Grape Harvest Over, Two to Go!

Do you want to take my picture? he asks.           We finished the grape harvest this week, just as showers came and the earth was as muggy as the Midwest. There is a certain joy and sigh of relief when the truck is loaded with a season’s labor and it is… Read more »

The Sale of a Small Family Farm

When I saw the recent missed call on my cell phone, I grew worried. I had just spoken with my sister Judy several hours before. Something must have happened. I didn’t reach her until late in the afternoon. “I received the first payment,” she said. “The farm is gone.” We knew this was coming. I… Read more »

Farming is About Community

Some of the Demeter certified product which is becoming more and more available, including at Whole foods. Yesterday Donald and I attended the National Heirloom Expo at the Santa Rosa, CA, fairgrounds and sat in on two Demeter seminars. The room was packed in the seminar in which Grover Stock and Erik Ohlsen of Permaculture… Read more »

Lavender Hydrosol and Essential Oil Distillation: Final Stretch!

Lavender after harvest. Quail use mounds as lookouts while supervising chicks. This is Lot Natalie. After two weeks of daily distillation, Donald is weary of it!  Still, we have at least three or four days to go.  The oil is as intense and sweet as ever, each lot number (or location) the unique essence of… Read more »

Storytelling and Farming

Publication Date: June 15 Leaping Goat Press     Farming and storytelling go together. Is it the quiet that allows the imagination to stretch, feeling into all that is possible, or might be, or was? I walked too late this morning. The sun was out and the temperature had already reached 80º, snake time. I… Read more »

Farmer as Quintessential

Tools of the Trade     It isn’t how we think it should go: by cutting back, we strengthen the core. Pruning is painful! It means relinquishing possibilities in order to direct attention and vitality in a considered way. The focus, hopefully, is for the good of the whole, whether that be the whole of… Read more »

Discipline in Farming

Beginning visit with Valley Oak     The method is simple: suspend rational thought, forget what you think you know about what you are seeing, lay down the mantle of ownership. Simply be. With your hand— or in your mind’s eye— draw the plant. Get every detail: the way the leaf curls inward on the… Read more »

Re-membering Ourselves into the Cycle of the Whole

Re-membering Ourselves into the Cycle of the Whole Each year there is only one time this picture can happen: this (December) time of year, this (late morning) time of day. Each year  I am taken aback when I see the shadow tree sprouting again from the pot. It slows me down! For a few moments balance… Read more »

Glyphosate and Monsanto

Blogspot There are many David and Goliath stories these days, stories it seems we love to hear. Perhaps we are comforted to think our actions count, that we can really do something. Even the Dali Lama gets into it with the famous quote, If you think you are too small to make a difference, try… Read more »

Goats and Kids

  Agaleah           Goats and Kids This morning I am reminded of how much farming is like motherhood: Your big plans for the day dissipate when Agaleah holds out her front left foot like a precious, painful offering, and looks at you pleadingly. After careful examination which yields no clues, only… Read more »