Wednesday, June 18, 2008

442 Farm

View from the orchard

Along with gardening, singing is one of the things I love best in the world. Last night I went the Tuesday singing in Northampton for the first time in at least 4 weeks. Phew. Usually I am there every week, at least for the first half. Perhaps this is a sign that the garden is slightly in hand. Next year I want to make sure that planting season does not mean missing singing.

By singing I mean shape note singing, of course. I love all music and listen and sing other kinds of things but my singing home is Sacred Harp. And that is also where my family of friends reside. It was good to be home.

So, 442? That's the number of a song in The Sacred Harp, I just had to look up its word name. We call the songs by their numbers and even their numbers become imbued with meaning and memory.

At some point in time, the right name for my farm will reveal itself to me. For now I brainstorm along and keep a running list of possibilities. Because I love singing so much, I am drawn to using a name that reflects that love. 442/New Jordan has many phrases that are appealing: "living green", "generous fruits", "sweet fields". My recent little joke is to call the farm "442 Farm" until the right name comes along. More on names some other time.

This morning I will be taking pictures around the farm (Thanks again Leslie for loaning me a camera!) and will post some here. We had 1 inch of rain earlier in the week and everything has been growing like mad, including the weeds.

Champion Collards

New iris

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dig Dig Dig

This is so much work!

Okay that's it for complaints(?)/appreciations(?) Actually I love working hard and using and strengthening my body. For the past month Karen and I have been spending a large part of our gardening time digging. We are reclaiming old parts of the garden that have been neglected for years and creating new areas any place we can. I am even planning on digging up the old chicken yard as it is fenced with 7 foot fencing that should keep the deer away from the kale and brussel sprouts come fall. This week UMass Soil Testing Lab sent me the results of two soil samples I sent to them for new areas. Hurray! The area near the house is free of heavy metals and okay for growing vegetables, except for the fact that it needs lots of compost. (more digging!)

Once in a while the idea of using the rototiller comes up. I may very well use one at some point but for now this is a hand tools only operation. Very green farming. I love that the sounds I hear while working are the birds and the wind in the trees. Yesterday I saw a raven fly overhead and heard its call. That was the first time in my life that I was positive I saw a raven, not a crow. I would have missed it if I had been tilling, I am sure. Lately the wind has been rattling the leaves on the freshly cut pole bean poles. That's a fun tune. And I have been learning the call of my resident Red Bellied Woodpecker.

I also like the fact that the hand tools don't use any fuel or need any engine maintenance.

Lastly, digging kind of ties in with my style of gardening. I use my own foot to measure the beds and the rows. I use my hand to pat the seeds into the ground. I like that the garden is closely tied to me. I like touching the earth.

All right, back to digging.