Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time for a Change

who grow their own Food
using Natural Means
step across a threshold
which fosters greater intimacy
with the Earth.
We see Cycles and Soils
upon which our Produce
and our Lives depend.
We note Systems
which are out of balance.
Buying Conventional Food in the Grocery Store
insulates Folks from the Web of Life
which supports our Being.
We build a foundation
based on a false sense of security.
Things are out of balance.
For Humans to survive and thrive
on this Great Jewel of a Planet
Whirling in the Cosmic Sea,
something needs to change.
We need to change.
It is not easy,
but we choose to change.
Glinda Crawford, 2009


Yesterday, Richard said he was heading out to "liberate the Sorghum Cane". After all the Rains and Heat, we could finally reach the Plants. The Soil was finally dry enough to work. But, while we had been waiting for the Soils to dry, the Weeds happily claimed parts of the Gardens for themselves.

So Richard headed out to the Big Garden with Tilley, the Rototiller. He cut wide swaths inbetween the rows. Freddie (the Buff Orpington Rooster) and Button (the White Plymouth Rock Hen) patiently followed him back and forth across the field, gleaning Grubs, Worms, Bugs. They are smart Chickens.

We 3 Humans still needed to weed the 4-8 inch strips around the Plants by hand. That field is immense at about 1/3 acre. While Richard, Tilley and the entourage of Chickens were going back and forth, I sat on my bucket and carefully hand weeded 1/3 of 2 rows.

In the meantime, we began reclaiming more parts of the Garden closer to the house. Melanie commented that we had spent so much time weeding that we had been spending less time with the Plants. Such work is hard. What makes it doubly hard is that for a while, you see little progress. We did discover some important teachings along the Path.
  • We 3 Humans only have so much energy and we are tired. We need to "liberate the Humans" too.
  • In addition to the Weeding, we also have harvesting and preserving that needs to take a priority. We could focus on saving it all and end of up losing more than we need to.
  • We need to decide which areas have priority. Some produce just may not make it this Season.
  • We lost a lot of the Dry Edible Beans because Seeds rotted in the Ground with all the moisture. For some varieties, we had used all of the Seeds. If we would have lived 100 years ago and used all the Seeds we had, we would be in big trouble. Our back-up in modern times is the Grocery Store, which does not always give us the healthiest or the least costly products.
  • Modern Grocery Stores were not a back-up earlier Folks would have experienced. Their levels of vulnerability must have been immense. They surely had to be aware and skillful to survive and thrive.
  • In many parts of the 2 Gardens, the Soil has become hard and compacted in the areas without adequate Compose. I remember the Old Timers calling such things "Hard Pan".
  • That hard Soil has leached out a lot of the precious Nutrients. I wonder how far Down Stream those Nutrients have traveled. The Rains just washed them away. Tragically, overall Soil vitality is reduced.
  • The now compacted Soil strains the Plants. They become stunted. Weeding is difficult. I can imagine that the coming Rains will just roll away without penetrating and nourishing plants. We need to carefully hoe to break up the Soil.
  • Covering the exposed Soil with Mulch (Straw or Grass Clippings) is essential. We have made progress here. This simple action will protect the Soil and keep the Moisture levels higher in the expected Hot, Dry Season ahead.
  • The height of the Weeds around the Plants meant the Garden Produce had to strain tall to reach the Sun. Again, Vitality of Plants is reduced. Some are a little "leggy" and the color is yellow, rather than the vibrant green.
  • When we weed, it seems like the Weeds just keep on popping up. They are incredibly vigorous. A lot of Gardeners have talked about the aggressive nature of Weeds this year. What is going on?
  • The parts of the Garden with adequate Compost typically have Plants which are far healthier. The raised beds have far easier access.
  • Richard commented that instead of planting large sections in straight rows over ground that is less fertile, it makes more sense to plant in smaller areas on more fertile Soil.
  • Soil is everything. We need to protect it and we need to use natural means to fertilize it and restore its tilth.
  • We are tired. We had 3 young adults from Wren Song, a farm down our lane, come today. They helped weed the Sorghum Cane. That was wonderful. Rachel is coming too. We do appreciate any and all help. But we just need to keep working smarter about these things. And we need to take breaks.
  • Teachings abound.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Turkey and 6 Poults

As we were having Dinner (our Evening Meal) on the East Deck, Richard said, "There is the Hen Turkey." We stopped eating and craned our necks. Sure enough, there she was about 150 yards out. Melanie quietly headed into the House and emerged with Binoculars. "Does she have any Poults?"

To our delight, she did. We counted very carefully and came up with 6. Richard said he couldn't say for sure but suspected the Poults were 2-3 weeks old. They were really cute, darting here and there. We can imagine that as we were having our Evening Meal, they were grabbing all the Bugs they could find.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Evening Chores

After the Afternoon's retreat from the Heat, a refreshing reconnection with Danica, and our evening meal, we 3 C's headed back to the Garden. Our ever watchful eyes kept drifting toward the west as Rain is once again predicted.

If we could just have few more days without Rain, we would make progress against the Weeds. That would feel ever so good. But we can control none of that. We need to just be with what is.

For this Evening, each of us focused on chores which needed to be done. Richard finished weeding the Sweet Corn and the Carrots. Melanie made progress staking up her Tomato plants. Today was "fruit day", so Melanie planted extra soybeans. I replanted several varieties of Edible Dry Beans. I wondered if Dorreen knows about these Arikara Yellow Beans.


As the growing season moves on, something is always blooming. Nature is always changing. I try to walk the loop around the Farm daily, just to watch the panorama unfold. I surely would not want to miss a thing.

These days, the Pink Roses are blooming at the edges of the Woods. I know so little of them. I do not even know their names. I need to visit the flowers of Missouri book. With the busy-ness of the gardening season, that probably will not happen until winter. For now, I shall just enjoy their smiling faces in the place that I too call home.


Amidst afternoon rest
and attempts of keeping cool,
the Chickens clucked,
aware of an intruder.
Resting and attempting
to keep cool in the house,
the Humans raised watchful eyes.
From her Window,
Melanie noted a Fawn in the garden,
outside the fence.
Naps were interrupted,
as the Humans headed
quietly to the East Deck.
The Fawn danced away,
with tail and head barely visible
above Meadow Grasses and Flowers
on the way to the Woods.
The Humans smiled
at what could have been a dream.
Then they went back to their naps.
Chickens returned to rest too.
Glinda Crawford, 2009

In Praise of Childhood Dreams

As a little girl,
I loved Black Eyed Susans.
They were
the prettiest Flower
I could ever imagine
to see.
I hoped
some day
I would live
by Black Eyed Susans.
And I do.
When I was 5,
maybe 6,
I was on a
Children's Television Program.
I was asked
what I would
most like
in the whole world.
I firmly replied:
"A Banana Tree."
I don't have a Banana Tree,
but I still like Bananas.
Glinda Crawford, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grape Arbor

My Dear Husband Richard built this beautiful Grape Arbor from Native Trees on this little spot of Land. He set the posts on one of those special days when putting in fence posts is "in the sign". We didn't want to take any shortcuts here.

Richard just finished the Arbor today. The Grape Arbor was at my request and is a Gift from him and from the Trees on this Farm. In this case, the Trees are Osage Orange (Hedge Apple) and Willow.

I am not so sure how he does such things. But he loves to work with limbs from Native Trees. He and they seem to be engaged in a dance. He seeks to work with them to find out how they would like to be designed. And so it goes. I just love to watch him at work at such things. And I just love to enjoy the finished Art.

He also made the Bench at the base of the Arbor. (Over time, 2 more and perhaps a little table too will be added.) Some 16 years ago, he made the Bench for our Garden when we lived in North Dakota. The Bench was intended to be a "welcome" just inside the Garden Gate.

The Bench and Arbor are well at home here in its new place. Step by step, we 3 C's are well at home in our new place too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I am absolutely struck by how very small Humans are. On Butterfly Hill Farm, we sit in the middle of an open space of land. From East to West, we can see from Horizon to Horizon. The North and South Exposures are framed by Woods. Clearly, our view of the Sky is immense.

Some days, the Sky is a solid expanse of vibrant Blues. Other days, we have brush strokes of Clouds on a Canvas of Blues. Those Clouds are in perpetual motion and perfectly placed by some Master Painter's Hand. Recently, we have had masses of Gray Clouds bumping about in the Sky like those bumper cars we used to ride at Carnivals and Fairs. The subjects of Sunrises, Sunsets, and Night Skies must surely command their own entries.

We had a downpour today. Richard was at the Farm while Melanie and I were making our way home. In between Rains, he met us on the West Side of the House. He said that during the Storm, Lightning was striking all around. The Lightning was so close that Thunder came almost at the same time. On our way Home, Melanie and I had encountered torrents of Creeks on either side of the Road. At one place, Water was running over the Road. The usually Peaceful and Idyllic Countryside had shifted on the Whim of Nature.

Last evening, we were finishing chores. We had stayed inside during the heat of the Day and were eager to attend to things that needed doing. From his position on Betsy the Lawn Tractor, Richard was quickly and skillfully mowing the Lawn on either side of the drive. Melanie and I were getting in some much needed time in the Garden. This was Flower Time, so I had my bundle of Seeds and my Plans.

Nature had not been consulted in our Human Plans. We could see Dark Clouds boiling in a straight line from East to West across the Northern Sky. In no time at all, the Wind direction changed, and that Wind did blow. The intense Heat of the Day cooled dramatically with 1 breath of the Wind. We knew we were in for some weather. In short order, we put away our tools, Melanie got the Chickens ready for bed although they were not going in yet, and the 3 Humans abruptly headed inside.

Humans seem to spend considerable time devising strategies to make them seem Big. Mostly, they stay hidden in the Human World. But in all that is, we are exceedingly small.

Book Friend

Baylor, Byrd. (1994). The Table Where Rich People Sit. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. (Illustrations by Peter Parnall).

Rachel shared this lovely picture book with us.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Heat advisories are posted this week from Monday through Wednesday. The ground is still saturated from all the Rains. We have made some progress weeding but have a lot to go. Add the Heat to the Moisture of the last few weeks: you get heavy, oppressive air and a time for Humans to work smartly.

These days, we are outside early and late in the day. This morning, Richard mowed and Melanie weeded some of the Flower Beds on the West Side of the House. Customarily, we use the grass clippings from the push mower to cover bare soil around Plants. This smart little trick keeps the Weeds down and keeps the moisture in which nourishes Plants. Otherwise they go into stress reactions. We don't want that.

I worked on Garden Beds on the West Side of the House. And I studied how I might do outside chores (like weeding) and take advantage of the shade and cooler times in various sections of the yard. It reminded me of being in Egypt where we took advantage of every sliver of shade.

Melanie worked on one of her garden beds. Her goal was "1". So she stopped at that. Every little bit of progress is celebrated.

For the extended time in the middle of the day, we stayed inside. Activities included: some computer work, baking, getting ready to deliver eggs, resting, reading, laundry. I chuckle about the laundry. Yes, I did hang it outside. Those Tea Towels were dry by the time I finished hanging up that load of wash.

We drank lots of fluids. And we experimented with 2 different kinds of Iced Tea. We paid close attention to the Pets and the Chickens, making sure they had plenty of water.

This evening, the 3 of us weeded 2 garden beds on the West Side of the House: the Prairie Garden and the Herb Garden. We talked about the possibility of mowing a little over the next few days and using the grass clippings to protect the plants. I think the plants thought that was a good idea.

Plain and simple, it was a glorious day.

Black Raspberries

For Father's Day (and Summer Solstice), we went for a walkabout to check the Black Raspberries. Black Raspberries are one of our favorites. To our delight, the Berries are ripening. We picked some for snacks and for a sprinkling over the Homemade Peach Ice Cream that Melanie made for Father's Day. Yum.

In the tangle of the Berry Patches, we just gazed in awe at the abundance that Nature provides. At one spot, we found Gooseberries all around. We looked up and found Mulberries just beginning to ripen. And we looked over a few feet and found Elderberries blooming.

We are continually "alert" for the flow of all things Wild and in the Garden. We took note: Strawberries are done. Black-eyed Susans are blooming in abundance. Black Raspberries are coming on. Gooseberries in the wild are ready at least here. In our bush in the yard, they are about gone. Mulberries are just starting to turn. And the Elderberries are blooming.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Evening Ritual

Melanie usually spends some quality time with the 7 week old Black Australorp Pullets in the evening. It's that "quiet down time" after the busy-ness of the day, just before the Pullets are ready to settle down for sleep.

She sits at the door of their little House. One by one, they jump up on her. When she gets up, they head into their little House finding their special places to snuggle in for the night.

So who is there? That's Melanie, the Human, in the background. Top Row: Amelia, Kirsty, and Isabella. Middle Row: Ava and Eleanor. Bottom: Pullet Number 6 (she hasn't suggested a name for herself yet).


June 16:

It's mid June and we are entering the season of the Lilies. This barnyard Lily was a gift from Richard's brother Hollis and his wife Deleta when we bought our little house in North Dakota in the late 70s. When we returned to Missouri in 2007, we brought a start of it back. Judging by the looks of the countryside these days, the old Lilies abound giving splashes of unrestrained color. Ours fits is happy to be home and fits right in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Get Attached

In reflecting on the loss
of the Henny this morning,
I hear a Voice
I have heard since I was wee small:
"Don't get attached."
"You'll never make it
if you are going to get so attached."
Plain and simple:
I disagree.
Yes, we got attached to Sunny.
And yes, we feel a loss.
We will miss her Sunny personality
on the Farm and in the Yard.
We will miss her tap tap tapping
on our leg.
We know Death is
part of that Great Circle of Life.
Numbing ourselves to Death and Pain
in our Animal Kin means
we overlook the Web of Life
that supports our Being.
Numbing ourselves
to the Pain and Suffering of the World
is the first step
toward leaving a Trail of Destruction.
Our Species and our Kind
have done too much of that.
We choose not.
Glinda Crawford, 2009


This evening's Dinner was just simply yummy. This was one of the 1st meals of the season to feature produce straight from the Garden. As the Spring had went on, we found ourselves eating more from the grocery store. Yes, we try to eat "Organic". But the produce just didn't taste as good as that which we have raised on our little Farm.

Tonight's meal was very special. Everything on the plate was local (within a 50 mile radius). We had Beef Short Ribs on the Grill with Barbecue Relish. The Short Ribs came from a Steer that Rolf had raised. Melanie found the recipe for "Relish" in Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle. The Relish is the 1st recipe in a special "3 in one" which Melanie made last year at the height of canning season.

We purchased the Sweet Corn from an Amish family in the northern part of the County last year. It was one of our last stashes in the Freezer, as we make space for the Goodies of this Year.

We had one of our all time favorites: New Peas and Potatoes (with New Onions too). When we lived in North Dakota, we would visit Richard's Mother in Northern Missouri during the early part of the Summer. She went to great lengths to serve up some favorites from her Garden; they meant that we were "home". New Peas and Potatoes in a White Sauce was among those at the top of the list. I can just see her smile as she would place that steaming bowl on the table. She cut no corners when it came to serving up the best of Farm Food.

Tonight, the New Peas, Potatoes and Onions were from our Little Farm. The Raw Milk for the White Sauce was from Brad and Jane's Cows over in the Linneus area. The Earth Balance (a buttery spread; ours was Organic) and the 1/4 cup of White Flour presumably came from more than 50 miles.

Melanie and I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. I was back-up. I prepared the Rhubarb and the Strawberries, while Melanie made the Crisp. The Rhubarb came from my Mother's patch, which actually was Dad's pride and joy. The Strawberries are among the last of the Season and they are from our Patch. They are small and delightfully mishapen, as if the Fairies tossed in some magic to give them free form shapes. Who said Strawberries have to be uniform shape? Those Berries carry that extra special "End of the Strawberry Season " taste. "Good-bye until next year" (if we are so blessed).

The Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe also came from Barbara Kingsolver's book. I think she surely must have been on the welcoming committee as we settled into this Little Farm; of course, she didn't know anything about us or our move, but her book (Animal Vegetable Miracle) has been a steady presence and comforting Friend.

As per usual, Melanie made some alterations: she decreased both Sweeteners by half because we usually do that; the Flour was Whole Wheat; she used 4 cups of Strawberries and 2 cups Rhubarb because that is what we had. The Old Timers were always modifying based upon what they had. For a lot of years, I just made an extra trip to the store to buy more. That season has passed. Melanie tells me that she will top it off with Whipped Cream (again from Brad and Jane's Cows). I can hear those Beaters now.

I repeat: Yummy. This meal seems to be an opener for eating Local and eating Foods from right here on the Farm. "Let the Games begin."

Rachel's Lilies

Rachel's Lilies are beginning to bloom. She gave these lovely Lilies to me at Mother's Day 2008. Rachel believes that there can't be enough Lilies in the World. So she goes about giving them and planting them wherever she goes.

Her Dad sent Lily Bulbs later in the Summer last year. I see these loving Flowers and I smile. Thank you, Rachel and Joe!

Farm Insights

One of our Hennies
died during the night.
Richard found her
when he was letting out
the Parade of Chickens
this morning
Her name was "Sunny".
She was named after "Sunshine".
Sunny was one
of the few Big Chickens
that we have.
When we were out and about in the yard, she'd peck
on a Human Companion's Leg,
as if to say:
"Would you hold me?"
She loved
to be held.
In recent weeks,
she had problems with her Eyes.
One Eye dilated
and the other didn't.
We didn't know why,
but we knew something was not right.
We wonder
if she had problems
with the heat
because of her size.
We will miss her.
Freddie the Rooster was upset.
Life and Death
the Circle of Life
seem ever present
on this Little Farm.
Glinda Crawford, 2009


As much as I seek change,
it sometimes is just beyond my grasp.
When I do the same thing,
I get the same results.
If I want different results,
why would I do the same thing?
I dedicate myself
to learn and grow
in ways I am intended.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Helen and Bertha

We name everything around here. Why shouldn't we? Humans are always naming themselves. Why shouldn't we name other things too?

I am really proud of my Cabbages. They are looking quite beautiful in the Patch amidst their Companion Plants. I have had my eye out for the 1st Cabbage to make its way onto the Table. I knew right away which one that would be. And I named her Helen.

Yesterday, we had a Guest. Bob Handley, a friend from my childhood, joined us for some very special shared time on the Farm. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I chose Helen to become Cole Slaw. She was absolutely wonderful. In fact, she was so good, she lasted just 24 hours in a variety of dishes. I have never had such a good Cabbage.

So my eyes were set on the next Cabbage. I chose "Bertha". Both of these seemed like sufficiently vigorous and substantial names for my Lovely Cabbages. Melanie weighed Bertha on the scales that belonged to my Great Grandmother Matilda Waibel Brenz, who used the scale to weigh the Grapes that she sold. Our Bertha weighs in just shy of 4 pounds. How wonderful.

Bertha is going to become a wonderful fermented version of Sauerkraut from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Melanie is making Cheese today so that we can have the Whey, which we need for the Kraut.

Life is good here on Butterfly Hill Farm. Very good. The Season of abundance of the Earth is in Full Swing. We are filled with gratitude.

Spider Wort

June 13:

With his camera along to capture the moments, Richard went for a walk this morning. The Spider Worts are blooming on the Meadow. These lovely light purplish Flowers are a Native Plant and bloom in late Spring/early Summer.

Just like some Folks prefer mornings, the Spider Wort Flowers bloom in mornings. By mid afternoon and especially on very warm days, they are closing up. Perhaps they are taking Siestas. I can relate to that.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Littles

Melanie and I headed into the Pen of the Black Australorps. We wanted to spend some time with these lovely growing Girls. Melanie brought some freshly picked Pink Clover Flowers. I brought my camera and lawn chair. The Littles didn't know what to think of the lawn chair and were a little reluctant to approach. My large brimmed hat and my silver camera were not exactly draws either. The luscious Pink Clover Flowers changed that.

Our 6 little Black Australorp Pullets are growing quite nicely. They have been separated from the Little White Rock Cockerels and are now at home in the little Brooder House. The Littles are now feathered out in more mature feathers, except for their heads. They are completely black, again, except for their heads.

Melanie has named 5 of the 6. Or rather, she reminds me, they named themselves: Isabella, Eleanore, Ava, Amelia. Yes, that is only 4 names. I shall have to ask Melanie the name of the 5th. Isabella is the largest, and from the start, she was more approachable to her Human Companions here on the Farm. Amelia is a bit flighty. She was aptly named after Amelia Earhart.

As a rule, the Littles seem rather shy and gentle in comparison with previous Flocks of Littles. They also settle in earlier in the evening in their little House. Their little Brothers in the Rooster Pen next door and their Bigger Sisters and Brother are still pretty active when they are snuggled into bed. We wonder if their habit of roosting earlier will carry over into adulthood. If that happens, they may be perching on roosts that seem to belong to others. Yikes. We will deal with that when the time comes. Or rather, they will deal with that when the time comes.

Richard fixed things up so the Big Chickens (from 2007 and 2008) can come by to observe the doin's from outside the fence. Since the 6 Littles will be added to the Big Flock by the end of the Summer, it is important for them to begin to get to know each other. We often observe the Big Chickens peaking in on the Littles from outside the Fence. In the beginning, the Littles hid in the tall Grasses of their pen. The Big Chickens sometimes line up outside the Littles' pen, as if watching a new program on the Farm Channel. They are curious.

The Buff Orpington Hennie who is looking in is "Olivia". She has the loveliest comb. It stands tall, has a lovely shape, and looks like it is been cut very carefully out of the finest of felt. She reminds me to tell you that when this picture was taken, she was on the outside of the pen and I was on the inside with those Little Hennies who are not quite grown up.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry passed away June 1. Born in 1914, he was 94. I did not know him personally. I heard him speak once. His words and his example were significant in the shaping of the person I have become.

Thomas Berry was ordained as a Catholic Priest. He was a historian of world cultures and religions. Those 2 little sentences are too paltry to describe him. In a time of considerable disruption and much needed change among Humans, he was a Beacon, Elder, Teacher, Mentor, Mystic, Sage.

I first began reading his work in the mid 90s. This happened at a time when I was beginning to read "outside the frame". I had spent much of my life reading "the script", "coloring inside the lines", as I had been trained and programmed to do. In my 40s, I began asking questions that I had previously not had space or courage to pursue. I just had to. A lot of what I heard and saw in the world around me just did not make sense. His words and his example were waiting for me.

I heard Thomas Berry speak in 1996 at a national conference on Ecopsychology near Prescott, Arizona. This lovely outdoor venue had 3 walls (front and sides) and a vaulted ceiling; the back of the theater was open as we were being held by the Forest, Mountains, Earth Herself.

At the time, he would have been 82; I was 47. I had read some of his work by then. Hearing him speak was a very memorable, even transformative, experience. This Elderly Man was humble, courageous, wise beyond words. Many times, we were in tears. He touched a chord deep within. He was a voice we had been waiting, even yearning, to hear.

Thomas Berry was able to look at "culture" and put it in a frame. He was able to hold it out for me and for others which helped to identify the big holes that were creating problems and to suggest solutions for this time of change. Those needed changes were in the "outer world" and in our "inner world." These changes were needed for us to become what is meant to be fully Human on this Great Planet Whirling in the Cosmic Sea.

I must be clear that I did not take on Thomas Berry's work as a "template" for my own seeking and practice. I find such approaches dangerous. We do not need people parroting Truth professed by others; we need each person on this Planet speaking Truth that comes from that place of Great Wisdom deep within ourselves. I let his work resonate within me; from that place I made a choice as to what was important to me.

I had the privilege of sharing 1 of his books (The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, 1999)with 7 classes of senior level Environmental Studies students. These students were serious about their concerns for the destruction in the world around them. And they were serious about finding their own way through it. I was deeply privileged to walk beside them. Thomas Berry's ideas stimulated many great conversations in our learning and growing as we were trying to put our feet firmly on the path. I remember students saying: "I shall put this book right by my bed;" "I want to read this again and again over the course of my life."

Thomas Berry was a tireless servant on these such matters. Even this year of his passing at 94 years of age, 2 books will be published in his name. At this moment in time, Thomas Berry has "passed the baton" to countless others who were influenced by him. I count myself as one.

While such writings by "those left behind" are often penned as notes of "sorrow", this 1 is not. Yes, I grieve his loss. But this little writing is rather a note of gratitude and celebration to the Creator for the Great Gift of Thomas Berry in our lives.

Yes, we have more work to do. And yes, our feet are firmly on the Path.
Thomas Berry web site: http://www.thomasberry.org/
Obituary from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/04berry.html?_r=3&ref=obituaries
Videos: http://renewalproject.net/
The Great Work: Our Way into the Future: http://books.google.com/books?id=ppucGgAACAAJ&dq=Thomas+Berry&source=an&hl=en&ei=dEM1SprhL5nKtgeC0dS4CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tidbits on Growing: Strawberries

The Strawberry Bed should be moved about every 3 years.

Strawberries: 3rd Picking

We picked our 3rd batch of Strawberries today. The Rains delayed our picking, so we lost a few. We picked about 4 gallons today. Each of the last 2 pickings yielded just about the same, making the total so far about 12 Gallons. We should have 1 more picking, assuming all goes well.

Melanie dried Strawberries and I made 11 more Strawberry Spreads. We have all the Frozen Strawberries that we need for the year.

I find it hard to believe that after all those years of eating Strawberries we bought from the Grocery Store, that we now have our own Patch. Somehow, those Strawberries from the Grocery Store are nowhere close to the same as those we have in our very own Patch.

Tidbits on Growing: Strawberries

A Strawberry Bed should permit the Picker to reach easily into the center of the Bed.


In modern frenzied society,
we go to great lengths
to find Sanctuary.
We head there
on vacation,
or imagine being there
in the quiet spaces
of our minds.
The real task is
to find
and create sanctuary,
in ourselves and
in the beloved spaces
around us.
Sanctuary is
right here,
right now.
I need not travel far at all,
because I have already arrived.
Glinda Crawford, 2009

Note to Self

From our reading, we have found that Strawberries can be a natural diuretic. Need I say more?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


As we garden more, I am struck by how complex the Craft is. Those Old Gardeners were Wizards. What they knew was extraordinary. They had to, because the Food they grew was what they ate and what they needed to survive. They knew where their Food came from: It came from the Earth. It came from their Hands and their Hearts working in tandem with the Living Energies of the Earth.

I find it hard to believe that as a so-called Modern Society we have passed that knowledge of growing Food to Corporations. Whatever "Modern" means, that seems a major slip. The principal goal of most Corporations during our times is not to feed us Healthy Food or sustain the Earth which supports our being, but rather their own bottom line.

In reflecting on these things, I see Accountants counting and holding Bags of Golden Coins while something very important gets dropped. I feel like we are part of a whole line of Relay Runners who are dropping the Baton before Essential Knowledge is passed to the next Generation. We do not count ourselves in that lot. We are reclaiming all that we can. The Learning Curve is steep.

We 3 C's are Novices in the scheme of things. We come with the commitment to Grow the Food we eat and to Grow and to be Loving Tenders of this Land which supports our Being.

Since we intend to grow as much of our own Food as possible, we have tried to grow many things. The more we grow the Food we eat, the more we see just how Complex that system is that that supports that one Food in that one Moment in Time. Maybe we should have started out simpler.

I love Cabbages. Maybe I should just become a Specialist this year in growing Cabbages: "Cabbage-Ology" as Melanie says. I shall learn and grow one humble step at a time.

I kind of chuckle. Rather than 1 year or 1 day, I could spend my Whole Life studying Cabbages. In some ways, I think the Earth just said: "Gotch Ya!" I got caught. My background as a Human in this High Speed Society thinks all such things should be a quick fix. Since I am a Human with my Superior Brain, I should get on top of it in a hurry.

The Web of Life is a lot more complex than that. I repeat: I shall learn and grow one humble step at a time. I shall be open for the teachings. I shall find time to chuckle too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recipe: Strawberry Spread

2 Quarts Fresh Strawberries (the more flavorful the better)
4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeling removed, coarsely grated
Sweetener, to your taste (We use 1/2 Cup Honey plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar; that may be a little less sweet than others prefer.)

Place Strawberries in stainless steel pot. Mash about half the Strawberries. Add Lemon Juice and Grated Apple. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil. Add Honey (or Honey and Sugar). Gently boil until mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
Notes: The original version of this recipe came from the Amish Cookbook Cooking with Wisdom: Wholesome, Delicious, Simple Recipes for Health Conscious People (Carlisle Press, 1997). It was titled "Berry Jam". Our family has a habit of finding and combining recipes and then bringing them to our own taste.

We try to use ingredients which are freshest, organic (grown on healthy soils and without chemicals), local. We almost always reduce the amount of Sugar/Honey. When the Produce tastes the best, the need for Sweetener is reduced. The Fruit just stands on its own, which surely must be what Nature intended.

This recipe was originally called "Jam". Jam refers to thickened fruit that is broken up and cooked in indefinable pieces. Preserves refers to thickened fruit, some of which is whole. The addition of Sugar, especially early in the process helps the Fruit stay intact.

I called this "Strawberry Spread". It is not as thick as what I would call Jam or Preserves. It surely does not look like the store-bought stuff. The only Pectin (which is a thickener) which was used was the green Apple. This Spread has a slow pour. The more you cook it the slower it pours and the sweeter it will be because the Sugar has concentrated. The longer you cook it, the darker it will be, which is desirable to a point.

We use Strawberry Spread on Ice Cream, Cooked or Cold Cereal, Pancakes, Scones. After the beautiful days of Summer, this is a lovely Fall, Winter, and Early Spring treat when Fresh Strawberries from the Patch are a Memory.

Garden Is Mostly Planted

June 3:

To our relief accompanied by our profound gratitude, most of the Garden is planted. Through this whole process, we are continually reminded that we small Humans are not in charge. We must go with Nature's flow.

Planting has not been easy, yet it has also been blessed by all the Rains. When conditions were just right, we would plant. Of course, we were paying attention to the biodynamic calendar, planting when optimum for "Leaf", "Root", "Flower", "Fruit".

While the Rains pushed back other plantings, those Rains blessed the Plants and Seeds we had just placed in the Soil. Little Seedlings are emerging. Those Plants know the difference between the Blessings of Rain and Human Handling/Sporadic Watering of City Water.

Only "Flower" is left to complete. With a little luck, "Flower" should be complete in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, we make regular excursions around the Garden to check progress. "Carrots are up!" "Where are those Parsnips?" "Those Tomato Plants are really settling in." "Look at those Cabbages grow!" "Potatoes are up but spotty." "Bean seedlings are emerging." "I see a Pea Pod ready to eat."

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I loved to skip Rocks as a Child. I was told that my Grandfather Fred Albert Brenz was very good at that. He died before I was born so Stories and Gifts of Him are especially precious.

My Family tried to pass on to me the skills of that trade. I needed to find flat Rocks and I needed to launch them into a Pond just so.

The Wonder of the Child was mesmerized by such a simple feat of watching those Rocks skip across the Water. I tried over and over again. I got better. I think I need some more practice.

One Lesson which was not lost on me came from watching the Ripples that the Rocks would create. Those Ripples would start out easily pronounced and then soften as they extended almost forever across the Water. I could imagine that they would eventually touch some distant Shore and perhaps return again.

Over the years, I have watched simple Humans Actions. People initiate actions which have a Loving Intent. Or otherwise. Those actions skip across the Water. The Ripples they create extend well past the immediate interaction and into the Big Pond.

Such reflection makes me think about the Actions I wish to create upon the Big Pond. While the Hardened Adult that once was Me has often been caught up in Power and Control Games, the Innocence of the Child and the Inherent Loving Nature of the Adult has yielded to something different. The actions I desire to toss into the World are ones of Love and Kindness. I can imagine their effects extend forever. Why would I even consider anything less?

While we were at the Farmer's Market today, Jennifer from Peony Acres spontaneously gave us Peonies to share at the Nursing Home and to enjoy in our Home. An unexpected gift (which is the best kind), those Bouquets of Peonies left trails of smiles in Mother's Room and through the Hallways of the Nursing Home where Residents and Staff share precious Life. They also radiate smiles here at Home on the Farm. For all these magical things, we are deeply grateful.

Yes, such things are just what we came here to do. I need to keep Practicing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Little Kid

As I have moved through my Middle Years, I have concluded that Adulthood is over-rated. We fly through and get pushed through our Childhoods so we can become Adults. Adults get and stay far too serious and for far too long. It becomes a weary load that seems to extend into Forever. Such thinking and doing likely accelerates our Ageing. Now why would we want to do that?

The Little Kid in me is still there. And She needs some attention. That Little Kid in me sometimes comes up with some playful Gardening suggestions. How about planting some of my favorite things? Would they grow? How about Tapioca Pearls? I love Tapioca Pearls and I should not ever want to run out of them. How about Buttons? I adore buttons. I am not crazy about the plain Black, Brown, or White Ones. Our World has far too many of them already. I like the fun kind that come in all varieties of shapes and sizes: Flowers, Bows, Bugs.

One could argue that such Plantings are for naught. The Little Kid just smiles and whimsically looks up at me as if the Adult that is Me thinks I know more than I do.

And, by the way, we just this week purchased the Native Shrub "Button Bush". Just what do you think might be an outcome of such a planting? Somehow, even the Adult in me retains the Hope, Whimsy, and Wonder of that Child. Both the Child and the Adult that is Me will watch this lovely Shrub intently.

Flower Day

Today is the big push for planting the bulk of our remaining Flowers in the Garden. When we are done with this planting, the Garden will be largely complete for this stage.

It is a glorious early Summer day to think Flowers, plant Flowers, and be Flowers. We'll report in later.