It’s been well over a year since I last wrote on behalf of the farm, and although I’m swimming in work that needs to be done out in the fields, I’m finding myself being pulled back to writing and the need to keep telling a story that I started when moving back home and farming, one that is by no means finished. Stories are a point of reflection and connection, and keeping that bond nourished is not only important to myself, but also the community that the farm is lucky to feed. It may be that stories are rich in my head, because recently my sister and I gifted my folks a 23 and Me DNA kit. We are a family of story tellers, story listeners (if you can get us to zip-it) and cultivating the moments that create them. It will be neat to have a better glimpse of the family limbs and roots, of rocky villages in Ireland and earthen homes in Italy where ancestors shared laughter, food, no doubt wine and whisky, and they storied, raising their glasses (trying to get one another to pipe down) and toasting to the telling and making of them. As the sun rises high in the summer sky this farmer hopes to keep sharing and writing and connecting with you all.

Many suns have risen and set in oscillating angles across the open sky from Mt. Shasta to the Trinities, in the time between writing. More fruit trees have been planted, a barn was beautifully constructed by my Dad and Jonathan, cover crops have grown high and have been tilled-in to feed spring lettuces and summer squash, seeds were collected, sown and collected again, and rainbows came out for a very special gathering, Jonathan and I exchanging vows in front of those we love, sealed with a kiss and some muddy shoe dancing! Each of these moments precious enough for their each individual story, yet one can evidently simply make one long run-on sentence in tribute.



Homeward Bounty just had the Solstice of its fifth season. Each year has expressed itself differently. Days rich with wind and rain filled the early weeks of Spring and with patience. I had to wait until the soil dried, in order to get onions, shallots and leeks planted. The weather this season has continued to control the writing of the chapters of the last months, with extreme cold, extreme hot, with yet again, more wind and rain. Weekly action items have kept rolling over to the next week, and the ones after that. The only thing that has proven itself punctual this season has been the Summer Solstice, marking a season, where the fruits of the sun are still weeks away. Perhaps having five seasons here under my belt has kept me from feeling complete desperation, however keeping that emotion at bay is a challenge. The entirety of this year has been like climbing a mountain of loose rocks where you continually keep sliding, where you don’t have much to show for your exhaustion and hard work. The rocks never seem to firm up and aid me along. I have to keep climbing, hoping that this time I can be more light and sure footed and will be graced with a fair weather window to make things come together. It’s a season that’s as late and as anticipated as this blog post. Maybe taking the time to reconnect and tell the drama of this year is the harbinger to the weather assisting me in starting to feel caught up and on track. That life is about timing and trust becomes strongly evident with each passing year.

I can feel the season grow toward the cusp of change, with young signs of abundance in the field and high tunnel. That the labor of this year will manifest into fresh farm salsa and sweet corn happily stuck in your teeth is emanate. The high tunnel structure has been wildly beneficial and fun to develop a relationship with. The tomatoes are excelling on their upright trellis system. The peppers, eggplants and okra are content, with dill, sunflowers and poppies, seeding themselves everywhere to mess up the concept of clean orderly rows or that of the farmer having control. This year’s seed crops are growing abundantly. I’m growing five species for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, along with 24 species for the farm and seed packet sales. Many of the seed crops look happy and seed harvest should yield a nice weight of genetically rich and mature seeds. Seeds that will hold their story deep inside, until unlocked by rich soil, water and sun.  As I write, the clouds are vocal over head, proving true the diversity of Russian Roulette Siskiyou weather, the wet ink in this year’s season, a well etched story of timing, patience and the holding of trust for future fruits and abundance.

The Earth held still.

Wind and Rain

Wind and Rain

July exits with a bang. There is lightning over head, loud and cracking. The rain is descending from all angles, slanting to the side, dripping down vertically from the eves and is somehow finding a way to mist my face, even thought I’m sitting deep in the shelter of the covered porch.

This month has been extreme. It approached and exited quickly, although that is not to say that it didn’t carve out 31 full days. The days were all very much here. There were wedding days, birthdays, bliss days, Farmers’ Market days, and many work days. There have been days filled with sticky sweat and exhaustion; 100 degree days and evenings of rain and their arching bows. They have been some of the heaviest days I’ve know, the passing of a dear friend. And there have been days of emptiness, the density of sorrow shifting from a solid and evaporating.

It has been a month of soul searching, of finding and loosing. It has been a month where I’m aware of my anchor, the soil, and how thankful I am to sink my hands in, my mind in, and feel the earth. At times I can find myself getting caught up in the cultural construct of money and time, and doubt the validity of this path. My mind uprooting this calling and placing itself within the walls of a definable ‘job.’ But the days of this July have seeded something inside me. They’ve helped me understand deeper the tone with which this earth work is done. Being with the farm this month has filled me with peace. The farm has often been the center of my lessons, learning about life from the rotation of crops and seasons. But this month, as beautiful and sad life happened around me, the earth held still, the Meadow Larks still called out, the plants continued to convert light and squash incessantly needed to be harvested, still.


The sky is black and salmon, mixing together the colors move in striking beauty. Lightning is bolting to the Northeast and the clouds are turning themselves inside out with rumble. July is exiting.



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

IMG_1327 IMG_1420 IMG_1421

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!