Saturday December 2 & 9, both 12-2pm. The cost is $35 and you get to take home your very own mushroom log with either one of two varieties of Oyster mushrooms or, if you’re feeling experimental, Chestnut mushrooms.
The weeds come in thick out at the farm, especially that relentless quack grass. It can often seem like such an uphill battle, especially when all of us live off site, many of us with kids and other jobs. Over the years I’ve learned the value in just showing up and doing what we can. All of it is better than not having tried! Having talked to other members at the Cooperative I can tell that, to varying degrees, we are all working on not allowing that inner voice, the one that says “you’ll never catch up!”, to get too much time to talk. A good practice for a bunch of dreamy amateur farmer/philosophers, don’t you think? That show-up-and-do-what-you-can thing is working, too. One of our members, Jesse, has a beautiful and hard-won market garden to serve as inspiration for us all. It took him a couple of seasons of hard work and patience to get his beds really established.
A couple of days ago Milton and I were just cleaning up from a muggy morning of weeding our collaborative veggie plot. It’s a newly established garden, and so it’s one of those jobs that can feel somewhat endless. The hope, at this stage of the game, is to calm the wild plot’s urge for life just enough to give all that squash a fighting chance. While Milton and I were loading up our tools, we were struck by the contrast of the gravel parking lot by our cars. An edge, so dry and compacted compared to the rest of the place. A veritable desert, and yet- something grows here, too. We identified two particular plants thriving here, despite getting run over daily, despite earth so dry and hard you could mistake it for solid rock.
I recognized my old friend plantain right away, but the other plant I didn’t know. I said “It looks so much like chamomile!” Milton, being a more experienced forager, told me that it was called “pineapple weed” and is the wild relative of our cultivated chamomile. I asked him if it held the same medicinal properties and he thought it did!
We took a moment to appreciate these warrior plants. It occurred to me that both of these plants have particularly calming and healing medicinal qualities. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of gratitude for this example. I notice often that healing plants tend to grow in areas that have been disturbed and traumatized. Some heal our bodies, some calm our minds, some send a deep taproot down to pull up needed minerals. I could probably do a series of posts all about these healing warrior plants (and I might just do that!), but for now, I found just the example of these two in the parking lot to stimulate a great deal of hope in me.
Reminds me of that lovely Mr. Roger’s quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘ Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
So there ya go. A couple of “helpers”, doing their work on the edge, to help inspire and to remind us of our living potential, right in the rocky heart of these particular times.
Well, look at that! We’re wrapping up the first quarter of 2020 and haven’t made a post yet. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening…
We’ve been building rain gardens, breaking stuff, fixing it, trimming trees, prepping beds, moving wood chips, cleaning up, and just generally preparing for spring. I think my favorite thing about it is just spending time getting to know the space better and better.
The raingarden and general earthworks seem to be doing their jobs so now it’s a matter of tweaking them. Slowing, sinking, and spreading the water. Sitting with it to see how it evolves, what wants to happen.
Grass in the hoops started growing the minute we had 10+ hours in the day, way back in the beginning of February. The food forest is just barely starting to wake up.
There’s an old grandmother red oak tree in the wood lot along Hitchingham. She might be 150 years old. There seems to be some evidence of dumping in the back acres, too. Only the oak knows when.
This spring has been a whirlwind, in the best possible way. Everything is waking up on the farm.
One of the first and most adorable signs of spring was the second lambing season for Project Mow. Babies! 14 of them. They are a complete delight to all who encounter them. It again provided an opportunity for some of our membership to engage with and learn from that process- at one point I took a small lamb home to nurse back to health since our shepherd, Yuko, was out of town on work.
It was a wonderful experience for me and my kids, but it also provided Yuko the ability to leave the flock and rest easy knowing her farm community had her back. It was very gratifying on all sides. The little lamb was named “Sunny Alex” by my kids, and he is the sweetest and most sociable lamb out at the farm. He’s chunky and happy and we even know him by his distinct voice. The only slightly inconvenient side effect of this community lambing fiasco is that it gave me a distinct baby farm animal itch… trouble!
Gardens are going in fast and the landscape of our project is continuing to mature. One very exciting thing is that our membership has nearly doubled this year- from 9 members to 16. This tells us that the need for this organization exists and that our mission resonates! Our work will only improve with more engaged membership, and we are already seeing things come to life this year in a way we had only imagined before.
We are brainstorming ways to connect to the wider community- to invite everyone to really see what it is we are doing and why it matters. One way we hope to do that is by introducing our members here on the blog. Every member of the Cooperative has a story, and they all fill such a distinct niche here at the Farm.
We will also be increasing our signage around the property, the hope being that people could take themselves for a walking unguided tour around the farm. We always want to encourage folks to ask questions, come for a tour, and give us feedback about how we can do even better work. However, up until this year, we’ve been largely preoccupied with the foundational work, which hasn’t left much time or mental bandwidth for the outreach we wanted to do. The hope is that many hands make light work, and we will find ourselves with more and more practical support, which will yield each member more and more freedom to fill those diverse roles (like sharing here!).