Friday, June 29, 2012

Lessons and Prayers of our Times

When I see images of fires in the western states, I find the pictures and stories of human loss and suffering mesmerizing.  Maybe it is an exercise in how small is the human and how very vulnerable we are to the great forces of this Mother Earth, our shared home.  Maybe it is an exercise which awakens our compassion.  When any of us hurts, we are all hurting.  Our love and prayers surely go out to those in our human family who are affected. 

I have 2 friends in Colorado Springs.  I have connected with both.  One said earlier they were OK.  The second's home was in yesterday's "pre-evacuation" zone in the Colorado Springs.  So far, they are safe, but admittedly I watch for news of her whenever I can. 

Gee, do we ever know what our version of that feels like from our flood experience in 1997.  I will never forget how upside down our lives were at that time.  I will never forget how very little we needed beyond our own safety, food and shelter.  "We're OK" was a sentence repeated over and over, and it was a sentence felt and heard with relief.  It took us years to recover as a family and as a community.  It did "get better" as we learned some very big lessons that continue to unfold in our lives.

I woke up this morning wondering about our non-human kin in those places.  When we experienced the flood and returned, we discovered a rabbit had made its home during that time period on top of our compost heap.  Before that, I never thought about the trees, birds, flowers, bees...  How could I have forgotten?  They were in the thick of it too.  One of my former students was a FEMA worker at Ground Zero in New York for 4 months after "9-11".  She talked about the trauma she witnessed in  the animals, especially the squirrels.

Climate change is real.  Our encroachment upon spaces which really belong to the Earth for her sustainability of Life itself can have potentially devastating effects which we Humans label as "natural disaster".  It's as if that little labeling system divorces us from any level of responsibility.

I believe we are being taught some significant lessons through these experiences.  I wonder how long it will take before we connect the dots between our human practices and alteration of the Earth's basic ecology, in other words, Her ability to sustain life as we know it. The intrusion upon Her will ultimately intrude upon us.  We are all related.

This paragraph may at first seem like a tangent that does not fit.  But stay with me, dear Reader, because it is at the core of the dilemma.  (Or choose not to.)  We are blessed with Female and Male; each has their gifts; balance is important.  For 1000s of years, our culture has come out of a patriarchal tradition which elevates "male" above all else.  "Male mind" is basically linear in thought and action.  The effects on the broader world are not even imagined.  They are "outside the frame".  Untold damage can happen by "accident", or rather "lack of seeing".  "Female mind" is more apt to see interconnections, the interrelationships between the parts, and the whole. 

I remember when we lived up north that worldwide disaster researchers who also studied us found that women were more apt to see the potential for natural disasters and to prepare for it. We surely do need a balance of thinking in our world today.  Many of the decisions that are made are not working any better than those grocery carts which have wheels stuck on one side.  We just seem to be going in circles and we are going faster and faster.

We surely do have lessons to learn.  We 3 C's are not perfect, but we are trying to cut down on our use of the Earth's resources.  We are trying to live a sustainable life style.  We are trying to live in better balance of the gifts of Female and Male.  Seeing those images and hearing those stories just keeps us focused on the work that we have to do.  Down deep, it is much more satisfying to know at the close of each day that we tried and we are open for lessons that just keep coming.

I shall add to my prayers: prayers for balance, prayers that the human may see the consequence of our actions and change in a way to support life. Who knows how this great drama will unfold?  But we all have front row seats.

Hot and Dry

WeatherUnderground reports it is going to be cooler today than yesterday.  That translates to a predicted high of "99".  We laughed.  Some of the old language comes up:  "Now that's a fine 'how do you do'."  "It's hotter'n' a biscuit out there."  "You could fry an egg on the sidewalk."  Modern translation: " Great day for the solar oven.  We'll use the sun's heat and that heat will stay out of the house."

Clemens is beginning staining the exterior of the house today.  He is using his sprayer and Richard is assisting in getting things ready, especially making sure things are safe when Clemens is at the higher levels.  Judging by their start, the wood on the house is really thirsty.  He is surely making progress.  It looks like we will need more stain. 

Melanie is out picking Blackberries.  Blackberries dry up pretty quickly in the heat.  I better head out to pick a few before breakfast.

We are getting smarter on the heat.  We work outside in the early morning and late evening.  We know the pattern of closing and opening the house.  We turned the air on in the main part of the house for the first time yesterday.  We'll use it when we need it, but we will try to keep our contribution to climate change on the lower side.  The fires in the western states are a sure reminder that we better do something.  And fast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Sending prayers for safety and healing nourishing rains to all of those (Human and otherwise) in the areas of the fires in Colorado and the western states of the U.S.  When one of us is affected, we are all affected.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Art is everywhere on the Farm.

Observations While Blueberry Picking

  1. When the Robins show up in the Blueberry Bushes, Berries are ripe and it is time to pick.  Moral of the Story: "Don't tarry if you want Berries."
  2. I headed outside with my little bucket in which to put the Blueberries and my bigger bucket on which to sit.
  3. I tried to remember to thank the Blueberry Bush with each treasured Berry that came into my hand.
  4. I tried to remember to pick only those Blueberries which came off readily in my hand.  It is as if the Bush was offering them to me.  To tug on the Berries (as in a tug of war) is to yield a Berry which is not yet ripe.  It's worth the wait. The solid blue ones above are the best.  A little pink?  Please wait.
  5. Meanwhile, Robins retreated nearby. I could hear their chatter.  Were they saying:  "When will she go?"
  6. Unbeknownst to me, Mačka had found our spot and was hunting for Robins.  She didn't have any success.  But it was like she too was "farming". 

Keeping Our Cool

June 25:

Yesterday was HOT. We 3 C's are doing our best not to use air conditioning. 1st, with as much outside/inside work that we do, it isn't the best on our bodies to go through that kind of dramatic change. Second, we try to reduce our carbon footprint and this is one humble way that we try to do it. Third, I just don't like air conditioning. It just doesn't feel right. Never mind, the hum of the motor drones out bird sounds and just about everything else.

I remember that Mother had some tricks to keep the house cool. In the early years when I was growing up, the brick home of my childhood was like an oven. Trees helped shelter the house over the years and it became a lot more comfortable. As an adult, I took some trips to Egypt and was fascinated by how cool structures could be.

We don't have trees around the house here. Yet. Richard and I may not be the ones to fully enjoy them, but that's ok. People plant trees for the "future".

We have done a few things to tidy up the insulation. We will do more. We also have put in new windows. That has surely helped. And the window treatments (venetian blinds) have helped too. Hugely.

We close up any side of the house where heat is coming in. I just put my hand near the screen and do a little test. If the air coming through is warmer than the inside air, I'll quickly close windows. The Venetian Blinds know the routine. Down they come. For sure, the east side of the house is closed in the morning and the west side is closed in the evening. South side closes up by about mid day. North side can stay open unless it is too hot outside. As we move toward evening, the blinds go up and the windows open once welcoming the cooler air on the outside.

The little house gets a little darker inside. But it becomes a "sanctuary" from the heat. And that feels ever so good.
A little note: That "string" hanging" down in shadow form is actually twine in front of the window to keep the birds from flying into the winds. It has greatly reduced the number of birds flying into the window. It may look unsightly for the tidy sort, but it's a great sacrifice for our friends the birds.

Monday, June 25, 2012


We have a more clear understanding as to why Farm Families (Adults and Children) in traditional practice had a hard time participating in "in town" activities.  Need I say more?  Gotta go.

Busy Day

It's a busy day in these parts.  Our Amish neighbor is finishing the power washing on the house in preparation for painting.  Can you hear it as I clatter away at these keys?  That little house painting project (which is no little project) is coming along.  Richard canned 7 quarts of Green Beans early this morning.  He's now out in the Cane Field weeding.  He's running the tiller between the rows.  And this time he is joined by 2 Amish neighbors who are helping too. Melanie has projects in town.  I am headed out to do some windows. Have a beautiful day.

Dry Edible Beans: A Little Update

June 18:

When the day's heat was in decline in the early evening, Richard and I went out to tend my Dry Edible Beans. He had already done the weeding.

He put up "cattle panels" for the pole beans to have something to climb. The peas are now officially done so he carefully carried the long panels which had supported them to the middle of the double rows of pole beans.

I remember when we thought we could skimp on trellises for the climbers. We won't make that mistake again. Those plants want to climb. If they don't, they just around on the ground, producing far fewer beans, and creating a mess to harvest.

On this day, I spent some time pulling off the debris from the cattle panels and carefully twining the tender vines up the wires. I also replanted my Missouri Wonder Pole Beans, which failed to germinate. I wasn't surprised. I saved the seeds from last year; with all the stresses of that season, they didn't look the happiest. The new seeds are planted now.

The last step was to put straw around the base of the plants for mulch. The mulch will keep the soil (and the plants) from drying out so quickly. In this heat, in this unusual season of little rain, and in the high winds we seem to be having, every little bit helps. Of course, we never know the end result earlier in the season. But we do the best we can.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weather Forecast

Weather forecast on WeatherUnderground reports present conditions as "clear" for our area.  It's pretty cloudy out there.  Is rain coming in?  That would be nice. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Last night 
we had 1 inch of Rain.
Blessed Rain.

Rooster Saga

Del is out of confinement and in the mix with the flock.  So far, he and Freddie are doing OK.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wind Map

It's a bird's eye view of what we are experiencing down here on the ground.  Whoever constructed this is absolutely brilliant.

I Hear You

Former student Amy G. N.
just posted on Facebook:
"Help, how do we get out of Duluth!?!"
Duluth, Minnesota,
is the latest
"soup of the day",
natural disaster of the day
with 8 inch torrential rains.
Even animals from the zoo have escaped
and some have perished.
Maybe we are all in zoos of our own making.
Surely with our large brains 
and awakening hearts,
we can discover how to get out. 
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Seems to Me

Connecting the dots 
seems easy to me.  
Those pronounced weather events,
deluge of rains,
ramped up hurricanes,
massive systems of tornadoes,
record temperatures broken time and time again,
in places known and unknown to us,
affecting people and places
known and unknown to us,
suggest something is out of kilter
on our precious planetary home.
Seems to me
those dots between 
irresponsible corporate
and consumer actions,
and the drama of weather events
are drawing out thick black straight line.
Seems to me
I would be willing 
to do just about anything 
in my power 
to lessen that affect.
I am trying.
And I can do more.
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Lest You Think

Lest you think that it is quiet and tranquil all the time in these parts and lest you think that we are surrounded by sounds of nature all the time, it is not.  On this day, Clemens is here power washing the house in preparation for painting, Richard and Hollis Dale are mowing, and I am clattering away at these keys to the computer's low (and irritating) hum.  When I push "publish" and "shut down", my friend the computer will be going for a bit of a rest. 

Mayan Seeds

Last summer, I attended the Indigenous Environmental Network meeting on Ft. Berthold Reservation in what we now know as North Dakota.  The meeting was attended by indigenous peoples (as well as those more recently arrived) from North and Central America.  One of the speakers was the "Keeper of the Mayan Calendar".  He gave several presentations and was available for conversation (through an interpreter) throughout this wonderful conference. 

During one of his presentations, he noted that traditional farmers are becoming less and less.  He talked about the need for 3 actions in today's times:  (1) have seed blessing ceremonies, (2) have seed and plant exchanges, (3) create seed banks.  At the close of this presentation he passed out bean seeds for anyone who would like them.  That was just the most amazing experience.  In that simple act, we experienced a "sacred action".  Countless generations of Mayan gardeners (of which he was a part) had saved these seeds for their descendants and now for us.  We saw intimately the blessings of giving "seeds" and "food" as life.  That experience could almost have taken one's breath away.

Richard, Melanie, Emily, Noah and I planted those seeds earlier in the spring.  We added our own little ceremony and blessing to the planting of those sacred seeds.  We regularly check them.  They are reaching for the sky.

Happy Summer Solstice

Today is Summer Solstice.  No matter how I look at it, Summer Solstice is an amazing "marker". 

This is the day when the Sun blesses us with his appearance for the longest amount of time.  For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun rises (and sets) at a point on the eastern (western) horizon which is farthest to the North.  In comparison with the place where the Sun rises (and sets) at the Winter Solstice in these parts, what a dramatic arc that is. 

After this day, the Sun slowly begins to decrease the amount of time in the sky for the Northern Hemisphere.  He begins his march to the south along the eastern (and western) horizons.  That march moves toward the shortest day (longest night). Even the night sky knows this shift well; when I looked out at the night sky last night, I noted that the signs of the Zodiac are at their highest point in the sky.   While called by many in our culture the "beginning of summer", it may well be the peak of summer. 

The ancient ones knew (indigenous people in traditional practice and an increasing number of folks today know) these things because they saw (or see) themselves as intimately bound to the Earth's life giving capacity. They marked (or mark) these days, honoring them with ceremonies, feasts and dances.  The continuation of those cycles was not (and is not) an "expected" for them.  They felt and feel that their actions could actually interfere or facilitate the cycles of the Earth.  While many would raise a critical eye at these thoughts, so much of this is being proven in our times.

We celebrate the Summer Solstice here in a bit of a low key way.  We honor this shift.  We take time to consider how very small we Humans are in the scheme of things.  We try very hard to weave our own practices and thoughts in a way that is consistent with the life giving capacities of this Great Mother Earth, which is our shared home.

Happy Summer Solstice!

He Comes with Questions

On Sunday, Emily and Noah came for a little visit. Emily and Noah helped us out for 2 weeks back in May.  Right now, they are helping out at the Possibility Alliance down the road.  We surely enjoy them being here. 

When Noah comes, he comes with questions.  Lots of questions.  Mostly the questions are about gardening.  Noah has done a little gardening and he is clearly seeking to garden more. 

What this reminds me of is that for a long while, gardening was "dropped" as a family skill.  In its place was trusting someone else to garden for us and place it in the store whenever we might want or need it. 

However, gardening is a highly sophisticated craft.  What the old ones knew about gardening had been carried down over countless generations.  Young children learned at the feet of their older siblings, parents, and grandparents.  Their first chores were simple ones.  On Monday, 2 year old Shivani was intrigued with carrying the weeds we were digging to the compost collection.  She would take the next little load in her 2 little hands, and off she would go.  As children grow and change, they took on (and take on) more complex tasks.

For those of us who have dropped this skill and intend to pick it up, the learning curve is steep.  Questions are abundant.  As a teacher, I came to know this as the "teachable moment" when the possibility for accelerated learning and retention is at peak.

We too come to each day with questions.  In gardening, learning never ends.  


June 8:

On Wednesday, Melanie and Richard picked Apricots at West Orchards north of Macon. They are just yummy. So far, Melanie has processed them into halves (canned in pints) and as jam (Lavender Apricot). They are going fast. All "jarred up", they look like pure sunshine.

Melanie put some fresh Apricots in this little colander that belonged to my dear Mother. I have no idea of its story. For as long as I can remember, Mother had a little place for it in the drawer for pots and pans under the stove. Knowing her, it had a story, and she knew the story by heart.

The simplest of things makes me smile. I wonder what stories this old blue colander could tell.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Continuing Saga of the 2 Roosters

If you have been following the saga of the 2 Roosters on this little Farm, you may be interested to note that "Del" is in the brooder house yard which means he is separate from Fred.  Fred can be occasionally seen parked right out in front of the fence around the brooder house.  He is standing tall.  Their crows have returned to normal.  We have made no decision on the next steps.


The concept of conservation 
is a far truer sign of civilization 
than that spoliation of a continent 
which we once confused with progress.
Peter Matthiessen

Sunday, June 17, 2012


We had a lovely shower today.  It didn't last long and the accumulation was not a huge amount.  But we were jumping for joy at the 1/2 inch that we received.  Yesterday, we received about 1/4 inch.

This is not as much as we need, but it is a relief that cannot be described.  Gardens and gardeners are going nowhere without rain.  Germination just doesn't happen as it should.  Growth is slow.  Leaves brown.  Plants seem to "bolt" forcing maturity sooner.  Fruit set is smaller than can be expected.  Plus, this gardener finds herself sad to watch the garden and the plants which I dearly love not at optimum.

Maybe these days are times to meditate on the intimate relationship of the garden to rain.  We need do nothing to interfere with those "normal cycles".  Gratitude is in abundance on this lovely day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


We looked outside at the end of the rain, and Melanie yelled that the 2 Roosters were fighting.  The Humans immediately sprang into action.  I am not sure what happened to break them apart.

For the last 2 years we have had 2 Roosters. Freddie is a Buff Orpington.  He was in our 1st flock of Littles when we moved here 5 years ago.  Freddie is an exceptional Rooster.  He takes very good care of his Hennies, all 40 some of them.  That's a stretch and a continual test by any form of imagination.  Rooster duties include: being on constant alert for predators, giving the call if he sees one, finding food for the Hennies, feeding them, and insuring that Eggs are fertile and the species continues.  Yes, 40 Hens seemed a bit much 2 years ago and we began looking for a 2nd Rooster.  I should also note that Freddie is gorgeous and he has a beautiful crow.  Even this morning he began crowing inside the house about 3:30am.

We have had several Roosters, most of whom have not worked out.  That would include tangling with Freddie.  There is only room for one dominant Rooster on this Farm.  Any Rooster that does not know his place will be shortly dispatched either to someone who needs a Rooster or into the next Realm.  We like to think we run a "non-violent operation" here and we indeed do.  But this is one line which is important not to cross.

"Del" (otherwise known as "Ippety") is a lovely Delaware Rooster.  He is Rooster #2.  For most of his life (2 years), he has deferred to Freddie, insuring a calmer Chicken Flock (and Farm) and insuring that he has a place in these parts.  However, the last few weeks he has shown increasing aggression toward some of the Hennies.  The Humans were increasingly uncomfortable with this.

We don't know what happened this evening, but at the end of the storm the 2 Roosters were in full fight.  We don't know how long they had tangled. And we don't know what set them off.  Did the Rain and Storm factor in this?  When they were broken up, they were both in tough shape, especially Dear Freddie.  Both were a little wobbly.  Both had scrapes.  Both would occasionally crow.  Del's crow, which has never been distinctive, was definitely off.  Freddie's crow initially was just about more than he could muster.  They were quite the picture too, as both were soaking wet. 

We talked this new situation over.  It seems a little strange time to do this as we were celebrating Father's Day.  Oh, well. 

For tonight, Del is in the Brooder House which means he is going nowhere.  They are being kept apart.  Freddie is in the "hospital" in the main coop.  He's right there where he belongs with his Hennies.  If Del and Freddie don't return to a "calm", we will be looking for a new home for Del. Freddie is older and we don't know how he will respond.  Although he can be cantankerous, he sure has won our hearts over the years.

Yes, it is somber in these parts.  The equanimity of the Farm is a bit off.

It's Raining...

We have tried all the tricks we know to invite rain including: painting the house, removing downspouts, camping in a tent with holes. We have considered other options:  walking away and leaving windows open, washing the car, cleaning windows, leaving the car outside with windows rolled down, scheduling a parade.  We have invited others to do the same.
Today, the rains came. Blessed be.  It's a great time to practice gratitude for rain, gratitude for the life giving cycles of this beautiful Planet which is our precious home.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Michael and his 2 sons are on their way out to the Farm.  Melanie has lined up her Bee Suit.  Michael has his tucked in the car with his "smoker too".  What are they going to do when he gets here?  Melanie and Michael are going to check in on the Bees. 

Overheard at the Farm

G says:  "What did we do with all of our time before we were Farmers?"
M says: "I seem to recall we had more free time."
M says: "I think we were bored a lot too."

Thursday, June 14, 2012


A society grows great 
when old men plant trees 
whose shade they know 
they shall never sit in.
Greek Proverb 


I feel richly blessed to live in a time and space when more and more 2-leggeds are honoring and cherishing life.  It is expressed in various forms:  moving back to the land, taking only what they need, leaving the dizzying fast track, growing their own food, watching birds and butterflies, advocating for all of nature, seeking peace, cherishing relationships, seeing life as a great circle of kin, listening, taking time to do the things we love, valuing diversity, reaching out to someone who is  different, smiling more, seeing the infinite expressions of the divine in all things. 

Life is good.  And it is just getting better.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Change is happening.  And that is a good thing.  At long last, the concerns of consumers regarding GMOs are beginning to rise above the silencing of large multi-national corporations.  It's about time.


When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
John Muir

Progress along the Path

I have to say that of ALL the renovation that we have done in these first 5 years, we have made choices that are more "ecologically friendly".  That has not been easy.  It has generally meant stepping off the beaten path.  It is infinitely rewarding however.  We have made choices that are less toxic for the occupants of this little home, for the craftspeople, for the manufacturer and acquisition of resources, for disposal, and for the Earth herself.

I think the Earth smiles at our choices.  I know that we do.  Green Building Supply in Fairfield Iowa has been the major guide in our choices.

House Painting

Our Amish neighbor is coming over tomorrow to get started on painting the house.  I went to Fairfield to pick up supplies today and to get instructions.  Soon our lovely little house will have a protective coating for the cedar siding.  She is going to like that. 

Full Weekend

Dave, Calvin and Isabel joined us for a couple of days as they were launching their big trip out west.  It was simply great to have them here.  The Farm likes the increased activity and the buoyancy of kids.  Farms are simply great places for kids (adults too).

The kids spent some time exploring.  Isabel had her special books to explore.  Calvin was joined by Friend Finn.  Calvin had lots of questions about the chickens.  The baby Peeps found great fascination with him in their yard.  That led to some jumping up and down by the Human.  Those little Chicken pecks are unexpected and persistent.
Melanie planned some of our favorite culinary delights to share.  Calvin and Dave helped pick Black Raspberries, which are at  peak.  Melanie had the fixin's for Black Raspberry Sherbet all set to go.  The familiar sound of the grinding of the Ice Cream Freezer could be heard.  Kids (and adults) seemed to be drawn to it and the magic that was stirring on the inside. 

And why not invite some more company?  Melanie invited some folks down south to join in the culinary delights and to share music on the deck. This was just sheer fun.
 She made Cookies.  They were gluten free and were they ever yummy.
She kept checking in on the Sherbet.  Her trained ears can pick out the sound as to when the sherbet is done.  And off goes the top.  And out come the bowls and spoons. Finn said it was just the best ice cream he had ever had:  either homemade or storebought.  It was yummy.
Dave brings out the bean bags and commences a bit of juggling, much to the fascination of Calvin, Finn, and other onlookers too.

We chow down on the goodies and the music begins.  The Farm just loves the addition of music. Mark and Ariel join in. This is so magical.  You never know what exactly is going to pop up.  Whatever it is, it will be good.

Some even took time for some Hide and Seek.  The little rock sculpture took on a little rearranging, which Finn and Calvin tried to fix.  We will have to see about this one.  Maybe Mike (who was the Creator) can do a "re-do" some time when he is here.
As the evening light was waning, Dave begins to tell the story of the Lorax from memory.  This was so much fun.  Sometimes Isabel would join in with words.  And meanwhile, Finn was improvising visualizations of the actions in the story.  The deck was alive.

The lovely evening passed quickly.  Soon the 3 visitors from the Possibility Alliance put on their headlamps, packed up their musical treasures, and headed into the night on their bicycles for the 3 mile ride down south.  What a beautiful evening.

The next day, Melanie and Richard fixed Pancakes and Bacon.  I was in charge of embellishments.  We each got to ornament our plates to our tastes.
All too soon, the car was packed, and Isabel, Dave, and Calvin were in the car headed down the drive.  Calvin took a brief turn in the driver's seat.  And at the top of the drive, they took up their places in their seats for the long drive ahead. Albuquerque was the next stop.  And we were ever so grateful that they stopped here too.  Beautiful travels, dear family.

Friday, June 8, 2012


The more time I spend on this little Farm, the more perks that seem to appear.  At some previous time, these perks were unknown and unexpected to me.   Increasingly, they are "front and center".  I can overlook them no longer:
  • I am more peaceful and content.
  • I am filled with awe and wonder.
  • I find myself in a constant state of being open to Nature's surprises.
  • The smallest things fill me with delight:  a butterfly hatch, Quail song, bird feather, watching peaches grow, arrival of a migratory bird.
  • I see how little I know about the Natural world of which I am apart.
  • I am thirsty to know as much as I can.  Every day is like the first day of school.
  • I see snapshots of the web of life which supports our being.
  • Life is one big circle, of which Humans have only one small part.
  • I choose to do as little damage to that web of life that I can.
  • The craziness of the Human world is less apt to throw me off center.
  • It's hard work.  There are no guarantees.  It's worth it.  
  • We are more connected neighbors/family/friends.  I see how interdependent we are.
  • I don't like to leave the Farm. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I just came back from going to our Amish neighbors' farm.  They have 4 week old twin girls and are they ever sweet.  I took a small bucket of fresh apricots for the family.  They were a hit.  It was sweet to share precious time and space.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It continues to be dry in these parts.  Forecasts show that we have "10%" chance of rain today, tomorrow, and Thursday.  Ten day forecast suggests 70% chance of rain on Monday. 

I have to say that it is kind of scary to see the bleak possibilities of rain.  Gardens and gardeners need rain to flourish. We need a certain range of cycles to grow food and that is serious matter.  We are completely dependent on the capacity of the planet to give life. 

Shopping at the grocery store gives a false illusion that food is available any time that you want it.  It simply is not so.  Such illusions contribute to an illiteracy about what it takes to sustain life. 

I noted that the sky almost looked "desert like" when I was on my way into town today.  That's not a proper sky for this place in the mid west.

Many indigenous peoples believe there is an intimate bond between humans and the Earth. Humans can actually influence the consciousness and the cycles of the Earth by their thoughts and their deeds.  Seems like praying for Rain would be a good idea.  Seems like praying for a planet which returns to normal cycles is good idea.  Now.


While Melanie and I were gone last evening, Richard had company.  Three children from our Amish neighbors to the east came with a freshly butchered chicken.  That made us smile.  What a beautiful gift!  It is really a sacred gift to give food to another, and to receive it too.  In so doing, the other supports our lives.  That feels good. Really good.

Venus Transit: We Tried

We tried, but I guess it was not supposed to be.  At the appointed hour and for as long as the Sun would shine, we checked if we could see Venus transiting the Sun.  No go. 

We tried all kinds of "tools" with round holes against white foam core board and the white shed.  We tried flower pots, several colanders, a toilet paper tube, funnels, a DVD, the Weber grill cover.  Venus continued to elude us.

We kept checking the Guardian web site for updates.  One of the videos showed a man with a scope pointed with the small end away from the Sun.  Melanie and I were off like a shot.  We grabbed the scope.  I rang the bell for Richard, while Melanie and I headed straight for the shed.  Unfortunately at that point, the Sun was running into clouds. 

We came to conclude:  We didn't need to see it.  We just knew that Venus was transiting the Sun. 

Venus Transit

More info on the transit of Venus.  We found the video especially helpful.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Venus Transit

Venus begins transit across the face of the Sun tomorrow at 5:04p.m.  Transit lasts 6 hours.  Get those colanders out for a great view.  If you plan on missing it, the next time this happens is 2117.  I think I shall plan on viewing this one, assuming we don't have cloud cover. 

For more info:,

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I am pleased to report that we completed almost all of our garden plantings on this day.

Tidying Up

The weekend's pace has been a little slower.  Our intention has been to do some weeding and put the last of the plants into the soil.  There is a chance of precipitation today, tonight, and tomorrow.  Today and tomorrow are "no plant" days on our biodynamic calendar.  We are asking for forgiveness as we place plants and seeds in the ground outside the best dynamic. Sometimes we just "gotta do what we gotta do".


It's always fun to share random snapshots of the season.  Peas are just past peak production.  Richard has been freezing snap and shell peas.  This will be slowing.  Potatoes are just beginning to come on.  We will surely be down in production due to the effects of repeated frosts on the plants that were emerging from the soil.  Onions are setting bulbs.  Green Onions will soon be on decline.

There are several dishes which just say "Richard's Mom" all over them.  One of those is New Peas and Potatoes in a Cream Sauce.  We add Onions.  I am not sure if she did.  She would not have used snap peas but rather used shell. 

We continue to reclaim recipes from the past and update them for our specific needs.  We used Coconut Milk instead of Cow's Milk due to our needs to reduce and eliminate Dairy.  Richard's Mom surely would have said:  "Coconut Milk. What will they think of next?" 

We make visits to the Cane field to check out the progress of the Sorghum Cane which is at Seedling Stage.  The chickens are checking it out too.  Richard added hills for Pumpkins and Melons on the east and west sides.
The Hollyhocks on the south side of the garage are sure happy.  Hollyhocks are known to thrive in poor conditions.  This is a particularly dry area and the soil is "construction fill".  Seedlings have a tough time getting started as they seem to be devoured by the Flea Beetles.  Once they get started and are in the right place, they look just beautiful.  We need more Hollyhocks.  A Farm is not complete without Hollyhocks.  Meanwhile, Wilbur the pig stands guard.
The pink Wild Roses are in full bloom.  I am not sure if this is the dreaded "Multiflora Rose" which was brought to the region by the Missouri Department of Conservation for wildlife habitat and food.  Well, that Rose took over and became a bane to the existence of farmers.  It is not the first time we have tried to "improve nature" with dubious results. 

This rose likes to grow at the edge of our woods.  When it first opens, it is a dark pink.  The larger it is out the more faded it becomes.  These days, they are just beautiful.
My morning walk took me into the woods which are a luscious green.  Looking more closely, one can see that the surface soil is dry in the woods.

Lunar Eclipse

Partial lunar eclipse will occur in these parts Monday, June 4.  Partial eclipse begins at 5am CDT.  Greatest eclipse occurs at 6:03am CDT.  Partial eclipse ends at 7:06am CDT.  Data are from NASA (

It looks like it may be partly cloudy here.  Most certainly, we will take rain over viewing the eclipse.

I am thrilled to watch photos of children through elderly watching such spectacular events for 2 reasons that I know.  Awe, even reverence, is apparent.  Awe is so missing in our times.  Yet, the Earth provides glimpses of awe at every turn.  Why would we want to miss it?  Plus, this is something that we do together.  It taps a tender and vibrant place in our shared humanity.  Maybe it is in a small way part of the bedrock of what it means to be Human and a truly living Being of this place.  Enjoy, Fellow Journeyer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I have recently connected with a family who live just north of the area where my matrilineal ancestral family has its origins in northern Adair County.  Their daughter is married to Richard's nephew.  What intrigues me is that they live on a "century" farm, which surely indicates to me that their ancestors were neighbors, friends or acquaintances of of my own.

Sometimes I think the ancestors give us nudges to reconnect with old stories and to create new.  Today may have been one of those nudges.  It was opening day for the community blueberry farm and there they were.  I must admit I forgot I had come to pick blueberries.  My bucket for blueberries was empty, but I hardly noticed.  My bucket for family history was in receiving mode.

Morris said he remembered his family buying sheep from a woman named Hart and herding those sheep up the dirt road to their farm.  He would have been about 5, making the year 1939.  I asked if it was Lula Hart and of course he did not remember.  Jess (or Jesse) Hart, Aunt Lu's husband, died December 23, 1939.  It would make sense that she might be selling off some livestock. She would have been 56.

On the way home, I remembered that Phyllis had sent a picture of her Great Grandfather Jess Hart shearing sheep.  So I posted it here.  I am wondering if these are the kind of sheep?  It may be difficult to tell.  Morris says they purchased Shropshire Sheep on that day. (

I am closing this little entry with a picture of Aunt Lula, assumed to have been taken in the early 1950s.  Life seems to be composed of lots of circles.  I sure don't want to miss any.