The Gold of Farming

The Word for the Day, this rainy morning, from

Mountains and oceans have whole worlds of innumerable wondrous features. We should understand that it is not only our distant surroundings that are like this, but even what is right here, even a single drop of water.  DOGEN ZENJI


Yes, it surprised us and rained yesterday, last evening, and this morning, the fountain responding to droplets with mandala ripples all evening and into the night. The temperature is in the 60’s. Ideal mildew weather!

I read that trees here on the West Coast receive 15% of their moisture from fog. It is foggy and weeping rain this morning. I am sure the trees are celebrating!

Meanwhile, we will protect the grapes in several ways. The moon is in Aries, and, again, this afternoon we will spray the grapes and orchard with the Barrel Compost we made in the ancient hollow of our beloved Valley Oak (see Barrel Compost and Drought, Making Barrel Compost ). The Barrel Compost preparation will strengthen the earth forces in the vines and orchard trees, allowing them to resist mildew. Being made in the hollow of a tree also brings in the peripheral, cosmic forces, very much needed on so many levels! We also will spray a fermented tea of equisetum (called BD 508), a plant source of silica, and will apply what may be the last sulfur spray, as the grapes are  entering veraison (ripening).

We once had a viticulturist tell us that rain is never bad. Most people, especially in this drought, agree. But grapes are adapted to Mediterranean climates in which summers are hot and dry, the rain coming in winter, when, for the most part, the vines are dormant. The fruit is vulnerable to dampness and mildew. A dark gift of this shift in weather patterns demands we develop and bring consciousness to what may have been more automatic. This consciousness, derived from a sensitivity to the plant, the earth, and the solar forces, is the gold of farming.