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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall is for Chili, Butternut, and Rattlesnake Beans

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Chili for Fall weather
What does fall mean to you? For our family on Tortuga Flats Farm it means butternut, potatoes and planting garlic in the month of October.

But wait - it's October.

This time three years ago, we'd made the decision to move to Paulden and share space and the land with an unmarried Christie and Lance. I had been diagnosed with melanoma and had it removed. I hadn't found a publisher for my romantic suspense series. Frank retired. October 2011, what a month. Fast forward. We're still sharing the land but now with a married Christie and Lance and their child - my precious granddaughter - Sadi. I've been cancer free. My five book series is getting published. And Frank keeps asking me what part of retired don't I understand. Enough reminiscing. I'll wait until the end of the year for a health check on our adventure.

So Fall is: Butternut totally harvested, washed in a weak Clorox and water solution, and stored in boxes with paper separating each one. They're in the laundry room, pantry and garage. With our technique, they last nearly a year.

Potatoes are not out of the ground. Maybe another week or two. First the garlic field
Sadi and Christie get a ride
has to be prepared. We bought a used trailer that Lance replaced the wood on for hauling compost. Sadi and Christie got a ride before using it for the intended use. For the last two days, Frank and Lance have spread compost on the tilled rows...eight rows, three hundred feet long each. Day three tomorrow would've completed the task, but the rains came last night. Now we wait for a dry out . Then another tilling, then when the ground temp drops to 50 degrees we'll begin planting. It could take a couple of weeks to get it all in the ground. We're planting ten varieties this first year to see which do the best and which varieties are the most marketable.

The weather has cooled and there's chili in the crock pot. Mainly, I wanted to
Rattlesnake beans dried and shucked
see what the Rattlesnake beans would taste like. At the beginning of the season, we ate them fresh but
Rattlesnake bean fresh
they're more widely used dry. So once the green and purple string beans dry out, the beans are removed. What a great long lasting crop this is. And in case you'd like to know what is in the chili, the casual recipe is below.

One cup dried Rattlesnake Beans
One jar home canned tomatoes
One can organic tomato paste
One bell pepper chopped
One half rocotillo pepper chopped (without seeds unless you want hotter chili)
Chili powder
1 1/3 browned organic ground beef
Lance and Frank working in the garlic field