Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year

We spent New Year's Eve on our friends' farm up in Yolo County (I love how the dried sunflowers above look like street lights). I love walking around the farm, even on a cold, misty day with the dense tule fog pressing against the earth. Usually there are wide open vistas 360 degrees around the farm, but this time the fog made it feel closed in and isolated. I am always struck by the large scale on their farm. There is so much space. This year, while I was tending my 4x8 raised bed, they were cultivating a kitchen garden that is twice the size of the footprint of our house. In addition to their garden they planted apricots and plum trees, pomegranate and currant bushes, and berry vines. Not to mention the habitat restoration they are doing with the Cache Creek Conservancy.
Most of their garden is fallow now, like mine, although they have herbs and broccoli rabe and chard. When I look at their garden, mine seems insignificant, and I begin to feel ashamed of the measliness of my successes in my 32 sq. feet. Then my friend casually mentioned that they planted leeks but they might have planted them too early and may need to replant them. The whole leek portion was about twice as large as my whole raised bed. It made me remember that in any garden, one crop not making it isn't a big deal. That's just how gardens go sometimes.
Even more than the scale of the farm garden, my friend's attitude inspires me anew. New year, new garden. There are some things I want to try. If they don't work out, I'll try something else.
For our New Year's feast we had cheeses from Iowa, homemade chorizo sausage from the farm, olives and a little bacalao. Then we had oysters that we bought unshucked from Hog Island Oyster Farm at the Ferry Building. That was just the appetizers. At 6 pm we had pasta with a pork "sugo", a rich, tomato-y sauce. At 8 pm we had brined pork crown roast, freshly harvested broccoli rabe, and salad. At 9 pm, farm-raised pumpkin pie. The bonfire commenced at 11 pm (it took a half an hour to get it going because it was so damp and cold outside). Champagne at midnight.

Gathering tumbleweeds for the bonfire.
Remains of the bonfire, Jan. 1.

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