Tag Archives: farming

A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.


Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.


An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.


Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.


I’ve housesat for various kitties…


Some who love their kale…


Some who like their space…


Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.


And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.



There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.


It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.


I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.


These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.


It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.


I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…


I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…


Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…


And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…


It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.


I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.


I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.


Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.


I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.


To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”

Anyhow.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.


This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)


Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.


Past Sunday as the season winds down.

  
Another unseasonably warm day for November in upstate New York.

  
With a month more of the 2015 CSA season, roots & greens are in abundance.

  
Most of the winter squash plants succumbed to the heavy summer rains (*sniff*), but thankfully there are some that made it through…

  
Bob bagging greens for the large shares… (small shares received spinach). 

Note the t-shirt in mid-November.

  

  
I’ve really enjoyed this year working at Nook & Cranny

Some of the workers have moved on to their “winter jobs”, so the crew is small these days…

I miss their presence.

  
The confluence of people’s efforts & the elements showing up as vegetables is a constant amazement.


Today.

Morning sun shone through a crystal before a work day at Nook & Cranny.

Thanks, Mom!

  
That’s Soandso.

  
Couch buddy & travel companion.

  
Beautiful breezy day

Pink ball shows signs of children from the evening before…

  
Boxes building up through the day

  
My favorite view

  

Greens (parsley, kale, lettuce, lettuce mix, endive, Brussels sprouts) covering up sweet potatoes, red potatoes, hakurai turnips, cilantro, carrots, acorn squash, onion, garlic, parsnips, spinach…


Good morning & explanation of awayness.

  
Hey everybody.

This was from earlier today up at a retreat center in upstate New York where I’ve been for the past ten days.

I know I just stopped posting a couple weeks back

  
(Three-day moon. My favorite.)

I’m involved in a Contempletive Care for the Dying program through the Rigpa Foundation & it’s been asking for more attention than I had anticipated.

And to prepare for the retreat, was working every day & just became overwhelmed with all the reading & writing & work on top of that.

  
(A video short of Sara working Conner & Larry, covering up the garlic we just planted.)

  
Fresh ginger drying off & heading to the freezer.

So, I’m now considering deferring graduate school until the fall of 2016.

Possibilities: art therapy, chaplaincy, or simply counseling.

  
(Flecks. My kitty from way-back-when I was a child.)

For now I want to focus on the program I’m currently in.

  
The good morning photos may not come every day…

I need to allow for a little more room in my life for now,

& to focus on my project for class, sitting practice, staying on top of the reading (which I’m slow at) & writing assignments.

  
We had our first snow at the farm on the 18th of October.

More to come.

  
Thank you to everyone’s encouragement, especially regarding going back to school.

Wishing you all good things.


Harvest & seeding day at Nook & Cranny (take 2).

  
Can you see the hot?

It was warm this past Sunday. 

I tried to post on Monday, but there are many photos & my phone dropped the thread & so none of it was saved…

  
Sooooo, Take 2.

It was the second to last day of seeding for the 2015 season, & Sebastian was holding down the Yin.

During a pause while filling trays, I asked Bob if he could let me know before the cover-plastic was unrolled so I could take a photo of the boxes…  
 He asked if instead I’d take photos of the boxes as they were filled up through the day…

 Seriously, I have the cushy job.

I’ll try to keep the small & large boxes in order (I’ll be more methodical next time)

Above, the top box is the large, their tomato box comes later.

the bottom box (the one with the 1/2 peck box of tomatoes) is the small.

Back to the seeding…  
24 trays in all

10 Spinach, 4 Sylvetta Arugula, 4 Lettuce, 2 Red Pac Choi, 2 Red Mustard, 2 Mizuna.

   
 
“The Nusery”

   
 
The ones outside a little further along.

All these greens will head to the hoop houses & high tunnels in time.

  
Chard drip-draining before being set into boxes.

   
 
Small on top, Large below.

  
Bob sets leeks into the Large boxes.

 “Shining the zucchini” with a cloth, removing any stuck on stuff from the field.

   
 
Small on top, large on bottom.

  
I’ve tried three times to load a short video of Garrett’s hands washing carrots, but WP on my phone keeps crashing.

Suffice it to say that Bob intends to invest in a rotating drum spray method for next season. Garrett is super fast on the sprayer, but I guess the rotating drum is a faster way.

  
Into the box they go.

 Edamame happy dance!

Those were seeded in early June & here they are!!
One of the workers generously gave me a mounded quart full. One of the many benefits of working here.    

 
Here are two “smalls”

Bob knows details about each CSA member regarding any vegetables they may need to avoid…

So every now and again, some of the boxes will have slightly different contents.

   
   
You’d never know there was a lot of vegetable action going on underneath this layer of leafy greens.

    
Large boxes with tomatoes on top, a final sweep of vegetable droppings, plastic comes over, & Bob sets out Brussels Sprout tops at the “extras” area.

   
 Mmmm. Basil.

 
Week 14 ready for pick-up.

Did I mention it was hot?

It was SO hot & all the workers were amazing & lunch was a time of great delight & welcomed rest.  

Blessings on Late Summer.


Seeding day at Nook & Cranny farm.

The hillside has that Late Summer yellow tinge…  
It was also a harvest day today for the upcoming markets on Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday.

Lots of planting was occurring as well.

There’s always a lot going on at the farm.

  
Fortunate me, I was joined by Other for most of the day.

  
Much to do. Last couple weeks for seeding. 24 trays today.

12 Spinach, 4 Raab, 2 Mustard, 4 Red Pac Choi, 2 Mizuna.

  
Winter greens beginning.

It’s getting full in the barn!

  
(From yesterday’s CSA pick-up)

  
One of the workers commented today how it must be neat to have touched nearly every vegetable grown on the farm.

  
I think about that when I’m in the kitchen, preparing my vegetables to eat.

  
Well, I didn’t touch every seed, but I did touch most of them.

  
I guess I’m mostly proud & awed by the alliums… As they were seeded in the bitter cold days of February.

And here the onions today! They did well, & are drying down nicely.

  
The Winter Squash crop didn’t fare so well, as the bed location was flooded during the rainy spells, unfortunately.

  
At least there’s some that made it this far.

& thank goodness for the other farms in the area!

  
Babies all grown up!


Harvest & Seeding day at Nook & Cranny.

  
A beautiful day

22 trays of seeding – Spinach, Mustard, Arugula, Pac Choi, & Broccoli Raab.

Thankfully, not as hot as last week.

  
Beautiful layering of the CSA boxes

  
Top layer & whopper lettuce hides the goodness below

  
The interns & farm workers each & every week do such an amazing job!

Blessings on the harvest.


Jumble of photos from Nook & Cranny Farm.

  
the past two Sunday’s I’ve been away – the Garlic Pull at Sara’s farm, then at a friend’s wedding.

  
I’ve been making up time on alternate days, but haven’t kept all the photos straight, so here’s a jumble of recent photos from the past couple of weeks from Nook & Cranny.

  
 
The usual first photo upon arrival…

  
Often followed by a friendly greeting by Other.

  
The onions have mostly been harvested & are now curing in various locations around the farm

  
It’s always an exciting moment for me, as they were seeded back in the bitter cold time of February & March…

  
Sometimes they grow a bit wild…

  
Yippee! Okra!!

  
Tomatoes coming in & the Barred Rocks from this year have begun laying their eggs

So cute!

  
Wise birds, they stay out of the high heat of the day…

  
A smaller hoop house with cucumbers, peppers, & tomatoes.

  
Here’s a tour of the large hoop house where most of the tomatoes are planted.

   
 I was struck by the, um, what I call “tomato dust” contrasting with the purple cherry tomato.

Feel free to educate me on the proper name for this aromatic stuff of the tomato plant.

  
Bob grows many varieties of peppers, but Serrano is my favorite.

  
Today’s arrival as harvest was underway…

  
Shallots!!!

  
Beginning the box…

   
   
Totes, baskets, & wheelbarrows filled with August goodness ready for distribution in the barn…

   
    
 Abundance & beauty

  
This wheelbarrow will be steadily filled as harvest unfolds with “thirds” & culled vegetables which will be fed to the pigs.

  
Plantlings are coming up well…

I’ll put up another post about the fall planting…

  
More onions curing in the greenhouse, & the allium tally written on the chalkboard.

I cut my workday short due to a migraine…

Feeling much better now – more to come.

  

 


Garlic Pull – Big.

Yet another tardy post from two Sunday’s ago…

Sara’s garlic pull.

There’s a bit of a walk to get to the field.

First there’s the path which crosses a dry/wet stream…

  
The sound of laughter leading through a canopy of hardwood trees

Up a hillside

  
Sunlight – a sign of being close to the field

  
Almost there, just out of the woods, laughter louder…

  
A faraway welcome greeting from friends

  
It’s good to be known & loved.

  
Okay, down to business.

There those who “pull” and those who “dig”

I dig. That means I’ve had years of experience wielding a digging fork so as to be less likely to stab the bulb of garlic.

  
I don’t have a photo of a stab, but if you can imagine gouging a 1/2 inch wide steel tine with the force of a human leg behind it pushing through soil & scraping into the tender flesh of a below ground vegetable, well, you get the picture.

  
Both jobs are important.

Those that dig, loosen the soil below & around each head of garlic with a 4-tine digging fork. Methodically moving down each row.

The ones who pull, grab low on the stem to unearth the garlic intact. 

The soil is brushed from the roots & bulb, then laying it (gently) in piles.

  
   
 
Bundles are made, & tied in such a way as to be strong enough to hold the weight of about 15 – 20 stalks in each bundle, which are then tied via square knot in pairs.

These will be hung over nails high in the barn to dry.

  
It was a beautiful day – and we dug the entire half-acre of garlic with the least amount of stabs EVER.

  

This is the river of bundled garlic awaiting Sara & two of her horses pulling the wagon.

  
A view from the field across the pasture where the horse barn lives.

  
A closer view as she harnesses the horses…

  
Here they come!

  
Connor on the left, & Larry on the right!

  
So handsome. Big beauties.

  
I mostly was taking many videos at this point of the day – but I didn’t ask everyone for their blessing to be posted on the blog, so my apologies for the choppy sequence.

Once the cart was loaded to capacity, Sara drives Connor & Larry down a lane then up the road to where the garlic is hung at the barn near the house.

  
Then they return with an empty cart, and once again the cart is loaded back up with the remaining garlic, & Sara drives the horses back to the barn by the house where the rest of the garlic is hung.

  
While I’m not afraid of heights, & used to be one of the people at the top of the ladders, it’s a heavy job so I bowed out this year of that final step.

  
And it was with Sara’s blessing that I stayed and simply sat in the field & enjoyed just being there, taking in the sounds.

  
Half-acre of garlic, hanging from the barn rafters.

I felt fatigued from the long day of physical work out in the sun, and I felt happy & proud & grateful to be a part of this yearly ritual & especially, with the awareness that this garlic allowed the horses to have hay in the winter & Sara’s daughter to go to college… Well, I felt content in a deep way.


Photo-string from Nook & Cranny, Fall seeding, cleaning green garlic, & gratuitous kitty photo.

  
It’s been warm.

& I’ve either been slacking on the photos or more focused on the work – depending how one looks at it.

  
This was from last Sunday’s harvest.

  
I swing between being present with what’s in front of my eyes & swirling around with what’s behind my eyes

Looking up & out at the sky, feeling into my body & breathing helps return my awareness to what’s in front of my eyes.

  
Opening the gaze from focusing on seeding & internal thinkings.

The habit of being in story (behind the eyes) is SO strong. SO ingrained.

  
I keep hoping I’ll “get it”, that is, be present all of the time, no longer in story.

But then I laugh at myself, remembering that it’s a practice.

Thank you, Sky.

  
From earlier in the week…

  
Bob, ever scanning the beds & overseeing the great ship called Nook & Cranny.

  
First eggplant came in!

  
Fall seeding well underway…

Yesterday was similar, minus Broccoli, & with the addition of Sorrel and Watercress.

  
The trays, once seeded & watered-in, are kept in stacks on the cool barn floor & need to have an eye kept on them for the first emerging seedlings

Here’s spinach just popping up

  
Then out it goes into the Big World behind the greenhouse & seedling tunnel

Along with beets, basil, & lettuce.

  
Basically anything that is not a Brassica (like Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, & Cauliflower) which would be landed upon by the lovely cabbage moth, then rapidly munched down to misery by the cute-as-a-button larvae.

  
Garlic is coming in from the fields, too.

(That sounds like it just up & walks its way to the barn…)

  
It’s still “green garlic” at this point – which is before the stem has fully dried down.

People either hang or stack in it such a way that it allows for good air flow for the stalks to fully dry.

Garlic keeps better this way.

  
This is not my ship, & I’m not out in the field harvesting it, but for the record there’s less cleaning later if this soil had been brushed off in the field.

But, it’s unavoidable if it happens to be a rainy, muddy-muck day when the garlic is harvested.

  
Either way, soil gets brushed off with an opened palm or a brush of some sort.

  
Then clipping the roots

  
Peel the outer, dirt-stained layer/s of skin

  
All purty & ready for market.

I was trained to clean garlic this way at Sara’s farm, where I interned in 2006.

Next Sunday is the Garlic Pull at her farm, Earthly Mirth. I’ll be sure to get some photos that day to share.

A half-acre of garlic!

  
Finally, a gratuitous photo of my favorite Shoofins, Sophie & Izzy.

(Photo by Jenny – thank you!)