After the Deluge, Mend and Tend

After the Deluge, Mend and Tend

So many people have asked how we have fared in these storms, friends reaching out from all of the world. Thank you, all of you! We have survived, not unscathed, but with far less damage than so many, and I am deeply thankful. We have some property damage, but things can be fixed. Our precious animals, trees and flowering perennials seem mostly fine. My heart remains heavy for all of our neighbors who have experienced far more damage, especially my fellow farmers.

In the midst of the heaviest rains, Lucy our emu delivered an amazing gift, three beautiful eggs. They are simply unreal, check out these pictures with chicken eggs for size and color comparison. After much internet research, I have managed to drill small holes in the top and bottom of one, drained out the eggy goodness and saved the shell. I made a one egg frittata, and I am going to report that it tastes exactly the same as chicken eggs. People have asked if I will let the emus raise some chicks, and the answer is no. Who needs more emus? No one, that’s who.

Pruning Workshop January 28th, 10 am - 12 pm

December through February is time to prune most of your deciduous fruit trees. Please join me on Saturday, January 28th 10th, from 10 am - 12 pm for a workshop covering winter pruning and care of fruiting trees, to set them up for a fabulous growing season next year.

We will cover pruning new, young and mature trees, discuss appropriate tools and different pruning styles. Walking through the orchard, we will look at how pruning decisions effect growth and productivity in walnuts, apricots, peaches, plums, figs, apples, pears and roses.

Suitable for ages 16 and up. Limited to 20 people

More details and tickets here:

Go Slow and Mend Things

I have always winced at the tech-driven slogan, move fast and break things, from the first time I heard it. It was a Mark Zuckerberg motto initially, and it hasn’t exactly served Facebook well (hello broken democracy), but that is a diatribe for another day. As I plant and weed and plot and dream through the dark days of winter season on the farm, instead I have been thinking about going slow and mending things.

I often wonder what this land was like before the intrusions of white people, cows, plows, tractors and the planting of foreign crops. Was this a scrubby landscape of manzanitas and chaparral? Before the irrigation ditches drainage built throughout the area by the WPA in the 1930s (socialism at its best, right here in the USA), was it all a swampy marsh? Perhaps instead, judging by the few old trees left here, a small forest of willow and Monterey cypress grew here, building a rich topsoil over thousands of years, only recently washed away through ignorance. Do I walk amid the ghosts of trees? Do I plant under what was once six feet of soil, roots, and a thriving underground biosphere? I am fairly sure I walk among the ghosts of people, the Ohlone who lived and wandered through these lands around the Monterey Bay.

The days are getting longer, but time still seems to slow down a bit on the farm this time of year. Our harvest is over, the needful commerce has mostly subsided, and I am left with slow and meditative tasks of maintenance, care, and nurturing of my trees, my plants, the soil, myself.  It’s the greatest of rewards, the chance to tend to this land and the myriad lifeforms that thrive here. Secretly, this is often my favorite time of year (when it’s not flooding, at least). My list is long but the chores feel light, welcome and rightful to do.

 What will you mend and tend to this year?

This little nest got blown down in the storms, but I tucked it back in after taking the picture. I hope it will make a home again for the birbs this year.

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