News from the Garden

work hard, eat well, and give thanks

Our spring season volunteer blogging about our farm!

Our spring season volunteer blogging about our farm!

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And so it starts

The greenhouse feels like it is ready to burst.  everywhere you look, our young seedlings are growing lush and strong.  Eric built shelving tiers for plants at different stages of their germination, and down below underneath it all, the apprentices have inoculated dozens of mushroom logs with oyster mushrooms to add to our fleet of shitakes which we have been fruiting by soaking them in water for a couple of days to simulate long warm summer rain.  Hopefully our newest batch is a success.  We’ll let you know.  

 

This new team of apprentices this year is amazing!  we are so lucky to have Andrea and Caroline with us from Saratoga and San francisco and Eric is back from New Orleans where he has been dreaming up big brass band visions for our farm stand and pizza night.  we started rehearsing in a Hudson basement, and the neighbors ran out of their house yelling “I CANT HEAR MY TV”   we tested the other neighbor on the other side of the house with more success, however rehearsals may have to take place at the farm when the weather gets warmer and the band gets bigger than just Eric and myself.   The farm house on prospect street is beginning to really fill up and feel like a home.  We were joined last night by our first Wwoofer of the year Seamus who hails from Poughkeepsie.  see the prior entry for a link to his blog.  And our friend abby is moving in to one of the downstairs rooms for a couple of months.

 

Now we just keep our hands busy preparing things for the real launch of the season.  And we wait… For the sun to come out and the life of the soil to become awake in the easter sun.

 

Our first starts are ready to go out under a light cloth row cover in the next couple of days as the soil warms up and the dampness leaves the soil.  From here there is no turning back.  We wait with knowing anticiption as everything that has to, falls into place.  We are just vessels for what is to come.

 

All around the land, signs of spring are showing up, and it is beautiful to watch.  Songbirds are back in the trees by the side of the garden, and the hawks circle the neighboring fields hunting for the spring mice who venture out in search of the first new foods.  The family of muskrats that lives by the creek sometimes even venture up to the farm parcel.

 

Still our task right now is first and foremost to raise money to continue on this beautiful land this year.  So please dont mind our incessant emails and facebook posts its because we really love what we do and hopefully with your support we can keep doing it.  To do so we need to show  as a community that this new source of fresh biodynamic food is truly wanted and needed to strengthen our regional food economy.  If you havent ever joined a CSA before you should consider joining this one and helping us grow.  This year you will taste some of the most amazing and peculiar new things as well as a guarantee that you can always pick out your favorites when you want to!  and when it comes to your health you are doing yourself a huge favor, when it comes to the health of the community and our fledgeling farm you are doing us and your community a huge favor.  Its a win win.  Not to mention there is nothing better than the food adventures you will have at our farm stands, in your kitchens, and maybe we will even get a chance to eat this beautiful food together sometime.

–Dan

Spring is just around the bend

We can feel spring in the air as the ground is rapidly casting of its latest layer of somewhat expected snow. hopefully this will be the last and we get a good jump start on getting crops in the ground under row cover.

Activity has started at the farm and we are starting to sharpen up the old tools for yet another season. two weeks ago we fired up the heated greenhouse for the first time and every day since has been spent by a number of different people planting the first crops for the upcoming season. I love the spring times spent in the greenhouse. it feels like may inside and I am always joined by good friends and neighbors who have been offering their time.

Good friends of the farm such as Sebastian, Chenier, and Rob have spent a lot of patient time with me dropping one seed at a time into their holes in the germination trays.

In between we have spent a bunch of time drilling mushroom logs from which we will propagate shitake and oyster mushrooms throughout the upcoming season. Rob Schroeppel is our farm go to guy for all things electrical, plumbing, excavation, driveway repair, landscaping, and even helps me out by hunting down a good oak tree somewhere that the forest has to be thinned. two weeks ago we headed out into the forest through the snow in his monster diesel pickup truck and we brought down a good mid sized tree. what an amazing few seconds when a treethat stretches up into the forest canopy, lets go of its decade of reaching for the clouds and comes crashing down changing the entire lanscape and skyline in an instant. in that instant I knew that it was the right one and it was ready to give itself over. and what a rush chainsaws can be! such a manly occasion.

Our brand new stone wash building is finally completed, minus the roof which is going to come in the next few weeks. this is a real temple to beauty and all that is wholesome on the farm. it serves as a symbol of bringing beauty and meaning to all that you do. check out more photos on our facebook page!

We are excited to be planting our first salads and microgreens in our greenhouse and low tunnel. it was fun to spend the snowstorm tilling beds and planting spinach and mesclun salad. I cant wait to be eating some in a couple of weeks. I am also excited to throw row cover over our cilantro which miraculously made it through the winter. as well as our spring scallions which also overwintered beautifully. the other day I pulled up the first giant salsify root and cooked it. It was so amazing and buttery. It might be my new favorite root vegetable!

so something is still around from the farm to eat, but its scarce. I even used my last garlic this week. thank god for the thousands of promising little sprouts which line the tables of the greenhouse.

Eric is back! and our new apprentices Andrea and Caroline arrive in the next couple of days! as well as Seamus who will be interning with us for the next month. check out his blog http://organicfarmeronabike.wordpress.com. we just met the land lord for the new house they will be living in on prospect street and got the keys. the landlord himself was a farmer for 15 years! he said he will be by to check out how we do.

Eric and I bought some food for ourselves and the apprentice house today at the farmers market in Hudson. I have missed the market so much. it was so wonderful to stock up on nuts, coffee and granola from Tierra Farm, bacon from Sparrowbush farm, eggs from Pigasso Farm, root vegetables and spinach from Blue Star Farm. and my favorite breads from Berkshire Mtn Bakery. Being a farmer who sets up a stand all year and treasures every dollar and exchange that happens while I am there, it felt so good to leave $100 in the hands of all the hard working people who make it there to be a fresh direct consumer who gives the farmer all the money they deserve for their hard work. I am filled with so much love for my strong community of farming friends who keep the food coming, and support us so much with their encouragement as we have grown our farm from the ground up over a period of a couple of years. I love their produce like I love mine because I know the love that made it grow.

Our season to date is filled with so much beauty and positivity and support, as well as opportunity and serendipity. We feel like some force is guiding the farm into being and every time we reach a crisis we work through it to create a solution, or even an opportunity. Currently we have a very strong pressure to generate the funds to pay for our use of the land, and meet our equipment payments, otherwise our production could become temporarily suspended which would not be good. We urge everyone who is considdering buying a share, and we know there are many such people, to go ahead and sign up as soon as you can. Every dollar counts hugely towards our goal right now, and if all the people who have expressed interest in a share for this year sign up in the next couple of weeks we will be pretty close to our goal. \

So we urge you to do all you can to support us this spring and try our new model of CSA, where you can switch out what you want so you can tailor your share to your dietary desires/needs. if you live upstate you can also pickup any of 4 days a week. your signing up could be the signup that meets our target so we can move forward into april without these crucial financial woes that threaten us.

We are so excited to be producing food again this year for the communities that we bring food to. Food is what brings people together it is the currency of love for ones land base, and the outcome of a season of nurture. They say you are what you eat, or that food becomes you, and its true, we want to become a culture much like that of the farm. We want to feed on love, land and the outcome of nurture.

Common Hands CSA

Common Hands CSA.

Every blade of grass has …

Every blade of grass has an Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow! Grow!”
-The Talmud

new website!

Hello everyone!

I’ve been absentee here because I’ve been busy making a website for our CSA. This new site has information that reflects more the business-end of the farm operation and details about how you can support us through buying a share!

I am hoping this blog now has the freedom to be a bit more informal and personal, kind of like the right-brain imaginarium, footloose and fancy free. I will also begin to post more information here about how our summer learning program develops, and keep updating about the events we host, what we learn from mentors in our community, and other group creative and learning processes.

So keep checking here, but also give a click to commonhandscsa.com for more information about how you can become more involved in our farm. We are hoping to have upwards of 60+ members, in our local Columbia County as well as in NYC. If you want to become a more involved CSA member, inquire about becoming part of the core-group of volunteers…Discounts on the share are available in these situations.

Take care and love y’all,

Tess

we can’t help but say “y’all”

It’s been awhile, big changes are underway and Dan and I have flown the coop for the winter months. Out migration has lead us from northern pastures for the arid horizons down south, in Manor, TX just 20 miles east of Austin. We have entered a fascinating microcosm of people, plants and animals. Everywhere else to look is gray, brown, dry and more dry (though the garden is marvelously green). I like to sense the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in the landscape, north and south, to examine the different rocks and minerals around us, and the slightly altered flora and fauna. 

There are 400 ducks here, to say the least, plus geese, quail, guinea hen, chickens and babies of all kinds. Even met a turken the other day! Rounding out the animal farm are cows, horses, donkeys, boarish pigs and of course, scarce cats and a pack of dogs. A goose, “gooseman” who has taken it upon himself to father and protect (sometimes violently nipping at heels) all the baby ducklings. Jaja, the pig, whose best friend is a black lab Charlie. A “crazy duck” recovering from some bad medicine. Together, they all compose a kingdom. A permaculture kingdom, where extra effort is taken to use the abundance of what’s around us, through innovation and resourcefulness, to rely less and less on outside sources. 

Though there are many differing, and sometimes clashing, personalities in one place…there is a beautiful energy created by all the living furs and feathers, in all their cackling and quacking, hissing and snorting, mooing and cooing. And in their differences, they are all kind, looking out for one another. Around every turn of the corner, I feel blessed to enter the world of some meandering, meditating creature. Perhaps I’ll be allowed to enter a narrative or dialogue, some fact or fiction imagined, for how can we truly know what’s spoken in the radiating spheres of existence surrounding. Or perhaps its the “tuning in” that we’ve lost somewhere along the way.

As it works out, we’ve come to the right place. Folding right away into the family and daily rhythm, we’re getting a good idea of what it feels like to be “wwoofers” ourselves, and what kinds of qualities, communication and leadership might be needed for volunteers arriving at the farm to feel comfortable, confident, and encouraged to take initiative. It is always a good exercise to practice awareness and attention to detail when entering a new system, be it a farm or any organization. It is a process of refining first impressions, building upon transmitted information with one’s own opinions and input, and not letting any perception harden, become stale or singular. An alchemy; the farm is truly comprised of the contributing workers, those who make it unique, and constantly changing.

As always, there is a tension between the present needs and circumstances of my immediate environment and the pull of outside news and information. I could literally become absorbed in the needs of the creatures around, the possibility in every interaction, all thats to learn and to accomplish. But there are other realities. Not speaking personally, per se, but of the bizarre politics spinning plates around us. Last year was characterized by riots, protests, upheaval, and unrest; not just in whole populations, but also tectonically… as with the tsunamis and earthquakes. The earth and it’s people are all shook up! And now, it seems that a new fear is sweeping those in power, a fear that people are beginning to think and do for themselves, that control of these forces is no longer so easy…As we begin 2012, I am eager to see how that energy is utilized and dispersed.

So here’s the the new year (more appropriately, the Chinese New Year)! Updates about our CSA and a new website with information, COMING SOON

tmrrw is 11/11/11

Today is the full moon. The sioux tribe calls this moon ” moon when horns are broken off”, and our friend last night pointed out that she has heard it called “the hunger moon”. Both, haunting and beautiful names, suggest a sense of scaling back, of needing less, of waning, of shedding. Personally, I have been feeling ambiguous sicknesses that don’t last longer than a couple days. At first, I feel a sense of contraction, of sinus pressure, of intense blockage, and then after awhile, it passes and I have a sense of shedding something old and outworn. This must be seasonal appropriate. I have always been interested in the turning moons, in the changing seasons, in astrological shifts, and new energies arising, in all that enables and inhibits, highlights and cloaks, lending us to greater insights and deeper understanding. My body must know the rhythm of the year more than my conscious mind can fathom, as much as it wants to logic itself into a pickle. November, a most sacred month, darker and more exposed; made of baring and of breaking.
 
In terms of our farm project, I do feel a sense that we must break off our horns to make anew. Leaping ahead without knowing, the age-old test that gets us time and time again. How to plan around uncertainty? How to bat away fear and doubt and move forward confidently? Right now, we are breaking off our horns, picking up the pieces, and getting our hands on a good drawing board.  Hungering for a greater plan, a smoother operation, desiring to put our lessons from this year into a practical vision that we can nurture into existence.
In terms of this blog, I am hoping to shed some layers and begin writing in new directions, going deeper into what’s actually happening beyond the surface of a start-up farm operation and the kinds of physical, mental, emotional struggles we face, and often overcome. To become more transparent about these things, and to present ourselves as the real people we are.
Along these lines, it seems that there is greater communication happening, on both a personal and societal level. People are requiring “occupations” everywhere, both actual and metaphorical. This lends itself to an overal demand for greater presence and awareness, to show up in the places that matter, and to not let the dirt be swept under the rug. No matter if its the dirt of a relationship, a small farm, or an office building on wall street.
In this movement, what can we, as small start-up organic farmers ask for? We can only hope that people continue to occupy their local communities and economies, and that together, we can continue to go deeper to the source of existence as it is happening all around us. That we come to understand our own bodies and our essential needs as living organisms, and as breathing spirits. That we can begin to understand our local food, who grows it and how, where our meat is raised and slaughtered, where our eggs come from and the names of all the caretakers that make our existence possible.
 
In other recent news, the snow was pretty devastating, despite its pristine beauty. We harvested a HUGE order just as it was falling. We were soaked to the bone, with bare frozen fingers, sweeping the wet snow off our radishes so we could harvest them before they were lost under a foot of snow. It was crazy! The next day, thinking we were saving our young plants, we shoveled (and also rolled) the snow off of the remaining beds. This turned out to be a mistake, as the snow was acutally insulating them, and the frost got most of our beets and greens and other roots.  In other concerns, we are also wondering if our black lab Raleigh is having puppies? and wondering if either of us have the subtle and dreaded Lyme disease. Still writing grants and making budgets and editing business plans. Still researching greenhouses, and compost-powered heating systems. Still pickling things: beets and radishes. And making delicious husk-cherry jam. We are busy and productive and it feels good to write it down here, or else I might not get to feel this sense of accomplishment!  Will include snow-photos and other miscellany soon! For now, enjoy your own journey into winter and we’ll see you around here again.