Welcome to Our 2014 Season!
"We are touched by what we touch; we are shaped by what we shape; we are enhanced by what we enhance."
This was the message I heard when I visited the Timberlake Earth Sanctuary near Greensboro, North Carolina in November 2013. Owner Carolyn Toben had been deeply influenced by theologian Thomas Berry. He asserted that, "The human-Earth relationship is the primary experience of the Divine. The sense of the sacred is at the heart of it all."
At White Rose Farm, I invite people into the gardens to touch, shape enhance the natural world--to connect with its beauty, bounty and balance. They often experience these traits inside themselves. The outer world of nature and the inner world of humans go together, Berry said.
As we touch, shape and enhance the garden and our own food, we promote wholeness in ourselves and in our world. We transform our fears into adventures that we master together.
With faith that we will have enough, and our willingness to give to each other and the Earth, we can share our love to restore the commons--common air, common water, common Earth, common-unity.
With deep enthusiasm for these possibilities,
Posted by Sally Voris :: Tuesday, April 8 :: 8:17pm
A March-like wind blustered across the field as two families came for their first work day of the season. Both had come regularly last year. It was overcast; the ground saturated. I had planned the day: we would tour the farm, visit with the animals and work on the worm bins.
I waited for the first family to arrive, thinking that the ten-year-old boy would want to see the heifer, Buttercup, move from her stall into the pasture. I threw some alfalfa cubes and a handful of grain into her rubber tub and asked him to take it to the field. He and his mother stood close to the gate while I opened the stall door. Buttercup walked from the barn to the pasture. It was a simple and safe job, I said softly to the mother, unless Buttercup was in heat. She was due to go into heat any day.
“Mizz Voris, when she goes into heat. she can climb on you!” my neighbor had advised. He painted the picture of having a thousand pound cow try to mount me. I paid attention. Another farmer suggested that I carry a pair of pliers in my pocket to rap her on the nose, if need be. When she goes into heat, she bellows deeply and fervently. The message is clear: “I want SEX! “ She paces the fence and bellows for about a day. Then she becomes her normal, gentle self.
We stopped to see the young chicks in the barn. Then we went to the old greenhouse where Momma Goose sat demurely on her nest. I have not seen her move in days. I showed the boys the clutch of nine goose eggs close to the driveway. The young goose had been setting for about 36 hours, but she was not on her nest now. Soon, we saw her return and settle on top on the nest.
We began clearing the worm bins. The farm has four bathtubs for worm composting. Spring and fall, we clear out the worm castings—the worms create wonderful, rich fertilizer as they eat through the compost we put in the bins. Then we put the castings on the garden, and add rough compost to give the worms more food. We water the tubs to moisten the material. This spring, we only found three worms: the others had probably frozen over the winter.
As we worked, Buttercup came close to us and bellowed. Was she remembering how the two young boys fed her last year? She put her head over the fence, reaching to lick us. She seemed very friendly. As we walked to the garden, I wondered out loud whether Buttercup was heat.
“What's heat?” the ten-year-old asked. His mother explained, “Grumpy. She gets grumpy, “ she told him. To me she added, We'll leave it at that.” I was grateful not to have to define “heat.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my dog chase a goose into the garden: it was the young skittish mother. No wonder she was not on her nest! We mothers decided she needed more protection. A friend had given me a large wire pen, probably made for pheasants. We carried it from behind the barn and placed it carefully over the nest and the log behind the nest.
Would the goose return? We wondered. How long could she be away from her eggs without harming the potential hatch? We did not know. Are the eggs fertile? I am not sure. What should I do if she does not return? Would the eggs still be good to eat? How long before they go bad? Will I let my dog out tonight to protect her from foxes and coons? I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
She has since returned and is setting again. Buttercup is pacing the fence and bellowing insistently; Mamma goose is setting demurely. I sit here typing this story. It's an early spring day on the farm.