Great Song Farm Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 16 Week of September 19, 2011

Great Song Farm Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 16
CSA Week 15, week of September 18th
Tuesday Pickup September 20th 4 - 7pm

Saturday Pickup September 24th 1:30 – 4:30 pm

This Week's Selection
Winter Squash, Tomatoes, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Onions, Collards, Kale, Swiss Chard, Parsley, Basil,  Tulsi/Holy Basil, Thai Basil, Culinary Herbs, Potatoes, Sweet Peppers
PYO: Green beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Flowers
Apples from Threshold Farm
From the Farmers
Dear Friends,
I have come here again to write about community and water – wait wait, no, hear me out…well sort of, but it’s different this time.  The water is overly abundant, and we all seem to know someone or have at least heard the stories of people watching their belongings and sometimes homes float downstream, small villages not well known outside the area that no longer exist, and may not be remembered, and people having to go on living, cleaning up and rebuilding piece by piece.  Rebuilding right where they were just wiped out.  There is such great sorrow and striking desolation among so many: hearing of folks standing in their living rooms shoveling out feet of mud and who knows what else, tears running down their cheeks with each shovelful.  Many farms who have lost everything they had in the ground, sometimes the ground itself, their cows and horses, a winter’s feed, a place to milk their cows.  Nothing to bring to market, no income the rest of the year and a rough winter ahead.  Everything is just turned on its head, life is not longer as we knew it.  What does one do when such disaster strikes so close to home?
For me it has been incredible inspiring hearing of the strong wills and kind hearts of so many, many who have lost much themselves, lending a hand in many ways.  People dropping their petty differences and coming to serve the needs of each other, to get to know each other, to understand each other’s situations and bring light to our own blessings.  This eastern side of the river with our minor inconvienances and altered driving routes are continuing on with life as we knew it.  Some have not been as fortunate.  Some in our own communities, in every town and city, people we walk by every day are not as fortunate.  It is not always material goods and labor that are needed, sometimes just a smile, an acknowledgement can heartily brighten ones day.
We here have weathered the storm, and many others are getting by on the kindness of others.  Have we ever not?  We have not had to call you in in such desperation, but so many have been supporting us incredibly graciously from our start, many with full lives on their own.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to wake us up.  There is something about giving and serving that brings such a bright joy to my heart and smile to my face, of working with others to make something and not expecting something in return.  I love having the opportunity to say hi during pickups and chat without it seeming like a ‘business transaction’, trying to sell you on something or make sure we’re not missing a sale.  Every so often I begin scheming of ways to structure our farm to that we would in a sense have a gift economy, where our community, even folks who are entirely unaffiliated with the farm, would provide financial and other support to allow us to grow vegetables and feed as many people as we could as well as provide other services to the community.  People would give freely as they were able and we would invite people to take would they will need to eat well and learn and experience a farm.  We’re a step forward and toward that dream with Community Supported Agriculture, and we thank you greatly for your support.  You have allowed us to strive towards living more freely in running this farm and growing food, and we are doing our best to provide you the opportunity to choose and eat what you’d like, trying to be accommodating regarding pickups and such.  It is a wonderful relationship I look forward to growing.  I hope you are receiving all that you’d hoped for and more.

In Kindness and Gratitude,
-Anthony and Jen

PS We are planning to have a little fall festival gathering on Saturday the 22nd of October, save the date!  Tentatively scheduled for 2pm, we’ll have a farm tour to begin the afternoon followed by a trek to our back fields that we’ll be planting in next season to pick some rocks (it’s really a lot more fun than it sounds!) .  The day will end with a potluck supper. 

Old Time Preachin’ on a Scripture Taken From a Tree

A mind unhitched to a heart? – Shuckies!
If a mind don’t drag a heart behind it

like a pony cart, I say, what kind
of mind is that, but wandered off,

and not just astray, a-lost!  That heart
is like a tree cut from its roots –

a sip of freedom, spiked with the gall
of death, a breathing in without

the chance to let it go.  That’s what
a theory is my friends, ‘taint real,

it’s rootless and unrooted in time,
and also meaning.  Yes, to mean

means not just now, but all the way
to yonder.  A good idea is good

because it begs a spell to reach.
Now, a tree will not deny its roots

and roots will not betray the ground
they’re woven to, and none of it

will say there’s no such thing as sun
or wind or rain.  That makes a heap

of hearts hitched up to trees.  Now ask
yourself which is more free, a tree

or you, and which of the two gives freely?
By grabbies, what’s true for trees is true

for mountain, rivers, birds – gracious!
This is where you’re livin’ and everything

you love is here!  Now ain’t that
a pleasant breeze, and ain’t that

a lovely rustle in the leaves?
To hear it is to hear ourselves

belonging where we live, and blessed.
But let’s not think together we

have found this perty thing; let’s know
it is the other way around:

we’re found and make and rooted here,
and bound to being where were bound.

I hope we’re going to the heart,
I hope we’re tied up in that glory.

Oh, recall that hilltop sermon and all
those blessings flowing from it for

the meek and poor, them other folks
half-whipped.  If you can see where such

a river winds right down to you –
you salt and pepper of this earth –

then look up and pinch your eyes to see
just where that river got its start:

you’d best believe that mount is real
and where we always are forever.

Let us think about that with our hearts,
beating in amen time.  Amen.

Maurice Manning

Preparatory reminders for CSA Distribution at Great Song Farm

Please remember bags to carry your produce home as well as small bags
for small loose greens (arugula, mustard mix, lettuce mix).  The bags
we provide are strong enough to be reused several times and it pains
me to watch so many plastic bags go out the door and end up who knows
where.  A simple habit to get into!  If there is interest we could
bulk order organic cotton greens bags to keep them well in the fridge
and move away from plastic altogether.
Please check the large blackboard standing against the stable when you
arrive.  There are many important notes on it that we sometimes don't
have a chance to pass onto everyone.  We don't want you to miss an
opportunity to pick some cherry tomatoes, or take some extra kale.

The egg shares are in the fridge in our kitchen area with a check in sheet
on the refrigerator door.

Please enter and exit the driveway slowly as it is only wide enough
for one car. Watch for folks walking and the undulations of the
parking area.

 When parking, be aware of the large rocks at the entrance of the
driveway and please do not drive where the grass is not short as there
are outcroppings and rocks lurking.

If you will not be coming on your regularly scheduled pick up day,
please let us know, even if you will not be switching days so we know
how much to harvest and whether or not to expect you.

The Burthen of the Mystery Indeed
Let’s think about the landscape now
where all of this is happening

the work-worn shoulder of the hill,
the brush of the trees above like hair

uncaught by a hat brim, the sky
of unknown mind, the deafened head

inside the salty hat, and across
the darkened skin of naked neck

a line of muddy cows.  Let’s say
the line is muddy, too, because

it’s far enough away for you
to see it vaguely.  There’s nothing else

to say about this scene, too wrought
perhaps, too willfully described,

implying love and tragedy
at once.  There is no center point,

no frame to hold it still, but you
are in the landscape, too.  I need

to know if you are shamed or glad,
if this is doom or grace, because

I know the terrible side of you
would burn it all if you could, this spot

of time outside time, this place
of too much kindness for your kind.

Maurice Manning

A Taste of Autumn (cooking advice!)

The Chinese cabbage is plentiful these days.  Here’s a dish I’ve been making lately tasty enough to please even those who claim not to enjoy cabbage.

Chinese cabbage

Chop the Chinese cabbage finely and cook with just a touch of water and a teaspoon of salt in a large pot.  It will cook down quickly and will soon be sitting in its own water.  Cook it until the leaves are wilted but the bottom stemmy part still have a little bite.  Slice carrots into coins and cook in a separate pot with just a little water until they begin to soften but are still crisp.  Add the cabbage to the carrots along with as much butter as you like, retaining the cabbage water.  Slice the onion into half rings and the apple similarly and sauté in butter and salt until they begin to carmelize.  Add the apple and onion mixture to the cabbage carrot mixture, and voila!  Bon appétit!

A Little Something Else

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

—Naomi Shihab Nye