Monday, July 25, 2011

Tall Grass Prairie Tour

Did you know that the Tall Grass Prairie is among the most threatened of North American Ecosystems?   Less than 1% of the Tall Grass Prairie remains.  Sadly, with it has gone many plant and animal species which are extinct, threatened, or endangered.  But, in our times, we are finding that many people are seeking to protect it and bring it back.

Most Folks don't even know what Prairie is or they label it as "weeds".  Fortunately, we have pockets and pieces of Prairie in Northeast Missouri.  And fortunately for us on this little Farm, we have many species returning.  That had begun to happen before we moved here and it is continuing to happen as a part of our long term intentions and designs.

On Saturday, July 30, 10am-noon, Richard and Melanie will be hosting a Tall Grass Prairie Tour here at the Farm.  (I will be out of town and am sorry that I will miss being a part of it.)  The Tour will feature an overview of prairie ecosystems and plant identification.  We will do a walk about on the Farm to see what is blooming and to see what animals and insects will be putting in special appearances during our walk.  Richard will also discuss the use of Prairie Plants in small scale gardening.

Should you come, be sure to dress in consideration of the weather.  Looking at the long term forecast, it is predicted to be cooler and there is a chance of thunderstorms.  It still will be warm.  Wear lightweight, light colored cotton clothing.  This is actually "cooler" and less taxing on bodies than bare skin.

We will be walking on a mowed path that actually is quite wide.  However, we do live in a land featuring all kinds of natural elements, which includes ticks and poison ivy.  We would prefer that these are not your only memories of your visit, but be prepared to make your visit as pleasant as can be.  For ticks and poison ivy, full covering is important.  We especially like to wear light colored clothing to be able to see the ticks more easily.  I usually wear boots. Ticks have a harder time crawling up boots. Yes, I try to make things difficult for them. At the very least, closed toe shoes and socks are important.We also do a tick check immediately after walks.  When we head back to the house, we often head right to the shower and put clothing immediately in the wash.  That helps with both ticks and poison ivy.

We love our Prairie and we are eager to share it with others.  This tour offers a glimpse of some of what was here before settlement.  And that is very special indeed.

Any changes or notes of consideration for the Tour will be posted here, so stay in connection if you plan to attend. 

Off the Farm

I shall be gone off the Farm for a few days.  Since I am the main writer of this Blog, there may be a lull in the writing.  I can guaruntee you that there will be no lull at the Farm during that time.  Melanie may write a bit, but it is doubtful.  Richard won't be writing, we are pretty sure of that.  I shall be back on the Blog when I return. Have a great week.


I am headed up to a meeting of the Indigenous Environmental Network at Ft. Berthold, North Dakota.  During this gathering of mostly Indigenous Peoples (of which I am not), we have been asked to bring Water from our homelands for a Water Ceremony.  I headed to the Rain Barrel and turned the spigot to fill a little Jar with the precious Rain that came after a dry hot time.  I looked at it very carefully and lovingly as the Water poured into the Jar. 

When the jar was full and I had capped the lid, I checked the Swamp Milkweed which is near the Rain Barrel.  We have hardly seen any Monarch Butterflies this year.  The Swamp Milkweed is a host plant.  Up until today, I had not seen any Eggs or holes indicating that there might be a Caterpillar there.  To my delight, I found a small hole.  I turned the leaf over and right before my eyes, there was a tiny little Caterpillar.  Sure enough, that Caterpillar had the beginnings of tiny little stripes of the Monarch. 

So I stood right there before 2 elements of celebration.  The Rain Barrel was full after the Rains yesterday.  And a Mama Monarch had deposited an Egg which had become a Caterpillar on the Swamp Milkweed.  Both came after a very dry time.  I feel a celebration in my deepest core.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blessing of Rain

After a long humid
and intensely hot spell,
temperatures cooled.
Today, we received
the blessing of Rain.
It was gentle,
without Fanfare
of Thunder,
Melanie and I
stood outside
and felt the Rain
fall on us
and all around.
We got 1/3 inch total
which is not a lot.
The Soil is still very dry,
but Plants and Humans
experienced some relief.
Both Rain Barrels
are full.
Our gratitude
goes from horizon to horizon
which is the stretch
of the Clouds.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Hen Turkeys and Poults

Melanie went for a walk around the loop yesterday morning.  On the northeast corner of the Farm, she was surprised by a lot of racket.  To her amazement, 4 Hen Turkeys and about 15 Poults flew off from just about 15 feet ahead of her.  It happened so fast, it was almost impossible to count. She was so eager to tell us when she got back to the House.  And of course, all 3 of us were sorry that Richard and I missed it.

I think those Hen Turkeys were have a Play Group for their Kids.  What fun.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Consider This a Prayer

My Culture
is western Euro-centric
and Patriarchal
at its base.
It is filled
with self-righteousness
which washes out
any awareness
of the limits of its thinking.
It is Human Centered
and Absorbed,
not with the breadth
of understandings of Human Cultures,
but rather enamored by its own thinking.
This ideology has split
with the Life Force
of this Earth.
Actions of my Kind
may come
from Naivete,
or Self Absorption.
Actions of my Kind
exhibit a kind of powerless
which makes change
seemingly unreachable.
such Humans
are Pied Pipers
seeking to woo away
other Cultures
from their Traditional Beliefs
to that which is "better",
a model of themselves.
these Humans
and those who wannabe
like them
are on a Path of Destruction,
a Path of Death.
Media with Blinders
to support interests
of Sponsors. 
Such Media focuses
on Economics as bottom line.
Such Media forgets
Ecology is bottom line.
Deep in the Hearts
of all
who live at this time
is a recognition
that we are in trouble. 
The Women know it most,
Children and Elderly too.
When will we wake up?
Can we wake up?
Consider this a prayer.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Healthy Change for Creation

I saw what very likely is a Sad Sight today.  It was a Sad Sight for the Caterpillar and an Epiphany for me.

A Swallowtail Caterpillar was making its way up a Dill Plant, which is its Host.  Dill is a Cool Season Plant.  After the Heat of this week, the Dill is Fried.  Its change after 1 long week of Heat was dramatic.  I am no expert on Butterfly Natural History, but this sight evoked in me an Epiphany.

With Global Warming, Climate is outside "normal bounds".  Weather Events are more intense.  Some areas are Hotter and some Colder.  Some areas are Wetter and others Drier.  In these parts, we have gone from Wet to Dry and Hot, and it has been in very short order.  There has not been much for transition. The Earth is hard and cracked.  She begs for Cooling Temps and Gentle Rain.

I am a Human and I have access to resources which moderate the effects of Climate on me.  They seem to, anyway.  During intense Heat, I can go inside into the Air Conditioning (which ultimately adds to Global Warming).  But none the less, I can find comfort.  If I am unable to produce my own Food, I can go to the Grocery Store, which some Farmer somewhere has hopefully been able to produce Food for me (which ultimately adds to Global Warming).  These reliefs that I experience are likely to come into question soon.  They too are ramping up the problem.

But let's go back to the Caterpillar.  That Caterpillar is stuck.  He or She may or may not have had the Greenery needed to complete its Caterpillar Stage.  The Greenery of the Plant overhead will not provide shade to moderate temperature because it is Fried. 

Let it be known that I am increasingly aware that our Human actions are altering the Climate of this Beautiful Planet with which we were gifted of Life.  Global Warming and Climate Change is affecting the Human.  But it is also affecting a host of Life Forms, many of whom are unknown to me.  They implore our change.

I am listening.  I seek actions which will bring things back into balance, assuming we have not gone too far.  Regardless of outcome, I seek to be a part of healthy change for Creation.  Regardless, I stand before my Creator and all Life Forms (now and in the future):  I am trying to effect change.  I have much to learn and I have great willingness to walk a different Path.

Preparing Beds

Those Cool Season Veggies have completed their cycle.  They actually are quite ecstatic to escape the Heat, which is not their favorite.  I know some Humans like that.

Peas are in the Freezer.  Potatoes are now in the basement.  Onions are still curing in the Garage.  Carrots are in the fridge awaiting canning or use as fresh.  Storage crannies are filling up.  Things seem to be happening all at once.

Since all of these Veggies are harvested, it was time to clear out the Beds and get them ready for Fall Crops:  Potatoes, Beets, Carrots, and Green Beans. Richard went to work on the Raised Beds during the early morning time, while Melanie was out harvesting Raspberry Leaves for her Nature's Medicinary and I was mulching in Flowers in the Medicinal Wheel.  In precious moments, we were checking in and supporting each other.

None of us worked fast in the Heat.  We worked slowly and methodically.  Evidence of the damage of the Heat on the Plants is abundant.  When we completed our tasks, we came inside into the welcome cool.  Some aspects of Little House on the Prairie are gratefully set aside.  The lack of Air Conditioning in this Heat is one. 

We are amazed at the toll the Heat takes.  We are tired a lot. It is an invitation to take extra precautions in self care. Rest is good.

When inside, I checked the rotation calendar offered by Rodale's.  We did our best to rotate the Veggies in that order for the Beds that Richard has prepared.  In some cases, we need to pay more attention to Soil Amendments.  I guess we can't do it all at once.  We have to save something for tomorrow.  Right? 

Root Crops are best planted on Root Day, which is Monday.  Here we go again.  There is always something happening on the Farm.

Snowflakes in July

July 21:

Queen Anne's Lace is blooming in profusion. When inside the air conditioned House and looking out, I could mistake all those blooms for large Snowflakes dancing across the Land. They are a reminder that as hot as it is now, the Snow will come and cover this Land. That is the Natural Cycle of things in these parts. It is lovely indeed. And I would hope that Queen Anne's Lace and Nature would look back on us and say: "Lovely indeed."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random Shots and Random Thoughts

The Rattlesnake Master, which is a Native Plant, is blooming. Sheri and Matt gave us this.  Dragonflies are everywhere. 
Melanie and I often take walks around the Farm.  We are either walking early in the morning or just before dark.  Sometimes we can be found sitting on a bench along the path. Very rarely, you will find us staring into the lens of the camera.
Yesterday, we made a great Egg Bake for dinner.  We used the Solar Oven which meant that the Sun cooked it and we minimized heat in the kitchen.  The goodies in the Egg Bake were straight out of the Garden.  She sauteed them on the top of the stove just until they were beginning to get tender.
The pollen grains from the Corn Tassels are falling down on the Silk.  That means we hopefully will have fully developed Kernels on that cob.  Nature is amazing.  We Humans think we are so smart, but we cannot create Life.  We have only figured out how to diminish it.  Now whose idea was that anyway?
On our early morning walk, we noted that drops of Dew were forming on the blades of the Indian Grass. How ingenious is that for the Plant to figure out how to get a drink during a very hot time with no Rain. That robust Grass is grabbing water right out of the Air.  We Humans think we are so smart. Plants are very smart too.

Sorghum Cane Update

Early yesterday morning, Richard rototilled inbetween the rows of the Sorghum Cane.  He and Melanie also worked on weeding inbetween the plants by hand today.  That job is about 1/3 done.  The ground is almost like powder after all this heat and no rain recently.  The Sorghum Cane is spotty but it is growing.  Some of it looks pretty good.
However, on this day, Melanie and Richard noted that some of the leaves were beginning to take on reddish brown streaks. We had some of this coloring later in the season last year.  Actually, the Cane begins to take on red brown streaks when it is closer to being ripe.  Well, Folks, the Sorghum Cane is far from ripe here in the middle of July.

Melanie brought some samples for me to take pictures of.  We are wondering if our friends Stan and Gigi up at Sandhill have some ideas about what might be going on. The following message is from the 3 C's on Butterfly Hill Farm to our friends Stan and Gigi:  "Hey, up there.  How ya doin'?  How's your Sorghum crop?  Any ideas about what is going on here? Stay cool."

Carrots and their Lessons

Richard and Melanie harvested Carrots early this morning.  We would normally have left them in longer. 

Many of the Carrots have been burrowed into by the maggot of the Carrot Rust Fly.  Looking closely at this photo, you can see some dark spots.  If that continues to develop, those lovely Carrots will rot.  And that, Dear Reader, is not in our plan.

A further indication that the Carrots needed to be dug was that their green tops were losing that vibrant green.  The Voice of the Plant seemed to be saying:  "I want outa here!  and now!"  Carrots are cool season, so it makes sense that they would want to move on in this intense heat.

I am pleased to report that we seem to be hearing the Voices of the Plants more, but we Humans indeed have a long way to go. You don't even need to ask the Plants about that one.

Richard likes for Carrots to stay in until the frost, which seems to sweeten them up.  That's what we did in North Dakota.  The growing season is surely longer here which means our rules often need some adjustment.

On this day, Richard and Melanie brought in a total of 68.75 pounds of Carrots.  Of that amount, 49.75 pounds will be processed (either canning or dehydrating) and 19 pounds are saved for fresh.  The former amount had damage, which was cut out.  They of course will not keep as well.

And we learned even more lessons on this day.  Rodale's The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disesase Control (1996, page 279) gives us further description of the Carrot Rust Fly.  To control, seedbeds should be covered and sealed with a floating row cover before germination until harvest.  They also suggest applying parasitic nematodes.  I have to say that we have some learning to do here.

After reading this, I headed into the crop rotation section of the book (pages 415 and following).  I was particularly interested in the statement that crops do poorly when following the planting of Carrots, Beets and Cabbages.  And guess what?  We 3 C's planted Cabbages in those 2 beds this in 2010. If the crop that followed the Cabbages was to do poorly (and in this case it was the Carrots), we put 2 crops back to back that certainly are not intent on enhancing the next crop's performance.  We could have inadvertently put our lovely Carrots in a position of greater weakness.

We know we need to focus on Crop Rotation.  This is just one example.  But somehow, it requires multi-dimensional thinking.  We've got to put our heads together on this one.  The Voices of the Carrots are coming in loud and clear. We're listening.

I found this site helpful.
Rodale's The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disesase Control is an excellent source for the Gardener's library and for the local public library.


These last few days, we have received some reminders that a Raccoon is making its presence known.  It is getting too close.  Something needs to be done.

Her Turn

July 17:

Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is blooming in profusion.  She and I have had a long and loving relationship over a period of about 20 years.  I call her "Queen E", because she is indeed a Queen to me.

Something is always blooming around here.  A friend of mine who is a Native Elder said that in Nature, things are always taking their turn.  Clearly, it's Echinacea's turn.  Soon her turn will be past and what will be next?  This is like reading a very good book.  I cannot even imagine putting it down.

Sacred Gift

As Gardeners intent
on growing our own Food,
we are blessed
with an ever expanding glimpse
of how intimately our lives
are tied to the Earth,
her Soil,
We are deeply grateful
to our Maker
for this great gift of Life.
In no way
do we seek
to diminish
that cherished Gift.
Why would we even consider it?
We want
to be fully present
in the Sacred Gift
of this Life.
Glinda Crawford, 2010

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Temperature is 82.4 degrees.  Heat Index shows 100.  It's 9:19 pm.  We see clouds and storms up in Iowa.  We are on a Heat Advisory for 2 more days.  It has been tough. 

Richard and Melanie are making sure the Chickens have fresh water.  They are also checking on them fairly often. 

I'm watering pots day and night.  We are reluctant to water in the big Garden.  Our philosophy is if the plants make it they make it.  We do not want to resort to extraordinary means. 

We are continuing to put straw mulch in the Garden for insulation around some of the Plants.  Actually most all the Plants are mulched and that really helps. Richard picked Celery today and discovered that the tips of the leaves were drying up.  The pretty Violets from Mother are none too happy either.  Both of these Plants prefer cool.

Melanie likes to leave the Chicken House open as long as possible. Last night, she went out to close them up and discovered a Raccoon in the backyard.  That is not a good thing.  We need an outdoor Dog, a subject which came up again this evening.

It is now dark.  Melanie is sitting on the Deck.  I shall join her.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


That all those affected
by Severe Weather Events
will heal.
That we Humans will grow
from their experience. 
That normal patterns
of Climate
will return.
That Humans
will find their place
in supporting normal patterns
with every action and deed.

Patterns of Cooling during Intense Heat

We 3 C's are consciously learning patterns of cooling in a time of intense heat.  Some are patterns of being in this little House and others are patterns of our daily practice. Are we perfect?  No.  Far from it.  But we are making steady progress. That means we are more comfortable, we use less energy, we save money, and we decrease our contribution to Global Warming.  And that, my Friend, is a very important thing. Here is a sampling:
  • We chose to live in small house.
  • We chose to install a high efficiency furnace/air conditioner when we moved in.
  • The new windows that we installed are more efficient.
  • Last year, we put in mini-blinds.  The installer recommended that the blinds be installed on the window frames as far from the windows as possible.  When closed, the blinds form an insulative block between the glass and the blinds.  The blinds have made a huge difference.
  • We close the blinds on the "sun side" to deflect that warm air out.
  • As long as the air on the outside is cooler, I keep the windows open.  When that air begins to feel warm, I close the windows and the blinds.
  • On intensely hot days and especially during the middle of the day, almost all of the blinds are closed.  We may have a few blinds open away from the Sun.  While it is darker inside than out, that darkness has a "cavelike" feel and it actually feels nurturing and protective in intense heat.
  • The thermostat on air conditioning is set for 81 degrees.  Yes, we do have air conditioning. While it may look like we yearn for Little House on the Prairie, we choose to keep and cherish some aspects of modern living.
  • I do not like air conditioning.  I don't like its feel.  We only turn it on when the temperature in the house is around 81 degrees.  These days, the air is on from about 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  I absolutely do not like to sleep under air conditioning.
  • We try not to use the stove inside when it is so hot.  That heat just adds to the work that the air conditioning needs to remedy.  Plus, it is a pretty nutty mixture of demand for fossil fuels.  "We heat up the house, so we can cool down the house."  That just doesn't make any sense.
  • These days, the demand for cooking in the house is high.  Those Green Beans are coming in.  Richard says we now have 70 quarts.  In as much as possible, we try to let the Beans (or large vats of boiling water) "cool down" outside.
  • Some day, I hope that we will have a "canning kitchen" separate from the house.  This will help.
  • We use the Solar Oven.  Melanie is taking the lead on this.  The Sun cooks! Some day, I would like to get a Rocket Stove. I haven't figured out the placement of that one yet.
  • We eat cooling foods.  Salads top the list.
  • We minimize our eating of Meat.  Somehow, during the summer season, Meat is "heavy".  Lighter foods just feel better.
  • We wash clothes inside and dry them out.  We are careful not to expose bright colors or elastic to too much Sun.  I find it bizarre that some city developments will not allow residents to hang clothes outside.  What are they thinking? I think clothes on the line is art.
  • We wear "cottons" which "breathe" in heat.  As a rule, we do not wear synthetics. They just don't breathe like cotton does.  Plus, we are into natural fibers.  Melanie and I wear light colored and lightweight blouses that are long sleeved. 
  • And I don't go anywhere without my hat.
  • If I am going to work outside, I show preference for shade.  I learned a useful skill in Egypt several years ago.  I can find and use just about any sliver of shade.  Shade makes a huge difference.
  • We work early in the day and late in the day.  We are usually inside by 10 a.m.  We head back outside in late afternoon and evening.  These days it has been so hot that late afternoon is still too hot.  We have plenty of work to do inside too.
  • I think these days, it is very important to get plenty of rest.
  • We drink plenty of filtered water. The water may be cool but not intensely cold.  


If you are neutral
in situations of injustice,
you have chosen
the side of the oppressor.
 If an elephant has its foot
on the tail of a mouse
and you say that you are neutral,
the mouse will not appreciate
your neutrality.
Desmond Tutu

Monday, July 18, 2011

Walnut Caterpillars

A few days ago, I wrote on some unnamed Caterpillars that we had on the Gala Apple Tree. Those Caterpillars could be Walnut Caterpillars.  According to Jennifer Schutter, our Extension Horticulturist, they are appearing around the state.

I did a Google search on them.  Here is one of the links:  The ones on the Farm were reddish brown. 

Part of It

Some people
We 3 C's
watch Life.
More importantly
for us,
we choose
to be
part of it.
we not?
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Look Who's in the Wheat

Richard went out to harvest Wheat for the Chickens.  When he got there, he heard quite a racket.  A Hen Turkey and 4 Poults took off flying.  He smiled and reported the story to us.  His only regret was that Melanie and I were not there.  Regardless, we 3 C's just smiled.

Garden Shots

On the day of the Garden Tour, I headed out to take some Pictures.  The Garden indeed looks very lovely.  Yes, we have tidied it up a bit for company.  But yes, we are also keeping a little more ahead of the Weeds this year.  Richard has been frontrunner here.  But those raised beds mean that we have far greater access to the Garden.  And that feels good.

The 1st photo shows that the Mandan Bride Indian Corn is beginning to "tassel", or pollinate.  Looking closely, small ears are beginning to form lower on the plant.  (You cannot see them in this photo.)  I love this variety of Indian Corn, which will be in several different colors and so too is the pollen.

For the most part, my dry Edible Beans are looking great. Midsummer is their season.  Look at them go.  The 3rd bed from the left is Georgia Jet Sweet Potatoes. I got them from a neighbor lady of Richard's Mother.  She is quite well known as a gardener and a grower of Sweet Potatoes in the parts.
 I also planted the Orange Oakleaf Sweet Potato.  Like Georgia Jet, it is an Heirloom.  It has beautiful "cut leaves".  That little Flower hiding on the end of that bed is a Marigold from Rolf.
This is another view of the same area shown earlier.  The Georgia Jet Sweet Potatoes are in front.  The next row is Tiger Eye Dry Edible Beans.  And behind them are the 2 stands of Pole Beans.  I am not sure of the varieties of Pole Beans in this photo. I would need to take a closer look.
The Henderson's Bush Limas are blooming and setting pods.  Look down at the bottom: the teeniest of pods are beginning to form.  I loved Baby Limas when I was a child.  I need to watch these carefully because I would like to harvest them when the Beans are Green.
This is an overview of Richard's Melon Patch, with Zinnias, Green Beans, and Chicken Houses in the Background.  All of the Crops depicted in these Photos like Warm Season the Best.  This is their season to shine.  Life is good here on the Farm.

Garden Tour

The Garden Tour on Saturday was just great.  Thirty-four fellow Gardeners came walking down the drive. 

We asked Folks to park on the Gravel Road to lessen the impact of Cars on the Land.  I have to chuckle at this one.  Amazingly, it seems one of the few times that Cars have not taken precedent in our world.  That's something to ponder:  the impact of Cars on the Earth.  Cars must have seemed like such a good idea in the beginning, but look where they have gotten us now. 

For the Garden Tour, we took extra precautions with the heat.  If Folks needed to, they could drive to the House.  None did.  I think just about everyone was wearing a Hat. We had water on hand and sat in the shade for starters.  We advised Folks to take good care of themselves.  And we all did.

I just love the possibilities of an extended family of Gardeners to share questions and learnings.  That means we can learn and grow from each other.  That's huge.

Gardening is getting big in our world.  We Humans are slowing things down and bringing back that "can-do" spirit.  Yes, the learning curve is steep.  We are getting our hands in the Soil.  We are learning the elementals of what it takes to support Life.  In that, I find hope for our times.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Can Use Pots

If anybody around here has Pots (Plastic or Clay) suitable for Houseplants, I can surely used them.  We have some pretty prolific House Plants (perennials too) around here that would like to go to other Homes. We gave away Pots when we moved here.  I should have packed them, but knew Gardeners would have stashes here too.  Just haven't found their stashes. The size I most need in the moment is 6 inch.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Notes on the Garden Tour

  • WeatherUnderground forecasts an Excessive Heat Watch beginning Saturday afternoon (July 16).  Garden Tour here at the Farm is 10am-noon (in the time leading up to the Excessive Heat Watch). Our Garden is in the Sun.  We will talk part of the time from the comfort of chairs in a shaded area.  Please come with ample protection:  Make sure you are hydrated, bring water (we'll have water too), wear a hat, consider bringing an umbrella (like the Old Timers did), protect that skin. My favorite summer apparel when I am in the Sun is a broad brimmed hat and loose fitting lightweight and light colored cotton clothing. And of course, we will look out for ourselves and for each other, making adjustments as needed.
  • And if you know heat is likely to be too much for you, then stay home.  The Garden Tour at our Farm will come around again, just maybe not for you this season.
  • The Garden Tour is intended to be "Garden Conversation".  Yes, we 3 C's will share what we have learned these past 5 gardening seasons here in northeast Missouri. The learning curve has been steep.  You won't see perfection here, but you will see a family committed toward learning to grow our own Food.  Every person who comes to the gathering will have things to share,  questions and solutions to their own challenges.  We invite you to share those teachings along your path.
  • "Gardeners rock."  It is a privilege to get Gardeners together and see where we go. Our collective knowledge is growing, yet we have so much more to learn.  We take comfort in knowing that we 3 C's are not alone.   
  • Nature offers us a time to ponder heat's effects on Plants and what Gardeners can do to maximize benefits. It is also a time to ponder the narrow range of conditions on this Planet that support Life. We don't want to interfere with that.
  • The focus will be on Organic Food Production. We 3 C's are trying to follow a "Natural Systems Approach" to maximize potential for growth and success.
  • Please park along Frontier Lane and walk down the drive to the house.  This will lessen impacts on the Land.  Those heavy Cars compact the Soil.  If that request is a stretch for you in terms of walking, then you may certainly drive in. Please do not park on the Lawn.
  • We ask that you carpool if at all possible.  Walking, biking, hitching up your horse are also possibilities. This will lessen our "Carbon Footprint" and contribution to Global Warming. While we 3 C's choose to grow our own Food in part because it is healthier for us, we also do it to minimize our "Carbon Footprint" on this beautiful Planet with which we were entrusted.  Instead of eating Food transported 1500 miles (with considerable Fossil Fuel inputs), ours is 100 feet away.  That Food gets to the house on our own 2 feet.
  • When you are here, remember this is a small Farm set in the Country.  You will see Butterflies, Birds, Bees, Prairie Grasses and Flowers.  You may even see a Turtle or a Snake.  They are all part of the mix.
  • We believe that returning to an Agrarian Lifestyle is a celebration of the possibilities open to the Human Experience.  We are richly blessed to live at a time when this is possible and to be surrounded by so many other People who are seeking something similar in their own way.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Subject of Bees

Jacob, one of our Amish neighbors, stopped today and asked if he could place some hives on our Farm.  The answer was "Yes!"  In fact, he may even be doing it tonight.  We are excited.

Nothing Beats a Good Bath

We had a Storm come up out of what seemed like nowhere today.  I was in town and stayed put.  Richard and Melanie were on the Farm waiting for it to pass.  Skies turned black and a Tornado Warning was issued.  Fortunately, it didn't amount to much around here.  We did get 1/2 of Rain, which we needed.  And the temperature cooled.  For these things, we are grateful.

After the Rain, Richard observed a Robin having a wonderful Bath in a puddle outside. Nearby, a Bluebird stood.  When the Robin left, the Bluebird headed into the same puddle.  From the outside, it seemed like luxurious Baths.  I think that Robins, Bluebirds, and Humans would agree that nothing beats a good bath, especially after all this heat.

Sweet Delight

Glinda Crawford, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do Something

Years ago, I saw a Canadian film where a Mother was recounting an experience with her daughter.  The daughter, who was 14, had just borne witness to environmental devastation.  I do not remember the experience.  The Mother said her daughter looked up at her and said: "Do something. Do something."  We need to do something and we need to do it now.

This powerful video, which came to my attention today, gives glimpses of insight, experience and wisdom of Inuit People. We "Southern Ones" know not the damage that we send out to the world.  Or rather, do we choose not to see? 

Do something.

Weeding Cane

July 5:

As soon is it is light enough to work, Richard is going out to weed the Sorghum Cane. He is surely making progress. I laugh when I think about how slow we were at this in the beginning. You should see him go. Melanie and I are making it out there toward the tail end of his work. He is averaging about 4 rows each morning.

It's a big job. It's an important job. If we are going to have Molasses in the fall, every step along the path is essential.

Not Always a Pretty Picture

Lest you think things are idyllic, I should set the record straight. It's not always a pretty picture around here. We have bugs, weeds, diseases too. We try to learn from them and keep their damage minimal. 

The latest visitors (or should I say residents?) were found today on the Gala Apple. The tender top of one limb was defoliated. A closer look revealed a lot of energetic caterpillars who were just doing their thing. On this particular occasion, that was chowing down.  Richard put the limb, caterpillars and all right into a plastic bag which he sealed.

Melanie went inside and grabbed one of our favorite books on diseases and insects on plants and organic remedies.  The critters didn't look exactly the same as any of the pictures.  We wondered if they were Tent Caterpillars, but no webbing was found. 

I told my partners on this Little Farm that I'd take pictures and send them to our Missouri Extension Horticulturist Jennifer Schutter.  Jennifer and the Extension Service are great resources for Gardeners.

In the meantime, we checked all the Fruit Trees and found no further evidence of Caterpillars.  Richard stuffed the plastic sack into the Garbage.  Sorry, Little Critters, but you cannot hang around here.

Just Like Teenage Boys

Those Cockerels
eat a lot.
Just like
Teenage Boys.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Neighbors Seem Closer

As a Newbie to a Neighborhood, one often notices that Neighbors are at 1st friendly but reserved.  Who is this new person?  Is it going to work out?  The Newbie is too.  The Newbie remembers the close relationships with former Neighbors and Friends from the former residence; the Newbie sometimes is very eager for such relationships to occur.  But such relationships proceed slowly.  Over time, increasingly comfort and trust develop.  Openness grows.  That's the plan.
On 3 occasions, we have observed more closeness in the Neighborhood these last 2 days. That success has occurred in the Animal Kingdom.  The Animals seem to be getting closer and more relaxed with their Human Neighbors on this little Spot of Ground.  The Human Neighbors are the Newbies longevity of history for themselves or their families on this Land. 

Occasion 1: Richard was digging Onions yesterday.  A Big Toad was about a foot from his right foot (that is, Richard's right foot).  The Toad was about 4 inches from nose to tail.  Toads don't seem to have tails.  Richard continued to dig Onions and the Toad seemed content with the doin's.  Pretty soon, a fluffy big white Caterpillar came along on the other side of the Toad.  The Toad was right in the Caterpillar's path.  Never mind, the Caterpillar just climbed right up and over the Toad; then came down on the other side, continuing along his path.

Occasion 2: Melanie was out near the Peach Tree today.  Today has been hot; the order of this day is to seek any comfort that one can find.  A Big Squirrel came walking along beside her, just about 5 feet away.  He passed her and headed straight to the area where the Chickens have their dust baths.  That Squirrel settled into a luxurious Dust Bath himself, on the other side of Melanie.  He paid her no never mind.

Occasion 3: The Doe came down the path this evening where her 2 spotted Fawns.
After these very special occasions, we Humans smile.  We feel warmed inside, and it has nothing to do with the Heat.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cane Is Weeded

Richard completed the weeding of the Sorghum Cane today.  Yippee skippee. I can imagine those little Plants are pretty thrilled about their expanded spaces to grow.  They might be a little scared too.  They are small, the field is large, and at mid-Summer, the Sun is making His presence known. 

Nature does not like bare Soils, so the Weeds are soon to return.  The Hoes are hanging in the Shed and they are soon to return too.

Richard said the quality of the Cane is variable.  But assuming all goes well, we will have crop for Molasses making in the Fall. Stay tuned. We are going to stay tuned.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Great Resource

I find the Organic Consumers Association a great group to follow organic and sustainability issues.  The organization focuses on the following:  "crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics". 

In a time of blatant corporate suppression of news which interferes with profit, it is essential to find accurate and courageous sources of information as a basis for decisionmaking.  I am deeply grateful for the work of this organization for its 850,000 members (and growing) and 50 million (and growing) organic and socially responsible consumers.  This is also work that is done for future generations and other living organisms from whom we borrow this beautiful and finite Planet swirling in the Great Cosmic Sea.

Lessons from a Well Traveled Taco

When I was teaching Environmental Studies classes from 1996-2005, the standard was that the average distance traveled by a Food item on one's plate was 1500 miles.  Of course, location of the meal makes a difference and season does too.

In the most recent issue of Audubon Magazine, the mileage of a Taco's ingredients  before it reaches the Consumer in San Francisco is analyzed.  Whoa! Check it out.

I have not seen this particular analysis before. A meal is generally not composed of 1 Food; all those Foods on one's plate in Modern Society travelled a huge distance.  And we weren't even paying attention.

I would also be curious to know the "carbon footprint" of such a meal. That would include more than mileage as industrial agriculture is intimately bound into the petroleum industry.  

We 3 C's take comfort that most of the Food we eat comes from about 50-100 feet away.  And we used our own 2 feet to get it to the table. Richard just picked Green Beans, Onions, Carrots, and Potatoes for dinner.  And he just walked out to the Garden with a collander in hand, picked the produce and then walked from the Garden back to the House. I guess the collander was our trailer and Richard was the truck.

This Life Style which focuses on producing as much of our own Food as possible didn't happen all at once. We started out growing a few things on a small plot on a small lot in an urban setting. Over time, we formed relationships with Farmers through CSA's and Farmer's Markets. We then shifted toward growing more Food on a larger plot at the farmstead of a local organic farmer.  Now we have moved to this little Farm and we are growing a lot. What we grow is supplemented by local Farmers, especially for Meat.  And of course, we don't grow Vanilla, Chocolate, Oils, Vinegars, etc.

Eating what we produce tastes way better that way.  It's healthier for the Humans and for the Earth.  We produce less toward Global Warming, which is a huge issue for we 3 C's and for Humanity.  Plus, I think this practice binds us intimately to the Land that is sustaining us. She takes care of us and we take care of her.

Plants Seem to Do Better

Plants seem
to do better
when I know
and call them
by name.
within the human family
do better
that way too.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Name Tags

Richard made me little stakes as Name Tags for my Dry Edible Beans.  Since I have quite a few (18 in this area of the Garden alone), it helps to be able to track their habit and their growth when I know their name. I always feel better when I can call another by their name.

Sorghum Cane Is a Grass

Richard is on a roll weeding the Sorghum Cane.  He 1st starts with the Tiller in between the rows. Then he has to find the Cane Seedlings in the Rows of other Seedlings.  Sorghum Cane is a Grass.  So too is Foxtail.  It is no easy job to figure out which is Cane and which is not.  They look a lot alike.  We really struggled with this in the 1st few years.  But now, the Cane is more easily identifiable.  I am amazed at how fast Richard goes. He surely is taking the lead on this. These are great before and after shots. The Sorghum Cane is happy to have its very own special place.

We Love Onions and Garlic

Yesterday, the Garlic and Onion Harvests were in full swing. Richard and Melanie began the Garlic Harvest.  Richard carefully looked at all the varieties, noting which ones have tops which are turning brown on the tips.  He sorted out those that were the closest to harvest and began digging them.  When complete, Melanie and Richard tied them in bundles by type and hung them in the shed to cure. Curing means that the outer layer goes from a wetter stage (characteristic of underground) to dry paper like covering.  Each of the bundles were marked with signs as to the variety.

The onions were ready to harvest after being laid over for a few days.  Richard began pulling them of the ground.  Melanie and I joined him.

Onions were laid on the ground in the sun to continue the curing process.  Since Rain was expected, Richard and Melanie picked up the Onions and laid them out on tables in the garage.  All told, we have about 400 Onions taken from the ground at this stage.  The biggest one that we found so far weighed in at 1 pound. They surely are not all that big.  We figure we have about 200 pounds total.  And there are more to come.

We love our Onions and our Garlic.

Classes Listed through the Possibility Alliance

We are finding ourselves in the midst of several families who are "homesteading".  We are all trying to live sustainably, but we have many interpretations of that.  Some are off the grid. Almost all are very involved in food production for themselves, and sometimes for others.  One family has a meat CSA.  We are all learning and growing in many ways.  Several have an interest in medicinal herbs.  We enjoy sharing what we know and sharing our questions with our neighbors and friends.  We are definitely learning and growing together.

Previously, the Possibility Alliance has listed classes that they are offering.  This year, they invited others to add to that list and we took them up on it. The 3 C's will be offering 3 classes.  Two are here and the 3rd will be offered at the Possiblity Alliance. Jerry and Michelle Jones at the Kirksville Permaculture Center have posted the calendar.  Check it out if you are interested. Good stuff is happening.


July 3:

Our Blueberries are getting ripe.  Can you believe that?

I made Peach Crumble, which was Gluten free, of course. Melanie suggested Fresh Blueberries would go great with the Crumble.

So she headed with collander in hand to the Blueberry Bushes. This is our 1st big picking of Blueberries on our relatively new bushes. Some of the Berries did not make it into the House. We did not count. Nor did we weigh in.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Commit to Learn

People of my Kind
have the mixed up
"Anyone can grow food."
It's like
anyone can walk
down the Produce Aisle
at the Grocery Store
and pick out
or Broccoli.
It's the same
as growing Food,
Plus, we have had
for a long time 
a deeply unfortunate,
lowly perception
of Farmers,
who traditionally
are People
of the Earth.
Growing Food
is a highly
sophisticated Craft
between the Human
and the Earth
of Complexity
that we can never
completely know.
We can apologize
for our hubris.
And we
can commit
to learn. 
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Actions in Rain

Just after it got light this morning (about 5:30 a.m.), Richard headed out and began hand weeding the Sorghum Cane.  By the time I was moving around, he had already weeded 4 Rows.  Weeding Sorghum Cane, which is a Grass, is a tedious matter, especially when the Weeds penetrating the Rows are Grass.  "Who among you are Sorghum Cane? Raise your hands please."

I was moving about by a little after 7.  Rain was in the forecast and we knew it would be soon.  Richard and I worked in tandem to finish some of the plantings in the Big Garden.  Those Seeds would be thrilled to be blessed by the Rain.

We finished just in time.  The Rains came and 2 of the C's headed inside.  I heard an urgent call from Max, the Cat.  He was getting the full force of the Rain on the West Porch.  I let him inside. 

"Where's Melanie?" Melanie had headed outside to make sure that the Littles would be OK.  In making sure that they were OK, she came inside dripping. 

We got 1/4 inch from this Rain. For the most part, the Rain was gentle and cooling.  It was so wonderful to have Rain that was gentle.  I had almost forgotten what it was like. Most of our Rain in recent weeks has been accompanied by Storms.  During those times, we are surely on edge.  Instead, today, we just relaxed into this Rain. And we were grateful.


Encounter 1:

While Melanie was picking Blueberries, she noted a little Green Bug dart under a leaf.  She looked and noted it was a Praying Mantis, which was just a baby.  Then the Mantis scurried off and she could not find it.  So she continued picking Blueberries. 

I came along and Melanie got excited.  She pointed where the Mantis had been, and there it was again.  I darted off quickly to get the camera.  "Don't scare him," I said. 

Melanie settled down and started to watch him.  The Mantis was facing away, and then turned its head back.  Melanie said, "Hi."  And he scurried under the leaf.  "So cute," she said.  Melanie said she felt like a little kid at her discovery and their interaction.  The Mantis went under the leaf.  Once again, she saw its head look back out at her.  And then the Mantis darted back under the leaf. 

Melanie said that the Praying Mantis was shy.  "It sure was cute to see that little head turn around and look at me again."  The Mantis was less than an inch long and a nice bright new spring green. Praying Mantises can grow from .5 to 6 inches; their heads can turn 180 degrees. Their lifespan in the wild is 12 months. (Source:

I took some pictures.  And they did not turn out. 

Encounter 2:

We had a lovely Rainshower today.  Richard watched a Great Crested Flycatcher having a shower during the Shower.  The bird was at the top of the Austree and he was preening.  He seemed to be obviously enjoying himself.

Encounter 3:

After the Rainstorm which packed straight line winds of 80 miles per house the other night, Richard got out the flashlight, shined it about outside.  He noted a little Raccoon on the platform bird feeder.  The Raccoon was sitting there eating Sunflower Seeds.  He was munching away and seemingly saying:  "That was a quite a storm."  After that particular Rainstorm, the Humans were not even considering heading outside and munching on Sunflower Seeds.  But we aren't Raccoons.

A Very Good Book

June 30:

When the temperature is as hot as it is now, we work in the Morning, take a break in the Afternoon, and head back to the Garden in the Evening. That early Evening Light is radiant in the Garden.

Being in the Garden is like being in the middle of an opening Flower. Things are constantly changing. We see changes from one visit to the next. The Warm Season Plants are coming on growing by leaps and bounds, while the Cool Season Plants are either gone or on the Wane. The Weeds are taking every opportunity to cover the Bare Soil.

Sometimes we note that Plants need attention. For example, as we move into another Hot Spell, most of the Plants need to be mulched to keep them cooler, to aid in moisture retention, and to keep Soil from compacting and eroding.

We 3 C's don't want to miss a thing. It's like reading a very good Book. You just cannot put it down.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Within our Reach

I often look
at the immense Creativity
of my Kind:
new products and technologies,
new movies and toys.
They are clearly
beyond my wildest imagination. 
When I think
of this enormous potential
for Creativity,
I know that
we could find World Peace,
we could find solutions to the big Earth Fix
we are getting ourselves into.
We just need
to put our heads
and our hearts
into it.
We just need
to truly want
for these beautiful things
to happen.
They are within our reach.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Without Sense

I am told
that the latest
in Hybrid Tea Roses
half baked idea
was that?
Just because
we have
a given technology
does not mean
we need to use it.
As the Grandmothers said:
"What will
they think
of next?"
I feel like someone
should apologize
to the Rose.
Glinda Crawford, 2011


If you keep doing the same thing,
you will get the same results.
Source Unknown

Great Circle of Life

The Reader will note
that I usually refer
to Living Beings
as She or He.
My evolution
in my relationship
to Nature
has resulted
in seeing
the Other
as a Fellow Living Being.
The Other
is not
an "it",
nor a Being
devoid of Feelings
or Story.
The "it" approach,
which is common
in my Culture,
is the 1st step
on the path
of wanton Destruction.
My choice of words
denotes respect
to the Other
and it suggests
a humble request
to come together
at long last
in Sacred Community.
I do not see myself
as above
but rather
in a Great Circle
of Life.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

June into July

We are into Hot Weather now as June moves into July. The last few days have been dry.  It was 94 degrees here today. The historical average is 84 according to WeatherUnderground. 

Yesterday, we went out to check the Cane Field.  It is now dry enough for Richard to till most areas, which is what he did early this morning.  Tomorrow morning, we will begin hand weeding those rows.  Yes, you heard me right:  We will begin hand weeding those rows. Hand weeding will enable us to take care of the Weeds in the rows and to fluff up that Soil, which is compacted with recent heavy Rains. Compacted Soil coupled with High Heat makes it difficult for plants to grow. 

It is supposed to be cooler tomorrow.  We 3 C's should be out early tomorrow morning to begin this process.  That means I better get to bed soon tonight.

Yesterday, Richard went to pick Black Raspberries.  He didn't find our expected numbers but he found some to freeze anyway.  It looks like it will be a low yield year.  Some years are like that. At the Grocery Store, most Foods are in Season all year round.  That's not so here on the Farm.

He did come back with some Elderberry Flowers and Melanie picked some too. Melanie and I thought they looked like Bridal Flowers. They are gorgeous.  Melanie got them ready to go into the Dehydrator.  When dried, they will be added to her collection of Medicinal Herbs.
You will note 4 Rows of Onions in this bed.  There are 2 varieties here.  The variety on the right has reached the "tipping point" of 1/2 leaning over.  When this happens, Richard pushes over the rest.  This is the 1st step in harvest.   This process will go fast. 

We are thinking ahead to where we will put them after they are dug. They will need to lay out on horizontal surfaces and air dry to cure.  We are going to need a lot of space this time.  Richard planted 1100 Onions.  We have thinned a considerable number and eaten them along the way.  But there's a lot left.
We are really excited about how well the Onions have done this year.  Compared to past years, this year's are larger and healthier.  We have them on 3 different beds.  This bed, which is the best, is made of compost and it is raised. 

We are beginning to get the picture here:  Our Plants almost always do better with healthier Soil which is well drained.  Those Raised Beds have fast become some of our Best Friends in Gardening.  Mulching helps too.
I started this day by making sure that all my Pots of Plants were watered.  While I was filling my bucket with Rainwater, I noted this beautiful Yellow Swallowtail. Forgive me, Butterfly, but I am not sure of the exact name, or the name the Humans have given you.  We have not been able to find it in our books. 

The beautiful Butterfly was enjoying the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea). So I grabbed the camera and another bucket; then I sat down with no fanfare on the bucket among the Flowers.  My hope was that the Butterfly would continue feeding.  I was not disappointed. 

By this time, Melanie and I were both watching the Butterfly.  I noted that Butterflies have at least 2 different patterns in feeding.  There probably are far more.  Some stand gently on the Flowers and slowly open and close their wings.  This Butterfly's wings were quickly opening and closing, giving a fluttering effect. How little I know of the Worlds of the Creatures with whom I share this Life. I am grateful that they are very patient with me.

This Butterfly gifted me with many pictures and then she was gone.  I paused for a moment to soak in what I had experienced.  Then I got up, filled my bucket with Rainwater and continued to water my plants.