In Michigan, we expect lilacs to bloom in May, but nowadays there is no normal, nothing to expect, only to be present with what is. Everything is a week or two later than we had expected. We are so grateful that anything blooms and grows at all! May showers finally gave way to June flowers and vegetables.
April showers brought May showers to Michigan. It’s been hard to find May flowers in the soggy mess outside. May is 2/3 over and we’ve had only a handful of warm sunny days. According to Greg we’ve had 12 rainy days for a total of 4.3 inches. To understand the impact, an average month of rainfall is 2.5 inches. A typical Michigan month has less than 3 inches of rain. Years ago, Greg and his brother laid pipe underground from 2 directions to drain into a low spot. That was a smart move because it became this pond and is often full from all the rain.
Trying to stay true to my name, (“cheer-up” says the robin), I share with you some hopeful photos of strawberry flowers, apple tree flowers, dandelions amid the asparagus, and the flowering red bud tree, With a new crop of interns, we’re aerating the raised beds, planting out the cabbage and lettuce plugs. stalking the peas, and weeding the blackberry bushes. You can see shallots and garlic growing tall.
Shah Jahan was a mogul emperor of India. He built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz, who died in childbirth. We named our peafowl for them. They are beautiful and always together. Here they are wistfully looking for spring in early April.
I gave you the close-up first, so you’d know what to look for. Recent guests spotted them at sunset high in leafless tree, silhouetted against the night sky. The next morning they were still there and I got this photo.
UPDATE:I got him!!
Here’s Taj on the landing to the interns quarters.
We’re the hens at Three Roods Farm. The white chicken on the roosting bar is our rooster. That’s how he got his name. He roosts. We do all the work.
We’ve been at this farm for almost a year now. Greg and Robin take good care of us here. We look forward to that green bucket of organic grain every morning. In the afternoon they bring us their food scraps. They make sprouted spelt just for us, too.
When we first came to this coop, there was dirt and weeds to peck through. Now there’s only snow. On a sunny day, we come out and scratch through the hay and scraps they set out for us. It keeps our spirits up. Better than nothing.
Our coop is warm and cozy, yet spacious enough for all of us. Amongst the 27 of us, we lay about 2 dozen a day, even in this cold weather. Greg and Robin gather our eggs, clean them and package them up nicely. You can buy a dozen for $5. Then they can buy more feed for us. They buy only certified organic feed.
It’s hard to believe, but they say the sun will get so strong, it will melt all this snow and we’ll be outside all the time. I hope they’re right. We’ll see you then! Meanwhile, reserve your share of the 2014 CSA harvest! See the Subscription Garden page for details!
First came the ice storm. 4 days without electricity. Dreariness.
The poor river birch tree was heavy laden. I thought it might never recover. Greg and I went out that first morning at 6am to clear the driveway so I could go to work. No way! Another huge branch had fallen from that old willow and completely blocked my way. It was still dark and we could hear cracking sounds and thuds of falling branches in several directions. Without light we had no way to tell if we were in line to be struck down, so we went inside and waited for daybreak. Fortunately, Greg had a new chain saw. He made light work of that limb once he could see what he was doing.
When the electricity came back, we were packed and ready. We got on the road and went to New Orleans to celebrate the marriage of our daughter Esther Rose to Luke Winslow King. Queen Esther found her King. I had too much fun to take many photos, but here are a few favorites:I took this one after we parked downtown and before we all got dirty. I should have taken it in front of the restored historic mansion which Luke and Esther are renting. You’ll have to pretend. Can you imagine all 14 of us under one roof? Not in this little house. But I could not have photographed all of us and their mansion and gotten it in 1 picture. It’s that big.
Luke and Esther treated us to Sunday brunch at one of the fanciest restaurants in New Orleans: Antoine’s. Established in 1840. Rumored to be the birthplace of the Baked Alaska, as seen in this photo. Cake on the outside, ice cream inside. The waiters came around to drizzle chocolate sauce on our pieces. Musicians serenaded us.
Parting was sweet sorrow, but we knew another storm was coming so left while the weather was good, taking 2 nights at the home of friends along the way as we had on our way down.
Near Lansing the snow began. We made it home safely. Snow fell all night, the next day, and the next day for a total of 15 inches.
Most of the trees at Three Roods Farm were planted by Greg, our family and the interns. Some maples were started by the wind-blown seeds and some nut and oak trees were helped along by the squirrels. But the big willow tree at the entrance to our farm was there before we were. My father said it was his favorite tree. Here’s how it looked in October.This month a huge storm with terrible tornadoes hit the midwest. We lost power for a few hours. Some of our neighbors were without power for a couple of days. The willow lost a huge limb. Greg hired a fellow with a ‘cherry picker’ to come saw off the hanging branches, known as ‘widow makers’. Here’s what the tree looks like now.
Greg cut some of it up for tipi firewood. He chopped some into smaller pieces.Willow wood is light and will burn quickly. But this is how we make the best of our misfortune. I wheeled the wood over to our new wood shed and tucked it away under the tarp. Note the new rain barrel painted by dear friend Karen Page. Greg happened to have a perfect size gutter piece in the barn amongst countless odd bits of junk he’s collected through the years. Now I need to figure out how to affix the gutter to the roof of the wood shed so as to harvest the rain water next spring.
Their farm grows ideas
when they are settled in
tied down to the plants
like a mortgage or a bill.
It still feeds minds
tends spirits that come in
interrupting sentences of their
lives, paragraphs of gardens.
And now, decisions must be
made, like weeds to be pulled.
The grass grows tall,
flowers will grow.
The grass grows tall,
flowers will grow.
- by Iris Fuchs
According to the Jewish calendar, the New Year 5774 has just begun. In the USA school starts at this time of year, so most of us have a sense of new beginnings when September comes. As I open to new beginnings, I give thanks for all that has brought me to this time and place.
Much was said last year about selling the farm. That is no longer being considered. Rather we intend to keep doing what we’ve been doing and adding more community service events to our calendar. Our main raison d’être is our organic farm homestead through which we offer CSA shares. CSA member Larry Weber enjoys coming to the farm.
Our love of community service and cultural exchange brought us in contact with the WWOOF network. We’ve hosted over 100 volunteers from as far away as Korea and Japan, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. This year we had 3 from exotic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Women gather in the Tent on the New Moon to sing and share deeply, observing the cycles of the moon and the changes in our lives. We study Kabbalah and related teachings. A calendar wheel garden and a woodshed round out the area. Potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes are planted nearby.
The Time Our Fiber Guild was started at 3RF about 8 years ago. Women bring their fiber projects such as spinning wool, weaving, knitting or felting. We meet informally, sharing ideas, laughter and a potluck lunch. We’ve grown so large, we now meet 4th Fridays at the Marathon Township Hall..
Starting this year, Three Roods Farm will host non-denominational spiritual gatherings called Oneness Congregations. The purpose is to bring us into awareness of our Unity and join us in Love. The teachings of the Nirankari Baba will be shared. All are welcome. Bring a song, a story, a prayer, or simply share from the heart. Meetings are on 2nd and 4th Sundays at 11am. The first Oneness Congregation is September 22nd. The Nirankari Baba and his wife Pujya Mataji visited our farm in 1996. Since then, the blessings have been flowing for all who come.
The top 3 photos are courtesy of newest intern, Penelope Crawford-Cottrell. She arrived recently from Portland, Oregon where she completed her undergraduate degree at Lewis and Clark U. She is visiting family and friends in Michigan and doing a month-long stay at 3RF. We’re glad she’s here. She seems happy, too.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1923 – so long ago! As a little boy, you rode a wagon with your Zeidy Max behind a horse named Dick, a horse so smart he knew where to stop along the route, despite being blind. Your Zeidy delivered ice to his customers in those days before homes had refrigerators. They had ‘ice boxes’ to keep food cold. Oh those were the days!
You arrived in Michigan on July 3rd this year, in time to celebrate my 40th marriage anniversary the very next day. The Luke Winslow King band played under the tent after lunch and you danced with me, just like we did long ago.
You were my first dance partner. Mom didn’t enjoy dancing, so you danced with me at all the weddings and bar mitzvahs. I took classes in ballroom dancing in 6th grade and that helped me follow you around the dance floor.
Daddio, you take such pleasure in life! Drink, gezunte haid!
Farm interns who are lucky to be here when you come visit me, always learn a few Yiddish phrases. D’rehdle raitzakh – the wheel turns! Now it is time for you to share the wisdom of your experiences.
I love the way you talk to yourself ‘so someone will listen’. I rarely need to admonish you, because you eventually tell yourself to sheket, to sha, to be quiet, Julie boy.
You make people smile wherever we go. You disarm them with your ‘Hable Espaniole, Baby?’ Or by asking the young girl at the ice cream parlor, ‘Do you sell ice cream here?’ Out of respect, people don’t ignore you. They think you’re confused, but soon they realize that you’re just having fun with them. They laugh. Whatever they’re doing becomes a pleasure. Because of you.
Please note: We had a computer glitch which erased all the posts since August 2012. We are working on restoring the site.
When the weather is normal, we feel so happy. June weather has been normal so far. Yay!
All the seedlings are in the ground and doing well.
We have certain vegetables growing in the chicken yard where the deer can’t get them: beets, Swiss chard, carrots, leeks and spinach.
The CSA started on time and our 1/2 share members got a pound of strawberries on the 2nd harvest. They also got rhubarb, sorrel, Swiss chard, purple scallions, garlic scapes, radishes and marjoram.
The 1st harvest was sorrel, rhubarb, horseradish leaf, dill weed, mint, and purple scallions.
The 3rd harvest, on June 27th, will contain spinach, peas, strawberries, lettuce mix, dill, purple scallions and Juneberries.
Willing workers continue to show up and help with the farm work. Meghan McKnight has been here since April. She was joined by Theo Manazir from Burlington, Vermont and then Jesie Stefani from Mt Pleasant, Michigan. Most recently, Amy and Dan from Pittsburgh have come to help for a month. So the first 3 we’ve ever had from Pittsburgh are here at the same time!
The orchard looks good. We have 5 apple trees, 1 peach tree and several chestnut trees which should bear fruit this year. Greg planted apricot trees last month.
The bees are doing well. I checked the hives with a Vermont beekeeper’s daughter, Meriweather, who has learned much from her father. She was visiting my daughter Sophia.