Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Someone asked me recently how many staff members we have here at the Farm this year. I didn't mean to, because it seemed rude after the fact, but I actually laughed out loud. Staff? How many? Well, let me see, 90% of the time, there is the Farmer and there is me. And this year, the Farmer's time has been cut dramatically, due to illness.

This has been a long and ardous year for us here at the Farm. Without the Farmer at the helm much of the time, many of his duties have fallen to me and I will be the first to admit that I am, depending on the task, about 30-50% as good at almost everything that entails. I always appreciated how much he did and how hard he worked, but now that appreciation is 10-fold. However, much of the time this year, it has just been me. I do all the picking, prepping, packing, going to markets. Planting, weeding, etc., I get my share of those chores, too.

While the Farmer has been out of commission much of the time this year, we have had volunteers come out to help on many occasions...and believe me, I am thankful and more grateful than I can express for their help. We couldn't have done many things this year without them. In fact let me take a moment to thank them.



If you have ever grown anything plants, flowers, etc....than you know that it is a constant dance between man and nature, trying to find that comfortable balance where the chaos is reduced to a level you can live with. Trying to control Mother Nature is an exercise in futillity, so the best you can do is to try to go with the flow. Unless you are using noxious chemicals and implements of destruction that rape, pillage and plunder the land (if you don't get the implication there, I am talking about conventional farming methods....), the best you can hope for is that your dance will be a classic ballet, instead of a frenzied Cossack dance.

Nature is one of the strongest forces in the universe, is in a constant state of flux and always searching for balance. When man attempts to control that force, be it organically or artificially*, it creates a situation in which chaos is invited to the dance. You open even a small void and a horde of things are standing in the wings waiting for the change to fill that void...kind of like the ambitious understudy standing in the winge, waiting for the prima ballerina to break her leg. (I am really enjoying this dance metaphor...totally fits.) Insects, weeds, birds, deer, groundhogs, the neighbor's unleashed dog, disease, fungi, viruses, bacteria, chemical reactions and natural things and inert substances...everything just waiting for their chance to step into the opening.

Trying to figure out the best and most effective way to deal with problems, without compromising principles, is something that we deal with on a daily basis. Vigilence is generally the best option and keeping an eye on things is never ending. Averting situations before they occur is preferable to having to find a solution once a problem arises. That serves us well here.

*Of course this is my personal opinion but it is based in fact and on my own experience. I consider conventional farming methods to be "artificial". Before the first seed hits the ground, the soil is assaulted with machinery and chemicals that destroy rather then build anything useful. Herbicides and fungicides are applied because the monocultural systems that are prevalent in conventional farming are so unnatural that even more artificial means are required to control weeds, disease, etc. Some (many?) crops are now planted with seeds that are not even natural in origin, which is another entire soapbox subject. Organisms that belong in the dirt are destroyed and trace minerals are leached from the soil, until it is as inert as sand. Because anything the even resembles something life giving has been depleted from this dead soil, food crops have to be pumped up with water and fed with artificial and chemical fertilizers. Give me my organic methods any day of the week. That'd just be my opinion....

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Farmer's Story - An update on New Moon Farm

Hello to everyone who reads my blog. I am very sorry that I have not posted anything in so very long, but posting here has been toward the bottom of the priorities list. For those of you who know us personally, you know about the journey we are presently on. It is a long and rocky one, fraught with twists and turns that sometimes make even simple things a bit difficult. For those of you who do not know us personally, I am going to talk about things here at the Farm via this blog entry.


New Moon Farm is, and has always been, a labor of love for the two of us. Together, we are the beating heart of this farm, but the Farmer is its true "soul". Without him, we could never have achieved anything close to what we have at this farm. His creativity, intuition and knowledge about the nature of living things has provided the cornerstone of what we do here. This has been a hard year for the Farm, because the Farmer has not been 100% for almost a year now. We have been pressing forward with all things organic, but it has been a rocky road for us both.

New Moon Farm was originally established in 1999, with our intention to homestead and live as simply, organically and self-sufficiently as possible as our main goals. Since that original plan took shape, the Farm has evolved and grown in many positive ways. We expanded the number of acres we farm from 7 to 17 (out of 30), became certified organic in 2004 and established and operated a CSA since 2003. In 2005, the Farmer was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma and at that time, he had the "bad" kidney removed and after three months was pronounced cancer free and fit to farm! He never even missed planting season because the surgery was in January and we didn't start planting until April, after he was released from his doctor's care.

In October of 2008, however, things changed. The cancer returned and caused a spinal injury that has been both debilitating and extremely painful. Since February of this year, the Farmer has been battling this cancer. In the four years since his original diagnosis, there have been many forward steps in treatments but like with so many cancer treatments, sometimes it is worse that the disease. If you have missed seeing him at markets this year, and wondered why, that is the reason. He is spiritually and mentally mostly unchanged, but the physical limitations brought on by this disease have been dramatic and challenging. Obviously, the Farm continues on....maybe not as efficiently as previously, with the Farmer at the helm, but it does continue.

(This year, we have had many wonderful volunteers come to help out at the farm and we thank them for their caring and for the time that they shared with us. I hope they went away with a little more knowledge and a feeling of knowing that they made a difference in our lives. Thanks to them all.)

Many of you who know us are already aware that this Farm and the life we lead is something that we consider a "calling". We were drawn to this life by our strong commitment to actively doing something to make our lives and the world around us a better place. Even though we have only physically impacted a 30 acre parcel of land, I like to think that we have inspired and encouraged other people we come into contact with to do the same with their little corners of the planet and that is all good. There is a deep spirituality to what we do, a connection to the Universe that is hard to describe but it is the most fulfilling and happy part of my life so far and that is saying a lot. Even with the seriousness of the Farmer's illness, we still plan to continue what we do, although we may have to make some minor adjustments along the way.

Thank you again for reading my blog and hope to see you all around at the markets next year. Once the cold weather sets in, I plan on cranking up this blog, as well as my new one on living simply and organically. Watch here for announcement on when that one is launched.