“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 30, 2009

Seems that every week there is a lot of things going on here…

We were introduced to a woman who loves horses, and she took us up on our offer to exercise Zippy and give him attention. Lilli has come over twice now this week and patiently, Zippy and Lilli are getting to know one another. It is a great situation for both of them and Zippy is already responding really well to the extra attention. He looks happy! And it’s good for Kath and I as it gives us time for our horses too, so that all the animals are receiving the time and attention they need.

Karen stopped by to help weed the strawberry bed, and spent the evening tugging at ragweed, crabgrass, etc. Karen helped me feed the bees for her first time. She mixed the water and sugar, and brought it out to the hive. As I was getting stung and she wasn’t, she poured it into the feeder jars I was holding. Oh well….

The other day I was wearing loose shorts when I was feeding…that was dumb. I never thought about the places a bee could go – such as up my shorts. And I guess the first one up called out to a few friends to come join her! I think I will end the story now and let your imagination finish it, cause that’s exactly what happened.

Well anyhow, Karen didn’t get stung, but she says that she got a case of chiggers from pulling weeds, so it all evens out.

Monday I tilled part of my field preparing to plant for fall crops. I am planning to grow spinach, mesclun, lettuces, radishes, cabbage, and some mixed greens for the fall portion of my CSA. As of weeks end I was able to seed spinach and cabbage. Yesterday we received 3” of rain which made things pretty sloppy out there and I was unable to get any more seed in the ground. Next week a few members of the CSA are coming out to help with the planting, so I hope to get the seeding done then.

A few chickens hopped the fence and got into my tomato patch last evening. They helped themselves to a few tomatoes…I can’t get too mad at my chickens. After all they do for me and the farm– eat bugs and weed seeds, lay eggs, and provide fertilizer – losing a few tomatoes is really a small price. I just let them stay there and took some comfort watching them enjoying themselves. Chickens are pretty cool.

So all in all, it has been a good week on the farm!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 22, 2009

We have taken on a third horse! Zippy has been boarded here for the last two and a half years, and a few weeks ago his owner offered him to us. We were happy to take him over, as we’ve always considered him a part of our family, and we would have been crushed to see him sold off. Zip now will stay here with our other two horses, Louie and Patrick. We are really glad that its worked out this way!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

August 15, 2009

I am not too sure what to think about this, but I will share this story with you and let you think about it for yourself…

We called it the “pot plane”. There was a small single engine plane that flew very low over our farm almost every week. Not just a fly by, but it circled three, four, and sometimes five times. It then repeated the same circling maneuvers over other properties in the area. It continued its circling patterns right down the highway.

We suspected that big brother was looking to see if any of us were growing marijuana on our farms, in our backyards, or in the wooded areas around here, hence we began calling it the “pot plane”. I doubt they were counting our horses, or appreciating the colorful view of our free ranging chickens from up there…Every so often, some one does get busted in the area.

This year I left the white plastic on my hoop house, where I store perennials over the winter and begin vegetables for spring. Normally I remove the plastic once the weather warms up, but this year it stayed cooler than usual, so I decided to just leave it on.

I came to accept the circling plane each week, wondering what they were really doing up there. When it came over, I am sure they saw me go in and out of my hoop house with a watering can to water my daylilies, spinach, and garlic sets, although they could not have seen inside the hoop house to know that that was what I was watering in there. I often wondered if that made me suspect. That is, if they really were pot cops.

After a few weeks of this, I came home from work on a Saturday afternoon and found that the white plastic had been torn from the hoop house, exposing the perennials and vegetable plants inside. No one had been home that day to see what had happened. There was not a storm or wind that day. But there was the plastic – ripped all apart, though still attached to the batter boards. There was nothing left to do but take it all off.

Since that day, the plane stopped circling my farm…. I haven’t seen it since. I can’t help but to wonder if it all was a coincidence, or if someone needed a better view?

It does give me something to think about…

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6, 2009

In the garden, or with my animals, I am always reminded that we are braided together in this life. There is an interdependence and interaction that deep down, is spiritual – I think of it as a continuous equal trade between us, and a trade with all things else in the immediate and distant environment. This trade supports a steady balance in this interconnected life of give and take.

For everything here on earth, there is a reason and purpose. There is a reason and a purpose that we did not design, and at times we do not fully understand. But God does….

There are almost too many connections to list here, and then so many more that are yet to be realized. Some are easy for me to see and follow, like the relationship and connectedness of bees and flowers. And then there are those that are less pronounced and I did not expect. Two recent experiences follow:

It took me a while to figure out why there were green frogs in the beans and chard, as my experience could only allow me to associate frogs with water and lily pads. But finally it dawned on me that they were feasting on the insects in the garden, keeping these predator populations in check, while staying sheltered and moist beneath the leafy canopy of these same plants. I never had seen or heard of this before, but here it was…frogs and plants helping each other to survive another day.

Every bird nest here on the farm – bluebird, wren, martin, barn swallow, etc – to some degree is weaved and lined with the long horsehair shed from the manes and tails of our horses Louie, Patrick, and Zips. These same birds spend the day swooping over the pastures eating up the mosquitoes, greenheads, and horse flies that can make grazing impossible for the horses. It has always been easy to see how the birds helped out the horses, yet I had never given thought that the horses traded back. Now I know better!

I could go on with other examples that have given me some surprise, but the point of these two examples is that we are all connected somehow. We live with, and from, the help of each other, whether we are a frog, bee, bird, horse, human, plant, etc. Each day we trade, whether we know it or not. Each day we need to remind ourselves that our trades need to be fair, otherwise our relationships will fall out of balance, and then life will lose its sustainability.