the everpresent onion

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 10:51.

Back in December, when this farm odyssey began, our first task was trimming, sorting and bagging onions for market. There were sacks and sacks full of them all cured and ready for their final presentation to the market shopper/eater.

Now, a mere six months later, we have almost come full circle. We have carried flats of onion starts from where they were seeded on a cold back porch to the woodstove-heated hoop house. We have watched them push up their tiny green shoots and we have transplanted them into their garden beds in the sandy soil of the old river bed in Geauga County. Each soil block containing five to seven seeds, plants, onions were carefully nestled into the rows by hand. They were mulched with a skirt of leaf mulch from the old growth maples, oaks, beeches and other deciduous trees on the farm and watered by hand with a watering can of well water or pond water. We planted rows and rows of them. Each row required discing, light raking, hoeing, (to eliminate pesky potential weeds that would reassert themselves a few weeks later - you can't get them all, but the big chunks get toted to the wood's edge to become biomass for future food) planting as described above, weeding and intercropping with clover.

Here they are almost ready to be uprooted.

So we have begun now to harvest them. Fresh onions have been traveling to the market for several weeks now, but this week the pulling of the onions began. "Look for the ones who's necks are broken" she said. We hunted and pulled and plopped them into buckets. We lifted each onion from the two and a half rows, some hiding under massive ragweeds and guarded by prickly horse thistles or bounded by green fences of nutsedge. All day we pulled and carried. The buckets were then transported to the hoop house, the very place to which we had carried those mystery flats of black earth that would soon show sprouts. I have posted a photo of the first small onion bed, but the other is yet to be captured in my camera. Let it suffice to say that there are onions as far as the eye can see. They were not planted by a machine unless you consider man a machine. Now they are harvested by people and returned to the hoop house to cure. They are pictured above looking like a Spencer Tunick installation.

In the other end of the hoop house new onion starts await the same special treatment.

The everpresent onion - no recipes needed. Don't we all eat onions practically everyday?

Meanwhile the garden's other bounties have begun to emerge colorful and flavor rich. In these photos beets glisten with their ruby colored sweet roots

and carrots get a shower before market

Oh what sweetness lies therein...

So to cap today's post here's a poem by Wendell Berry

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Outside the hoop house, cider grows on old apple trees...


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Muck farms

too bad those wetlands were drained and farmed

Draining the Great Black Swamp more here at Fishing the Great Lakes

Too bad the Everglades was turned into sugar cane farms. Read The Swamp by Michael Grunwald

Too bad 99% of the virgin long leaf pine forest went down in the US Southeast.

But then our ancestors thought resources were forever.

Now we're learning that sprawl will go too. Eventually. It's pace seems to be picking up of late.

The link to West Park history is fascinating!

Based on what we're seeing in the press these days about county corruption, maybe Cleveland would have best been left to the mosquitos, eh?