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March 24, 2016
Wild Goose Party
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Photo used with permission from Microsoft.
If you notice dark circles around the Farmer’s eyes these days, or his Wife’s, I can tell you why.
Many urban-dwellers grow accustomed to night time noises, such as sirens, people yelling and traffic. Here in the country, sleep time is usually more serene. Crickets, the hoot of an owl or a yap of a coyote become akin to a sleep machine for us. But lately, there’s been a racket that permeates the dreams of even the soundest sleeper. Across the street from us lies a lovely small pond. It’s fresh waters attract all sorts of wild-life. We’ve seen migrating osprey dive at blinding speed to it’s surface and snatch up dinner. Kingfishers perch on the telephone wires that stretch across the field there, keeping a constant watch on potential opportunities for food. Deer pause to drink. It’s all very picturesque.
Then the waterfowl return to nest, notably the Canada goose. Most of the time, they spend daylight hours honking their courtship messages at each other. Most birds, owls and mockingbirds excepted, are instantly asleep when the sun goes down. You can walk right up and pluck one from it’s nest, as long as its dark. Inspired, or fooled, by the moony-ful brilliance however, these rambunctious geese start to party.
Last night as I lay in bed, eyes wide open, listening to their racket, I gazed outside. Indeed I could see every detail of the barn and grounds, not quite as bright as day, but clear enough that I could imagine the geese decided to waste no time. Honking and splashing, there could've been a thousand of them for all the noise they made. At dawn this morning, the usual time for birdsong, the pond was silent. The partiers had either completely worn themselves out, or they had finally accomplished their mission. As proof, we soon will see them proudly swimming in circles around the little pond, followed by a trail of fuzzy, lemon-gray little darlings. And that makes the lost sleep all worth while!
Spring is truly here. The birds and beasts know it and so does the Farmer. Our tractors are in full use already, whereas last year at this time they were snowed in, or close to it. We guess you are starting to fantasize about tender young fresh things (vegetables, that is, not goslings) on your plates. We have plenty of space in both our Spring Share and Main Season, so please keep spouting good things to your friends and relations! I also want to say a personal "thank you!" to Dish Works for their recent blog post, "Weekly Pick: A Farm Blog with Character," featuring Notes from the Farmer's Wife! Nice to get a little encouragement to keep at it! And thanks to all of you who take the time to read these notes...its nice to know someone is out there!
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March 13, 2016
Warm Thoughts
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
The spring peepers started peeping this week. The tractor has begun its work, tilling and amending soil. The triple greenhouse is warm and beckons the first planting. And the birds, well I guess here is my chance to throw out the work “cacophony,” for surely that is descriptive of the racket they are making. And just like the birds, the Farmer and I wake each day earlier and earlier, instinctively preparing for the long days ahead.
A Pennsylvania country spring holds magic for me. I still burst with childish delight when I find the first purple crocus appear amongst the leafy mulch of my garden. Eagerly, I push aside debris and think of little Mary Lennox, in The Secret Garden, doing the same. Then I will sit back on my heels and watch my daughter aptly dig for worms while Robin Redbreast admires her work from a safe distance.
It feels a little odd to have this indulgent warmth so early, but I cannot resist the happiness it fill me with. It also inspires me to plant flowers. 3500 gladiola bulbs, 400 dahlia tubers, several thousand sunflowers…the list goes on. The Farmer, naturally, is thinking vegetables: 60,000 onions, 20,000 heads of lettuce, 4000 tomato plants…you get the idea. How do we get so excited year after year about so much work? The answer lies in the magic of growing things, combined with the ultimate satisfaction of feeding people who love to eat them. That would be you!
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March 13, 2016
A New Project for Women
A Note from Charis
I am sharing an excerpt from my new blog, inviting those of you interested in sustainable living and natural health to join an online community of like-minded women:
"For a long time I have craved community. Women who love plants. Women who want to be outside. Women who believe in making the world a better place. Women who love peace, nature and natural healing. Women who stand up for what they believe in. Women who crave community.
This was the driving force behind the impetus to establish the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. I simply wanted a forum close to home where women could support each other in their quest for life purpose and healing with plants. That may sound like a pretty narrow niche, but it has happened. Every autumn when the leaves are falling on the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside more than 200 women gather on a 90 acre farm. Most of these women I only see once a year, at this event, and yet the friendship grows, and the deep connection of sisterhood remains. If you have never partaken in an event such as this, I can only tell you that it feels like coming home. The incredible happiness and enthusiasm of these women radiate a powerful energy of healing, that I hope endures long after the last tent is folded up and put away.
After five years of successful gatherings, I am taking the next step. I am creating an online community, a forum where we can watch the progress of those who are following their dreams, learn from each other, inspire each other, share hopes and dreams.
I am naming this group “Ginger Juice,” mostly because I like the name, I’m passionate about ginger as medicine, and also because it just says something about the fun of getting together. I even had fun creating the logo at GraphicSprings. For now Ruzuku will host the group, allowing us to get to know each other and have monthly online “Juice Cafes” where we can talk shop, invite teachers share wisdom and keep the energy going in the right direction.
Do you know anyone who might need this? I am hoping you do! To make the juice, we need the ginger - there ain’t no group, if no one shows up! If you’d like to give this a try, and see if it feels like a fit for you, then join me on this maiden voyage of online community.
The cost to join? FREE! The reason to join? You crave the support and friendship of like-minded women, and you love plants!
What do you get by joining?
- Access to a private Facebook group, where I will be fully present
- Access to an interview of Tammi Sweet - an amazing herbalist and teacher
- Access to a monthly “Juice Cafe,” with guest teachers, Q&A sessions, and who knows what fun?
- The chance to give feedback on our annual gathering, make special requests, and be the first to hear about early registration discounts.
And if you join by March 13, 11:59pm you will be automatically entered in a raffle for an Herb of the Month Surprise Gift Box!"
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March 5, 2016
A Farmer's Inspiration
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
I couldn't resist re-posting this photo that we shared with March 7, 2015. Just one year ago we had a heavy snowfall that slowed our plans for an early start significantly. This late winter is decidedly more friendly. Yesterday we replaced the cover on the triple-bay greenhouse and it already feels like Florida when you walk in there. Soon it will be filled with babies destined for your Spring Share boxes.
The sun’s strength increases noticeably in late February. On a sunny afternoon and one can feel the sun's warmth in a way that inspired hope. It feels stronger. Early in morning the returning birds chatter, preparing for the days task of foraging and flirting. As the angle of the sun’s light changes, all of us, people, animals, plants, and the soil can feel it. Soon winter’s grip will slip away and the bounty return.
A farmer who isn’t ready loses precious time. The soil is full of moisture after the long winter. Plow too early and the weight of tractor and plow pack the muddy earth, damaging its structure, destroying valuable air spaces. Wait too long and we may lose the benefit of that moisture as the increasing sun’s intensity slowly dries the earth. Working and planting that moist spring earth is key to the success of our early crops. The soil never turns better than soon after the first spring thaw. Crumbly, soft and sweet smelling. That beautiful earthy smell is full of vigor and potential for the farmer. Few things inspire him more.
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