After 25 years, Three Roods Farm has reached its end. The farm is being sold to a couple who have wanted such a place and will keep its legacy alive in their own way.
Greg and I look forward to reflecting on all we have learned as we retire to a small nest: a 2-bedroom apartment in a condominium in South Burlington, Vermont. It is very close to where our daughter Sophia lives with her growing family.
The climate in Vermont is much like Michigan. Imagine Michigan with mountains, fewer people and no billboards. Vermont banned billboards in 1969. Too much visual clutter! It certainly enhances the natural beauty.
Burlington is where Bernie Sanders first took the political pulpit as mayor. It boasts 2 large food co-ops, lots of brewpubs, and the fresh water Lake Champlain. But don’t let your car idle while you wait for a friend. You will get a ticket for polluting the environment!
So thanks, Columbiaville, for being so welcoming and tolerant. It’s been fun to try our hand at farming and rural living. I’ve enjoyed countless walks and bike rides in your clean air. Raising poultry, eating fresh strawberries, learning new plants and what to do with them – it’s been a trip! We really felt like we’d made it when we had peacocks. Too bad that beautiful blue one left us to join the wild turkeys. Fuzzy the cat will remain on the land with the new owners, along with the chickens and ducks.
After years of wanting to go solar but unable to afford the large upfront expenditure, things finally changed in our favor. Greg and I had been interviewing solar companies for years, always wanting to sign up, but unable to afford the large upfront capital necessary. Finally, public demand has opened up the market and now average earners like us can afford this improvement. We met a rep from PowerHome last January and learned that one can now purchase solar as one would buy a car; with monthly installments. Plus there are income tax incentives and the company threw in several free energy-saving bonuses to sweeten the deal.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, speaks about the importance of renewable energy not only to mitigate climate change, but for creating jobs. I saw this with my own eyes. An interracial, intergenerational, multi-skilled crew put up the solar installation in 2 days. I was impressed at how well they worked together and answered whatever questions we had. They didn’t leave until the job was done. They stayed overtime to give us the 3 bonuses: a wrap for our hot water heater, a Nest thermostat, and extra insulation in the attic.
The 30 panel installation was placed in the field, rather than on the roof, so that the optimum angle for capturing the maximum solar radiation is obtained. Here’s how it looked in August.
Looking back at this blog, I see I have been posting since 2009. Season after season, familiar scenes with changes visible mainly to the eyes of those who live here, come round and round. Not wanting to bore you or myself with the same old views of farm and veggies, I searched for a new perspective on the land and its inhabitants. Here’s what I found.When we started our farm in 1995, members of our CSA gifted us with their cats George and Gracie. They thought their cats would be happier out in the country with us. And indeed, after a week of adjustment, George and Gracie lived with us for more than a decade in peace and harmony. Fuzzy has been with us since their departure. She’s very affectionate and sometimes follows me on walks. On a recent walk through our 10 acre woodlot, she took a rest on this large rock where Mother Mary holds her baby. Which makes me wonder whether the other statuary at Three Roods Farm has been noticed. I purchased the first one for my dear husband’s birthday many moons ago. I knew he wanted St Francis of Assisi. That day, I was scheduled to work at the hospital. But when I arrived, I found the unit double booked for an RN so I took the day off. On my way home I stopped at a roadside shop and found St Francis. Greg knew where to put him. Recently, Greg decided we needed this one. It is St Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. I thought it was Moses because of his beard and because he carries a book. But I was puzzled by the knot above his head. That turns out to be a tongue of fire, signifying the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because St Jude holds a large bat, Greg figured he should stand near the entrance to our home and barns.
Another change at the farm is the presence of an inquisitive 2-year-old named Avi. Avi can walk farther in one day than many 10 year olds. He loves going off path and checking things out. High grass, biting insects and uneven terrain don’t stop him. He’s fascinated by how things work and has a special fondness for cars. He’s a little imp with a big smile and a friendly disposition. I enjoy showing him the edible weeds.
Peas, fava beans, lettuce, spinach and radishes were planted.
The barn is tidied up.
Rivka Switala, visiting former intern, weeded inside and around the sorrel bed.
First event of the season:Tree Stewardship on Earth DayVolunteer weekend April 21st-22nd! Saturday 9am-1pm Plant Trees. Volunteers welcome. Have lunch with us 1-3pm. More tree planting from 3-7pm. Dinner and bonfire to follow. Stay for all or part of the day. Spend the night in your tent in our HipCamp area or stay at the William Peters Mansion B&B in the village of Columbiaville. Sunday 11a-1p satsang (truth gathering) and lunch at the farm. Afternoon 2-6pm tree planting at the Lapeer Land Conservancy Tibbits Nature Sanctuary. Come for all or part of the day. Show some love for your Mother! learn from tree expert, Dr Greg, how to plant a tree that will last. sapling trees are available for sale after the event.
Parsnips are a crop that can remain in the ground all winter. As soon as the frost comes out of the soil, parsnips can be harvested. Parsnips are a favorite in chicken soup. They can be cooked and mashed with butter, salt and pepper as an alternative to potatoes or rice or bread.
Would you like to join our 2018 CSA? Three Roods Farm will serve 18 members this year. The cost is $500/24 weeks. When you pay, you will get a bag of parsnips as a thank you.
Some people don’t know the term CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is local farmers serving their communities. Families reserve a share of the harvest by paying in advance. Everything grown is divided weekly by the number of members so that everyone gets a share. Herbs and perennials are included in the share. May brings rhubarb, sorrel, chives, mint and asparagus. As spring crops including radishes, lettuce and peas mature, they are included in the share. When they fade, the summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and herbs come in. Lastly the autumn crops ripen, making heavy bags of storable squash, apples and potatoes. Many other fruits and vegetables will be grown. See the Subscription Garden page for more details. It is an adventure of eating with the seasons.
Eggs are available as an extra. Our chickens are very healthy and a colorful addition to the farm. Jackie Delisi will continue to bake and make her organic breads available to 3RF customers on Thursday pick-up days. Stew chickens will be available in the fall. Other farm products, like soaps and teas, will be developed by farm apprentice Sky Brown. Stay tuned for details.
Although winter can be brutal, and this one is torturing us with days upon days in the single digits, the continuous cold is beneficial for the farm. Dormancy keeps the farm from being overrun with insects come spring. It is essential for the strong survival of perennial plants.
In the stillness, we sit and dream of what can be. Dr Greg is going through his seeds and will make the new seed order soon. Robin is updating the website. The CSA will continue. See the Subscription Garden pages for latest details. Ideas are swirling with new friends for projects they will initiate in 2018 (no announcements yet).
From the window, we see a sharp shin hawk alight on a nearby tree branch. Greg snaps the photo.
Somehow we’ll get through this, although the forecast is gloomy.
The Peace Fest began in the barn with Don McAvinchey dressed as Mohandas Gandhi addressing the group.
While he was speaking, Dr Doom arrived and things became strange. Soon, the Queen of Fury and her assistant kidnapped him! The assembled group had to search for clues at the behest of Dr Doom. They used mirrors to see better because the clues were hidden within themselves. Eventually they were ready to search for the Mahatma.
Superheroes kept showing up. Spontaneous Combustion, Joyful Weaver, Stone Hagg and Tinkerbell came. Sister Mary Fran led everyone in a peace dance to unite them. ‘Fill your cup, drink it up, Ya Allah Allah. The fish in the water’s not thirsty.’They reached the area where the Queen of Fury held Gandhi ji in jail. Dr Doom gave everyone clay and suggested we create a representation of something blocking us from doing our peace work. It might help us transform ourselves to be the change we wish to see in the world. Even the Queen of Fury started to transform herself through this project.
Here are some of the people working on their clay representations.People spoke up and revealed the things that block them from their peace work. Gandhi ji himself said he feels lazy sometimes and wishes he could sleep all day rather than do the important work he was called to do. Dr Doom mad efforts to correct his faults, too. People felt happy and were ready for another peace dance. They danced to the words “Spirit of Peace, To your cause we give our strength, That love may reign and war may cease, Mir Miru Mir” a prayer for Peace on Earth.
Then Robin introduced Swaroop Bhojani founder of Hut-k Chaats of Ann Arbor. Swaroop ji told the story that led him from diabetes to good health, from a job in a cancer research lab to creating what he calls ‘Nutrilicious food’ to prevent cancer. Everyone lined up to taste the Mango Lassi, Power of Seven, Samosas and Whole Bowl which Swaroop brought. Dr Doom still had a hold of Michael.The event ended with an assembly in the Poplar Grove to recap and hear about peace work others are doing. Don told us that he has played Gandhi more than 100 times and would say ‘yes’ to any invitation. He shared about his work as a family therapist and his new office in Davison. He recently relocated here from New Mexico.
Doug Reith explained the concept of gerrymandering and brought petitions to sign which will make this a ballot issue in the next election if enough signatures are collected.
Robin invited everyone to come Sunday mornings at 11am to Satsang at the farm. At a satsang, she explained, people inspire and bless each other with spiritual wisdom in the form of stories and songs from the great saints and sages. She invited them to come back for satsang the next day or any other Sunday.
As night fell, many had to leave. A few stayed behind for a fire and songs.Michael was completely restored.
The next morning, a satsang was held in the Poplar Grove.
Americans know Mohandas Gandhi as a peace activist who led his country to freedom with the use of non-violent civil disobedience. He championed the disenfranchised and tried his best to keep the country unified as well as peaceful. His birthday is a national holiday in India just as Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is here in the USA. It falls on Monday, October 2nd.
Would you like to know more about the man who used water fasting to bring attention to the issues of his day? The man who encouraged us to ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’? The man who developed a concept he called Satyagraha – Truthforce – to motivate people to use their inner strength to overcome oppressive rulers without resorting to violence? You will have this opportunity on October 7th! On that day Gandhi will be amongst us as portrayed by Don McAvinchey.
Don is an unusual Gandhi. As a tall, white-skinned man with blue eyes, it must be the balding head and round glasses or maybe its the dhoti and walking stick. He certainly is a deep listener with a peaceful demeanor. He returned to Michigan this summer after being in New Mexico the past 18 years. By profession, Don is a Family Therapist, specializing in Narrative Therapy. He will address the audience as Gandhi around 4pm.
Between 2 and 4pm, peace dances will be offered. Robin has been involved with the Dances of Universal Peace for many years. Her friend and co-dance leader, Sister Mary Fran, IHM, will share simple dances that remind us of our human unity. Each dance has a melody and a phrase that all can learn. Old hands join with young ones in the circle. These spiritual folk dances come from a wide range of traditions. They ground us in our bodies while elevating our feelings. The dances are happening between 2 and 4pm.
Also between 2 and 4pm, there will be activities for the superheroes amongst us. Michael Francis Mallon, aka Laughing Moon, has a passion for breaking through the impossible. He founded the Superhero Training Academy in Detroit. He is a skillful leader, creatively encouraging joy, fortitude, compassion and wisdom. Three Roods Farm has partnered with Michael and the STA for many years. In the summer of 2012, 20 superheroes spent days camped out on the farm preparing for an epic bike ride. When they were ready, they costumed up, rode off, and searched for people and situations where they could be of service. It was awesome! Robin served on the board of directors. Greg is working with Michael to design a living playscape on the land next to the STA educational building.
For those who have always wanted to walk through the orchard and arboretum, Dr Greg will be on hand to answer questions and show the trees. He recently tallied up the number of woody plant varieties that grow on 3RF and came up with 95! That is varieties, mind you. The number of trees he’s planted and nurtured exceeds several thousand. He plants trees with all the farm interns who stay long enough because that it still the single most effective antidote to global warming anyone can perform. Planting trees is one thing. Keeping them alive and protected from nibbling rabbits, bucking deer and invasive insects is another. He’s a master composter and will gladly explain his compost system. Michael dubbed him Mulching Peacock. Dr Greg is my superhero, for sure.
No event is complete without food. I invited Swaroop and Sumi Bhojani to bring their Nutri-licious snacks. The Bhojanis have devoted their lives to creating the most tasty and nutritious foods possible. Swaroop was a research scientist who thought his way into developing the foods on the menu of Hut-k Chaats. He and his wife own and operate Hut-k, the name being an expression meaning ‘out-of-the-mainstream’. The restaurant, located in Ann Arbor, uses locally sourced produce and Indian spices to get a product not available anywhere else. We are fortunate that the Bhojanis are making the time to be with us all afternoon. They will offer several items from their menu – Whole Bowl, Mango Lassi, Samosa and Power of 7 – all reasonably priced.
There is no charge for this event. A donation box will be available in the barn for those wishing to help offset our expenses. Thank you. Peace and blessings ~ ~
SATURDAY. OCTOBER 7th. 2-6 pm
Gandhi’s Birthday Peace Festival at Three Roods Farm
Mohandas Gandhi was a peace activist who led India to freedom with non-violent civil disobedience. He championed the disenfranchised and worked to keep the country unified as well as peaceful. His birthday is a national holiday in India as Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is in the USA. It falls on Monday, October 2nd. Our Peace Festival will be the following Saturday, October 7th from 2-6pm. All ages are welcome.
Would you like to know more about the man who used water fasting to bring attention to the important issues of his day? The man who encouraged us to ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’? The man who developed a concept called Satyagraha – Truthforce – to motivate people to use their inner strength to overcome oppressive rulers without resorting to violence? You will have this opportunity on October 7th! On that day Gandhi will be amongst us as portrayed by Don McAvinchey. Don is an unusual Gandhi. As a tall, white-skinned man with blue eyes, it must be the balding head and round glasses or maybe its the dhoti and walking stick that give him a Gandhian air. Don certainly is a deep listener with a calm demeanor. He returned to Michigan this summer after being in New Mexico the past 16 years. By profession, Don is a family therapist, specializing in Narrative therapy. He will address the Three Roods Farm audience as Gandhi around 4pm.
Between 2 and 4pm, peace dances will be offered. Robin has been involved with the Dances of Universal Peace for many years. Her friend and co-dance leader, Sister Mary Fran, IHM, will share simple dances that remind us of our human unity. Each dance has a melody and a phrase that all can learn. Old hands join with young ones in the circle. These spiritual folk dances come from a wide range of traditions. They ground us in our bodies while elevating our minds.
Also between 2 and 4pm, there will be activities for the superheroes amongst us. Michael Francis Mallon, aka Laughing Moon, has a passion for breaking through the impossible. He founded the Superhero Training Academy (STA) in Detroit. He is a skillful leader, creatively encouraging joy, fortitude, compassion and wisdom. Three Roods Farm has partnered with Michael and the STA for many years. In the summer of 2012, 20 superheroes camped out at 3RF preparing for an epic bike ride. When they were ready, they costumed up and rode off searching for people and situations where they could be of service. It was awesome! Robin served on the board of directors. Greg is working with Michael to design a living playscape on the land next to the STA educational building.
For those who want to learn more about trees, Dr Greg will be on hand to answer questions and show the 3RF orchard and arboretum. He recently tallied up the number of woody plant varieties growing here and came up with 95! That is varieties, mind you. The number of trees he’s planted and nurtured exceeds several thousand. Farm interns who stay long enough always learn to plant a tree because it is the single most effective antidote to global warming anyone can perform. Dr Greg is a master composter and will gladly explain his compost system. Michael dubbed him Mulching Peacock. Dr Greg is my superhero, for sure.
No event is complete without food. I invited Swaroop and Sumi Bhojani to bring their Nutri-licious snacks. The Bhojanis have devoted their lives to creating the most tasty and nutritious foods possible. Swaroop was a research scientist who when he developed the super foods of Hut-k Chaats. He and his wife own and operate Hut-k, the name being an expression meaning ‘out-of-the-mainstream’. The Ann Arbor restaurant, uses locally sourced organically grown produce and Indian spices to get a product not available anywhere else. We are fortunate that the Bhojanis are coming all the way to Columbiaville to be with that afternoon. They will offer several items from their menu – Whole Bowl, Mango Lassi, Samosa and Power of 7 – all reasonably priced.
There is no charge for this event. A donation box will be available in the barn. Parking space is limited. Carpool if possible or consider parking in the village and walking to the farm. Thank you. Peace and blessings ~ ~
My daughter Sophia wrote a song about life on the farm called ‘Room for Two’. One of the lines is “there’s always too much sun, never enough rain”. That line went through my head the past few weeks. We finally got 2 and a half inches a few days ago, refilling our water catchments and our hearts. Below is the empty catchment near the greenhouse. We use water from this to water the plants in and around the greenhouse.We had to resort to using the village water, which is thankfully available via a hose.
We had a bumper harvest of French Breakfast Radishes. These are red, white and juicy. Our CSA received radishes 4 times and I still had plenty to bring to Vermont for Sophia’s wedding. Farmers give radishes as party favors, don’t ya know? Karen Page, pictured above, comes every Monday and works with me for 3 hours in exchange for her share of the harvest. She is the new Executive Director of the Lapeer Land Conservancy and the resident land steward of the Tibbits Nature Sanctuary. Karen always has a rock in her pocket. She has boundless curiosity about the natural world. Here she contemplates a balanced rock composition.BIG NEWS: As much as we have loved our farm these past 21 years, Greg and I are ready for our next adventure. The farm is for sale to anyone with the capacity to take it to the next level – and some money in his/her pocket. To see the specs, check out MLS#:216055332
“Where’s there’s room for one, you know there’s room for two, and ya know wherever I am, baby, I’ll make a place for you”
(To hear Sophia and The Second String Band: http://2ndstringband.com/)
As a member of the Board of the Lapeer Land Conservancy, I wrote this article which appears in our Spring Newsletter. The LLC would love to receive a donation of land specifically for the purpose of Green Burial.
Permaculture is a way of thinking through processes from their inception to their decomposition. Environmentalists, careful about their food choices and carbon footprint, search for non-toxic products and pure pathways. How does the permaculture philosophy serve us when our human bodies deteriorate and die? What products and pathways are available? How and where do we want to leave our bodies? The Death Cafe will explore these and other issues.
The basic principles are – Maintaining an open, respectful space where people can express their views on death safely. – Strictly non-profit. Donations go to the Lapeer Land Conservancy which sponsors the event. – No intention of leading people to a particular conclusion and no sale of items. – Refreshing drinks and food are served.
The concept began in Switzerland in 2004 and has traveled worldwide It was started by Jon Underwood based on the work of Bernard Crettaz. Lizzy Miles offered the first Death Café in the USA. In Michigan, Merilynne Rush has been at the forefront, hosting meetings in Livonia and Ann Arbor.
The Lapeer Land Conservancy invites those with an interest in sharing experiences and ideas on this subject to come to a Death Café. The next one is Saturday July 23rd from 1-3pm. For more information, call Karen Page at 810-969-1023 or Pagekp@gmail.com