Friday, March 26, 2010


The cycles of the seasons are all about expansion and contraction. Sometimes we feel this all in one day, or one week, but certainly in the parade of the seasons. As we move from the watery, emotional depths of Pisces, the oldest sign in the astrological year into the youngest, firey, emergent sign of Aries, I pause to reflect on the year past and the year to come. As if in some equal balance, some poise, between the great uphill and the great downhill, of sorts. I am grateful for the rest and the reflection.

As I peer into the recent past I see all the incredible work Gabe and I have accomplished, and in such a short time! It amazes me but it is not surprising - when your heart is so fully devoted to a task, work is easy. Work that scared me unto paralyzation before (starting a business! yikes, that used to be an incomprehensible task in my mind), preconceptions and expectations of the quality of work I ought to do haunted me as I explored new worlds, wondering if I would be able to accomplish this thing we have set out to do...but the light of my heart, my passion, burned through the mists of doubt and here I am, here we are, on the brink of a growing season ready to immerse ourselves in the loveliness of farming, of seasons.

How fortunate we have been! Would we have landed this gig in August - ay! That would have been problematic! Even March...we would have made it work, I know, but we are so blessed to have been given this opportunity so well aspected.

Today we received our Biodynamic (BD) planting calendar "Stella Natura" to be precise. Also, the herb seeds arrived! Aconite, Boneset, Chelidonium, Mugwort, Wild Lettuce, St. John's Wort, White Sage...and more! The Apothecary begins ...

There is increased interest in locally grown and available herbs - this is exciting, especially for the apothecary side of our farm. I envision us selling the elderberry syrup that kept us well all winter, and maybe some goldenseal tincture and some dried herbs for making tea or extract; we would love to sell wholesale to manufacturers, or maybe to a local Apothecary that would sell our stuff to the French Broad CoOp or Greenlife.

What an honor it would be to grow herbs for people's medicine! Growing herbs is interesting - so this herb seed order we got today is mostly comprised of plants that are biennial or perennial, and may take a few years to establish themselves to the point where you can harvest them. In farming, many people are used to annual crops - our diet is heavily reliant on annual crops. Things like asparagus and berries and apples and artichoke are perennial crops and usually kind of expensive. In my years consulting with and marketing for medicinal herb growers, I've found that many expect that they can just 'plug in' an herb crop for a food or commodity crop. This may be the case sometimes, like with Echinacea spp. or California poppy, but many herbs don't fit this category. It takes a certain kind of grower to stick with an herb crop.

I envision our focus to be on eclectic herbs. Check out this link, it's my very favorite:

The Eclectic Physicians are all represented here - Felter and Lloyd, Peter, many more I didn't get the chance to 'meet' in that most wonderful of all work-spaces: the library at Gaia. One of my offices used to be in front of the bookshelves in the Gaia library - they kind of 'stuck' me there, and the placement was dreamy! To be backed by the likes of these have old books at hand for reference, to have their silent choir informing my every interaction - what grace, what blessed random positioning.

Well, it's almost April Fool's Day - a good kind of New Year for this Ram. Pretty soon we'll be planting those potatoes that are all spread out on sheets and towels and whatever else seemed appropriate in my herb room; and peas and beets and carrots and chard and turnips and parsley and all those lovely transplants thriving in the home Gabe fixed for them. For now, for tonight, there is a pause before the rush is really on...

Our plants are growing steadily in the greenhouse. Some of the broccoli is big, and the little kale, lettuce, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and hyssop and all the rest are contentedly growing under our (mostly Gabe's) loving care. This is so fun! Thanks for supporting us!

Good night and GodDess Bless!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod

We are fully immersed in planting....and taking care of baby plants. Farmers are like new parents each spring. The hope of the gestation, the nurturing, all the preparation for receiving the gift of new life! We are so immersed in it, we've become, ourselves, like seeds. The camper now resides beside the greenhouse and it is a miniature version of our new home at the farm. It has everything we need - in miniature! Yet we must prepare for when our seeds need new homes in the field.

The field has been plowed and we're waiting for it to dry out again so it can be disced and tilled and then we can plant there, hopefully by the first of April, a certain somebody's birthday. The Moon will be in Scorpio then so we'll be busy planting, and hopefully celebrating a little too : )

Gabe got the greenhouse working: that was an immense task! We cleared out all the tall weeds that the house was full of, and Gabe and Wayne built benches to hold the flats of seeded trays. Gabe got about 2/3 of the house ready and today started to make benches for the rest of the trays we'll need to seed to be ready to plant into the field. I planned, mixed soil and filled trays, and seeded trays.

When Christa and I went to Greece I experienced a moment in Crete that I knew I had been waiting my whole life to feel: shopping at an outdoor market by the Mediterranean. I've been shopping at tailgate markets in WNC for 12 years at least, but there was something about participating in that ancient tradition of gathering your food in an agrarian society that coaelesced so many desires for me in that one moment...and this weekend I had that same experience. I have been preparing for this farming thing my whole life. And I am finally here! WE are finally here, as we have both been preparing to be our whole lives. Selah!

A month ago I felt like I was running as fast as I could to board a farm train - buying seeds, fertilizer, getting the business part going, planning, networking, at the speed of light. Now I feel firmly on that "train" and it's traveling as fast as I thought it was when I first spotted it. But now it's feeling easier in a way. We're still planning, but when in doubt we just plant seeds and say "we'll figure it out". We are on this train and it has its own momentum.

We couldn't be happier, really. We're working as hard as we ever have, but we're working for ourselves. "Noone's breathing down my neck" says Gabe. Except ourselves. And we work ourselves harder than any other 'boss' would.

So: we have planted these, and more - broccoli, kale, 10 kinds of lettuce, tatsoi, echinacea, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, onions, leeks, chives, marshmallow the herb, elecampane, foxglove, artichoke, parsley, orach, purslane, statice, strawflower, valerian, hyssop, and that's all I can remember.

There are so many we'll be direct-seeding around the first of April: carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, chard, spinach, lettuce, kale, collards...

Wish us well. Better yet, come visit!

We could always use some help too. There are so many things to be done! We are so blessed to be working with Wayne, and he having a 40 yr old working farm, yet there is still so much basic, beginning stuff to do it is sometimes overwhelming. It's fun to help : ) The joy and satisfaction of immersing yourself in assisting the plants' work is incomparable. I'm sure animal farmers feel this way, I'm just such a plant lover that this is my paradise...especially with my pod-mate <3

Spring is this weekend! Oestara Oh Lovely One! She Returns!

In Grace,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

at the speed of spring

When I thought of this venture before it actually happened, I asked to be immersed in the seasons, in the turning of the Wheel, and now as it is happening all I can think is Whheeeeee! We are turning FAST on this wheel! I always knew Time was relative, subjective, and it surely is. The relative speed of Time for us now is FAST like molten lava where there should be individual grains of sand passing thru the narrow lane in the hourglass which separates the past and future. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Because Time is so quickly speeding by I'll be brief...

We are seeding flats to start transplants so they'll be a month or so earlier to harvest than they would be if we direct-seeded them into the field.

The field got plowed Tuesday : )

We have more varieties of lettuce and greens than should be legal.

Gabe got the greenhouse working and that's how come we can plant all these seeds.

We need some help! If you want to come work and get paid in produce later we'd probably kiss you.

We're going to spray a biodynamic mix on the tilled field to help the grass breakdown.

This weekend hosts a glorious combination of a new moon in Pisces, so we'll be seeding lots of green leafy things.

Tonight is my last night with Rana, as 'my dog'. Carole told me tonight that in Arabic Rana means "beautiful, beloved". She is both, and will be both in her new home.

When we think of farms, often we are mislead into paths of thought that tread solely on consumption: zuchini, corn, food, fuel; a farm IS like the stomach of an organism that is a family - maybe of friends, maybe of kin, but a farm is not an isolated entity. In as much as you cannot have a community of stomachs - you cannot have a farm isolated from a community that arterially weaves and threads within and without, connecting and nourishing through the connections organs that contribute to the vitality of the whole.

That is your tangent for the night.

Goddess Bless and Be Well!

Take your elderberry and your goldenseal as well,