Farm Livin'

Red-winged Blackbirds trill in the hedgerows, plump tomatoes glow in the sun, bees dive into cucumber flowers. Roma tomatoes

Sometimes people ask if we'd like to live on a farm, but the true farming life -- complete with tractor and 50 acres -- is not something I'm cut out for.  Farms are usually far from cities, which is my preferred habitat.

But I'm able play dress up (or more accurately, dress down) and pretend at my little urban farm in Brooklyn, growing some of my own food, and nurturing my ever-increasing respect for those who actually farm for a living.

 Shovel and raised bed with mint  

The sun and heat forced me to take a moment to sit in the shade, but break time is over -- I have chores.  The last sugar snap peas need harvesting and then the plants must be cleared out and composted to make room for the next sowing of arugula seeds.  Carrots need thinning, and soil around the potato plants must be mounded.  Undersides of leaves -- particularly beans, cucumbers and potatoes -- need a thorough examination  for the usual outbreak of various insects like Colorado Potato Beetle and Mexican Bean Beetle.  And please don't mention weeding...

Egyptian Walking Onion  

I fuss and fret over my plants.  Are the tomatoes staked enough? Should I water less? Or more? Why aren't the eggplants growing? Should I harvest the garlic now? Did I plant the basil too early?

Onions   Cucumbers

Cucumber seedlings  

Thankfully, the plants seem to know what to do and don't appear to mind my mother hen approach.  I'm relieved when I see the tiniest bit of green on the soil, emerging just hours later to reveal a little bean seedling.

Emerging green bean seedling   Green bean seedling

The building, the watering, the mending, the weeding, the sowing, the harvesting.  Sheer heaven.  And I thank heaven for the farmers -- especially the small farmer-- who does it all on a much larger scale.

 Tomato plants