Sunday, November 30, 2008

Melanie's Basket Is Complete

November 28:

Melanie took a Basket Weaving Class at the Kirksville Arts Center with Linda Colton in early November. The full day class meant that Melanie came home with a completed Basket and a Big Smile.

For the finish, Melanie did not want to spray her Basket with "Stinky Stuff". Translation for "Stinky Stuff" is "Toxic Stuff". We try to use the least Toxic alternatives here on the Farm, which means "non-Toxic" as much as possible. So she explored options with her Instructor and came up with the following Black Walnut Natural Dye.

She made the Dye from Black Walnuts with Husks. She removed the Husks using Grandma Crawford's old Corn Sheller. She could have used the Whole Black Walnuts. However, we plan to eat the Nut Meats so she used only the Husks. She tied up the Husks in a thin towel and let them soak in Water for 3 days. On the 4th Day, she boiled the Concoction for an hour or 2. She let the Mixture sit for a day or 2.

And then, the Brew was ready to use. She added White Vinegar to help inhibit Mold Growth and to serve as a Fixative.Today, she painted the Dye onto the Basket and is now letting it dry.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving: Another Look

Sometimes Holidays or Historical Anniversaries are washed in gentle shades of Nostalgia. We get warm inside thinking about such times. It matters not that those celebrated days far pre-date our Births.

Others in our Human Family do not have such feelings. In fact, the Views of the Latter, which hold essential parts of our shared History, are often filled with Cultural Pain not known, felt or acknowledged by the Other.

To me, the conventional Thanksgiving Celebration in the United States is one of those days with marked Contrast in Views. While Thanksgiving is much more broadly celebrated as Gratitude for Harvest both historically and worldwide, Thanksgiving in my Country is often linked to Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock.

I am reminded of the routine and often whimsical exercises of my Childhood as Thanksgiving Day approached. When I was a young Girl growing up in the 1950s, my Classmates and I would draw pictures or cast plays of Pilgrims and Indians under the guiding hands of our teachers.

I was especially enchanted by the Pilgrims' Broad White Collars which never seemed to show Wrinkle or Soil on their Stark Black Backgrounds. Turkeys were prominent visual images. We made them out of all kinds of media, including Construction Paper, Apples and Pine Cones. I carefully carried them home and those little awkward childhood sculptures made their way onto the center of our dining room table.

As an Adult now at 60, I have had the Privilege over my Life of looking at this Holiday in different ways. That Privilege comes from sitting with and exploring Views with Another, Views that caused me Discomfort in the place where I used to sit complacently. That Privilege of Being with Another and Exploring Difference marks a Freedom which allows me to live and be present in the World in a Different Way.

In December 1620, 102 Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. They were a poor and hungry lot after Weeks at Sea. Their Winter Arrival placed them in an alien land of which they had no knowledge and were at considerable disadvantage. Half died within a few months due to Disease and Hunger. More would surely have died except that the Native People, whose customs centered on Peace and Giving, fed the Weary Travelers through the Winter.

Enter Squanto, an Indian name familiar to us from Thanksgiving lore. Squanto, with others, had been kidnapped by Europeans some 15 years before the arrival of the Pilgrims and taken to Europe for display, Christianization, and whatever practical uses his Captors would design. When Squanto returned to his Homeland which was the place the Pilgrims would settle, his entire Tribe (the Patuxet) had died from disease.

As the Pilgrims moved from traumas of settlement and Winter into Spring, the Native People taught them vital agricultural methods. The English Speaking Squanto held critical roles in their settling into their new Homeland, including: communication with area Tribes, crafting Agreements, and learning agricultural specifics in their new home. Growing food did not come easy to them.

While freely offering food and skill essential to the newcomers, the Native People looked at the Pilgrims with suspicion due to previous contact experiences of Indian Tribes with European. Their offering of these critical supports was simply the way they were.

However, the Pilgrims looked at the Indian People differently. The Native Peoples were viewed as less than Human, Savages requiring Christian conversion, and objects or impediments to meet the desires of those newly arrived upon their Shores.

The arrival of the Pilgrims is only one episode marking the 1st footsteps of Europeans upon this Continent. Many other arrival points could be noted, perhaps most notably Columbus "discovering" the Americas on his way to India in 1492. He accidentally found a Continent which had been home to Native Peoples for Millennia.

European Peoples arrival brought great pain to the Indian People over the centuries following contact. It is more pain than I can completely know. That pain came from: taking Land that was their Home, rampant diseases introduced accidentally or on purpose for which Native People had no resistance, forced displacement or removal of Indians to lands farther West, Treaties subject to change, massacres called victories, forced location onto reservations, view that Indians were wards of the State, slaughter of Buffalo to eradicate Native Peoples, violation of Indians' sacred beliefs and burial sites, white washing History reducing Native presence and contributions to our shared story.

Thanksgiving and Columbus Day hold fond memories for European Peoples that at last we have found a home. These same days hold memories for many Native Peoples that are of marked contrast and for good reason. And on these special commemorative days, we sit side by side in the place that each of us call home.

Pondering these things this Thanksgiving gives me pause. According to Family Story, my husband Richard and daughter Melanie are descendants of those travelers who placed their dreams upon the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. At the same time, they are also descendants of Native Peoples of this Continent.

When we sit at our Thanksgiving Table, we have representatives of those peoples who had made their homes on this continent. I wonder if the Pilgrims had any idea that at some future point their lines would merge with Native People and we too would sit together at the Thanksgiving Table. I wonder if their approach and treatment of Native People would have been different.

I do not sit on the sidelines of this story. Along with Richard, my early relatives were Homesteaders of this County. In the practices of their times, conflict was dealt with by force; this Land was supposedly wiped clean of Native People so that those early Settlers might feel “safe”. My Great Aunt Lula Myers Hart will always be a great influence upon my life; she was born in 1883, the year when the Buffaloes who had numbered 40-60 million pre-contact were reduced to 1,000.

So what does this mean for my family and me on Butterfly Hill Farm? While my interest in my European ancestry is intense, I ponder other questions with equal intensity: What are the Stories of this Place? Whose Footsteps walked here? What are the Stories of Native Peoples who lived upon this Land? How can I honor that Presence in the Land I now call my Home? While my European ancestry brought views of Nature as object and use, what would Native People want me to know and be to be a Benign Presence here? What are the Lessons of the Past that give us all Foundation for walking into a New Day?

I am open and eager to learn.
Selected references:

The Meaning of Columbus Day (, October 21, 2008)

National Heritage Day Honors American Indians (, November 28, 2008)

Thanksgiving: A Native American View
(, November 27, 2008)

Happy Thanksgiving! The Native American Perspective: First Thanksgiving? NOT!
(, November 28, 2008)

Thanksgiving: A Loaded Holiday for Many Native-Americans
(, November 28, 2008)

(, November 25, 2008)

The Pilgrims' 1621 Thanksgiving
(, November 25, 2008)

This list would be woefully incomplete without noting the Native American People and others Exploring their History who have been Great Teachers along my Path. Most of my associations have come through my journey, query and work on the Northern Plains of this Continent. These Teachers have helped me open the door to what for me is no longer a Cell.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Chicken Spotlight: TaLula

November 23:

TaLula, a Buff Orpington Hennie, came to us May 2nd of this year. This Hennie was shy as a youngster. She would jump up on either Melanie's or my lap and tuck her head under that 1st available arm. She is still shy around the other Hennies.

Richard, our Resident Ornithologist, tells us that Chickens cannot move their Eyeballs because they have no Eye Muscles. That means they have to turn their Heads to see. Chickens also have a Blind Spot in front of their Beaks. They do have Binocular Vision out front but you have to get out a ways for them to see you. (TaLula reminds us that Humans have Blind Spots too.)

TaLula would just smile with her Chicken Beak at our musings on her sight. That explains why she holds her head just so to see Curious Humans who might be visiting or taking pictures. Looking sidewise is perfectly normal. I can imagine that she might think we Humans look strange when we look from only one side, the front side, of our Heads.

As with all the Chickens, TaLula is curious. Should you arrive, she would come running from wherever she is as if you are the Most Important Person in the Universe.

You could also consider that TaLula surely must be saying at the Top of the Banner of this Blog and at the Top of Your Computer Screen: "What Ya Doin'? Why are you stuck inside that Biggest Coop I have ever seen? Why are you staring at that bunch of colors on that little wall? Ya got anything to eat? Howsabout coming outside to play with me? We'd find all kinds of stuff out there, places to explore and hide, seeds and bugs to munch on. Come on... Come on."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


In my Culture,
we set aside 1 Day and more specifically 1 Big Meal
for Thanksgiving.
On our Little Farm,
the Fall Harvest is now complete,
with the exception
of some Apple Pies I plan to freeze.
The Apples are long harvested,
I just have yet to make the Pies.
The Freezers, Pantry, and Cupboards
are full to overflowing.
Even the Garage has tucked inside
Winter Delights for Chickens.
Abundance is before us, around us.
Abundance nourishes us, gives us Life.
The Garden, Earth and Creator bless us with
Food and Fellow Companions.
From All These Things,
we Learn and Grow.
I shall tweak my Thanksgiving Day Celebration.
I shall practice Gratitude
with each Step along the Path,
with each Breath,
with each Day I am given this Earthly Life.
How could I consider anything less?
Glinda Crawford, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I came with a Purpose
to this Earthly Walk.
I seek to live that Purpose
My Creator intended.
I encounter Smooth Sailing,
Glorious Views,
other times
Rough Spots and Bogs,
on Life's Path.
They all have their Purpose
as my Creator intended.
Rather than pray any of them away,
I yield to Creator's Purpose in my Life.
Glinda Crawford, 2008


I pick up Rock.
With Face toward Sun,
Surface is Light, Bright, Warm.
I turn Rock over.
Underside is Dark, Cool, Moist.
Underside is Home
to a Community of Beings,
many I cannot see.
Underside has Story
I had not known to explore.
Rock knows all.
I seek to know
and be all I am.
Glinda Crawford, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Native Peoples in Northeast Missouri

I am drawn to learning about the Early History of Northeast Missouri and in particular Adair County. I am especially interested in the History of Native Peoples in this Region.

I came across a web reference from the 1901 Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Marion County. Marion County is home to both Palmyra and Hannibal which are towns not so far away. The County is about 35 miles from here "as the Crow flies" or so I would conclude from my Map and my Ruler. Two snippets from this reference pique my interest on my beginning journey into this story:

"The original inhabitants of Missouri were imbued with a gentleness of trait, spirit and disposition conforming to the mildness of climate and tenderness of landscapes." (Page 3 of 14; Author: Thomas H. Bacon)

"The aboriginal Indians, in many respects, were the best citizens this country ever had, ... They reverently accepted the bounty of nature. They dismantled nothing; they destroyed nothing. They handed down to their successors the same world they had received." (Page 12 of 14; Author: Thomas H. Bacon)

Reference: (11/24/08)

Winterizing for Chickens

November 23:

Melanie and Richard finalized Winter Preparations for the Chickens today. That included:
  • Caulking East Window of their New Addition to their House which had leaked with Easterly Rains.
  • Adding to the Patio on the North Side of their House, doubling the Patio in size since we doubled our Flock.
  • Building Perching Ladder for their Patio from Willow from the Lagoon (which needed to be cut back).
  • Stapling Chicken Wire at the base of their House to deter Predators (possible Predators would include Raccoons, Rats, Mink, Weasel; none have been issues to the present and we like it that way).
  • Collecting dry Soil for their Winter Dust Baths which they relish with Glee (Chickens dust bathe to control Parasites).
  • Making Chicken Saddles (or Capes or Jackets) for the 2 Hennies who had featherless "Bare Backs" (Penny and Blackberry). Can you even imagine how awful it would be to have no Feathers on Bare Backs during the midst of Winter? Melanie found references and instructions for "Chicken Saddles" in several texts. She took the lead on this one and came up with the details of her own design. The last picture shows Penny as a Runway Model with her new Cape. If you can imagine the Commentator's Voice as Penny strolls down the Grassy Runway: "Penny's Chicken Cape is made of light Blue Denim, with Zigzag Stitching and Elastic Wing Pieces for a nicely Tailored Fit. This particular design is especially suited for Winter Wear and for an Active Lifestyle in the Coop or hunting for Seeds in the Garden."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sheet Mulching

Soil is everything. It is the very basis for our efforts to live sustainably right here on Butterfly Hill Farm. It is the basis for that which we choose to pass on to Future Generations who would also bring their Dreams to this Land. Soil gives Roots to the Knowing of we 3 C's that No Civilization can endure, survive and thrive without Healthy Soil.

We have known that our Soils on Butterfly Hill Farm are centered in Northeast Missouri, an area of the world which has been in cultivation since the 1840s. After being in use by Humans bent on production and less on replenishment, the Soils are tired. We 3 C's are not experts here, but we are committed to learn.

The Soil situation varies on our Little Farm. We do have Topsoil which varies in depth over Heavy Clays. The area immediately around the House was stripped of Topsoil, or perhaps the Topsoil was turned upside down.

Where the Grass is mowed all the way from the Lane back to the Garden Beds, we have noted that the Vegetation varies. I am sure that is a sign of the Soils that are present there. I would like to learn how to "read" this.

With Rains, the Soil often becomes hard and difficult to turn. In some areas, you can watch the Plants struggle to move their Roots into the Hard Soils. All that said, we went to Columbia earlier in the week; upon hearing where we were from, 2 People said: "You have really good Soils up there."

We have been excited to try "Sheet Mulching", using the process described by Toby Hemenway in Gaia's Garden (2000) with some modifications of course. (By the way, this is a great book for the Libraries of Folks interested in similar Ventures and Permaculture.) Sheet Mulching brings Nutrients and Tilth back into Soil. It builds a new Raised Garden Bed without disturbing the Community of Microorganisms underneath. Its focus is on building a Community of Microorganisms essential for Healthy Soils and Food Stuffs.

We picked Wednesday, November 19, as the Day for Sheet Mulching, since the Temperatures were in the 50s in between days that were quite cold. By 10ish, we were out and moving with our Goal in sight. We completed the task as the Sun was going down about 5pm.

Our targets were 3 Garden Beds. I have been designing an Herb Bed just off the Dining Room and Kitchen Door. Melanie wanted 2 Beds in an area which has been lower than desired in her Garden space.

Check out the Pictures in an earlier Blog (Sheet Mulch Album). You could call the whole thing a recipe. The Chickens had a huge role in this. They stood off to the side in their Pen gleefully noting that without them, this whole process was not going to work. This is what we did which is our own version of what we read in the book. Hemenway gives a lot more detail on How and Why.

(1) Stake off the perimeter of the site. Go small. This is going to take some work.
(2) Scatter Chicken House poop lightly over site.
(3) Use Broad Fork to open Soil and integrate that which will be laid over the top.
(4) Lay down Cardboard or Newsprint (without ink) over top. We had all kinds of Packing Material from our move last year. We just needed to remove the Tape that we and others (Sarah, Dave, Cec) had so vigorously placed there. Transparent Tape was not a part of the Sheet Mulch Recipe nor was it something we wanted to dig up over time. Water.
(5) Scatter "Green" over the top. In this case, Richard mowed the Lawn, including our wonderful patches of intentionally planted Clover to place on top. Water some more.
(6) Scatter Straw and Poop from the Chicken Coop. In fact, get so excited about this that you clean out the Chicken House. The Chickens were quite thrilled with the doin's. They were going to get a Clean House and Clean Straw out of the deal. Water some more.
(7) Put down a layer of Compost. In our case, we used the last of the Huge Load of Aged Cow Manure which Rolf brought earlier this Summer. Water some more. Don't get skimpy on the Water.
(8) Put down a fluffy layer of Oak Leaves on top. Water some more.
(9) Surround the area with Chicken Wire to keep the Chickens out and to keep the Good Stuff together over the Winter Months.
(10) Stand back, wait and watch for Nature to do the work. In the Spring we will have 3 Garden Beds all set to receive our Plants and Grow.

The Day was long. We worked together as a team. And voila! There you have it.

Note: In doing a Spell Check on this Blog entry, I discovered that this Blog System does not recognize "tilth" (suggestions: tilt, filth, Duluth, tithe, til) or Permaculture (no suggestions). I know that we name what we love. Are we that disconnected from matters of the Soil that we have no words for it? We have some work to do.

Making History Real

These days, I am drawn toward Making History Real. For whatever reason, my Culture has taught us to erase those stories of our Ancestors, of our Past. In some Naive Way, we expect the Past is somehow cut away as an unnecessary appendage by some magical Surgeon's knife and therefore not exactly part of Me in the Present or in the Future.

Yes, we are taught an edited form of History. But it seems a sort of Pablum. The Stories of Men, of Conquerors and Conquest, have erased all other who might have been present. We hear not the Stories of Women, Children, Elders, those who are Different, the Poor, those Disadvantaged from Power, those who lost in front of the Steamroller of our Culture. We hear nothing of Nature, except as Natural Resource subdued under the triumphant feet of Men.

Somehow, in that form of History, we snuff out the stories of our Ancestors. Yet they were there and they were bound up in the triumphs and suffering of their times. Their stories are our stories. They have shaped who and what we are.

And so I wonder on this Winter's Night: What are the stories of my Ancestors? What enduring teachings would they have for us that would be essential in our times? What are aspects of their thinking and our own that have not worked in our Collective Story that now should be set aside? What are the Stories of the Invisible Other whose stories have been blocked from view? What of their stories is essential for us to hear now?

Years ago, one of my Students dug up this morsel as Grist for our Fodder: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana, 1863-1952)

Now why would we want to do that?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obligatory Gift Giving

My Husband Richard is often way ahead of me on certain practices. In the late 1960s after we were 1st married, he said he was not into Obligatory Gift Giving. He would give Gifts when he felt it was right. And it might not be on the expected Day.

And yes, he did continue to give Gifts, sometimes on that Special Day, and other times when I least expected it. In his profound and heartfelt statement, he opened a window to an automatic practice I had not thought much about before.

I had never heard of such an approach. I came from a Tradition where you gave and got Gifts on such special Days as your Birthday and Christmas. At the time, I could not even imagine not giving Gifts or getting Gifts at those special times. After all, how would the Other know that you loved them? And yes, it was better to give than to receive. Of course, I did have a special feeling when I got a Gift from another, most of the time and at least for a while. Writing these words makes these feelings seem so trite.

Many times I have gotten a Gift that had a very special ring to it. In fact, I would describe all Gifts that I have received in recent years of that regard. The Gift was unexpected because I do not expect such things. Sometimes, it was Handmade just for me. Cost was not the issue; rather the Gift fit me to a "T". The place it touched in my Heart was very rich. Those are not the Gifts I am talking about here.

After Richard's little statement 4 decades ago, the years passed. The Parade of Gifts went on and on. Sometimes, I just did not know the perfect gift to give the other. Sometimes, I hit "the mark". Other times, I didn't. It became increasingly difficult for the Ones with whom my Life's Path was increasingly removed.

I began to see that many Gifts, especially those of a Store-Bought variety, had a hollow ring to them. You could feel the energy of an Obligatory Gift, and it just didn't sit right. Sometimes I would get something that I had no use for. It was not me and it made me sad. That special Other didn't seem to know me at all.

Plus, I began to see that many people got themselves into a heap of financial trouble with their extravagant Gift Giving. It takes them a long time to pay off those Gifts. For us during those years, we would often be paying for Gifts early into the New Year. I don't think that is the proper message for Gifts. Perhaps those are "Gifts that keep on Giving".

I began to see that those Store-Bought Gifts are often Trendy and Fashionable, only for that moment in time. The Gift and its Container were set aside in far too short a time.

Over time, I watched the Gifts add up. Our house was full, stuffed. I had them everywhere, along with our own purchases. Of course you would want to display them. I rotated them. Over time, many were tucked away in cupboards and boxes. I had no space for them all. Sometimes they headed out the door to the Thrift Store. I hoped someone would enjoy them and the person who gave them to me would not see me headed there. I began to be a little kinder to myself: "Perhaps I just held them for someone else."

I began to see that Obligatory Gift Giving becomes a primary means to support the Economy, rather than to support precious relationships. In most cases, saying "I love you" is done in far more meaningful ways.

Looking even more closely at what matters to me, I began to see that a lot of people (and other Beings on this life's journey) are denied the most basic of needs. Now those are Gifts I choose to give and would offer to get if someone is looking for something special for me. I really have more than Plenty.

The Economic Roller Coaster of recent weeks has presented hard times for more than we can know. Some folks were in difficult straits before.

We are surely making our own cuts. Somehow things look different. What has meaning is even more clear and we want to live our lives based on that meaning.

For this year's Holiday Season, we do have a limit on Holiday Spending between the 3 of us, the lowest it has been. We will likely buy or make Gifts of Use or Need for the Other rather than Want. They may make our presence on this Farm in its fullest functioning.

For this year, we are going to set aside 25% for the Local Soup Kitchen. That seems like a really small amount. A lot of Folks are struggling in these tender times.

We will be thinking more and more on this one. You could call this little Entry, as all the Others, Subject to Refinement and Change.

Note to Self

When I sweep,
I should not take the Dustpan
to the Door
where I will launch it
into the Wind.
Glinda Crawford

Sheet Mulch Album

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We 3 C's ponder the Question:

"How much Popcorn would we need to grow for a year's supply?"

This year we grew Purdue 410 Hybrid from Shumways and we are happy to report that this stuff is yummy. The Popped Popcorn is very tender and light. It has few un-popped Kernels, plus the Hulls don't seem to get stuck in your teeth.

Richard says it takes about 2 Ears per Batch of Popped Popcorn. While we do not eat a lot of Popcorn, we surely do enjoy it. It is a favorite Fall and Winter Treat. I wonder how many Batches of Popcorn we enjoy a year. If we eat 1 Batch per Week, that is 100 Ears of Popcorn needed. And Popcorn on those Cute Little Ears would make great gifts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Richard's Birthday

November 16:

Today was Richard's 61st Birthday. We made Homemade Pizza and Pear Upside Down Spice Cake with Molasses Cream. The Pizza recipe is our own. We had 3 different varieties on Homemade Pizza Dough.

The Pear Cake Recipe had been calling to Melanie for some time. The Cake and Molasses Cream recipes are from Deborah Madison's cookbook Local Flavors. Yes, indeed, the Cake and Cream (Pizza too) were loaded with Local Flavors. For the Pear Cake and Molasses Cream: The Pears were from our Neighbors' Pear Tree; we made the Molasses this fall from Sorghum Cane we had grown right here on the Farm; the Eggs came from our Hennies; Melanie churned the Butter from Cream from a Local Dairy; the Buttermilk which came off the freshly churned Butter was used too.

Rachel and Mother joined us for this special celebration on the Farm. The Day was beautiful, on the cool side with a lovely Blue Sky and a hint of Wind.

On Butterfly Hill Farm, we believe Birthdays are to be celebrated for the whole month. In fact, we have plans for 1 more Birthday Meal, something we refer to as a "Grandma Meal". Those Grandma Meals are reminiscent of the special Meals that Richard's Mother (Ethel May Kirkpatrick Crawford) would have lovingly prepared when we returned: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans and Cherry Pie. Just thinking about those meals makes us smile.

Happy Birthday, Richard!


Hunting is an important Meat Source for our Family. Or rather, I should say, the Animal that has given its Life is an important Meat Source for our Family.

Our views of Hunting have changed over time. Over the Years, we have been strongly influenced by the views of Traditional (Indigenous) Peoples. We were all Traditional Peoples at one time. We 3 C's find their views the proper mix of Sacredness, Respect, Humility and Grace.

We believe such views are missing and needed in Modern Times. We do not take on another's views because we hold them in higher thought, but rather because their Views resonate with our deepest Being.

In our Household, Richard is the Hunter. Melanie and I do not hunt at this time. We 3 C's have talked many times about Hunting and our ideas feed directly back into him. We do not hunt on our Little Farm, at least for now.

We 3 C's believe a Sacred Relationship exists between the Hunter and Hunted. The Hunted gives up his or her Life so that we 3 C's may eat, so that we may continue to experience Life.

The Hunted will often give up that Life with Intention. The Hunter knows that from a Glance of the Animal toward the Hunter where their Gazes meet. The Animal may even present a strong and vigorous broadside view.

The Killing of an Animal and the Taking of a Life for Life is not something that should be taken lightly. It must be done with considerable Thought and Prayer. No part of the Animal should be wasted or treated with disrespect.

When one takes the Life of an Animal, one should offer Thanks to the Animal and to the Creator. One should also consider what we as Humans should do in return. We 3 C's try to be advocates and providers of Wild Places where Wildlife can continue to abound.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


November 13:

After mailing a letter to Patrick Anderson in North Dakota, I head to the Woods for a Morning Walk. Freeing my head from Human Distraction, I try to be open to all in Nature that I might see.

Watching Nature fills me with awe. After the hard freeze, the Leaves gently cascaded from the Trees blanketing the Forest Floor. Then the Rains began. It has been cool and moist since. The moisture has intensified the subtle Colors and Drama of the Early Winter Season.

If I were sitting in my House or passing this Humble Countryside in a Speeding Vehicle on my way about an all important Human Schedule, I would miss Nature's Gifts to me. The Fog this morning and Moisture of the last few days highlighted the Towering Strength and Ruggedness Yet Softness of the Trees. The Moist Bark was highlighted by splotches of Radiant Green. I just cannot even imagine the Paintbrush that must Create All of This.

In the mid 1970s, I was traveling in eastern North Dakota with a Teacher Friend on our way to an all important Human Meeting at just about this time. I was lamenting to myself how very drab the Landscape looked beyond the Windows of our Speeding Car. I longed for Color.

Simultaneously, Ruth began to talk about how November was among her favorite seasons in North Dakota: "The colors are rich and subtle." Taking another glance, I noted they were indeed. Looking closely at this Magical Countryside of our New Home in Missouri, I note Ruth's words again ring true.

I have been blessed by many Teachers that have opened my Eyes and Heart to the Rich Tapestry of which I am a part. Some are Human and some are otherwise. I am deeply grateful.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter's Comin'

We continue to work on putting the Garden to bed. Our pace has been slower, with occasional Bursts of Speed. We are ever watchful of Winter's Entrance and expected Stay. The Weather Forecast shows we have a 100% chance of Rain and may even have Flurries tonight. Expected lows are in the low 20s early in the week. "Winter's Comin'."

We knew today would be one of the last good days for Garden work. So once again, we experienced a burst of activity. Melanie's activity was sustained but Richard and I were somewhat irregular. As the Day went on, the Wind became more pronounced. Always watchful over our shoulders, we could see dark gray Clouds coming in from the Northwest.

So what did we do? We have been gathering structures from the Garden and preparing them for another Season's use. We placed the tall branches and wire cages at the back of the Shed. They look pretty neat and tidy there. I wonder if they feel a bit of contentment with the Work of the Garden Season. We 3 C's do.

We continue to remove Debris and there is an order to it. We place the Debris that holds potential for Disease or Bugs in a separate pile in back. We will burn that Pile so as not to reintroduce something that doesn't need to be there. We place other Debris in the Compost Piles to biodegrade and become Soil once again.

We are not cleaning off the Garden as most Folks do in these parts. We would like to do No-Till, but are unsure about how to do that. You could call it another place of learning to which we are directed. Seeing the Debris on the Garden means the Soil is covered and the Birds will have cover and Food to eat. The Chickens love it. The Songbirds flit about. Often we see Bobwhite Quail, at times as many as 30. Now who would not want to provide place for them?

Melanie planted Cold Season Veggie Seeds in our new Cold Frame: Kale, Mustard Greens, Beets, Chard, Arugula, plus she transplanted 2 Parsley Plants there too. You could call it an Experiment. We aren't sure if we will get anything. But we wouldn't get anything if we didn't try it either. Perhaps the Seeds will come up in the Spring.

Sarah Hughes, our Neighbor about 3 miles South of here, offered some Lettuce Plants for the Cold Frame. We may take her up on that. We will miss the Fresh Greens from the Garden over the coming Winter Season.
We still have some work to do closing off this Growing Season and getting ready for the next Gardening Season. We want to build some raised Garden Beds near the Garage. We plan to do "Sheet Mulching". My Gladiola Bulbs are still in the Ground. It is simply too wet to dig them. We are getting there. The last little task will be taking inventory of our Seed Stash and filing them away. I can imagine we will do that on one of those days when there is no denyin' Winter.

Stay tuned. Life is sure fun here on the Farm. No 2 days are ever the same.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Custom

The Custom in this Time
is to follow Trends,
to create Pretty.
We chase
"New", "New", "New"
which is just beyond our reach.
Our Transient Trends
become Trash.
Landfills become Land-fulls.
No one wants our Trash.
Recycling is big.
Waste now comes back on us.
Righteously, we bring
Glass to Recycling.
Where should Glass go?
It is crushed.
Light's Refraction
makes it Pretty,
our next Adornment.
Trendy Gardeners now use
trendy Broken Glass
as trendy Mulch.
We think we are so smart.
We Humans are
Custodians of Soil.
We do not own Land
but borrow it
from our Children.
Why would we sow
broken Glass
where our Grandchildren
will play Childhood Games,
make Homes,
grow Food?
Whose Half-Baked Idea was this?
What were we thinking?
Or rather,
are we thinking with our
Supposedly Superior Brains?
We need a New Custom.
Glinda Crawford, 2008


Creator placed before us
the infinite wonder of Creation.
We Two-Leggeds entered that Sacred Space.
Those of us from Western Culture
walked not with
Awe, Gratitude, Humility and Grace,
but rather Entitlement.
We turned Life Itself
into Trinkets and Baubles
to adorn our Human Frailty.
We cast Brothers and Sisters
from our Human Family into Slaves
to produce things we want
and throw away.
We dispensed All of Nature
to serve our whim.
In place of Creation,
we wove around us
Paths of Destruction,
permeating all Beings,
the Air, Water, Soil, and Fire.
Destruction now comes back on us.
Surely the Creator meant something more for us.
Surely we came for something more.
The Time has come for us
to take a New Path,
the Path for which
we were intended,
the Path that celebrates
the Divine Gift of Life
we are given.
Why would we consider anything less?
Glinda Crawford, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blanket of Leaves

November 9:

Carpets of Leaves blanket the Forest Floor in preparation for Winter Sleep. I do not know when that Magical Moment arrived when most of the Leaves fell. It surely must have come on the Night and Day of the Hard Freeze.

I shall have to watch more closely next time. Nature teases me with how little I know of Her Delights.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Garlic Planting

Yesterday Richard and Melanie planted Garlic. I would have helped but on this day I was completing my Master Gardener Final Exam. My last class was yesterday evening.

Richard prepared the Garden Bed. We did plant the Garlic in the same place last year. Some varieties were more successful than others. No doubt, the cool wet Spring and heavy Rains this past Summer affected success. By the end of the Growing Season, the area seemed compacted and a little lower. He knew that this year, we needed to build it higher, add soil amendments, and fluff it up.

Seed Savers sent instructions with the Garlic. In their notes, we learned that Garlic is a heavy feeder. What that meant for us was that we needed to ramp up the Organic Material in the bed.

A major player in ramping up the Organic Material was our Compost Pile from this past year. The pile included: leaves, grass, straw, garden scraps, kitchen scraps, hay from the Chicken Coop. The Bed was continuously turned by delighted Chickens who no doubt added blessings of their own Organic Material. Richard would straighten up the Compost pile and they would rearrange it to their hearts’ content. By the end of the Fall, the pile looked like soil with a bit of fluff. We can only hope that the Garlic is as enamored by this Pile as the 3 C’s.

Here is Richard’s recipe for the Garlic Bed: (1) Till soil. (2) Add 2 bags of Leaves and 1 old bale of Hay which was beginning to biodegrade. (3) Till soil again. (4) Add 9 wheel barrow loads of Compost. Evenly spread over site. (5) Make rows so Garlic will be planted 2 inches deep. (6) Plant Garlic and cover with Soil/Compost Mixture. (7) Put 6 inches of Wheat Straw Mulch over top. This is kind of like a blanket for Winter over all those Garlics tucked into the Soil/Compost underneath. (8) Surround with 4 foot Fence to keep Chickens out. (9) Send the Garlic to bed for the Winter and let it do the rest of the work.

Richard and Melanie planted 228 cloves of Garlic in 5 varieties: Farmer's Market (103 cloves), German Extra Hardy (52), Georgian Fire (33), Elephant (7) and Russian Giant (33). The Farmer's Market variety came from a woman who regularly sells at the Farmer's Market in Kirksville. We have liked her Garlic a lot and decided this year to raise some. She tells us she does not remember the name. Her Garden is in the Atlanta area which is about 20 miles of our Farm. While Soils and conditions around here do vary, we are hopeful the local nature of this Garlic and its success will increase our likelihood of success too. The remaining 4 varieties came from Seed Savers which is well known for the preservation and marketing of Heirloom Seeds.

As usual, we kept a map because next year, we will have no clue as to what we planted where. This will help us track success.

Now we wait and see how it works.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cold Frame

Richard made a Cold Frame on the South Side of the Shed today. We had been planning to do this for some time.

He used 1 of the French Doors for the lid. We took these out a year ago when we added the new Doors and Windows in the Family Room. He used Wood for the sides from the Wood which had been removed from the House with the former construction project. This was a great "Re-Use" project.

He asked Melanie and me to check it out. After we had talked through some of the details, he added 1 Wheelbarrow of Cow Compost from Rolf's Organic Cows and 1 Wheelbarrow of Compost he had created from the good organic material we placed there and with the Chickens' help right here on the Farm.

We will use the Cold Frame for late Fall and early Spring Table Crops: Greens, Lettuces, Spinach, maybe even some Radishes. He has a Thermometer set which shows high and low temperatures. We will begin some experimenting with this soon. It will be so exciting to get our own Fresh Greens a little before and a little after we should.

River Hickory Nuts

November 7:

When I was growing up, my Father would often take us to the Woods at this season to go Nut Hunting. I remember the Days would be cold and the Air would be crisp as Fall would be on the Edge of Winter. We would be all bundled up. We would walk through layers of crackling Brown Leaves at our feet while Leaves continued to fall all around us.

My Dad was in his element on those Late Fall Walks through the Woods. He knew right where to go to find the Trees most laden with Nuts.

I can remember bringing back Buckets and Burlap Bags full of Nuts stuffed in the trunk of our car or the back end of our old green Pontiac Stationwagon. Over the coming weeks, my Father would crack open the hard shelled Nuts. He would carefully pick through them making sure that all those tooth cracking Hulls were taken out. That was quite a skill for an experienced eye as the Hulls and the Nutmeats looked exactly the same to my Child's Eyes.

My Dad was very good at separating them out as there were never any Shells among the Nutmeats. That was not so for our neighbor "Wag" across the street.

Then, those marvelous Nutmeats, a gift of the Season, would magically appear in some of our favorite Winter Baked Goods. We had to eat Wag's Christmas Cookies carefully to make sure we did not run into any Hulls.

Throughout his life, Dad could not resist picking up Nuts. In the latter years, he no longer made trips into the Woods. We still have a bucket full of Walnuts in Mom's Garage that Dad would have picked from a Neighbor's Yard the year before he passed.

Yesterday, Melanie and I visited Richard's Cousin Betty and her Husband Bradley. Bradley gaves us a sack full of those big River Hickory Nuts yesterday and I found memories tucked inbetween. Thanks Betty and Bradley!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Recovery and Release

This morning, I headed downstairs and heard a "Thump" as a Bird hit the Window. My slow morning movement picked up speed because I know that speed is the essence of success in such matters. Checking outside, I found a White Breasted Nuthatch with wings spread laying stunned on the deck. I carefully picked up the Little Feathered One.

Occasionally, we have a Songbird hit the Window. Richard, the Ornithologist, has taught us about the Behavior of the Little Birds and some Tricks that protect and aid those little Birds we love so much.

1: We do know that Songbirds are easily startled: by a Hawk coming through also looking for a Meal, by the Wind, by who knows what. That's just normal.

2: While our Windows enable us to see the Birds and see Nature all around us, they are a hazard to the Birds. For this reason, our closest Birdfeeder is 30 feet from the House. This placement gives them protection for those * moments when quick flights and fast moves are essential.

3: If they hit the window and fall to the ground, we pick them up (gently holding their wings close to their bodies), bring them inside, and place them in a large brown bag with the top closed. The bag gives them a darkened space to rest and recover.

4: Time is of the essence. We do have Cats and they also are never known to miss a meal, especially an easy one. Also Birds seem to be most prone to hit the Window during Migration Seasons (Spring and Fall)and in the Winter especially on Blustery Days. Today is one of the latter. Usually, the temperatures during these times are quite cool, even cold. The Birds lose body heat very quickly. Bringing them inside the warm house gives them the Respite they need.

5: Usually within about 20 minutes, we hear a rustling in the bag. The Little Feathered One is ready to be released.

My mission was successful today. If you noted the * above in the entry marked 2, that is precisely the moment of my editing when the White Breasted Nuthatch became very active in the Bag. At that point, the Bird, Bag, and I headed outside. I opened the Bag, the Nuthatch looked out and was gone, heading back to the Trees and Breakfast at the Birdfeeder.

You will note the closing photo is one of our Dear Cat Max who was checking out the doin's after the excitement of the Morning. I am sure he is wondering how he could have missed that. And yes, it is important to place that Bag where you can watch both it and your Cats, if you have any.

Rachel noted the Bag was a True Value. And I hope this entry is too. At least it was to the Nuthatch.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Heart Inside

October 30:

Melanie has headed up the drying efforts of our Fruit over the Summer and Fall Seasons. I am happy to report that we are nearing the end of the Drying (and the Harvest). We just finished the Pears earlier in the week. They were simply yummy. We have Apples left to do and that will be coming up in the next few days.

When Melanie was sorting through the last loads of Pears, she noted many of the Dried Pears have a Perfect Heart in the Center. Perhaps, all of Nature that supports our Being and that of Other Beings blesses us with Pure Heart Energy inside. I think we Humans have that Pure Heart Energy inside too. We just hide it sometimes a little more than we should.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nature Notes

As we left our polling place at the Brashear City Hall, I spotted what seemed like a Bald Eagle circling to the Southwest. She was far above, hardly more than an abbreviated line on the Broad Blue of the Sky. As I watched, those long wings in a horizontal line were unmistakable.

Richard, Ornithologist Ever At My Side, confirmed that what I saw was indeed a Bald Eagle. After all those years living in North Dakota and being in the presence of Native People, I often look Skyward, especially during Times Filled With Great Meaning.

The Eagle continued soaring, coming slowly but surely closer overhead. By then, we could see the White Head and Tail. This Eagle was a Blessing on this Beautiful Day.


The difference between what we do
and what we are capable of doing
would suffice to solve
most of the world's problems.
Mahatma Gandhi


You must be the change
you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We abuse land because we regard it
as a commodity belonging to us.
When we see land as a community
to which we belong,
we may begin to use it
with love and respect.
Aldo Leopold