Heartvest Dinner

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Another season to honor. One to name and define, to catalogue. Wedges of present moments strung together under concise themes: a day, the moth of August, a row of tomatoes , but contain truly nothing that can be defined in such simple ways. In reflecting on this, I guess the challenge lies in remembering each memory as pixilated as possible, the quality in every dot that makes it a whole, to remember and feel the authenticity of moments.

This year, not yet done, but cresting, has had many truly authentic moments and has been a season unlike any I’ve experienced before.  It was Green, not exclusively in the eco sense, but in its young tenderness, it’s vulnerability and wide-eyed wonder. We were novices, the soil, the seed, the farmer. Playing in an environment where a little beginners luck would be welcomed and the learning curve proved steep.

The season brought together Home and Bounty, as was manifested through its namesake! The family grew this season, extending to encompass yet more and more lovely smiles, warm hearts and willing to work hands. A community, with a deep appreciation for community, for local vibrant food and an even greater passion to share meals with ones dear! At the heart of it all it truly IS about eating! About making beautiful meals that make you and the ones around you glow. Each individual bite one to savor, like each pixel that makes the whole. The way the white lights caught the smiles amid animated conversations over a Harvest Dinner table. The zinnias shining out, the rain hydrating the cover crop seed, a night and a season beautifuly and richy authentic.  Thank you all for this wealth, this support and the pulse of a farm famly bond, the beat of anther successful Heartvest!

The spread - YUM

The spread – YUMIMG_1552IMG_1546 IMG_1558

Welcoming a beautiful rainbow.
Welcoming a beautiful rainbow.

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A storm rolls in.

A storm rolls in.

In the Groove

CSA Basket - Week #12

CSA Basket – Week #12

If a farming season is like a marathon, then I believe we’re somewhere around mile 19.  Yes we, as the runner may say in third person…. ”Come on legs, we can do it!”  Here on the farm it truly is a we, the soil and elemental unfoldings, the bellies and pocketbooks, the seeds and leaves and fruits, the calloused farmer hands and worn farmer feet.  “Come on gloves, (which look like they’ve already reached the finish line, but have been begged to keep on going) we can do it!” It’s at this mile where you’re pooped, but also very much in the groove. I’ve never run a full marathon, but after a few farm seasons you get the true sense of stamina, pace and drive. To know how hard you’ve worked and know, that now in August, you’ll be asked to pick up the pace, to get up at the same time you did in July, even though the sun is getting to sleep in, to maintain and even, accelerate. You pick up the pace, kick a little harder, because it’s harvest time and the bounty has arrived. Volume! You may think you’re a giving person; now, consider the humble zucchini! They say that wood warms you six times. I feel the same about zucchini: the bed prepping, planting, weeding, nurturing, harvesting and harvesting, hauling out of the field, and warmth of the kitchen as one zips around finding many yummy ways of getting it into your belly.

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It’s mile 19, the BEST part of the season! The beginning of the season opens with jaw-dropping -color-centerfolds. Oh yeah, seed catalogs baby! Now, in the heart of abundance, it’s a succulent recipe treasure hunt of salivating salvation. It’s finding gems like Sweet and Sour pickled Red Onions and Zucchini Bread with Lemon and Thyme.

It’s the time to honor and identify the season too. This year will be marked with eggplant dishes and okra. Last year there were tomatoes abound, salsas and sauces. Moving the abundance into bags and jars, extending the season, you encapsulate the year, define it, and give thanks.

Rolling up my sleeves to clean yet another squash, to reach tongs into a boiling bath of water, to spend extended hours on tired feet (tapping around a kitchen floor), long after the work day is done, in the name of preservation is exhausting. But it’s fuel, it’s drawing out the abundance to have lasagna in the winter months, pickles as the snows thaw and sweet fruit as spring arrives. Another season’s work ahead, one of beauty and paced rhythmic breaths. Feeling out the cadence and getting excited for mile 19 and zucchini! As you lace up your shoes and stretch,  a whisper from the fields, ”On your marks, get set, go” and you’re off!

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

Pickles!

Pickles!

Joy is a Taste

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Homeward Bounty fields mid July

Homeward Bounty fields mid July

The summer has been full. It has been a full glowing moon rising slowly and reaching with grace to watch over the fields like the eager tassels of the sweet corn, they both stretch and bless.  The summer has been full of heat, full of thought and study and work. My mind is running over, how to be present with the successes and the not unfoldings? My day is penciled with ‘dos’ and notes that continually expand and tumble, rolling into the days and weeks of the future that catch up the present quicker than I thought the sun could move.  It has been a season filled with bushels of questions, optimism, recognition, dedication, work and rework. There have been backpacks full too, oranges and chocolate, goggles and towel, wildflowers, wild vistas, plunges!

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It has been a patient year. The bounty unfolding with a tease of anticipation. How eager I am for a plate of sun ripened tomatoes, a smile of watermelon, to hydrate while working in the fields by crunching into the watery cells of a lemon cucumber! I can see the fields playing now, and not just hard to get. Fruits are growing heavy and full, the dawn of the much anticipated Bounty! In these last hot breaths of July our taste buds start to excite as color and beautiful flavors grace our plates. Doesn’t it make you feel alive?

The Plum Trees

Such richness flowing

through the branches of summer and into

the body, carried inward on the five

rivers! Disorder and astonishment

rattel your thoughts and your heart

cries for rest but don’t

succumb, there’s nothing

so sensible as sensual inundation. Joy

is a taste before

it’s anything else and the body

can lounge for hours devouring

the important moments. Listen,

the only way

to tempt happiness into your mind is by taking it

into the body first, like small

wild plums.

Mary Oliver

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Arugula Pesto Aurora

Super Moon rising above Mt. Shasta

Super Moon rising above Mt. Shasta

I keep thinking that this is an odd season, but what season is normal anymore? Will we learn to be the most flexible and diverse generation of humans living on this Earth? Will we start to understand change as normal, be easy-going and learn to purely live in the moment, as the future becomes increasingly unpredictable? Will we have to select for and breed varieties of vegetables to mature in smaller and shorter windows, because the weather tomorrow, weeks and months ahead will continue to consistently weave in and out of elements? Will we find the stability in the unsuitability?

       In a heat wave! I get the feeling that this heat is eagerly waving ‘Hello’ and I wave too; also eagerly, ‘Good-Bye,’ but it doesn’t seem to pick up the subtle cue. It took my cloths approximately 15 minutes to dry on the line the other day. 100 degree weather and a slight Southern breeze left them stiff and dry and wishing to be folded up and quickly placed in the cool dark closet of my room. I wanted to fold myself up with them, to be organized with the sweaters and to come out only when they were beckoned.

What luck that I didn’t ball up and seek solace amongst the wools and fleeces, for I would have missed last night’s party of lights! Lightening chiseled into the horizon, with a flash and low rumble boom! The clouds around us playing aurora tag with every imaginable color. Not a time to be a sweater, a time to soak in the elemental moment, be present, stable and to know of change.

With the lamenting of the heat I share with you this summery meal that I whipped up last night – served best with CHILLED white wine!

Arugula Pesto –

1 bag Arugula

1/4 olive oil (more if it’s not blending)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup nuts – I used walnuts and like to toast them in the oven a bit to bring out a roasted flavor. Brazil nuts are great in pesto as well!

1/2 of a lemon – squeezed for the juice

3 cloves garlic – or a bulb and a half of this week’s CSA share of mini fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Directions – Put All in a blender and blend. Adjust different elements to taste. This pesto comes out nice and earthy. It has the taste of spring, but the influence of summer, as you can almost convince yourself there’s basil in it.

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Almost forgot the garlic!

Almost forgot the garlic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrots & God

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While thinning carrots this morning my head was wrapped around this poem. My friend Dan sent it to me last week. Intuitive of the fact that I would have hands full of roots?

 

Root Song

Picking carrots this morning

makes me think

of god,

the ceremonious unearthing

of roots

from garden beds,

the bright smell

that clings to the air

and to my fingers –

how, to die, for a carrot,

means being pulled up from the groung

instead of buried under:

dirt replaced

by lucid blue sky.

-Callie Plaxico

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~Solstice~

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Solstice – The longest day to work, the longest day to play! It’s the time of year for beautiful both.

I love the edge times. The times of transition; when you’re leaving and before you’re there, you’re in the middle, the center. You’re drumming the sun down and each bow. Gold exits West, into the belly of the Klamath Range and towards the calling Pacific waves, a glowing corona that will linger on the cheeks of Mt. Shasta and has left ours a little rosier.

Drumming the moon up, silver and dilated. In the middle of these two bookends, the ones that hold up our stories, we drummed, in the center.

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Little Black Dressing –

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The first CSA distribution has come, can it be so? Exciting comes to mind, but it’s deeper than that, truly. It’s the entrance of life and food. Meals shared, meals given. It’s the pattern of harvest, sinks full of crisp greens and tables of beets waiting for a spray down anointment, then to be polished and grouped, cheeks together squished-up smiles- CSA BASKET! MARKET! GRUB CLUB! They’re off!

The fields are REcovering from last month’s frost. With some crops there has been a complete loss, a row of proud peas still fairly stunned, stalled and burned. Many of the beds however, are coming back, their confidence a bit shaken, but  it gathers momentum as the days prove their warmth over and over again.

One of the farm frost-free champions has been the lettuce bed, which now glows and I’m not personifying this one! Salad time! A farm fresh salad is one of my all time favorite foods! Big leafs of lettuce crunchy and hydrating, not the typical ‘soul food,’ but you can’t tell mine otherwise.

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My dear friend Kate Sanderson helping with harvest! She's a super star farmer from the days at Green Fire Farm!

My dear friend Kate Sanderson helping with harvest! She’s a super star farmer from the days at Green Fire Farm!

 

 

 

 

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Here are some lovely ‘go-to’ dressings- Little Black dressings if you will, the dress I never actually understood; why wear black when you could be in color! ENJOY!

Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

*Make a jar full and keep in the fridge for up to two week.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons of lemon juice

Lemon zest from half a lemon

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or lemon thyme, minced

3 teaspoons honey (or a bit more if you have a really sour lemon) – Meyers are wonderful!

2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. While you are whisking, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Correct the seasonings (sometimes I add a bit more vinegar or honey) and add salt and pepper to taste.

Ashley’s Sweet Miso Ginger Sauce!

This recipe is from my dear friend Ashley of Root and Wings Jewelry. I’m pretty sure we put this on everything that special summer in Arcata.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic (or more)

2 tablespoons ginger

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons miso paste

1 tablespoon tamari or Braggs

1/8 teaspoon cayenne to taste

(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

Blend in a Food Processor or whisk until creamy! YUM!

Brought to you by the prefix re-

Re- agin, back, backwards. These last few days I’ve been reeling, I’ve been reing. I’ve been reacting, reassessing, reasoning, respiring with limited repose. I’ve been repairing, replanting, reflecting, remembering reaching green fields and really relying on reincarnation. It is again, back, backwards, but for many things there’s no going back. In our short growing season there’s no room to rewind. For now it’s the regaining of momentum, the rekindling of plant relationships and reattempting with resolve.

It is said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. On Tuesday night in Grenada, we reached a low of  27 degrees and I can tell you that it didn’t make many of my plants stronger. I knew that it was going to freeze and by moonlight, for when the sun goes down so does the wind, Jonathan and I made sure that everything had a cover and was protected. I knew that the weather would play with us farmers a little, that nature would trow in the quintessential late spring sucker punch, but this one was completely below the belt, not cool dude!

 

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Change & Rain

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The Land is turning to Farm and Home. The chicken coop into a greenhouse, a shed into a chicken coop, a field into beds, a house into a home, a stray into a lap cat, dormant branches into buds bursting and bird filled skies into blue bird skies into a new shade of cloud cover. Clouds, gray and purple, electric filled,  unbuttoning their rain filled pockets, our reintroduction to a distantly familiar tune and aroma, RAIN.

           It’s been a new destination, a new journey. Languages new to me, foreign  yet I know some of the words. I’m immersed and learning as quickly as I can. The birds are telling me things; they’re collecting threads and sticks and chirping “love?” and “nest!.” The soil is talking, but I am not experienced enough to decipher its requests, further tipping my ear patiently. The plants are swaying out their charades, it’s windy and warm and their new bed may not have all they desire. Oh boy, it’s a dance, a jig, a puzzled glance, a stewardship of a culture, one whose food I know I’ll love, but I’m not yet sure if I have the customs right. A language and labor of LOVE.
chicken coop greenhouse

chicken coop greenhouse

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Hedwig, my farm companion.

Hedwig, my farm companion.

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Home!

Home!

Sow Seeds and Grow

Rice fields at Navdanya Farm in Derha Duhn, India

Rice fields at Navdanya Farm in Derha Duhn, India

I fell in love with seeds in the patchwork fields of 480 varieties of rice. Seeds, in the caring work- leathered hands of humble  women, wise seeds cradled by wise women, their bond authentically and intrinsically connected, woven with sweat, soil, sun, while chanting prayers of generations,  generations. The textile weave of earth’s patterns in rice, in women, in seeds, pulled at a string deep inside of my heart, hands, womb. A tapestry inside me that was braided long ago. A tapestry that lives in all of us.

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Three of the many varieties of rice at Navdanya Farm.

Three of the many varieties of rice at Navdanya Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds have continued to make me think and feel deep beyond our connection in weave.  I’ve often found myself pondering their psychology. There’s a sense of personification when thinking of seed psyche; human emotions shed onto the  plant community. However, the more I dissect seed to seed fundamentals,  I find myself truly feeling each plant’s fierce desire to grow strong for the sake of their seeds. They gauge their resources in weather, soil, water, and conductive pollen  with a foundation of how to best live, in order to produce the most successful offspring- to keep their genetics alive, to procreate, to continue and be reborn into this world, generation after generation; every seed containing within its world the potential to replicate exponentially. Is this plan diabolical or the sincere desire to hold on to and nurture what we hold most dear?

Last year’s growing efforts were partly inspired by the cry of a overflowing bag of seeds, ‘plant us!’. Fourteen  months later, a legitimate chorus can be heard, echoing out of two bins of seeds. Next year, I may need earplugs. And so the story goes; if you have seeds and love growing plants out to seed, you gather a band of talented loved ones to help create a packet design and then make these special varieties available to growers everywhere. Yep, that’s the story, and I present you with Homeward Bounty Seeds! Available now on Etsy, search Homeward Bounty! A shout out to dear Ashley Mersereau of Roots and Wings Jewelry who has created the very beautiful graphics. As well as my Aunt Cathy O’Brien who laid out and organized the design.

Sow seeds and grow! Find that tapestry inside and let it pull you.

Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn -Homeward Bounty Seeds

Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn -Homeward Bounty Seeds

Pablo Lettuce - Homeward Bounty Seeds

Pablo Lettuce – Homeward Bounty Seed

ashleystudio

Ashley in her magical studio.

Ashley's art, find pen and watercolor pieces features in Homeward Bounty Seed packets.

Ashley’s art, find pen and watercolor pieces features in Homeward Bounty Seed packets.