Life on a family farm
in the wilds of
Upstate New York
Thursday, April 23, 2015
On the Land
Road trip yesterday. We needed to go to Sunnycrest to get some Slendrette bean seeds. Although we grow half a dozen varieties of snap bean, Slendrette, or Slankette, its other name, is my favorite for filling the freezer. It is an easily picked, prolific bean, that comes back all season, over and over again.
Becky found a little filet bean last year that bore right up until frost as well. That one was not a freezer-filler, because of the tiny size of the pods, but oh, so tasty. Alas I don't remember the variety, so I am going to have to have her look it up for me if I want more.
For a gardener, Sunnycrest's greenhouse is like a visit to a spa for a girly girl. What feels like miles of vivid geraniums flanked by smiling pansies and hundreds....thousands...of other sunny, happy flowers. Herbs. Succulents in little dishes. Honestly I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. It has been a LONG winter, and really it is still hanging on. Cold and clammy this morning, with snow all around us. I came away with a nice spearmint plant and a yellow and brown coleus that caught my eye. Of course we also got a half a pound of bean seeds and a bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes. Then we toured down little country roads, some of which we had never seen before. I guess the boss was happy to get his hermit down off the hill because he obligingly stopped at Bowmaker Pond, where the Canada Geese and Tree Swallows were whooping it up. I tried hard for some photos of the amazing hill country down between route 20 and Cobleskill, but the rain made it impossible. Tried for duck ID in Bear Swamp too, with the same problem. No light. Lots of water falling on us. We drove well over fifty miles, through what has always been dairy country and saw three viable dairy farms. Three. And all three were pretty down at the heels. Of course nobody looks their best in April, especially after a winter like this past one, but still....you could just feel the hard times rolling off them. It is easy to recognize farmhouses that date back to Revolutionary War times. This is a historic area after all. However, far too many of these stately former farm homes were surrounded by five acre lawns, a few tumble down buildings, and brush. There were a few farmers on the land, more Amish than English. It was sad.