I'm a little fuzzy headed with an oncoming cold today, so I will blame any incoherence in this post on that.
Some of you may have noticed that I have been on vacation from writing for a while. And today's post is no guarantee that writing will continue; it's more of an experiment. I suppose the first thing folks will want to know is what's been going on around the farm so I'll start there and see where we go.
In the fall a major shift was in progress which was taking up a large portion of my mental space. We were making a land trade. I have mentioned before in this blog "The Boy's Place" a.k.a. "Groundwell on Tucker". This was a 5 acre piece of land disconnected from the "home place" and requiring about a 2 mile drive to access. A similar sized piece of land, adjoining my Mom's place, was purchased at auction by a man who owned much of the land surrounding Groundwell on Tucker. We arranged to trade with him so that (1) our extra land would be closer to us and (2) our land would at least be contiguous with Mom's. If we had not needed to involve the bank the whole trade would have been completed in a couple of days, but as it was it took nearly two months to get through all of the paperwork. By then we had unfortunately lost the opportunity to get fall cover crops planted, but we have had plenty to do at "Groundwell on Stinson" anyway. First we moved our plum and filbert trees, then all of the wood chips and manure from Tucker to Stinson. Then we set to planning.
The coming season holds great promise. We plan to have a produce stand on the new land, and we also hope to start up produce accounts with a number of local restaurants. This means putting considerably more ground than ever (for us anyway) under production. Thankfully, Mom and Dad plan on spending a lot of time here this summer and our nephew also plans on moving down, so extra hands will be available to even out the workload. We will also be incorporating some new planting methods that we hope will reduce some of the labor of large plantings. (If I keep writing I'll explain these new methods at length.) One of the goals we all share here at Groundwell Farm is the increase of local food security and both the farm stand and restaurant accounts are big moves toward that goal.
Another goal of the Groundwell Farm is to increase community involvement, and that explains more of what we've been doing the past three months. I became involved with a group in town called the "Ladies Homestead Gathering" which is just what it sounds like. We are a group of women who gather once a month (the third Tuesday evening) to talk about what's going on at our homesteads and to share ideas and skills. Through this group I came to realize just how many women there are within a ten minute drive who have similar goals to mine. Now my family is regularly both entertaining visitors and being invited to spend time at other's homes! After so many years of largely keeping to ourselves it is a lovely change. We've also spent a good deal of time helping neighbors with their own farm projects.
This has also been a time of education for the whole family. We've been reading a great deal over the past few months. Sir Albert Howard, Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon, and others have been pored over, gleaning every kernel of wisdom we can for the coming season. We've read about organic gardening, mulching, manure, low tillage cropping, poultry, and many other topics. We want to back ourselves with as much useful knowledge as possible before heading into new projects. However, we need to temper this knowledge with action.
Yes, I know, I've posted this video many times before, but what can I say? It remains one of my most inspirational songs! And with this I leave you, hopefully to write again soon.