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!

1 comment:

  1. Starting a business is really hard. You have to think of a lot of things well enough so that the chances of failing are almost negligible. Don't think that your business will be unsuccessful when it hasn't even started yet. That's my line of thought ever since we've planned the business we're running right now. We're using all the tools we can use to make our jobs easier, like the Sage Timberline Office for the accounting and CRM stuff. Back then, we sought for the help of a Sage consultant to train us in using the software. Ever since, business has been running really smoothly.

    Whoops, sorry for going off-topic there. I hope your apothecary grows to become an even more successful than it is today. Thanks for sharing your story with us!