This is Emily’s Stand, in its second season. Emily’s Stand is a patch of sunflowers, Emily’s favorite flower. It is a patch of joy and bright sunshine at House in the Woods Farm. This sunflower patch brings smiles and hope to those who admire it. It honors the life and spirit of Emily Duckworth. Emily had a bright smile, positive nature, and a gentle yet determined way of bringing goodness to the world.
The Duckworth family are House in the Woods CSA members and have been so for 17 years! Emily was raised on our produce and made memories on our farm. They are a big part of our farm community and our homeschooling community. I have taught Emily and her siblings in our homeschool coop, that their mother Lisa organizes. We go way back! Here are some photos from way back.
On a day that Emily brought me crappy news about a brain scan, we stood in front of the garden and I told her that I will plant a sunflower patch for her in the spring because we are all standing with her. And it will be called Emily’s Stand. We both smiled on a hard day. Neither of us knew if she would see the garden grow, and I don’t know if that even crossed her mind at that time. No matter. We smiled on a hard day, and that is all that mattered.
Sunflowers stand so tall and always turn toward the sun. Like Emily.
Emily passed away December 28, 2017 at age 21. I think of her often, but especially in July, when the sunflowers beam with joy right in my garden.
With CSA harvests up and running, dinners are getting easy again. Here are two easy sides I made to go with roasted chicken. Basically, add any protein and grain, and you are set.
Steamed or sauteed Asian spinach. I used a whole bouquet of tatsoi, it shrinks down a lot in the cooking. Sautee garlic scapes, the white part of scallions, and tamari/soy sauce. Steam with a little water. Salt. Ginger and maple syrup would be good. Chop scallions to toss on top.
Lettuce Cabbage—this delicate leafy Napa Cabbage variety is like lettuce and celery all in one. Chop the stems as celery and the leaves are lettuce. Toss in some peeled slices of kohlrabi or salad turnips. Add dressing of your choice. I like an asian sesame dressing, or a ginger vinaigrette. Chop scallions to toss on top.
As the air starts to chill, I am preserving the last crops of the season. In the summer, I freeze tomatoes, zucchini, and basil pesto. In the fall, I dry peppers, garlic, and herbs. My herb garden is brimming with oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, mint. Autumn is last call to harvest these frost-tender herbs and preserve them before a hard frost. I like to dry the fragrant leaves and crumble them into jars, making my own homegrown spices.
Preserving herbs couldn’t be easier: Just bag it! Harvest stems and leaves of herbs and put them in a large paper grocery bag.
To read the rest of my article that was published in the Frederick News Post, click here:
The ducks are getting big. So soon they will need to move to their permanent house that is going to be in our pond’s fenced-in area. The duck house is currently being built next to our barn (which is not near the pond). We put it on metal tubes that are going to be used like skis to transport it. The duck house has no floor so when you move it, the grassy floor is clean again. I’ll be adding a door and white plastic for walls. Unlike chickens and turkeys, ducks sleep on the ground or in the water. When our ducks grow up, they will need somewhere to lay their eggs. You want your ducks to lay their eggs where you can find them (preferably somewhere easy to get) so you have to make nest boxes if you want to find their eggs. Nest boxes for ducks should be 12” x 14”. They should be inside the house, dark, and far away from their food and water.
We just bought ducklings and they are very cute. We have four Indian Runners, two Cayugas, four Golden Layers and one Magpie. The ducks are one week old now. The ducks currently live in a little shed that I originally made for broody chickens to raise their chicks in. I am making a permanent house that is going to be in our pond’s fenced-in area.
We attend the Sheep and Wool festival every year. There is always a new inspiration to take home from the festival to feed my love of fiber arts. This year, a new booth by Sarafina Fiber Art caught my eye! Sara and her talented staff make beautiful needlefelted creations, featuring animals and people. Here are some photos from her booth. Starting with Sara and her amazing needlefelted lion!
I’ll be working on her tutorials to create some animals. I’ll keep you posted!