The Jumping Month of June

Summer Solstice Farm Potluck

Join us on Saturday, June 23, for our 7th annual Soltice celebration.  The farm is approaching high tide, the dishes are delectable, and the community convenes in the fellowship of food and good farming.  Come around 4 PM and we will have plenty of daylight in which to dine and discover.  Bring a musical instrument and/or dancing shoes, too, as we expect to have some pickin’ in the barn.

More new residents

The seven chicks that hatched last month are roaming farther and farther from their mama, the honeybees are making babies, and last week saw the arrival of another batch of promise—100 day-old chicks: 50 New Hampshire cockerels and 50 White Rock cockerels.  Once they have their wings to keep them warm, they will move from the brooder to the chicken tractor, which Ronnie has been building, and then in a few months they will move on again to become nourishing food.  More about this fascinating process later.

High Tunnel Granted

We have been approved by the Natural Resource Conservation Service for a grant to build a 2000 square foot high tunnel.  A high tunnel is just a greenhouse structure with no supplemental heat.  We’re excited about the possibilities of season extension this will give us.  Even with just a single layer of greenhouse plastic, hardy crops can be harvested all Winter long.  Look out Phyllis Fitzgerald—here comes the Winter Share we’ve been talking about for seven years.  The challenge will certainly be getting this high tunnel erected during the busy Summer months.

Farmer’s Market

We did not fill up our CSA shares this year, but we nonetheless planned and budgeted for more shares.  This extra food has to go somewhere, so you can now find A Place on Earth at the Westport Village farmer’s market on Thursdays from 3-6:30.

Changing seasons

Although the weather has moderated, the heat and dryness of a couple weeks ago effectively ended the (always) short Spring run of peas and spinach.  We’ve had a good month of strawberries, but their season has wound on down too.  Fear not, for the end of Spring crops heralds the return of the great fruits of summer.  Carrots are ready to go, squash is coming on, cukes and beans are not far behind, garlic bulbs are sizing up, and of course you know all the rest that follows.

So far, so good.  One never knows what natural disaster awaits when, but at this point many of our crops are established, weeded, and looking great.

It is dizzying, as always, these scores of different crops with their different demands, these fragile baby creatures, these 16 hour days, and—since Clark was born—these at times interrupted short nights.  It seems I look up from the ground and three weeks have passed.  Have I remembered to eat or sleep or smell the roses?  I hope so, but I don’t remember.  Did I close the chicken door in my post-dusk rounds?  I hope so, but time is all running together, maybe it’s last night I’m remembering.  Are the plants in the greenhouse watered, the seeds sown, the rows covered, the tomatoes strung, the mulch moved, the beets thinned, the eggs gathered, the flowers arranged, the gate closed?  I hope so.

Community and comraderie make the chaos worth it.  Each year, each season, each day even is an odyssey not to be endured alone.  Solitary moments are still filled with familiar faces, encouraging, appreciating, cajoling, reminding that the ends of our work are the same as the means—tangible and together.  These hours of hunched over “tedium” are not anonymous cog-turnings, not isolated, un-unionized actions.  The work is a gift generating gratitude through participation.  Each who partakes is linked to a unique field on a unique farm and the circulating of food through the community is like blood through a single organism.

Of course Wendell Berry, author of A Place on Earth (among many other things), expresses this beautifully:

I will say, from my own belief and experience, that imagination thrives on contact, on tangible connection. For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy.

…A positive cause, still little noticed by high officials and the media, is the by now well-established effort to build or rebuild local economies, starting with economies of food. This effort to connect cities with their surrounding rural landscapes has the advantage of being both attractive and necessary. It rests exactly upon the recognition of human limits and the necessity of human scale. Its purpose, to the extent possible, is to bring producers and consumers, causes and effects, back within the bounds of neighborhood, which is to say the effective reach of imagination, sympathy, affection, and all else that neighborhood implies. An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.

Linked through this network of food and affection, we proceed towards the highest noon of high Summer.  Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

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