Welcome to Our 2014 Season!
This year, the farm will again focus on connecting people to the beauty, bounty and balance of Nature--in the garden and inside ourselves.
Last November, I visited the Timberlake Earth Sanctuary near Greensboro, NC, run by Carolyn Toben. She was strongly influenced by theologian Thomas Berry who said that the inner world of humans and the outer world of nature are intimately connected.
Our most urgent need is to connect--with other people, the Earth, plants, animals and the Universe--all manifestations of the spirit behind matter. In this way, we can create health and wholeness in ourselves and in our world.
We may face extreme weather, roller-coaster economics, crop failures, food shortages and threats of terror. By working together, we can 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 :: Saturday, February 15 :: 9:34am
On Tuesday, we began preparing for the snow that began falling on Thursday. (The farm is hosting a young couple who is considering working here this summer.)The weatherman predicted six to twelve inches of heavy snow I stocked up on milk and got extra feed for the heifer and the chickens. I stacked extra wood onto the back porch for the wood stove.
That was only the beginning of the work! After such a snowfall, it will be hard to open all the doors that swing out--the door to the first floor of the barn and the door to the hoop house. We dropped lots of hay from the first floor of the barn into the basement. I put a tub in front of the door to the hoop house to make it easy to clear the snow in front of that door.
My neighbor, Mark, had long ago advised me to mount all the gates on the farm about six inches off the ground so that they would swing over a light snow. Now we positioned all the gates as we wanted them: they would stay put in such a heavy snow. We usually open and close a sixteen foot metal gate to let our pregnant heifer, Buttercup, into her pasture. Instead, we set a temporary fence on one side of the barnyard and left that gate open.
After the snow falls, I will fire up the tractor and clear the farm lane with its bucket. We will shovel off the walks. We will tromp some thousand feet from the house to the barn, no matter how deep the snow to open the animals and feed and water them. I set aside buckets of water, so that if the power went out and the pump to the well goes off, we could still bring water to Buttercup.
But it is not just the snow that we prepared for; it is its aftermath. As the snow melts, it will leave the ground saturated and soggy. Wet clay is slippery as snot, as one local described it. A tractor will get stuck in the mud or leave deep ruts in such clay. Any field work had to be done before the storm, while the ground is frozen solid.
The young man had noticed that a large tree had fallen into the pond after our last ice storm. A swamp maple, the hardwood was perfect for cultivating mushrooms, he said. Mushrooms, he explained, grow best on recently downed hardwoods. Getting the downed tree out of the pond would also help to maintain the pond 's ecosystem.
Tuesday was THE DAY to harvest that wood. We drove the tractor across frozen ground, walked onto the pond, where the ice was frozen solid, cut logs for the mushrooms, dragged them across the ice, loaded them onto the tractor and drove them to the site he had picked for his mushroom culture.
Wednesday was THE DAY to frost seed clover into a hay field. The clover benefits from the freezing and thawing of the ground. The field showed patches of grass as the last snow melted. It was relatively easy to walk across the two inches of crusted remaining snow. Once the snow melts and the ground gets soggy, the seeds will not experience the frost that helps them germinate. We will have missed our window of opportunity.
I had put off cleaning the manure out of the chicken coop until the weather improved. Now we hurried to haul carts filled with manure across two inches of crusted snow. We worked hard and with focus, and through the storm, we had a relatively easy time, because we had prepared so well ahead of time.
Now it's time to sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the next snow fall.