Monday, October 31, 2011

Repotting House Plants

In the next few days, I need to re-pot some house plants.  When I lived in the City, I usually bought "potting soil" from some company that I thought knew far more than me.  They still probably do.  Or maybe not.  They were easy and I was short on time.  (I am still short on time, but this issue is rising to the top.)

Over time, I became less satisfied with commercial sources. These were some of the reasons why:
  • I had read earlier that vermiculite mined in Montana (which was one of the few sources) is found with asbestos. That's not the sort of companion I sought for beauty in my Garden. When I 1st read about this a decade ago I was incensed that Gardeners (who typically are trying to be friendly toward the Earth) would unknowingly purchase a product that brought some unwanted companions. It seemed a breach of confidence of a corporation who on the surface seemed to desire to "serve".
  • I was deeply concerned about mineral extraction and the damage to the Earth and all who might live in the area.  Around the world, our track record is not good.  Yet.
  • For years, we have used Peat Moss and still do.  When we lived up North, we also had the privilege of visiting Peat Bogs in northern Minnesota.  Now why on Earth would anyone even consider mining Peat Bogs?  They are living communities and they are increasingly rare.
  • I was concerned what companies might put into potting soil.  Need I explain?
  • Those bags of potting soil were expensive.  They included waste (plastic bags, likely made from petroleum) and they left a trail of Carbon Dioxide from the places where they had been shipped. Enough of that. 
  • I wanted to use local resources.  I wanted to use some of the same practices of the Grandmothers before me.  If it worked for them, surely it would work for me. 
  • I wanted to learn about this for myself.  I wanted to break my dependence on someone else (a corporation) formulating such products for me. I wanted to take my power back.
I kept nosing around for information.  Among other things, I contacted a friend who is an organic grower. I just recently found an article in Mother Earth News which looks quite helpful.  It will take a while to work out the kinks here, but this is a direction I want to take.  It's just one more step on the learning curve, among many we've found here in our lives on this little Farm.

Those Old Photos

If you are are richly blessed to go through and make decisions about old family photos, please remember those unnamed ones in pics may be ancestors of your friends and kin, who have nothing quite like those photos.  It's pretty simple:  before you trash them, just pass them on to someone who would care. 

Somehow, I see this "holding of photos" as a sacred trust.  It is very important to do the right thing. In families there are people who emerge as story tellers or the keepers of the stories.  These are great folks with whom to discuss distribution of photos and with whom to share these lovely leaves of the past.

This is a fast paced, throw away society.  Some things just do not fit that mold.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I just came across this video  on GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) from the Organic Consumers Association, of which I am a member.  The video is dark (which is not my style) and just a bit dated (only by months).  It provides excellent information. 

I find it amazing that while Consumers would like to know GMO presence in the foods they eat, there has been little organized public outcry to get foods labelled.  In a twist of an old saying:  "What you don't know, can hurt you."  So why take the chance? 

We 3 C's are very careful not to buy GMO's in the Foods that we eat and to buy GMO free Seeds for Seeds that we plant.  Increasingly Seeds of certain Plant species are contaminated with GMO strains.  We 3 C's believe that we should not be "messin' with Seeds".  Seeds are the stuff of Life.  There is no way that we can completely know the consequences of such actions.

If you are on Facebook, the Organic Consumers Association provides some excellent news which is not commonly reported in mainstream corporate dominated press.  You may want to check it out.  In the meantime, the link for the video is below:

Art Show: 2 More Chances

The Class of '66 Art Show at the Kirksville Arts Center is winding down.  The Show closes Monday so that means there are 2 more days to see it.  Times are:  Saturday, 1-5pm, and Monday, 9am-noon.  This has been a great experience.  Our gratitude to everyone who helped make it a success...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Popped Sorghum Grain

We had an unexpected treat at the last Molasses Making a week and a half ago.  I don't know who started this.  Was it Richard?  All of a sudden a few folks were roasting Sorghum Grain Seedheads over the fire.  Those little grains were pop, pop, popping, just like popcorn.

Both Richard and Hollis talked about memories of Popped Sorghum Grain from childhood.  We didn't talk to Gerald who also was there.  I wonder what memories he has of it.  Apparently, a person could pop this in a skillet too.

As an aside, at this Molasses Making, Folks from the Possibility Alliance brought Cooked Sorghum Grain.  They had stomped it in a bag to remove the husks around the seeds.  I am going to have to get the details on this.  It was really good. 
Photos:  Felicia Scott  (Thanks, Sis!)

Who Was...?

Recently, we have reconnected with one of Richard's 1st cousins on his Mother's side.  I went to a 50th anniversary event for Richard's cousin Betty and her husband Bradley Chrisman.  That just started it.  Those special events often yield unexpected treasures. Maybe it is a nudge of the ancestors. 

Anyway, Richard's cousin is wanting to know more about Edna Bell Collier Kirkpatrick, who would have been their Grandmother.  Wouldn't it be neat to have a little gathering focusing on "Who was ...?"  People could bring pictures, stories, hand work, who knows what to make meaning of someone who came before.  I'd like that.

Just who was Edna Bell Collier Kirkpatrick?  The following picture shows her with her husband Isaac William Kirkpatrick.  This picture is assumed to have been taken in the late 1960s.  She passed in 1970 and he passed in 1972. Not much is known about them.  I wonder what stories they would have to tell...

Stuffed Peppers

Among today's projects will be the making of Stuffed Peppers. Six pounds of Ground Beef, numerous lovely Green Peppers, ripening Tomatoes from that last picking, among other farm produce are all waiting in cue.  While we will surely have Stuffed Peppers for Dinner, we will be making numerous Meals to freeze.  Yum. I suppose you could call that Crawford Fast Food.

Stuffed Peppers were a tradition from my Grandma Dora Budiselich Bloskovich, who was a Croatian immigrant to these parts around 1910.  My Father loved them.  He would often make them during the winter months when he was laid off work.  Later in the day, their aroma throughout the house will be tenderly drawing us in.


We are in the middle of that dance of Fall and Winter. Fall has firmly held the lead but Winter is now letting us know that it's his turn.

Two days ago, Richard noted several hundred Cackling Geese flying overhead.  Cackling Geese are smaller Canada Geese.  Those travelers would have summered in the high Arctic.  His comment was that they were probably traveling ahead of a front.  That means a shift in weather drama.  Yesterday he noted a flock of 100 Robins earlier in the day.  We had dinner on the deck, perhaps our last of the season, and noted another flock of 100.

Yesterday was a beautiful day filled with memories of Summer, without ticks and chiggers, I might add.  Temperatures were in the low 80s.  Winds were up though and change was in the air.  We could see clouds tracking toward the North and we knew that today, they would be tracking toward the South.

Some people pay big money to go to sporting events and theatrical plays under big city lights.  We just hang out at the Farm where we have front row seats on pretty much anything Nature provides in these parts.  Every second of every day that amounts to no less than grandeur. We couldn't be more content.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hanging Clothes out to Dry

One of the simplest of pleasures is to hang newly washed clothes on the line to dry.  This has multiple benefits.  We use the sun's rays and the air to dry.  That's at no cost to the Earth or the Human's pocketbook.  And those clothes smell so fresh and clean with their blessings from the Sun.

But is there more? That clean wash dancing in the breeze is surely art. We understand that in some places where people live they cannot hang clothes out to dry.  Some may call this an advancement in civilization.  I think not.  The Grandma's would shake their heads and point their fingers at this one:  "What's the world coming to?"  "What will they think of next?"  Melanie concludes the clothes hanging out to dry are prayer flags to live more lightly.  These days, we surely need more prayers on that. 

Shifts in thinking are present in our times.  Just maybe those "advanced ones" are thinking that hanging clothes out to dry is a mighty fine thing.  These days, it's becoming trendy besides.  The Grandmas would nod and approve.  In language of this day, you could call the movement "Occupy Clotheslines".  And one could smile just like those clothes on their way inside.

Monday, October 24, 2011


We cannot solve our problems 
with the same thinking
we used 
when we created them.
Albert Einstein

Science Experiment

With all the chemicals 
we put 
into Air,
we Humans become 
a science experiment. 
We face not only effects 
of singular chemicals,
but also their combined effect.
Nature didn't intend that.
Bodies don't know 
what to do with that.
Effects can be found now,
at some point in the future,
on the unborn whose lives 
are yet to come.
Conventional thought
Humans from Nature,
and intends to wipe away 
any concerns here.
The Mothers know.
Red flags are up.  
Humans are the problem,
but we also are the solution.
Solutions are arising now.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Juncos Return

In the past couple of weeks,
Juncos have returned.
This lovely bird 
is finely feathered
in 2 tone gray
with white tail feathers
visible in flight.
After summering in Canada,
the Junco is
our Winter Companion.
While it felt like summer yesterday,
need I say more?
Glinda Crawford, 2011

This Coming Home

Living on this little Farm
and growing our own food,
has given 
stunning views,
I should take by the hand
anyone willing
to walk with me
carefully through what 
it means to grow 
food that nourishes our lives,
to experience the cycles of Nature
up close and primal. 
Modern life 
attempts to disconnect us 
from that.
Producing food we eat
is an up and down experience.
We have successes,
not so successes.
We continually 
visit how very small 
we are.
One holds 
that small seed in hand,
prepares soil,
plants when time is right,
nurtures and protects 
that tender yet vibrant living organism,
celebrates and is in awe 
at its growth,
watches how intimately bound 
that plant upon which we depend 
is dependent 
upon whims 
of this place,
holds the harvest at the other end,
feels the warming glow inside 
announcing "I am fed",
feels the presence and nurturing 
of a Force far greater than myself.
It isn't like 
picking out produce 
at the grocery store.
And while you are 
beside me,
we would  
hold and smell the soil,
hear birds in colorful cloaks sing,
watch butterflies dance,
follow a toad on the path 
the toad only takes,
smell and feel nourishing rain,
join other humans 
who want to learn and grow.
It's innately familiar,
this coming home.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Largest Movement in the World

In this video clip from Bioneers 2006, Paul Hawken talks about how the largest movement in the world came into being and why no one saw it coming. These are the times in which we live.  I watched this and I wept.

Visitors and Fellow Travelers

Yesterday, we had 2 more lovely visitors to the Farm.  Joni came up from Columbia expressly to the see the Art Show which moves into its final week.  And Rachel came down from Dancing Rabbit, an Ecovillage up in the Rutledge area.

Never mind, that yesterday morning Melanie and I went to Farmers' Market.  We found ourselves in a beautiful circle of folks who are on similar paths to live more lightly and responsibly on this Planet.

When we were considering coming here in 2005, Melanie and I were concerned if we would find "environmental community".  Six years later, I am happy to report that we have and it is beautiful.  More are coming.  More are waking up.  There is considerable beauty awakening in these times.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1st Killing Frost

The 1st Killing Frost for these parts averages October 25.  This year, ours was the morning of October 21. 

All those Warm Season crops (beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) are pretty much toast.  We are so grateful that we were able to pick all that we could earlier in the week. Now, their leaves hang on the vine in an unfamiliar distorted reality.  Their color has shifted from vibrant growing greens into the area of the palette which holds gray green and yellow green.  Frost changed their physical structure.  The plants are in their own stages of compost, returning to the Earth from which they sprang not so long ago. It's normal, but it's also sad.  These plants have been or companions this summer and now they are gone. The end of the Growing Season is in sight.

Gardening pursuits changed some gears today.  We looked at the Cool Season Veggies.  They seemed to look around at their Warm Season Companions with a question of:  "What's going on?  What happened to you?"  We know they will be next to go at some point in the future, depending on their hardiness and susceptibility to freezing. 

Richard looked at the Turnips and concluded that it was time to begin their Harvest.  We have been enjoying them throughout the Fall.  His first round of digging yielded 2-gallon buckets.  They are happy.  I headed into my Dry Edible Bean Patch and picked the rest of the Henderson's Bush Limas and the Calypso Beans.  I also began the harvest of the Mayflower Beans which seem abundant.


I have pondered a name for our little Farm House.  With the Fall Harvest, I think her name may be Cornucopia.  That indeed has a nice ring to it.  And it fills me with a wide and deep Smile.

We have produce everywhere.  Sometimes I feel like we are walking around in a Cornucopia.  It is amazing to think what this Land and our 6 Hands produced in this growing season.  I am filled with Awe, Joy, Gratitude.  It's a glimpse into the Great Mystery and we are living in it. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just About Full

These days, Food Storage areas are just about full.  I don't think you could get one more thing into the chest freezer.  However, it will hold some of our smiles when we look inside and if you pack them just right. The upright freezer has some space but not much.  When this round of food preservation from the Garden is complete, we will be canning Chicken and Deer from last year.  The downstair's pantry still has some space too, but it will fill up with this latest round, including the canned meat.  We are learning to be magicians in packing things usably but also tight.  We have the biggest inventory of Sorghum Molasses we have ever had. We are giving away some of the older batches.  If packed just right, the stuff lasts a very long time.  Folks we give them to just smile.

Abundance is another name for Fall.  We are richly blessed.  We are deeply grateful. This is bounty that the Earth and the Creator have placed before us to sustain our lives.  The thought of that fills us up too.

Scratch and Sniff

I wish I could figure out a way to put a little button (or perhaps several) on this post that would allow the viewer the option to "scratch and sniff".  The aromas around here at this season are simply wonderful.  So what are the choices?
  • In this moment Richard is "cooking down" Sorghum Molasses.  We decided the last batch was too thin so back on the fire it goes.  Its aroma tickles my nose and really draws me into the kitchen and into thinking about breakfast.
  • We collected herbs from the Garden these last 2 days. They are waiting their turn for going on the dehydrator.
  • Yesterday, Melanie made Oven Baked Tomatoes with garlic and herbs.  They slow bake for about 3 hours.  The aroma is just lovely. They will go into the Freezer for Culinary Delights over the coming months.  I guess that means their aroma visits us twice.
  • Ingredients for Stuffed Peppers and Chili are waiting in cue.  Today may be the day. Which goes first?
  • Once in a while, we get a waft of the wood stove.  It isn't much.  You could call it the smell of winter and the smell of warmth. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Note to Self

Richard dug Sweet Potatoes from the Whiskey Barrel Planters out front.  We almost didn't.  We were surely in for a surprise.  I had planted the Mother Sweet Potatoes there.  Those are the Potatoes that produced the "starts".  Since there were Flowers in the Barrels, I had watered them with Rain Water almost every day throughout the Summer. 

Would you believe that we had some beautiful Sweet Potatoes there?  They are not large, but they are about the normal size that we would buy in the store.  I could hardly believe it.

The Sweet Potatoes in the Big Garden did produce, but they were spotty and quite variable in size.  Some did not develop.  And of course, this was a very dry year July through September. We attributed the reduced productivity to the lack of Rain.

At least 3 factors are different:  (1) The Sweet Potatoes in the Barrels had more water.  (2) Their soil temperature was likely higher.  (3) The Soil was likely better to because it was compost and peat.

I wish we could figure out a way to water the Garden.  It doesn't look very easy at this point.  That's something to ponder.

Every Horizontal Surface

In preparation for the predicted Frost and decline in temperatures, every horizontal surface in our little House is full of produce to be processed and seeds from the Garden.  Never mind, that almost every bucket is filled too.  And we have a lot of buckets, thanks to Krissy and others. We will surely need to turn on the lights when we walk about the house at night. 

As I look at the produce which is in abundance, I am deeply grateful.  I see the Energy of the Earth and her beauty in supporting Life itself.  I am deeply grateful that we are on a path to work with that Energy, to celebrate the Awe and the Mystery of it all.  We are richly blessed.

Frost Predicted

On Monday (October 17), we were in a flurry around here.  Freezing temperatures are predicted.  Lows of 29 degrees are expected these next 2 nights.

We quickly made that list of what was urgent to harvest, bring inside, or protect.  As time went on, Melanie scratched chunks of things off the list.  That felt good.  Very good.

Jim and Kathy from Chicago joined us for this day on the Farm.  They were wondering what it would be like to have a little Farm.  This is marathon time.  The finish line is in sight.  Energy reserves, which have been increasingly increasingly tapped as the Fall has gone by, are really important at this time.

I just saw a video clip of Billy Mills winning the Gold Medal in the 1964.  It won't be quite like that here, but that's a beautiful image and story to ponder, any time, but especially at this season.  In fact, Billy Mills' example is a great message of the potential for the Human Experience to ponder for putting our hearts, minds, bodies toward good in the world. 

Billy Mills pictured himself winning.  We pictured ourselves harvesting with everything that is meant to be coming inside at the end of Gardening 2011. Yes, we saw and see ourselves as successful in crossing that finish line.

While Richard, Melanie, Jim and Kathy were at work in the Garden, I stayed inside and made lunch.  It's important for busy workers to be well fed at this time. The Food needs to be vibrant and ready when they have that moment to stop. And it was.  We had Brunswick Stew and Cornbread.  The Brunswick Stew was mostly from right here on the Farm.

After we ate, the gentle Rain came and the buckets of produce magically came in side.  Please note those larger buckets are 5 gallons.  And also please note that these treasures will need processing soon.

I spent some time admiring those Peppers which is a fall ritual.  When they make that last trip into the house after the long Summer season and on a cool Fall day, they are jubilant with colors of Joy.  They make me smile.  In fact, the whole day does.

Video clip of Billy Mills:

Monday, October 17, 2011


On Saturday, Julia asked what we had been up to here on our little Farm.  In the moment, I could not tell her.  This is the season of being in high gear.  Winter is coming. Harvest is in full swing.  With all the demands, we try to be grounded in the present moment.  We focus on what needs to be done now.  We do it thoughtfully and reflectively.  When it's done, we move on.

This morning, I downloaded some images.  What you will see in this little Blog entry are some "snapshots" of what has been happening here on the Farm.  It is not a complete run-down but it will do for a "taste" of the happenings.

We have been ever mindful of the lack of Rain these past 3 months.  The ground is dry and hard.  Cracks are appearing.  Melanie and I each made excursions where we snapped pictures of this.  One can almost feel the "skin" of the Earth dry and crack.  It is not a pretty sight.

Leaves are coloring up.  Some of the Oaks are turning Red.

Harvest of warm season crops has picked up speed as they don't like temperatures close to freezing at all.  Melanie and Richard worked on Baked Tomatoes.  These lovely gems are sliced into quarters, covered with herbs (garlic, basil, thyme) and blessed with some Olive Oil.  Then they head into an oven which is 300 degrees.  They slow cook for a period of 3 hours or more.  Melanie checks them occasionally.  The aroma in the house is stunning.  Melanie then cools them down and puts them in the freezer.  When they are frozen, she warms the pans slightly by sticking them back into the oven.  When they "break free", she loads them into freezer bags and pops them into the freezer. 

And we did get Rain, about 1.25 inches.  Melanie and Richard made a quick trip to the Pond.  Aha!  It is starting to fill.  Richard estimated the water was about 25 feet across.  Somehow, I had imagined that the water would be clear, reflecting the gorgeous blue sky.  Imagination is nice.

This last week found us in high gear getting ready for the final batch of Sorghum Molasses, which we made on Saturday.  One of my favorite things on this day is to watch the little ones grow.  They are amazing.  Little Dakota, who just turned 1, is beginning to take a few steps.  And he seems also intent on imagining that time when he will ride a bike.  In the background, the busy-ness of the Molasses production continues.  I am amazed by how smooth the process has become after those days when we first reclaimed the tradition in 2004. The pieces of production and the people just seem to fall into place.

I turned my favorite Farm outfit into rags.  It was tattered and worn. We try to get maximum use out of things.  That's what the Old Timers did.  We are novices at these things, but we are doing our best for now.

And we must not forget that on October 15, we had our 1st Pullet Egg.  I wonder who?

Richard has picked all of the Green Beans.  They will be used for eating, Dilly Beans and freezing.  He has them all snapped and ready to go.  Yesterday, he froze some.  Those for eating and Dilly Beans are waiting patiently in the refrigerator.

Stuff's goin' on right here on this little Farm where Harvest is in High Season and Winter is just ahead.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Frost Is Coming

Tomorrow's evening temperatures are predicted to be 36 degrees, while Tuesday's evening temperatures are expected to be 32 degrees. A friend and gardener told us that when in the dark of the moon, temperatures hovering at and just above the freezing point are more likely to produce frost.  Well, here we go. 

Whenever frost looms, we get really busy.  Speed just picks up a notch.  Today, Richard picked 5 gallons of beans today. Tomorrow, we will be harvesting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, peanuts.  It's time to dig up the gladiola and dahlia bulbs. We have each spent time traveling around the garden noting what is immediately to be done.

New friends Jim and Kathy are coming tomorrow.  They have just arrived.  They are the same age that Richard and I are and they are thinking about setting up their own little Farm in the area.  They'd like to learn what we have been doing.  Richard and I are both 63.  He is soon to be 64.  We just started this little operation 4 1/2 years ago with daughter Melanie.  It's quite an adventure to begin farming and especially when one is older.  You can't really work harder at this age, but we've learned some tricks about working smarter.  It will be fun to share time with them and to learn what their hopes and dreams are.  We will also appreciate their help at this crunch time.

2011 Molasses Complete

The 4th and last batch of Sorghum Molasses was made yesterday.  October 15th is the latest that we have made Molasses and it was indeed a beautiful day.  The batch produced just over 20 gallons which is amazing. 

On this day, we bottled it up and cleaned up the pans.  While we were busy in the kitchen, Hollis, Bobby and Pearce were plowing up in the field at the Family Farm getting it ready for next year's planting.  It seems like this Farming is one big circle.  One thing leads to another and around and around we go.  We are richly blessed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Considerable energy of reclaiming the beauty, wonder, awe, reverence, and protection of Life itself is stirring in these times.  That little Seed lay dormant in the Soil, patiently awaiting conditions just right for its arising.  I found this little Seed just now.  "Be the beginning. Become the change."  Look for more Seeds popping up in the world around.  Don't miss it.  And nurture that precious little Seedling arising in you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lead with the Heart

These times of change
are mixed up,
We know 
things are not working. 
We can articulate 
change that is needed.
But we enact old formulas
that cling to the past.
Many of those formulas 
of the past 
are not working.
We expect those 
in "power"
to save us.
We overlook the power 
within ourselves
to make changes 
in our everyday ordinary lives.
Lead with the Heart.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Go confidently 
in the direction 
of your dreams.
Live the life 
you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Notes on Fall

Fall is marching right along.  Trees have turned their varied colors.  The little white Asters are in full bloom billowing out across the meadow.  Those little Asters are the last to bloom before the snow flies.  Nature seems a bit worn these days.  Leaves rattle.  Looking closer we see that she is into seed production.  I can almost feel the energies of the perennial plants heading into slumber deep beneath the Soil. We Humans are in full harvest, but we can sense a time of slumber coming too. 

Those first few years that we were on this little Farm, everything was so new.  We did not understand nor expect certain rhythms.  Consequently, we were on a kind of continual alert.  The newness is still present because every day is a new day.  But we are sensing a flow.  We have a better idea of what is expected and we just go with it.

It has helped tremendously to take this season of intensity "one step at a time".  Yes, we have a lot to do, a huge amount to do.  But we take on each task, one at a time.  We give that task our full attention.  We complete it and we move on.  There is a smoothness present that feels right and good.

A Fundamental Right

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, a lot of Folks had Farms to go to.  Some lived on Farms. We always went to Aunt Louise, Uncle Russ, and Cousin Russ' Farm. We would have Thanksgiving and 4th of July there.  In the summer, I would go out for a weekend or a week.  And I loved it.  I loved the Barn, the Cows, milking the Cows and squirting the Cats, tumbling around with the Puppies in their big box, riding on the Tractor, playing in the sweet smelling Hay in the Barn, going for walks in the tall grasses up to the Pond, sitting under the Cedars out in front of the house, checking out Aunt Louise's Veggie and Flower Gardens, sampling produce straight from the Garden and warm from the Summer Sun, feeding Calves from those buckets with rubber nipples on them (that made me giggle). The adventures were endless. 

Plus, my Family would often go on Sunday drives. Almost always, we would wind up out in the countryside cruising on country lanes in front of Farms which seemed very large to me. Compared to living in town which was where my home was, those Farms seemed spacious and free.

These days, most people don't have a Farm to go to. I consider that to be a national tragedy.  Farms are a part of our heritage.  Plus, Farms are needed to teach us about living on the land.  They (especially the ones in the days of old) give us an up close and personal look at growing our own food, stewardship, living with Nature rather than living apart.

We have National and State Parks which are very important in helping us connect with the wild.  We should have the wild everywhere.  We need Farms so that People can return to the land.  Farms teach a basic literacy of living for which there is no substitution. 

When I taught at the University of North Dakota, my students and I were involved in organizing Earth Day.  For 2 Earth Days, Mike and Mary Pat Klawitter brought Farm Animals to campus.  People loved it.  But some unexpected results occurred.  Some of the students, who were to become among our most educated in this country, did not recognize the Calf.  They thought the little Calf was a Dog.  I just could not believe it.

Current systems of agriculture which favor large industrial farms don't quite cut it in the way that those old small Farms did. They weren't perfect, of course.  But such modern systems are often quite detached from rural roots.  Instead of living with the energies of the land, these Farms mine soils and manipulate large landscapes for a narrow range of results.  These Farms are often not diverse in the ways the old Farms were.  I realize these Farms have a purpose, but that sometimes escapes me.  They are no substitute for the old Mom and Pop Farms that were so common place. Fortunately small scale Farms are returning.

As my experience on this little plot of land deepens and as I note the lack of Farm literacy among people in the world today (especially children), I am convinced that every person should either live on a Farm or have a Farm to go to, assuming they are interested.  It should be a fundamental right.  How can it not?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lessons along the Path

We came to this Life 
to sing our very own 
signature song 
and to dance 
our very own 
signature dance.
A lot of Folks 
have disconnected 
from that.
Worse yet, 
they sing a song
and dance a dance
that belongs to another.
When we are disconnected 
from that beautiful 
radiant energy
which we alone carry,
our dis-ease escalates.
Now why would 
we want to do that?
we should do what makes 
our hearts sing 
and our spirits dance.
Our world needs 
the beauty 
that we alone carry.
Glinda Crawford, 2011


We received Rain today, much needed Rain.  Everywhere I went (and I was in Quincy today), people stopped in their tracks and remarked about the much needed Rain.  Here at the Farm, we had about 1 1/4 inches.  It is so beautiful.  We have had a long dry spell.  Richard said we got more Rain today than we have in the last 3 months. 

Just before Dinner tonight, Melanie and Richard took a quick trip out to the Pond.  Our Pond went from a dry cup in the Earth to a real Pond which is a large puddle at about 20 feet across.  Praises be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn Color

October 2:

We took a walk this evening. We noted splashes of Autumn Color. Last year, we didn't have much in the way of Autumn Color. We concluded that was because the weather had been unduly wet.

This year, it has been wet (earlier in the Summer) and dry (later in the Summer). We surely love those splashes of Red that are starting to appear. And around them are the warm glows of Goldenrod Yellow in contrast to Asters which are purple and white. Nature is putting on a show.

Interesting Visitors

Richard gathered Cane Heads up today in the wheel barrow that was his Mother's.  Those lovely vibrant Seed Heads will be used for Seed, Food for Birds/Chickens, and Food for Humans.  When he brought the wheelbarrow up to the Deck on the way to the garage where the Seeds will dry, he called out to Melanie and me.  When that happens, we know that something interesting has developed and we don't want to miss it.

And there she was:  A Praying Mantis.  "Hi," she seemed to say.  "Hi," we said in return.  She was patient with me as I took pictures.  I wonder if she was as curious about us as we were about her.  We know so little about Mantises.  I look forward to knowing more.

We had many interesting Visitors to the Farm on this beautiful day.  The Mantis would probably look at me and say: "What?  Don't forget:  I live here.  I am not a visitor."  I stand corrected.  We (the 3 C's and the Mantis) had many interesting Visitors to the Farm on this beautiful day.

Molasses Production and Food Sovereignty

Today was a most lovely day.  A work crew came up from the Possibility Alliance to help with the Sorghum Cane Harvest.  They included:  Skylar and David (visitors from Lawrence, KS); Dori, Dan, Ariel (from the Possibility Alliance); Matt (visitor from Virginia).

They stripped and headed cane.  Then they cut it and laid it down in bunches.  From there, the Cane was loaded into Hollis' truck and taken to the staging area at the Family Farm near Millard. We took a break for lunch at that point. Then the crew headed over to Hollis' to finish his harvest where they were joined by Michael (from the Possibility Alliance). The whole process also included collection of Seeds for growing crop next year and for Bird/Chicken food, Human food too. 

Allen and Heidi with their beautiful family of 5 boys also joined us to oversee the process.  They are living in California and thinking about moving to this area.  So they seemed eager for anything we wanted to share.  In the meantime, we were in the thick of the Sorghum Harvest.  They fell right into place. 

When the Crawford Family began reclaiming the Molasses tradition in 2003, I had no idea that over time there would be many people who would come to help, to share stories, to seek to know more about it.  At that time, it was described as a dying craft.  I would say that period of dying is changing and I feel very privileged to see it.

David took away seeds which he will use for planting.  He is going to check out whether there are Sorghum Syrup (we call it Molasses) producers in his area.  I did a bit of searching and discovered that Kansas is one of the top 3 producers nationwide. 

Silas, who is Allen and Heidi's son, watched the process intently.  Soon, he was carrying 1 or 2 stalks of cane to load onto the truck.  He is 4.  The whole family seemed enchanted by the taste of the juice fresh from the stalk.  Ethan, who is 1, was the most of all.

The Sorghum Field was just a buzz of activity. When we broke for lunch, I asked them to offer as blessing what involvement in the process meant to them.  Dori talked about how involvement in Molasses production meant independence.  Farm families could produce their own sugar, rather than reliance on other industrial sources.

I chewed on that one for a while and concluded the Sweet Sorghum Syrup Production (or Molasses Production, as we call it here) is a great example of Food Sovereignty.  This is something that our family does.  We save the seed from year to year.  We plant it and tend it.  We harvest it and process it.  It is our main source for sweetener.  How cool is that?

Thanks for all your help today.  Thanks for sharing time and space at this beautiful time when much is being reclaimed.

Stuff's Happening

In about an hour, we will have 8 people arriving by bicycle to finish stripping and cutting cane (both here and at Hollis'), and get things ready for Molasses production on Saturday.  The 3 C's need breakfast which is my gig this morning. Melanie is working on soup for lunch.  She just sauteed onions and garlic.  Can you smell it?  I'm on for cornbread.  Gotta go.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Think Again

"Columbus Day" offers an opportunity to "think again", to ponder the founding of this country and relationships with Indigenous Peoples who were and are at home here.  It isn't easy to look at these things.  But we must.

Cookbook Friend

Dryden, Bernadette. (2011). Cooking Wild in Missouri.  Jefferson City, MO:  Missouri Department of Conservation.

This book is new to our shelves and it looks like we're beginning a long and beautiful relationship with a new found friend.

Simple Formula

It's a simple formula:
Just consider 
effects of decisions 
on others,
those who are here now 
and those who are coming,
those who are Human 
and those who otherwise.  
If that decision 
results in harm 
to another living Being,
another option is pursued.
It's a simple formula,
leading with the Heart.
It's a simple formula,
considering the wellbeing 
of the broader community
rather than exclusively
one's own gain. 
At first, it is a bit of a tangle
in today's mixed up times. 
We begin to see a larger oneness
in our connection with the Other.
This plan works.
And as a result,
we enter into an infinitely 
more beautiful world, 
daily walk.
It's a simple formula:
Lead with Love.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Molasses Making Resumes

OK:  We made 3 batches of Molasses over the last 2 weekends.  We had a great time.  It is a huge amount of work and we aren't kidding one bit.  But everyone took a piece of the load.  And there it was: that lovely Golden Syrup and 40 plus gallons of it.

Enough cane for 1 more batch stood in the 2 fields at our Farm and the family Farm in Millard. But the decision was made that we were done. The equipment was put away and the area was cleaned up.  We relaxed a bit and headed into other projects that had been put on the back burner.

The folks at the Possibility Alliance said they would help with another batch.  Initially, there were no takers.  And just today, Hollis Dale said:  "Let's do it."  So next weekend we will be making that final batch.  This is something we just love to do and here we go again.  

House Moving

I have made a Rule for this little Blog that it is only to include happenings on this Little Farm.  I have also made a Rule that on very special occasions, I will break that little Rule.  Today was one of those very special days.  On this auspicious day, Beth Campbell planned to move the Little House that she and Jonathan have been constructing from the construction site to its nesting home site.

Yes, we 3 C's have been busy on this Little Farm and there are a 1000 reasons why we should just stay put.  But it was just one of those occasions when we drop everything, go, support and be a part of the happenings.  It is a celebration for Beth as her little Cabin is closer to being complete and as she puts down her own roots into making a home here.  Plus, it was a tense day watching the House she's built and loves head down the road, over bumps and dips. It was a tense day for Jonathan who has been a real crusader for Cabins on Wheels; he's put all this energy into this production and now he needs to "let it go".   Will it make it? How could we not be there for our Friends and Community?  It kind of sounds like a wedding.

So Melanie and I gathered up Food and Flowers for this marker occasion.  No, we didn't shower and we didn't take time to tidy ourselves up. That wasn't important. The most important thing was that we were there.

And we arrived just before the Cabin and Beth embarked on their homecoming. The Homeowner was there (Beth).  The builders (Beth and Jonathan) were there.

Jonathan had just removed supports so that the Cabin was ready to move.  We won't talk about the little bit of tilting of the Cabin that went on and the crushing of cement blocks underneath, nevermind that Jonathan was underneath the Cabin when this happened.  We won't say much other than Jonathan's instruction to Pray.  Prayer is always good, especially at marker times, which includes every moment.

The 2 little pick-ups were quickly being loaded with all of those last minute things.  The movers (Don with his tractor, Ivan with his truck, Dana with her pick-up) arrived.  Ivan came 1st and soon after Don arrived, Ivan headed up the hill to flag traffic on the blacktop behind the Cabin.  Dana was already ahead prepared to alert oncoming traffic.  These folks really knew what they were doing.  "I've done this many times before, sometimes many times a week," Ivan said.  In critical life moments, it's comforting and smart besides to have the best on your team.

The auspicious moment arrived when Don pulled the Cabin out onto the blacktop.  (It would have been interesting to test our breathing patterns at that point in time.) The parade had begun with the 2 trucks in front, 2 trucks and our car behind, lights flashing.  (I might have missed someone.)

We watched intently as Don took those corners carefully.  He slowed the tractor and Cabin when under the 2 low power lines which had already been checked and gave just the needed clearance.  About this time, I discovered that popping up out of the Sun Roof gave me a great view and some wonderful shots.  Plus, I felt like a "Jack in the Box" which was quite freeing.

The Little Cabin with her Parade went past the Possibility Alliance and there they all were waving and smiling.  Down the hill we went.  The intensity picked up as we came to the gate into the property.  Vehicles were abandoned with occupants on foot as the Little Cabin made 1st entry into her home ground.

Forward motion of the Cabin stopped as the Humans deliberated on getting the Cabin safely on site.  Critical decisions were made: to blade the area more to create a larger flat surface, to put a bolt into the Cabin which would be tied into another vehicle up the hill so that if it did begin to sway it would have some steadying support.  I can think of those times in life when it has been important to have a steadying hand.

People and vehicles scattered to gather the supports needed.  Melanie and I headed back to an agenda on our Farm which awaited.  For me that was a quick shower and lunch, and heading to town.  As I am writing this little Entry this morning, we do not yet know the outcome for the Little Cabin and Beth, but we will be checking soon.

Happy Homecoming, Cabin and Beth! 

Afterward:  Beth called Friday morning and the little Cabin is now in place.  A new chapter has begun.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kraut Complete

I checked on the Sauerkraut yesterday and it was ready to go.  We started it 5 weeks and 2 days ago.  We stored it in the basement and I checked it every few days.  Over time, we had a slight aroma of it in the house, which some Folks might find objectionable.  But that is just part of the process.

We packaged up the Kraut.   We did not can it.  The high temperatures of canning kill the good bacteria that are present in this "living food".  As we have learned over time, those good bacteria are essential for our bodies' absorption of nutrients.  Overall, we had 12-1 quart bags of Kraut which we popped into the freezer.

Afterwards, we settled down to a long time favorite meal:  Sauerkraut with Sausage and Boiled Potatoes.  Plus we had fresh Green Beans along the side.  We used "Brats" from a local Farmer.  That would not be our 1st choice for Sausages but it did nicely. 

Richard says his Mother used to make Sauerkraut.  My Mother grew up with Sauerkraut on both sides of her family.  In fact, we used a modification of Aunt Della Brenz's recipe.  Mother's German Grandmother (Della's Mother, with whom she lived) Matilda Waibel Brenz used to have a large crock filled with Kraut behind the kitchen door.  Whenever she was serving up Kraut, she would grab a handful and put it into the pot. My Croatian Grandmother Dora Budiselich Bloskovich would fix "Pigs in the Blanket" which we loved. 

Yesterday was Mother's birthday.  While she did not do much Salt as she aged, I think she would have liked that.  We sure did.

Monday, October 3, 2011

For the Love of Trees

At our wonderful potluck while making Molasses Batch 3, I chose to eat on our usual tin plate with stainless steel fork and spoon and a cloth napkin besides.  I just could not eat on paper plates.  They are less than substantial, plus they are a gift of Trees. I think I was the only one who made such choices. In times when the strange has become the norm, it is important to do strange things.

And yes, I did use 2 styrofoam bowls later for Deleta's delicious Apple Crisp and 3 plastic spoons.  I couldn't help myself.  I need to cut that out too.  I'm not perfect but I try.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Musings on Molasses

These days we are making Molasses.  While the work is great, complex, and intense, I am struck by how smoothly it all seems to go.  This is our 8th season since reclaiming it in 2004, after a 27 year sleep and a long family tradition prior to that.

This is a process done best in community.  People are finding their places in a very grand show.  Children play on the edges.  Principles tire or need help.  Others seamlessly fall in line.  And there is often music: bird song, strings, voice.  It's all mixed into one:  family reunion time, harvest fest, and community gathering to learn and share.

I see gratitude for a process reclaimed and cherished in modern time.  And every time we make it, we learn something new.