Thursday, September 12, 2013


Well, we took our annual family vacation to the mountains this year.  It's the life of a farmer, the only vacations you get to take are in the off season and they still are centered around farming.  We went to get strawberry tips to come home and plug into plants.  Yes, it's already time to start next years crop.  Yay!!! (Note the sarcasm).  Well this year at least we weren't hauling an overloaded trailer and no speeding tickets were handed out in the course of our journey.  However we were traveling with an 8 month old so...going was not bad.  She slept most of the way.  It was the ride home that got her (although to be fair she was not 100%, but that's a story for later it the blog).  So sit back and be prepared to hear about the vacation you didn't go on and get something to drink, it's a little lengthy (I couldn't leave out the pictures!)

We're from the country and we were tourists, so where was the first place we went on Sunday (now too be fair we found a lovely park Saturday night and rode paddle boats out on a lake, that's not terribly country)?  The Farmers Market of course!  We walked around looking at all the beautiful vegetables and fruits the mountains had to offer.  Gorgeous.  I was actually really sad that the CSA had ended because I wanted all those heirloom tomatoes and plums and different colored striped peppers and fresh stuff to put in our boxes.  It was a feast for the eyes. Then we ate at the restaurant there and it was so good (although I did think the waitresses were putting it on a bit when she asked me what she could "rustle us up" to drink.) 

Behold, the feast for the eyes!
My wonderful cousin and her family live in Saluda NC.  Never been to the town but I hear it's lovely.  So when we get as far west as Asheville (where we always stay for convenience) I try to make a point to see her.  This year we met in Flat Rock NC ((around 30 minutes south of Asheville) at Sky Top Orchards for an apple picking adventure.  Seeing as that (as is typical with us) The Husband and The Boy aren't really apple fans and I'm allergic (yes, I am allergic to apples.  For years when I ate them they would irritate my gums, causing them to "itch" [I cannot tell you how many times I was made fun of for that statement] and then last summer I ate one that I did prewash and cut the peeling off of and my entire mouth and tongue swelled up.  The following 5 hour trip to the ER was enough to keep me from basically the only fruit I eat for life.) the trip was more to investigate another agritourism farm and see how they do things.  It was great and other than it being a touch hot for the top of a mountain and the kids being tired and half sick it was a great trip.  If you're every up that way anytime from Aug - Oct I would highly recommend it.  The prices are reasonable, the drive is nice, the kids can run off pent up car steam, and the views while you're picking is a-mazing.  I don't know how these people work with that view!  One thing I'm going to be working on for the next two weeks is signs.  They had beautiful painted signs everywhere about apples, how they grow, bees and how they make honey, which apples are ready when, the waggle dance bees do to let other workers know where sources of pollen are, you name it they had a sign.  It was nice to know for someone who didn't know, and for everything to be labeled and had I not known about bees I would have learned something so it's a 'must do' for me.


Pretty Signs

With a view like this who needs work?
Labor Day we went to Darnell Farms in Bryson City NC to pick up our tips.  Now for any of you who come pick, especially later in the season when it gets hot, tips are the little plants that try and grow at the end of runners (sort of like a spider plant, least that's what my first girl scout leader called them and it's stuck with me since).  We can't keep ours because of the risk of disease, but up in the mountains they have a wonderful climate for raising tips, not to mention a beautiful location.  After you go apple picking you must drive about an hour west via 40 and 74 W to Bryson City.  It's right on the Tuckasegee River which is this lovely winding river complete with rapids and little falls.  There's several chain fast food places (including a Bojangles that I'm sure doesn't serve cheddar bo's) but there are some local barbeque joints right on the river bank that looked good too, one of them is an old drive in.  Again, I can't imagine how these people cut plants all day long looking at the mountain behind them and the river in front of them.  It's beautiful.
Future Strawberry Tips

It just makes you want to jump in.

Do I have to say it again?  Beautiful.

We left all that beauty to come home sick (all except The Husband), and to stick plants for the next two days in 90 degree heat and humidity with gnats (I swear, the devil sent 4 things to show us what hell would be like: gnats, fire ants, pigweed, and joint grass.  Get your soul right or get prepared!  Just kidding.  Seriously.)   Thanks to my amazing in laws (is that an oxymoron!  Just kidding.  Seriously.) for helping to fill trays (the worst job in the world!  You will end up wet, dirty, and with a hand FULL of tray cuts, which are kind of like cardboard cuts, just full of dirt and gnats.) and stick plants and babysit The Girl, who was sick and teething.  We are all on the mend now after meds and a day on the couch with a fever.  The Boy started kindergarten this year (sniff, sniff) so he wasn't around to join the mess.  Anyway, it's all done and the plants are doing very well and we'll be laying plastic hopefully this weekend, so let the strawberry season begin!


It's a dirty process but someone has to do it.

Gotta keep those plants watered!

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