January Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 1
            January 2012

From the Farmers

Dear Friends,

The great rest of winter is upon us, or we are somewhere in the midst of it, trying to figure out what is going on with this weather—moving between mud season slop and frozen ground.  We don’t have too many outdoor projects driving us to be working out in the cold (or luke-warm mud) just yet, and so these weeks have found us tucked away in our slowly-manifesting office/kitchen space—creating a garden map, ordering seeds, discussing our farm roles for the year, researching irrigation, deer fencing, and root cellar construction, preparing to file our taxes, planning, organising, cleaning, and making a mess.

Even with the lengthening days prophesying the upcoming spring, this is a hard time of year for the farmer in me.  While I know that the work of farming comprises a wide array of tasks—from the planning and research, to the planting and harvesting—I still feel the unsettling anxiousness of wanting to be out doing something.  Of course, the tricky part is, that I am doing something every day, there just isn’t always the physical manifestation of those thoughts and actions, and I want to see the evidence—the row of carrots I just weeded, the germinating lettuces we seeded last week, the turned soil of the plowed field.  Instead, I am offered scribbles of notes to decipher, and, as often as not, an ongoing list of work to be done that seems to expand as much as it retracts.  For every task we accomplish off of our winter list, more seem to appear and gently prod us with the reminder of how short the winter really is, and how many more goals we have yet to complete.  It is not a stress or a frustration, but a mere gesture of the unending nature of the responsibilities we have taken on, and therefore must see through to completion, a little more each day. 

But there is a real joy in waiting for the final manifestation of the work which consumes these days, because the full expression of our winter work will be clear to us (and to you, we hope) with the coming of spring.  The fruits of these endeavours will be harvested next spring, summer, and fall, when we have healthy and abundant crops growing in our soil—irrigated by our new pump and drip-line, protected from deer damage by our secure fencing system, and ready to be stored through the fall and winter in our well-planned and executed root cellar. 

But, over the course of last few weeks, we were able to engage in one major work project where we were immediately able to see the manifestation of our daily labor: one of our biggest projects has been mudding our walls and ceiling with a clay-sand-straw-wheat paste plaster, which has been drying and hardening into a beautiful earthen cove in which to do our work. Plastering is a large amount of work, and we were grateful to host the Unchained Gang volunteer workers from Philmont who spent a day making mud with us, and building walls.

Before we plastered the walls, we created a bamboo lath out of reed fencing for the mud to adhere to.  Here is an image of Anthony testing out different versions of mud plasters to put on the walls.

And then the great messy fun began... here is a shot of Jen at one of our plastering work-parties.

For now, we miss our weekly pick-ups and the joy of community which comes alive at Great Song with each of you coming to gather your produce for the week.  We look forward to spring and summer—the work outdoors, the long days, the bounty of vegetables and flowers, the green pasture for the horses, and the weekly community of gathering and support which we get to be a part of through CSA pick-ups. 

Lastly, we want to outreach into the community and we ask your help.  If you felt positive with your experience of Great Song CSA this year, please spread the word to friends, family, and neighbors.  Help us grow and help us feed the community.  We are currently offering shares for 2012, so if you have not signed-up yet, please do!  We are looking to purchase much-needed tools and equipment, and your financial support now will greatly help us, enabling us to prepare the crops for the spring. 

Click here for a commitment form to print and mail in.

Thank you for your continued support,
With Joy in 2012,

Jen, Anthony, and Lisa

A Little Something Else.

Saint Francis And The Sow
Galway Kinnell

      The bud
      stands for all things,
      even for those things that don't flower,
      for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
      though sometimes it is necessary
      to reteach a thing its loveliness,
      to put a hand on its brow
      of the flower
      and retell it in words and in touch
      it is lovely
      until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
      as Saint Francis
      put his hand on the creased forehead
      of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
      blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
      began remembering all down her thick length,
      from the earthen snout all the way
      through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
      from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
      down through the great broken heart
      to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
      from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
      the long, perfect loveliness of sow.