October 22nd-24th 2018 –  Autumn thoughts

Pleasant Sounds

 John Clare

The rustling of leaves under the feet in woods and under
hedges;
The crumpling of cat-ice and snow down wood-rides,
narrow lanes and every street causeway;
Rustling through a wood or rather rushing, while the wind
halloos in the oak-toop like thunder;
The rustle of birds’ wings startled from their nests or flying
unseen into the bushes;
The whizzing of larger birds overhead in a wood, such as
crows, puddocks, buzzards;
The trample of robins and woodlarks on the brown leaves.
and the patter of squirrels on the green moss;
The fall of an acorn on the ground, the pattering of nuts on
the hazel branches as they fall from ripeness;
The flirt of the groundlark’s wing from the stubbles –
how sweet such pictures on dewy mornings, when the
dew flashes from its brown feathers.

Autumn is a time of awakening in our field. The ants recognize the drop in temperature and are feverishly busy marching to and fro in long processions. In a like manner, we at Chubeza are scrambling to keep up with the very long list of Autumn tasks: clearing out plots of vegetables who have retired for the season, moving irrigation pipes in preparation of tractor cultivation work, spreading compost, loosening earth, preparing beds, re-laying irrigation pipes, planting, seeding, and in the more mature plots – weeding, weeding and yet more weeding. The drop in temperature is good for us, reminding us that autumn is here and there’s lots to get done before the weather turns cold, but mostly – it relieves us from sweltering in the heat of the field.

During summertime, the plants remind me of a hike in the desert on a scorching hot day. Remember how you drink and drink but your thirst will not be quenched, and you feel the liquid evaporate from your bodies the second it’s gulped down? That’s the way I see our vegetables during summertime: they’re hanging in there, thirstily drinking up every single droplet, hiding under foliage or a shade net, passing out from the heat.

From the middle of July till the middle of August, we put a hold on new planting, as there is a limit to what you can ask of tiny seedlings. We also worry about them not liking their new habitat in its summery conditions, and prefer to just cancel their checks and let them take their business elsewhere. In the middle of August we take the chance, beginning with initial plantings of stronger autumn varieties, almost entirely under shade nets. But we promise them upon arrival that it’ll be hard at first, but if they persevere till autumn, things will be just peachy!

And now, walking through the field, I feel like I’m in an enormous delivery room, cuddling babies as they pour in on the scene. Each week we receive seedling-filled trays from the nursery, and the beds are now dotted with thousands of tiny plants taking their first steps in the earth of the Ayalon Valley, enjoying the cloud cover floating slowly across the sky, the gentle ventilated earth nice and loosened up for them, indulging themselves in the aroma of compost and a quaff of trickle-irrigation. The general atmosphere is one of fresh beginnings after desperately surviving the summer, reducing all vital signs to save energy for endurance. At last, the fields abound with a huge breath of fresh air in a merry dance of movement.

The field is beginning to remember the beloved acquaintances it bade farewell to several months ago: broccoli, cauliflower, green and red cabbage, kohlrabi, carrot, beets, big and small radishes, turnip and daikon, peas, fava beans, green beans, garlic, yellow and red potatoes, onion and scallion, leek, fennel, celery, parsley and celery roots, juicy winter lettuce and a bevy of greens in a verdant spectrum and marvelous shapes: arugula, totsoi, mizuna, Salonova lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, spinach… each at its time, making its entrance when it’s ready, almost like a class reunion. Those who arrived at the party earlier greet them with a wink and a smile from the adjacent beds, filling the newcomer in on the location of the refreshments and entertainment schedules and who to turn to in times of need. Welcome back, old friends!

Rumor has it the much-anticipated rain will arrive this Thursday. We so need that First Rain! We’re all set and ready for it. The plants stand erect, stretching their little heads to get a better look at the distant clouds and make sure they’re nice and gray and heavy with precipitation so they can hurry up and tell their buddies that the big day has arrived. We share their sentiments and excitement.

Join us for a personal and communal rain prayer – pleading with the rain to come and wash the dust off the leaves, quench the root’s thirst, awaken the earth’s teeny tiny microbes, and resuscitate the field that craves it.

One of our delivery people is ill this week, therefore some of the delivery routes in Tel Aviv will be manned by substitutes. We appreciate your patience and understanding. We wish our loyal delivery man, Amit, a full recovery and good health.

Wishing you a pleasant autumn week. Here’s hoping it will culminate in glorious, plentiful rain!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the entire Chubeza team.

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BETWEEN-SUMMER-AND-FALL BOXES?

These days, there’s an abundance of greens in our boxes. To help identify them, see our Green Newsletter

And, once again, there’s popcorn in the box. Don’t cook it – pop it!!  Here are some words of explanation about this champion nosh.

Monday: Corn/eggplant, potatoes/sweet potatoes, lettuce, zucchini/ beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin/carrots, bell peppers,   New Zealand spinach/ kale/Swiss chard/ totsoi, parsley/coriander/dill, arugula/red mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Thai yard-long beans/okra, baby radishes/daikon, popcorn.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples, avocados.    Small boxes: Oranges. Large boxes:Pears, clementinas.

Wednesday: Potatoes/eggplant, sweet potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, bell peppers, New Zealand spinach/kale/Swiss chard/ totsoi, coriander/dill, arugula/red mizuna. Small boxes: beets/radishes/daikon

Large box, in addition: Corn/zucchini, Thai yard-long beans/okra/carrots, beets and radishes/daikon.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples, avocados.    Small boxes: Clementinas. Large boxes:Oranges, yellow plums.