entrance.  She walks through the door the coolest kid at the party, slinking in at the perfect hour, to the most perfect song, with the best outfit and she's gonna teach us all how to play Spin the Bottle. Plus, she brought locally-sourced booze--but she also brought all-natural soda, because she's not into pressuring anybody. 

Kale and radishes make such great pals.

Kale and radishes make such great pals.

The weather is cooler, the weeds grow slower, the days are shorter.  Of course, there are still bugs to contend with and more-than-plenty to do at all hours, but we've got salad.  A tangible shift has swept through the farm that whispers,

"Chill out. Have dinner at a reasonable hour. Wear a sweater."


So we're giving that a try.

But this is Texas, and by noon it's too hot for that sweater, even in Autumn--which is all the more reason to appreciate those brief, sweet moments of calm when we can. 


The buckwheat makes fast work as a fall covercrop on our old summer fields.

The buckwheat makes fast work as a fall covercrop on our old summer fields.

mmmm...salad and sunflower shoots.

mmmm...salad and sunflower shoots.

And he does it ' cause he loves salads so much. (Michael, our unofficial mascot for the Galveston's Own Farmer's Market)

And he does it 'cause he loves salads so much. (Michael, our unofficial mascot for the Galveston's Own Farmer's Market)

Ah, entering a season with slow-growing weeds...

Ah, entering a season with slow-growing weeds...