Joy is a Taste


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!


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.


Almost forgot the garlic!

Almost forgot the garlic!











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


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


Hedwig, my farm companion.

Hedwig, my farm companion.




Yogic Onions Starts


The season is starting to grow! It seems yet too cold to utilize the lovely greenhouse that my Dad built last year. The saving grace glass house, built from 10 sliding glass doors, has been highly utilized and appreciated. Unfortunately, it is not perfectly air tight and with consistent frosty mornings and days, where pine needles and human bones struggle to thaw, I opted for an indoor kick-start. Here, on an old metal shelf, I’ve towered trays of onions seeds. I have heard no cries of unsatisfaction, as the sun shines in. Mt. Shasta smiles through the frame of the window and the ambient house warmth keeps soil hospitable and encouraging.

After a very positive response towards last year’s fresh and cured onions, I decided to increase the crop this year. Scattered in these trays are future French Onions soups, sweet crunchy rings of the Siskiyou Sweet, elegant purple torpedo shaped Tropea and the patiently cured paper skins of red and yellow varieties, for 2014 storage.  Yes, the yummy year begins.

Green energy starts to fill the house as the first seeds germinate. They’re yogic presence is rejuvenating, energizing, calming, these happy little lights already representing such gratitude. From delicate charcoal-like seeds, the onions seedlings start to emerge. They slowly rise up and stay suspended, stretching themselves out in a new life welcoming: downward dog. As many of us could, they stay there, looped with the soil, relaxed, breathing. Slowly they rise, bring their heads and arms up, welcoming the sunny day. They take a look at the mountain and offer up a gift, their hollow seed pod.



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Namaste New Friends


October has been a beautiful month. It is the most revealing and acute of convergences, the cusp. It’s the Fall of Summer and autumnal transition to Winter. For farm and farmer this shift is grater than that of seasons, colors, smells and sounds. It’s a true closing. The hard morning freezes instantly melts cellulose, fades chlorophyll and buckles plants towards the soil. The time for crops to decompose and become rich strata to sustain future seasons’. In delicate tow of that first hard frost is the perfectly tied bow on the package, the stamp on the letter – the period at the end of the exquisite sentence that details out a growing season overflowing with blessings and abundance. Not The End, but rather the last sentence of the long chapter titled somewhere along the lines of, ‘Season #1: The Bounty of Homeward Bounty’. There is something very delicate about this forced resignation, mother nature’s pink slip. It’s the fine print, “You too have your season, Farmer, relax already. Read a good book or two, seek out the best dehydrated food recipes, put on some weight and get excited for the wealth of new season possibilities!

Yes, those hard frosts have come and sadly the farm has seen lovelier days. I feel very thankful however, that Homeward Bounty hosted a very special visitor before those killing frosts. On that Autumn morning we were able to pick the last few handfuls of peppers, analyze numerous seed crops and shared inspiring conversations that left me warm and giddy inside!

Me with Sunita Rao of Vanasatree

It was months ago when Flick, a CSA member mentioned that his friend, Sunita Rao, would be visiting from India and he wanted to bring her to the farm. Before I knew it, that week had come. I met Flick, Jennifer and Sunita Rao on the farm for a nice morning tour. Over fresh pumpkin bread, homemade jam and amazing baked pears, we shared our thoughts on plant diversity, open pollinated seed varieties and about the great abundance that is yielded from 1/2 acre of land. Our inspiring conversations left me feeling all warm and giddy inside. Sunita Rao is quite the inspiring individual and I feel so honored to be in contact with her and to call her a friend! She’s the founder of Vanasatree – The Malnad Forest Garden and Seed Keepers’ Collective in Karnataka, India. Vanasatree promotes food security and autonomy through biodiversity and the use and preservation of traditional seeds. Visit to learn more about this inspiring collective.

Jennifer, Sunita and I infront of this year’s colorful squash harvest.

Looking at mangel beets. An experimental winter crop for the Copeland’s goats, horses and cows.

Trying the fresh seeds of ‘Black Cumin’ -Nigella Sativa


On This Harvest Moon

On this Harvest Moon we gathered; we gathered our party gear, our blessings, our open arms for new friends and raise our glasses to the bounty, color, the unyielding wealth and gifts of this year’s growing season, to health, to our community, to strength and support and to the balance.

“The distance between us is holy ground
To be traversed feet bare,
Arms raised in joyous dance
So that it is crossed.
And the tracks of our pilgrimage shine in the darkness
To light our coming together
In a bright and steady light.”

― Raphael Jesus Gonzales

(thank you Isaac)

This season has not come to completion enough to reflect on it as if it were not still in the present. As I write, there are still plants growing in their loamy beds, their green leaves waving to neighbors across the way, moving in conversation like that of my Italian Grandmother’s. There are rows of new crops that love the open star nights of autumn and rows of crops dying, drying to golden hews, dissolved images of plants crisp, yet holding within rattling pods their genetic wealth to be expressed in future generations, future seasons.

It’s hard to resist reflections. This is time of year the harvest moon rises. The sun, persistently warm, supervises the cusp  of summer and fall harvest. Tomatoes still ripen on the vine, peppers marble to mature colors, lemon cucumbers relentlessly populate under dense canopies, all in tandem with crops ready to be cured for winter. Winter squash vines die back with stems becoming hard and corky. The onions have been pulled and set to develop papery skins, booking them for storage success.

It is also during this time of year where I feel I can start coming up for longer breaths of air. Not to my surprise, but always to my deep gratitude I’m welcomed by a song of love and support by the most amazing community of people; who have been the driving force and foundation of my focus and fortitude.


This past Sunday marked a special event, the First Annual Homeward Bounty Harvest Gathering! It was a magical night, luminated under a crystalline Harvest Moon and hosted on the soil that gave and grew so much. A lovely meal was shared with friends of the farm, family and CSA members. The afternoon and night was pure perfection!

Farm Tour

Harvest Moon Rising

OMG WTF BCS! & Other Stories


Well, you might think I have dropped off the face of the Earth, but I’m still holding on, riding on her shoulders as this beautiful summer explodes with bountiful food. It’s amazing that something can be so beautiful and appreciated, yet so demanding and overwhelming at the same time. It has been an idyllic season with corn growing high, tomatoes becoming red and heavy on the vine, peppers blushing in the sun (unfortunatley over-blushing at times and scalding), and cantaloup and watermelon finding their authenticity.

There have been countless lessons learned this season. Somewhere around lesson #408 I realized that this is what plants want to do, just grow! As as much as I may be ‘farming’,  these plants are truly doing all the work. A farming friend in Nova Scotia one posed the question – “Do you own the plants or do the plants own you?” Possession and ownership are pretty weighty concepts and I would rather take a long saluting bow. Dear plants, you definatly own my utmost respect, joy and deep gratitude. Thank you!

And speaking of ownership – although I hardly desire to lord over plants and commodities, especially items of the machine vein that bellow high pitched noises and burp out gas fumes, I have indeed made quite the lovely purchase lately and am SO excited to have this piece of farming equipment play its farmy role at Homeward Bounty. Every now and again I peruse the Farm + Garden section of Craig’s List. It’s usually filled with posts of folks advertising various pieces of horse tack, the occasional weed eater or lawn mower and always the quintessential Free Rooster plea. What I’ve been hoping to uncover within the folds of these adds was a nice rear tine tiller, somewhat new, with a reliable motor and at a reasonable price. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be the ‘needle in a hay stack’ search. I was merely seeking out a shining magical tiller in the Siskiyou County backyard sea of rusty dilapidated haying equipment, lifeless tractors, countless 68′ Dodges, a corrugated roof doghouse blown over in a wind three years ago, lifeless horse drawn plows, and bags of trash where the local one-eyed tom cat calls home. Can’t you see why I remained optimistic and loyal to my Craig’s List search?

Loyalty paid off, as is often does. The small print in the story being that I started searching outside of the Siskiyou County box and into areas  where I may have more success with small farm equipment… the Rogue Valley! There he, she, IT was;  a beautiful, lightly used, BCS tiller with a 8hp Honda motor and 20” tiller box, listed at a deal of a price!

It all manifested in one busy day. I found the add, called and left a message for the seller stating my interest. I then got on the horn with numerous BCS dealers – the reconnoissance mission: measuring the length and height of a 722 BCS tiller with a 20” tiller box. Being the headstrong individual that I am, I wasn’t about to go out and buy something that would make me dependent on the use of someone else’s car/trailer. As useful as it would be for the farm, the logistics weren’t worth it if it didn’t fit in the Volvo. Otherwise, I would have to let this deal regretfully go. Oddly enough, three different dealers came up with three different dimensions; it was going to be close.

It just felt right, so I cleaned up the car, got on the road and returned home with the prize! It never occurred to me to ponder the excitement and pride my Dad would have for his daughter on that day. I was all grown up and bought a farm toy that made glorious loud noises and was made in Italy, like Ferrari! I kid you not, at one point he said it was as if I brought home a grandchild. Mwa-haha. Now, all I have to do is mention that I might be tilling up a bed and my Dad’s there, willing to lend a hand out on the farm! I regretfully don’t have a picture of ‘Joey’ (as my Dad has named it) sitting snug in the back of the wagon. It is truly a fantastic sight to behold!

Going to Seed

Spinach going to seed. Female plant on left, male plant on right.

Seeds! As stated, this is ‘a homeward journey to grow food and SEEDs to share with the community I love’!      It didn’t take long, in my first introductions working with agriculture, to become very curious about seeds. There was an intriguing first impression -a strong hand shake. The weight of wisdom in the palm of my hand as I would cup them and individually sow each seed into trays in a greenhouse or directly into their beds in the field. They were authentic in the truest sense. They held everything, the will, comprehension and enlightenment all within, as well as the patience to retain it for the perfect moment. I knew I wanted to journey with them-to play and to learn. There will be a lot of that this year, how exciting.

I’m growing out a nice array of crops for seed this year. Most notably, two crops through a seed contract with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a small seed company located in Virginia. Grady, at Green Fire Farm has maintained seed contracts with them for many years and encouraged me to make a big move this year and connect with them. It has been really special the way the way things have worked out and here I am, a farmer with two seed contracts: Dean’s Purple pole bean and Reverend Marrow’s Long Keeper a variety of storage tomato. With one of the longest growing seasons in Siskiyou County, afternoon winds and isolated location, I feel there’s great potential for the Shasta Valley area to be a very successful region for seed crop production.

Dean’s Purple – purple pole bean

Reverend Marrow’s Long Keeper – storage tomato

Some other crops that are now bolting, a term used when a plants starts sending up flowers that will produce pollen and then seeds, are pak choi, tulsi, cilantro and spinach. I’ll be saving seed from fleshy fruits too, such as tomatoes, peppers and watermelon. Saving seed is a journey in persistence. It goes beyond growing the plant, caring for it and seeing its leaves and fruits develop. If you’re saving the seeds you go further and get to interact with the bold flowers, pods and bees, bees, bees. In a good season, plants mature and then fully dry in the field. There are seed extraction and cleaning steps and drying, then testing for germination rate. Persistence, persistence, from seed to seed.

Pak Choi pods forming

Pak Choi

Under Siege

All we know is the uncertainty of the unknown. It’s not always easy to remind ourselves of that revealing fact. In fact, we create structures, calendars, organize, orient and project our todays into tomorrows. We place rocks nicely in a path and think, if life takes me on this path, great, what a nice walk way I’ve shaped. There are many times when you find yourself on a path you didn’t even think to manicure and there you are, quickly placing stepping stones and trying your best to walk sure footed. And to add to the analogy, when you do find yourself on an unpredicted path one can sometimes stand there stunned. You knew in your core that there was a wedge of a chance of being redirected to this route and you maybe didn’t do all you could to prevent it or prepare. A plot fit for Shakespeare, a nonfiction wrapped in restless nights.

So here I am, creating a new walkway off the dirty plaid farmer cuff. Ahh, farming with its wondering roots and acres of outcomes. This unhypothesized path, full on bug take over!

Crikey Folks! What we have here are some genuine organic vegetable eating forms of wildlife! Just look at those voracious fangs and tenacious appetites-a force to be reckoned with, and I reckon we better reckon with it. To be honest, I’ve never had to deal with pest pressure like this before. I’m not sure if it’s due to a mild winter or a muggy, but not really hot summer or both. What I’ve identified thus far are earwigs, cabbage moths, flea beetles and aphids; freakin’ aphids! It has been quite interesting, because it has just been in the last two weeks where I’ve noticed apparent damage and an evident spike in pest population. All the spring planted and directed seeded crops grew and thrived untouched.

I do have to say that one of my least favorite elements of farming, beside the element of having your crops being ‘harvested’ by bugs, is the act of killing them. I would much rather focus on growing strong and healthy plants that are less prone to attracting such bullies. A part of me completely understands. Yes, this food is yummy. If they knew how to share I wouldn’t have a problem. But there are times for the fight and this goes with the job. The arsenal of ‘this is what my grandma used to do’ has been opened and is being put to the test.

Earwig trap

The good news is that the big bad bug killing farmer is making ground and I hope to see a white flag waving when I next poke my nose into a head of maturing cabbage! It seems like the earwigs are meeting a nice, dare I say somewhat pleasant end, by being attracted to the sweet ferment of beer and then drowning. And not just any beer, homebrew fresh from the tap is being used in this operation, only the best to lure these buggers. I’ve also been making rounds of hot pepper and garlic spray. I’ve been using ground cayenne peppers from Green Fire Farm and adding garlic to water and letting it steep for a few days. I’ve been spraying this on newly emerging seedlings to deter the flea beetles. Just because an operation is organic, doesn’t mean that it’s ‘no spray’! And my latest, piece de resistance, a job like this needs ultimate girl power – Ladybugs! Yep, Homeward Bounty now has 3,000 employees.

There will never be a moment in this year’s farming endeavors where I moved beyond being humbled, being in awe. It could be a discouraging day on the farm and then I get greeted by this on my drive home. Maybe this unpredicted path isn’t too bad.