August 2016

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Mushrooms on the farm this week, almost un-noticable, but once noticed consume your attention for a good 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Other Little Creatures As Well.

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The insect above on the right had an impressive tint of blue on his lower wings, the photo doesn’t quite do it justice.

Also on a side note, is it possible to be allergic to mosquitos? The last 4 bites I’ve gotten have swelled up to this size, maybe they’re mosquitos, maybe they’re something else? But it always looks really abnormal. Pretty sure these bites happen around dusk on my patio, so no worries other farm goers.

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IMG_0948On Trellising this week,

IMG_1056Before,

IMG_1058 And after. Shout out to Faye for all the trellising help! Thank you.

Had to take a sick day on Friday. In an attempt to cure me, My dog decided to rest his nasty bits on my shoulder and pillow and sit on me like a parrot, much to his surprise this did not improve my condition…It’s the thought that counts I guess….

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IMG_1003 So Much Life,

IMG_1028 Natural Beauty (see the <3’s),

IMG_1005 And organization on the farm this week :).

These horn worms are a beautiful disaster. I say that because I love the hue of green, and the white ribbed stripes, the little spots, and the tint of red on the tail…BUT these bad boys can eat every leaf off a plant in a few days. Ive seen an entire grape vine loose all of its leaves within a week because of 8 of these giants. They are also ornery, if you try to pull them from a plant they cling on with a death grip that is perplexingly strong for theiIMG_0949r size. And if you nudge them with a finger, muscles under their skin seem to push back, which is frightening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of the circle of life and energy this beautiful disaster was fed to the chickens….

Free Protein and pest management all in one.

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I call this "The Produce Pose." The kale is always trying to be sexy...

I call this “The Produce Pose.” The kale is always trying to be sexy…

This is a very interesting season to be at the farm. My class of interns has been able to see the entire process of Rishi stressing over purchasing the farm address, seeing the actual keys to the house in Rishi’s hands, all the way to encountering (in more ways than one) a humungous pile of horse bedding in the driveway that now belongs to Sarvodaya. Such a beautiful and encouraging example of gaining land security as well as planning for the transformation of a barren space.

Many of the interns, including myself,  have expressed our own desires to purchase vacant lots and create spaces for urban agriculture. At one point, a friend jokingly asked, “If you had to choose between a man or land, what would you pick?” No hesitation- my answer was “land.” But recently I’ve been thinking about where this strong desire to have my own property came from (**Disclaimer: this does not reflect my opinion about anyone who owns land. This is purely a reflection of my own life). I realized that I wanted my own land so that I could design it and work it MY way. Having a home with a yard would mean that I could have full control and access at all times. Wow…when I realized I was operating out of such an individualistic and greedy mindset, I had to ask for forgiveness to myself from myself.

It was then that I had a second realization: land shouldn’t have to belong to me, but I am called to be a good steward of it. And wherever I have set foot, I have made a physical impact in that place, the work of my hands has a lasting impression there. So through my experiences of farming and gardening in the jungles and plantation lands of Hawaii, small organic farms in South Korea, Sarvodaya Farm in Pomona, the community garden in South Pasadena, and school gardens in South LA and Koreatown…those have all been given to me as “my” land. And in the time that I have those lands, I am responsible to do what is best for the community, not for my own ego.

I love the desert. I love the isolation, the solitude. I love the vastness, the quietness, the smallness that I feel here. My kid’s driving us home from an overnight visit to Las Vegas, and the beauty of the desert is mesmerizing. God, it’s just so big, and I lose myself out here. I feel the so alive!

Sorry, the point is my kid’s sitting next to me, and anyone who knows even the basics about me knows I love that soul more than my own life.  I’ve dedicated myself to him in a rare way. Remember that as you process what I’m about to say.

MojaveDesertIsVast

 

I’m frustrated.

It seems to me a conversation that we all need to have is being avoided.  And it’s a conversation that it seems should be even more forefront in our minds, working on the farm.

Actually, it seems that anyone who is connected to our food should be talking about this and it’s a little irritating that we, claiming to be so connected, are not talking about it. The rest of those people, making daily visits to McDonald’s and that ilk, well, they just don’t get it. Hell, they don’t even understand the cycle of life, and their ignorance is a problem. We think it and sometimes even say it, but all the while we’re willfully veering away from the final destination of so many of our thoughts and philosophies. It’s hypocritical.

I’m talking about controlling our population. Now, hold on. Why is it when we, as a society, have problems to discuss, we can’t talk without reacting like that? (In my business, in my relationships, in my church and volunteer groups, in my home, it’s not acceptable to just close off and refuse to discuss an obvious problem.) I’m saying TALK about it. That’s how things start. Besides our opposable thumbs, language is why we consider ourselves so smart after all. Yet we won’t even talk about it, as if it’s the holy grail or something and discussing it would be blasphemy against our “religion of the self”.

We, as a species, are out of control. It seems to me that we’re making new people, new Uss – new YOUs and new MEs – with no regard to how they’ll live, what resources they’ll have available, what messes they’ll have to clean up, or how they’ll fit into the bigger scheme of life.

Do we do this in the microcosms of our own lives? Do we say, “Hey, lets make as many babies as we can, even though we haven’t the money or space or resources to support them?” Do we live with babies stacked on babies, pushing them aside, making isle-ways through them to walk about our houses?

Why not? Because we can see our own individual lives just a bit clearer than we can see our collective life. Welcome to an inherent flaw of our culture, seemingly of all humanity. We’re broken, and I fear we’re all too stupid or stubborn to even have this conversation. And worse, we and our progeny will suffer for it.

And in case you’re so emotionally clouded you can’t see this truth, take 5 minutes to study what happens when animal populations increase beyond the environment’s ability to support them, or when the environment declines. Wait, I’ll save you the trouble. THE EXCESS DIES.

It’s time to reconnect our culture with how life works. That starts with food.  It does not end there.

 

“Water, water, water….There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Though men aspire to ever higher bounds
And curiosity I often chase,
Daily I tire of humanity’s pace
And in my garden, peace is found.

Is the picture we’ve painted of God so true?
Or is it a picture of our fear?
I seek no more, for this is clear –
All I need to know is what I planted, grew.

That miracle is enough for me.
I feel & know that God is there
So when I’ve enough of the world’s wear
I return to the garden to connect, to be.

And as for reflecting the Divinity
I know that to help my neighbor
Gladly sharing the yields of my labor
Is akin to His gift of this garden to me.

jeff goldblum

This will be a very short entry. I am not feeling very introspective or retrospective – maybe I just need some perspective.

At any rate, eight words really say it all, “that is a really big pile of shit”. This last Friday was theeee longest day at the farm for me so far.  After 2 hours of shoveling stable dressing and taking the wheelbarrows full of poo to what seemed like the other end of the farm – let’s just say – well I was dirty, sweating and reeked of horse poo and urine. (Lots of urine in the pile – which is how I feel today – a bit pissy.)

After a couple of hours I had to stop. I was driving the wheelbarrow in an unsafe manner and had I been driving a car I would have gotten a DUI for sure.

When I got home I took the longest shower I have taken in a VERY long time and scrubbed like crazy – it felt like the poo got in my pores 🙂

Anyway, I am very sore today – but I will get over it.

Now – had Jeff Goldblum been there? Sexy, quirky dude it black – well I might be smiling today ; )

Tequila volcano

Tequila volcano

Standing in solidarity with the teachers from the CNTE, who protest the massacre of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Also, against the education reforms that push to break the teacher's union and privatize education.

Standing in solidarity with the teachers from the CNTE, who protest the massacre of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Also, against the education reforms that push to break the teacher’s union and privatize education.

This week I was in Mexico, but I thought I would share a little bit of that experience. This is the view we were blessed with during a bike ride in the forest,  Bosque Primavera (considered the lungs of Guadalajara).

This week I was in Mexico, but I thought I would share a little bit of that experience. This is the view we were blessed with during a bike ride in the forest, Bosque Primavera (considered the lungs of Guadalajara).

This was at a hotel in Mazamitla, a mountain town. The hotel had a fruit orchard, chickens, deer, a greenhouse, cabins, kids' playground, an in-ground trampoline, tennis courts, pool table, and bar. The fruit trees were mostly pears, apples, and peaches. Water is abundant and, you see grass here, but there was no irrigation. It tends to rain there almost every day of the year .

This was at a hotel in Mazamitla, a mountain town. The hotel had a fruit orchard, chickens, deer, a greenhouse, cabins, kids’ playground, an in-ground trampoline, tennis courts, pool table, and bar. The fruit trees were mostly pears, apples, and peaches. Water is abundant and, you see grass here, but there was no irrigation. It tends to rain there almost every day of the year .

Greenhouse at Huerta Real hotel in Mazamitla.

Greenhouse at Huerta Real hotel in Mazamitla.

Chickens at Huerta Real hotel in Mazamitla

Chickens at Huerta Real hotel in Mazamitla