Things on the farm have been busy lately, what with all of this year’s garlic to clean, ship, and sort. It is also time to get next year’s seed ready to plant. On top of this, Henry still has to get his crew to complete their high tunnel before snow flies. “Ah the life of a supervisor is though.” He thought as he gazed at the horizon, taking in another beautiful fall day. The leaves are at peak and with a crisp frosty evening the night before, some of the leaves are lazily cascading to the ground; a feast of oranges, reds, and yellows, making a blanket on the forest floor to rival any artist’s palette. The leaves have done their job admirably, aiding in the forest’s growth over the vernal period of the year. Now, they will complete the cycle by providing nutrients for all the microorganisms in the soli, which will of course turn the rapidly accumulating leaf litter into future sustenance for next year’s plants. Next year is a long way off for Henry, who measures time in increments between food being dispensed into his dog dish. This of course always seems to be a long time indeed. Well, no matter. The day is too beautiful, the air too crisp, the sky too blue. Henry makes a command decision that today is going to be a day off on the farm, and he turns his gaze in the direction of the rumbling of the tractor engine. Of course his two workers, Mom and Dad are hard at work erecting the high tunnel. “I just need to figure out a way to get their attention so we can go for a walk in the forest. It will be beautiful, and of course as they walk hand in hand, Sis and I can scrounge around for tic tacs.” He puts his head down, ambles over to the construction site, and sits directly in front of the tractor. “Henry go home” Mom tells him. Henry, with his best mournful look, lies down, puts his head on his paws, and does his best impression of a sad, sad puppy. It doesn’t work. Mom gets out of the tractor and threatens to lock him in the house if he won’t go lie out of the way. Not to be outdone, Henry skulks off and walks around the field’s edge, head down thinking. “That’s it!” he thinks, and lowers his head. Taking in a mouthful of leaves into his Snaggletooth mouth he turns back towards his parents. Arriving back at the tractor Henry again plants himself in front of the behemoth, and proceeds to sit looking directly at the two of them. Mom on the tractor seat, Dad assembling components from the platform made for this task. “What is is now,” Mom asks, and Henry just looks at her sadly, and drops the leaves from his mouth. They silently float to the ground. He looks at the leaves, then to the field, then the woods, and finally he fixes his soulful eyes on his parents. “I think he is telling us it is time to call it a day Sweetie” Dad says to Mom. “Henry, go get your sister, while your Mother and I finish up. Then all of us are going to take a walk.” Henry was up and loping toward his Sister before Dad could finish speaking. Visions of tic tacs were dancing in his head as drool was forming in his mouth. Happy Fall Henry. May all of you be enjoying this season. Here at Snaggletooth Farm, while there is much to do, we still find time to enjoy the bounty of nature all around us. Here’s to hoping you do too.
Henry was excited. There were no two ways about it. The garlic is almost completely dry, and it is time to braid the garlic. That only means one thing; a family get together! Henry was lying on the porch, head poking between the railing, with his eyes fixed on the driveway. "Will they never arrive?" he anxiously thought. Dad and Mom are busy setting up tables, getting twine, shears, lavender, and of course garlic for the impending braiding party. Henry had chosen two varieties to braid; the first was Chesnok Red, for its striking purple streaked wrappers, and German Extra Hardy for both its beautiful porcelain white skin and mammoth size. They were going to be things of beauty, of this Henry was sure. A noise from down the road, and movement through the trees snapped Henry to attention. Was there someone coming up the drive? Yes there was. They were here! Henry, with all the agility of a bull in a china shop, leapt to his feet, rapped his head on the porch railing, and bolted to the parking car. Auntie Melissa, Uncle Wade, and Granny spilled from the opening doors, smiles beaming on each and every one. Henry, reaching his destination, came to a screeching halt in front of Granny, and presented his sore head for a proper petting. As he was greedily soaking up Granny's attention, he could hear Stella barking from within the confines of the farmhouse. Henry paid little attention to this disturbance; he knew she would be too chicken to come outside until she knew who was in the yard. All of the petting, rubbing of ears, and welcoming hugs would be his for a precious few more moments. He was so happy! He knew everyone was in for a long day of work today, it would pass quickly with everyone pitching in. Henry continued his snaggletooth way of greeting everyone, his furry butt wiggling uncontrollably, and his tongue cheerfully licking anyone foolish enough to get close to his crooked grin. At the moment he was intent on making sure Auntie was duly washed snaggle style, his tongue bathing was interrupted by Granny opening the back hatch of the car. A squirmy, hairy ball of pent up energy spewed from the opening, hit the ground gracelessly, four legs splayed in all directions. It was an entrance/landing that only a puppy could pull off without incident. This was a pleasant surprise, and Henry greeted his cousin Shika II the only way he knew how. He quickly and happily went over sniffed her face, then proceeded to sniff her butt. "Yup, that's her" he thought excitedly. He just loved this puppy. She liked to play almost as much as he did, unlike his neurotic little sister. This was going to be so much fun! At about that moment Stella, who was looking out the screen door and taking in all of the proceedings, while simultaneously barking as only she could, felt the door open from behind her. She stopped barking for a split second, jumped nearly out of her skin, and looked over her shoulder. It was her sister Susie! She was alive! No one had seen hide nor hair of her since the night before. She must have heard the commotion and decided to roll out of bed. Maybe, just maybe Henry might get some work out of her today after all. Susie passed through the screen door, and Stella heard the telltale squealing of the spring as it was pulling the door shut. She realized she had a choice to make; stay inside, bark, and be safe and comfy in her bed; or go out, bark, and get some loving from her family. It really wasn't a choice for most dogs, but she wasn't most dogs. "I do love to bark, and can do that plus get some attention" she thought. She gulped, took a breath, started to bark as she lowered her head and went by Susie like she was standing still. In a flash she was at the car. She came to a screeching, though graceful halt, and of course continued to bark. Everyone laughed, and loved the little nervous girl until she calmed down to a manageable wriggling happy dog, which of course she was. Stella, noticing her cousin eyeing her, turned to greet her as Henry had, ending with the obligatory sniffing of Shika II's exhaust pipe. Mom, Dad, and Susie soon made their way to the car and hugs and kisses were bestowed upon all. Henry had proceeded to sit facing everyone, smiling his cooked snaggletooth grin, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. "This is what it is all about" he thought. The people soon made their way to the side of the covered porch to engage in much needed catching up on everyone's lives, and of course attending to the business of garlic braiding. Their laughter was calming to Henry, Stella, and Shika II, who found themselves alone in the yard. The breeze was light, the air cool, and the sky a blue only a perfect day in Maine could produce. The dogs played for awhile, then being thirsty took their cousin to their "watering hole", which was in fact a blue kiddie wading pool that Mom had just put fresh, cold, clear water from their pristine well. After much slurping, burping, wading, rolling, and splashing it was time. As Henry was busy rolling his wet contented body in something odious, Stella decided it was time to show Shika II around the property. With a sidelong look at Shika II, she said "This way cuz. You see the lower end of this field? Behind the tall hemp Dad has planted as a cover crop is a fresh crop of sweet, stinky, and juicy tic tacs, left by our friends the deer. They left it last night, as they snacked on our juicy hemp. Last dog to arrive will get the least fresh treats." With that Stella bounded off, with Henry and Shika II in hot pursuit. "I've never had tic tacs" she said, to which Henry replied "Oh you are in for a tasty treat Cuz. They slide down smooth, and come out of your exhaust hot. We better hurry though. Sis wasn't kidding, it's every dog for themselves when it comes to tic tacs!" Shika II, looked up at her older cousin, nodded and shifted to a higher gear. Already she felt the drool starting to drip out of her mouth. "Country life is the best" she thought contentedly.
Yes Shika II, country life is the best. We had a wonderful time with you and the rest of the family, both in harvesting, and braiding. The garlic braided bouquets turned out even better than we hoped, and we will miss them as they will soon be leaving to grace other homes this harvest season. Summer, like life, passes all too quickly it seems. Please, please, please don't waste a moment of the time given to you. Here at Snaggletooth Farm, we hope that all of you enjoy, and embrace all life has to offer. Happy harvest season!
Snaggletooth Farm has been very busy these last few weeks. The garlic has sized up nicely, and Henry has supervised his motley crew through a successful harvest. The weather has been hot and sticky, with no discernible breeze to help his overheated crew. Nonetheless, the garlic is now in the drying shed, and Henry is content. Mom however, is not too happy with the smell of two thousand pounds of green garlic drying. The shed is attached to the house, and the off-gassing of all of this garlic is pungent to say the least. "Thank goodness Dad has plans to build a drying barn in the upper field for this odious task. All of us love garlic, but I must agree this smell is a little much." Henry thought. The only family member who appeared to take no notice of the pungent sulfurous aroma was Stella, who ambles by, nose down, tail up, busy at work looking for the next delectable mouthful of tic tacs. Henry watched her go by with a thoughtful look in his eye, and a crooked grin on his scruffy face. He unconsciously licked his lips. "Maybe I should go supervise her" Henry thought, and his tail gave a half-hearted thump. Just as he was getting ready to move, and the saliva was already starting to drip from his bearded jowls, he heard the tractor start up and go by. Mom was driving, with Dad walking slowly behind. The tractor's nose was pointed toward the freshly harvested garlic field. Mom had just finished tilling it earlier, and now they were both going to pick up any sizable rocks before attending to Henry's next task. You see, Henry was already thinking ahead to four years from now when they will again use this field for garlic production. He is going to have them plant mustard greens in this spot for the fall as a green manure and cover crop. "The crew needs to start adding organic nutrients back into the soil immediately, and this will also shade out any weeds that will germinate. You can never start building organic matter too early." Henry said to himself. He felt a little badly, as they had just gotten in the garlic crop for drying the day before. But he needed to have them get this done, because as soon as this was finished, it was time to have them start preserving their family garden's larder for the upcoming winter. Already the swiss chard, spinach, beets, tomatoes, and soon green beens were ready for canning. "They will need to get this done while the garlic finishes drying, so they will have it complete before the task of cleaning, grading, and shipping out of this year's garlic crop commences" Henry said. "Wow, I have given them a lot of work to do in a short amount of time; summer is the season of not enough hours in the day to be sure. At least they have me to supervise them, and keep them on task," he said as he flashed his best snaggletooth grin. "Well, it looks like they know what they need to do next. I think I had better go after Sis and help her in her never ending quest of tic tacs." So with a wistful look back at Mom and Dad, Henry turned in the direction Stella had gone. He had a wide smile on his face as he first started to trot, then he accelerated into a full gallop. His gait was classic Henry; loping, goofy, and quick. The look on his face was one of pure bliss, and as his breath quickened, his tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth. Henry soon caught up to his sister, and he came to his patented lumbering halt; grace was something not in his repertoire. Without a word, or even a sidelong glance at Stella, his nose dropped and his sniffer engaged. The snuffling from these two as they scoured the ground for tic tacs resembled pigs rooting for truffles. All we can say here at Snaggletooth Farm is look out tic tacs......
We hope you are enjoying this glorious summer season, and though it always seems that there are not enough hours in the day, there is always enough for your spirit to be renewed as you embrace all nature has to offer. Drink from her well deeply, and may your thirst never be quenched!
Henry and Stella were excited. It was a perfect summer day in Coastal Maine. The sky overhead is that deep, clear robin's egg blue we all dream about. The wispy, white clouds plying this blue sea only added to the serenity Birds were going about their daily business, and their song, while in the distance was tranquil and reassuring. The humidity, which had been present for the last few days was gone. Mother Nature had cleansed this part of the world last night, and the air was fresh and pure. All was well with the world and the farm. These days were Dad's favorite to be out in the fields, and as Henry glanced that way, he could see Dad, back bent, and at work. As always, Dad was worrying about this year's crop. "What else is new," Henry thought. "Dad always worries until the crop is out of the ground, cured and ready for storage. Yes, weed pressure was much greater than Dad was used to. Why wouldn't it be? It was the first year on new virgin soil. The seed bank is high, and thus the war will be harder to fight. In the end there may be less seed quality garlic, but there will be plenty of table garlic. Dad needs to relax and embrace nature's rhythm. We still have a couple of weeks for the garlic to size up. We may have a bumper crop yet." These thoughts ran through Henry's head as he watched Dad amidst the sea of garlic, that was starting to dry down, leaves showing that they were dying, giving their sustenance to the developing bulbs below ground. Henry's thoughts suddenly shifted to matters at hand. He and Stella were sitting next to Mom's convertible awaiting the days adventure. "Remember our garlic braids Stella?" Henry asked. "Yes, what about them?" She replied, absentmindedly scratching her ear. "Well, we need flowers to weave into our garlic braids and Mom is taking us to our friend's farm." Henry said. "What farm is that again?" Stella asked. "You know, Glendarragh Farm Lavender. It is Lorie and Patrick's farm in Appleton. When we go for rides to Camden this time of year, we can smell the aroma of their lavender miles before we arrive." Henry replied. "Oh yes, this is the place where the people harvest lavender, while we walk their nature trail around their property. I especially like to listen to the Bobolinks, and watch them fly. Why do you think they have their tuxedos on backwards?" Stella asked him. "Sis if you want to know why those birds look like they do you will have to pay more attention when Mom and Dad are talking. I've always said you spend too much time licking yourself when you should be listening!" "Well, a girl needs to freshen up Henry. You just don't understand." "Anyhow, Henry retorted, ignoring her last statement about her questionable grooming habits, as you an I are the supervisors, we are free to explore, while the others harvest." "Great!" Stella said with an enthusiastic thump of her tail. She was all about exploration, not so much about working. At this moment Mom comes out the house, and after getting Dad's attention, blows him a kiss, and opens the door of the car, and Henry and Stella pile in. They assume their positions in the backseat, awaiting their beautiful chauffeur. Mom starts the car, and as they drive off, Henry and Stella's sniffers start to work overtime. There is so much to smell in the pure, clean, summer Monroe air. Stella looks at Henry, who is sporting his usual crooked Snaggletooth grin, and his long wavy hair blowing in the wind coursing through their convertible, and is struck by the thought that she loves her big brother. He is a gentle, goofy dog who is always looking out for her. "I can't wait to explore Glendarragh farm today. I know I told Henry I couldn't wait to see the Bobolinks, but really what I hope they have is some yummy tic tacs!" Stella unconsciously licked her lips, and nuzzled her brother. All is well in the world.
Yes Henry and Stella, all is well. We hope you all enjoyed our story, and are enjoying Summer. There is so much to do; even so, make sure you take time to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you. And to our friends at Glendarragh farm, thank you. It will be an honor incorporating your beautiful, fragrant lavender into our braids.
Our seed garlic farm has been busy this last few weeks & Henry's crew have been working hard. Dawn to dusk he has had his main employee (Dad) hard at work weeding the garlic, making drying racks for the upcoming harvest, tilling in the first cover crop on next year's soil, and preparing the high tunnel site. Dad is a disabled veteran, and Henry knows that even though he likes this sort of work, it does take a toll on his body. The solitude is good for him, but there are days Henry thinks he works too hard. Dad's back is stooped a little more than usual, and his limp is more pronounced. Henry knows that Dad wouldn't have it any other way, but still he wishes he could give him a day off. But at this time of year it is simply out of the question. The garlic is in the early throes of dying back and setting its bulbs, and that means there is so much do. The sun is climbing in the sky, and Henry is lying in the field scanning everyone's progress. It is the weekend, so he has Mom at work, and actually Susie has stopped by for a visit. Henry, after licking her senseless, sent her to the fields to earn her keep. "Ah the burden of leadership is tough" he thought. The breeze is making his shaggy mane move ever so slighty, and it delivers to his well tuned sniffer an aroma that he hasn't smelled for quite sometime; garlic. Not the pungent garlic smell of well cured bulbs that have been chopped and prepared for roasting, or to be added to one of Mom and Dad's favorite dishes, but the mellow, teasing, seductive and gentle aroma of garlic that reminds Henry a little of the shallots that Dad grows. Henry turns his attention to the field and discovers why. Amidst the sea of bluish green garlic plants, he sees the work crew quietly going about a new task. He sees their hands work in harmony with shears in their hands; clip, plunk, clip, plunk, clip, plunk were the sounds coming from their labor. "They are clipping off garlic scapes!" Henry thought. It was finally time. The garlic plants were stiff neck varieties, so they always put out false seed heads that need to be cut off before the garlic can truly size up to meet Henry's tough seed garlic standards. "This means it is just a few weeks until we harvest" he said to himself. "It also means that Mom & Dad are going to start cooking and preparing some of their yummy scape recipes." One of Henry's favorites was simplicity itself. It consists of:
Three or four scapes
Four or more cups of greens/chard
A pat of butter
Coarse sea salt sprinkled over the dish to taste
Dad chops up the scapes and greens/chard, removing the center stem on the greens.
After preheating his cast iron skillet, the heat is turned to medium, butter is added and clarified. Scapes are added, sautéed for a minute, then the greens are added, tossed, and wilted to a brilliant green hue. This all takes just a couple of minutes. They are removed from the heat, plated, and salted to suit each diner's taste. Serves four. Henry had drifted off and was day dreaming about garlic scapes. "Roasted, stir fried, used to make a soup base......" Henry snaps back to reality as he has the sensation of soiling himself. He looks down and realizes he is lying in a pool of his own drool due to his dreaming of scapes. Not being adverse or concerning himself with his apparent excessive salivating, his mind continues to race. "Mmmmmm, when Dad and Mom make this, they also make mashed potatoes and steak. The best part is they always have leftovers for Sis and I." Henry proceeds to look around for his sister Stella, and to no one's surprise he sees her at the end of the field, nose down, tail up, scanning for any earthy tic tacs she may have missed. For once Henry could care less. He turned tail, headed for the house, bolted through his doggie door, and proceeded to lie next to his dog dish on the cool hardwood floors. He knew it would be several hours before Mom, Dad and Susie finished their work and came inside. "A dog can't be too careful or too early when it comes to waiting for their next meal" he thought. His mouth was already starting to water again thinking about the potatoes and steak he was sure to have tonight. He hoped the floors were waterproof. There very well might be a small body of water where he was lying before the crew arrived. "It sure is lovely living on a farm" he thought as he closed his eyes to dream of meals soon to come. Enjoy the summer season everyone. May you eat what you like and like what you eat. Here at Snaggletooth Farm it will be garlic infused recipes for many months to come. Scapes and chard from our farm are picked, and chopped, and ready for wilting. Potatoes are on boil. Now where did we put the lighter for the grill?????
The seed garlic field was an iridescent green sea of upturned leaves, sighing softly in the the breeze at Snaggletooth Farm this fine spring day. Henry and Stella were nosing around the lower field just below it. Stella, true to form was not too close to Henry, but not too far. Her head was lowered, sniffer in full sensory mode. She was looking for tic tacs of the deer digestive tract leftover variety, and nothing would please her until her belly had a few of those smelly, yet tasty treats inside of it. She knew that they must be close by, as the deer loved what dad planted in the fields for cover crops. She didn't know what they were, but she sure liked the fact that it attracted visitors of the cloven hoof variety! While Stella was lost in thought, Henry was scanning the cover crops; he could get just a hint of a smell that he thought was familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. "It smells a little like tic tacs, but not as strong" he said to himself. So as Stella continued in her questionable culinary pursuits, Henry stealthily went upwind of the field, gingerly laid down, and fixed his eyes on the swaying grasses. He could hear the wind quiet melody in the oak and ash leaves that ringed the field and stone walls. It had been breezy lately, and it kept those pesky black flies away (thank god, for he didn't want to end up like Uncle Leonard after all), and freshened the air with the scent of rose blossoms that were just beginning to open. The birds were quietly singing away in the field and the woods around him. Henry, though not an old dog, certainly did appreciate this time of year. Everything was so fresh and new! The greens of the fields and leaves was breathtaking in its rich, verdant colors. Henry suddenly thought he saw movement in the field. He sniffed intently, but all he could smell was garlic from the Garlic patch. It was coming along nicely, and would start sending up scapes any day now. There it was again! The grasses were swaying in a direction opposite of the way the wind was blowing. "Something is there" Henry thought, and fixed his eyes and sniffer in the strange moving grasses direction. "Why can't I smell anything?" Henry thought. "My nose is one of my best features, if I do say so myself. It has kept me out of harm's way more times than I can remember." As he kept staring, suddenly he could make out two eyes, a little brown nose and small pointed ears turned in his direction. Now Henry could make it out. It was curled in a ball, lying down, facing both he and Stella. Well, actually not Stella, for she as usual wasn't paying attention, and had wandered quite a ways away. Stella was gulping down a sizable pile of tic tacs Henry realized when he looked to see if she had his back. "She won't be any help, and I am sure she won't save me any", he regretfully thought. Turning his attention back on the invader he could see it more clearly. It had not moved, but he could make out it was colored reddish brown, and flecked with white spots. It was happily munching away as it had its eyes locked on him. Henry, always a coward was beside himself with what to do. "Dad would want me to get this animal out of there, but what if it eats me before I can ask it nicely to leave? This may be my farm, but I didn't sign up for any violence. I am a lover (and eater of tic tacs), not a fighter." He thought. Well, there was nothing for it. He had a responsibility to the farm. With a nervous gulp, Henry got up, craned his neck toward the creature, and lifted his right foot to take a step. Without a doubt, it was the bravest thing he had ever done. Before he could move, he heard a voice in his ear. "If you take one step toward my fawn, I will make you wish you never got out of bed this morning. I watch you from the woods every day, and am not afraid of you. You and your sister would do well to enjoy the tic tacs we leave for you and let us be." Henry just about came out of his skin. He didn't think he soiled himself, but not daring to check he couldn't be sure. Not moving a muscle, Henry said "Did you say you leave us tic tacs?" "Yes she replied. We are both deer, and our droppings are your tic tacs. We have to eat something, or else we wouldn't be able to make them." Henry was quickly processing what he had just heard. So these were deer, and the reason he couldn't smell the baby fawn in the field was because they are born practically without scent. This protects them from predators when they are very young. Henry had learned this by listening to his Dad talking with Mom. Henry was without a doubt a coward, but he was also a pig when it came to food; not a Stella sized pig, but not too far behind. Hopefully you will forgive him for what he did next. He put on his best crooked, Snaggle grin, and without daring to look at the mother deer he responded "You don't say. Well now that is something altogether different. My apologies. I would not want to get in your way of manufacturing one of my favorite treats. By all means help yourself to whatever you need, my sister and I are here to help. Now, could you point me to a fresh warm pile of tic tacs?" Henry might be a loyal dog, but he as also a hungry one. Surely Dad wouldn't miss a little grass he thought as he hungrily awaited the deer pointing out where he would get his next meal.
I hope you all enjoyed our story today. Henry as you all know is a coward, but when we see deer, he does bark at them, so this story of course is fiction. And if I ever catch him giving away our grass, while generous on his part, it may be his undoing......
Henry was fidgety. He may not be the smartest dog on the street (well maybe he is), but he and his sister Stella knew Memorial Day was fast approaching, and they want to show their appreciation for our nations veterans in the most honorable way they could. "Do you think they would like to come and help Dad weed?" Stella asked Henry. "No I don't think so Sis. Even though Dad is a veteran, this day isn't about their helping around the farm. It is about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice." "Oh, do you mean giving up your extra helping of dog food, or some of those yummy deer dropping tic tacs? Because if it is, I know I am not ready to make that kind of sacrifice." Stella said. Henry replied "Stella, the ultimate sacrifice is giving their life for their country. Like Dad's great uncle in WWI, or how his cousin Craig almost did the same, but managed to survive a roadside bomb in Iraq. Come to think of it, almost all of his family has sacrificed for our country. All of his Uncles served. His Uncle Milo, who was a tank gunner under Patton In WWII, Uncle Howard and Uncle Sonny in Korea, Uncle Delmont in Vietnam, Dad's father, Uncle Leonard and Robert in the Cold War. Dad served 17 years himself and was a participant of the Cold War and the Global War on Terror. Most of his uncles are gone. He just was at the graveside service for Uncle Sonny yesterday. I hear him talking to Mom on how he misses fishing with him. All of these individuals did their part to make sure our supper dishes are full, and we have the freedom to choose to eat from them." "Oh, I like to eat from them that's for sure!" Stella replied. Henry ignored her and continued. "Dad's body is broke from crewing jets for the Air Force, and his hearing is not good. He can hardly stand when he rises in the morning, yet he always says how lucky he is, and that others have had it far worse. He is proud of his service, and glad to be able to live in a country where you can be who you want to be." Stella interrupted Henry and said "I know just what to get him Henry!" "What Sis? Please don't say some of those earthy tic tacs we always gobble up. He doesn't like those." "No, no, no. I think we should climb up beside him on the couch, rest our heads on his lap, and love him." "Now that is something he likes and something we should do. Let's go take care of our tired veteran Sis." Happy Memorial Day from Snaggletooth Farm. May you remember all who have made it possible for us to enjoy the lives we lead. We as a nation will NEVER forget.
The garlic is growing swiftly, the riot of vernal growth is underway. The fields are in good shape, and it is time to turn some attention to weeding. You may recall we looked forward to weeding longingly in the throughs of winter's last gasp. Well while we set to task our early season nemesis, aka the black flies have shown themselves en masse. We are no spring chickens, and it has been many years since we have been blessed with so many at once. To say they are thick would be an understatement. This coupled with a lack of appreciable breeze has made our job, shall we say, interesting. I am going to try something different with this post; it has always been an interest of mine to tell stories, and I would like to have Snaggletooth, also known as Henry, and his sister Stella lend their voices to the narrative. The two of them provide us with hours of amusement, and indeed make our lives infinitely more interesting. Henry reminds us of a goofy dog who is a coward yet tries to stick up for his little sister. Stella is a little prim and proper neurotic lady. She looks to Henry for support in all of their adventures. On to black fly season......
Henry was scanning the field, and its sole inhabitant for anything amiss. When his Dad is in the garlic field he is never far away. While he knows he isn't allowed in the field, he is going to be there to greet his father when he exits it for a break. Stella, on the other hand is nosing around, looking for something interesting to gulp down. She is always hungry, and Henry shudders to think of what she might be ingesting; sometimes her exhaust pipe is ripe to say the least. Of course, while she is looking for something to sample, she is still close enough to Henry to have his support if she feels she needs it. Henry is having a hard time focusing today on the task at hand. It seems that his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and sparsely haired belly are taking a beating from a non-stop horde of black swarming, buzzing, squirming, and biting flies. He hasn't seen these things in a long time; he wishes he had paid more attention to learning how to tell time at school (well learning anything actually), but he was too interested in chasing his tail and sniffing other dog's butts to care about school work at the time; ah his wasted youth! Stella, though no doubt bothered, is still just looking for a meal. Henry, one eye on the sea of dark green garlic, can't lay still for long, and he gets up and walks around the field, looking for something, anything to roll in and get some relief from these flies. "What do you think Sis, you want to go sniff around the edge of the field? I think there were some deer out last night. Might make for a good meal." Henry knew his sister's penchant for gulping down deer poo. Ok, ok, Henry had to admit they were pretty yummy; they were just like earthy tic tacs! Stella nods her approval, though he can hardly see her through the inky swarm of flies that are surrounding the two of them. Suddenly they hear a commotion from the upper field. They know that their Dad's Uncle Leonard and Mother Charlene are up there cutting up firewood for next winter's impending chill. With a backward glance at the garlic field and their father, Henry makes a command decision to bolt up and see what is going on. Stella, is not far behind. What they encounter is a sight to say the least. Uncle Leonard is about three feet off the ground, and Charlene has her arms wrapped around Uncle Leonard's ankle, trying to hold him down as a blood thirsty swarm of black flies are attempting to make off with him! All Henry and Stella can hear is what sounds like a giant buzzing noise, and a frightened yelp from poor Uncle Leonard. Henry knows just what to do. He turns around, tucks his tail between his legs, looks over his shoulder to make sure the flies aren't interested in him, calls to his sister "Run Sis, run! let's get back to the house before they get us too!" He need not have worried about her well-being; he was talking to no one. Stella was already halfway across the field toward their doggy door, and she hoped safety. Henry put his head down, shifted into a higher gear, and did his best to beat his sister to the house. Poor Uncle Leonard, he thought as he made his way to the house; he was a good guy, and I am going to miss him, even though he was always stingy with giving us treats.....
This ends their tale, and we hope you enjoyed it. Henry & Stella are loving family dogs, but are truly cowards. Though the black flies didn't actually cause Uncle Leonard to levitate, they were very thick, and both he, my mother, and I ate our fill of the beasts as we tended to our respective chores this past week. Here's to hoping they aren't as hungry the next.
Our growing season is starting to ramp up. The seed garlic is growing, we have been harvesting wood for future heating seasons, and have just reaped our first crop of the year; rocks. Did we say rocks? Why yes, all of you native "Mainers" know that of which we speak. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Snaggle has been after us to get our fallow fields planted with some of those nutrient rich green manures he is so fond of. Well, he is telling us that a field of mustard is in order, and when he snaps his fingers, we step to. He would have made a great director. Well, before we can plant, we must lightly till said soil to prepare it. And here in Maine that means unearthing a veritable cornucopia of rocks. Good thing we have a talented crew ready to toil up and down the slope of our fields, throwing one rock after another into the maw of our tractor (ok, not a maw but a bucket, it just looks like a maw after several hours). Our crew consisted of family, and a heartfelt thank you is in order for Uncle Leonard, Our Mother Charlene, Larry, Alicia, and wait for it....... Susie! One of our truants made the mistake of visiting and it just so happened we had an extra set of gloves...... Seriously thanks Susie! It was an honor forming blisters with you! The field is now planted, and we await Mother Nature's addition of water to start our mustard germinating. I wonder if we will be visited by the roving pack of marauders, aka turkeys that just love to ingest any seeds they can get their beaks on; if so I know a certain turkey dog that will be set loose. I wonder what we will give her for a treat if her services are needed. We are out of cheese, and we refuse to part with our wine.... Time for a repast. Methinks a burger on the grill perhaps, then it will be time to rest these old bones by the fire. Yes it is May 1st, and here at Snaggletooth Farm a fire in the evening is not out of the ordinary. Ah, this thing called life is a gift isn't it? We thank our creator every day for all of life's quiet pleasures. Now where did I put that hamburger?
It has been a great week weather-wise here at Snaggletooth Farm. Low fifties and sunny with a stiff breeze; our garlic have been loving it! All creatures great and small are starting to find their way to our fields to enjoy spring's gift of sprouting grass. There isn't much yet, but it does beckon. There have been up to eight deer out after dark most nights, and yes they have found their way to our garlic as you can see by the tops being unceremoniously chewed off. Luckily, deer figure out quickly that the garlic is not tasty, and move on to greener pastures. We only lose a little to the deer, and most plants will bounce back. It would have been fun to see the expression on the deer's face when the fresh garlic taste permeated their mouth; the look of surprise would have been priceless. Other creatures that have paid visits have been porcupines and most notably turkeys. The porcupine just ambled like a drunken sailor along the edge of the field; find nothing of interest gastronomically, he kept going until he found his way into the back woods. The turkeys are something else altogether; they don't bother garlic much, but I have seen them pull up the tender shoots and strew them all over the field. The least they could do is eat what they disrupt! Well, last night our flock of fifteen turkeys made an appearance at dusk. They remind me of little kids who know they shouldn't be somewhere, but intend on getting there all the same. They slowly walk up the field, stooping to nibble this or that, never looking directly at our planted areas, but slowly, methodically moving toward them all the same. We watch them with amusement, but are on guard to leave the house to "encourage" them to go elsewhere. They are nervous birds, and it takes a few noises usually to make them disappear. Did I mention they are like little kids? Just as we think they are going to leave the garlic alone, one brave hen does a ninety degree pivot and plants herself in the midst of the furthest row. I get out of my chair, step over two tired, slumbering dogs, rip open the door and step out and do my best Scooby Doo voice. The crew of fifteen scatter, but don't leave. They realize that old Scoob is too far away to really be a bother to them. Next thing I know Henry and Stella arrive, and Stella being my trained turkey chaser is after them in a flash. Now they move, and move quickly. It reminded us of the movie Jurassic Park, how they ran like a pack of Velociraptors, but away from prey not toward it. Stella dutifully stops at the edge of the field, knowing she can't catch the turkeys, turns and makes her way home. When I had my glass of wine later with some Beemster cheese from our local shop, I made sure Stella had a generous piece on a cracker. Yes, Henry received one too. I think maybe our dogs are spoiled.