Fangboner Farms

Herb Harvest Time - or How I Spent My Freezing Cold Saturday Morning

I am cutting down all of our herbs for our last cutting of the season.  It's hard to believe that we started with 500 plants in the spring and what we've learned along the way.  Taking something I loved to do as a hobby and making it a business is very different.  Aching feet, sore back and no fingernails different.  And I swear it is always at least 10 degrees colder out here in the country than it was at my little house in Maumee.

So the top 5 things I've learned in my first season about growing and harvesting herbs for a business.

5. Bugs.  Okay, I want to be totally organic but do we have to have bugs?  Nothing like grabbing a beautiful bunch of basil, cutting it and seeing a fuzzy black spider on my hand.

4.  Always wear gloves.  See #5 for the reason.

3.  I'm old.  I get so sore from bending, squatting, cutting and weeding that it's pathetic. Luckily I have Fangboner Farms wine to ease the soreness.

2.  It is so much more work than I expected. From growing to cutting to drying to grinding to blending, there is no way we will ever make enough money for all the labor we've done.  So friends and family, no freebie spice blends at Christmas this year!  It's a business!

1.  No matter how tired I am, walking into the herb room and seeing the beautiful herbs drying and the smelling the wonderful blend of all the herbs, makes me grateful that I am able to indulge my passion and found a wonderful partner who shares it with me.

How could you not think this is beautiful?  Sorry there is no scratch and sniff so you can enjoy the wonderful smell of the basil I just picked.

Trying To Ensure My Good Karma - And Not Get Killed By the Giant Grasshopper

It's harvest time, big time, out at the farm.  Every day we're working on getting our last picks of herbs done and getting them hung, pulling off the leaves and flowers from the dried bunches, then grinding them for our blends. Lots of work, lots of cuts on my fingers and lots of bugs. And bugs are my favorite things. Not.

Saturday morning I had just cut another huge bunch of chives to dry.  I brought them in my picking basket into the kitchen to wash before drying.  I reached into the basket and felt something crawl on me.  I jumped, said a not so nice word (if you know me, you know I do that occasionally) and saw the biggest Daddy Long Legs spider I've ever seen.  

I admit it.  I am a total wimp about bugs, spiders especially.  Oh and centipedes too.  And anything that crunches when you step on it. But Daddy Long Legs aren't as scary so I picked him up with a paper towel, took him out and released him back into the wilds of the farm.

I was so proud of myself. I handled a spider and didn't cry.

I went back to washing the chives.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move but didn't really see anything.  As I continued working suddenly the biggest (insert bad word here) grasshopper I have ever seen jumped at me. I swear it was at least 2 inches long, although at that moment he looked 2 feet long. Of course I screamed, Jack barked and my cat Elliott Stabler (yes, he is named after the character on "Law & Order SVU" but that is another long story) came running to my rescue. That grasshopper jumped into the sink, into the other sink, then back on the counter.  I couldn't kill him - isn't killing a grasshopper a sin and would mess up my karma for many lifetimes?  Aren't they suppossed to be really good luck?

I grabbed a plastic grocery bag and scooped him into it. I could feel him jumping around and started running to the back door, sure he would escape and somehow kill me. I dropped the bag as I got to the door because I was so scared and Elliott Stabler pounced.

So there I was, trying to catch this huge jumping grasshopper, while keeping my hunter cat from getting him and trying to get past Jack. Somehow, I got the bag over him, Elliott Stabler off of the bag and picked it up.  I ran to the door and tossed the bag in the garden. Then screamed because I was sure he was going to chase me back into the house.

Who knew there was such drama in drying herbs?  

But I think my karma is safe - at least for now.

My favorite country boy

Today my favorite boy (well that has four legs) turns 11. Last night we celebrated Jack's birthday.  If you're a dog person, you get it.  If not, you're missing out on one of the best relationships you will ever have.

Jack is my buddy.  He always thinks I'm wonderful, even when I'm crabby, tired, or desperately need a shower.  He listens, never judges and lets me know I'm loved.

Jack has had a tough time with arthritis and over the last 2 years or so, dropped about 30#.  We bonded even stronger through walks that helped him get that weight off (and no more doggie treats either).  I looked forward to coming home from work every day to get out and walk the neighborhood and talk over my day with Jack. And all the neighbors, including the police in Maumee, knew Jack. He loves to talk to everyone.

As he got a little older, our walks became strolls.  Then he started slowing down even more.  I knew something was wrong. 

I found out three months ago that Jack has lymphoma.  It threw me for a loop. But my vet and friend Gary went through our options.  I wanted to give Jack the best chance for a quality life, however long that may be.  And all of this came in the middle of my move out to the country.  Roland, who had never been a dog person before, loves Jack and supported doing whatever we needed for him.

So I am happy to say Jack is doing wonderfully well with chemo.  No sides effects and he is still loving life and engaged in all aspects of it.  He has now become quite the country gentleman.  

Our walks, then strolls, have now become ambles. We amble the farm every night, talking about our day - well mostly mine, although I ask a lot of questions about his - he is enjoying all the smells he finds, loves to bark at new critters and follow Roland as he works in the barn. My city boy has adapted to country life quite well.  

And never once has complained about the well water.

Happy Birthday Jack! Here's to many more wonderful ambles together!