Dr Greg and the Friendly Pheasant

Once upon a time on Three Roods Farm, pheasants were seen at a distance if at all. That changed this year.

It started in summer. Several of us saw a large, mottled ground bird dart in and around the main garden. We thought her to be a female grouse. Sightings became more common as the bird was seen in amongst the young hazelnut trees and near the chicken coop.  DSCF3343 DSCF3358 DSCF3348 DSCF3349 DSCF3351 DSCF3355 We were confused by the lack of a clear white neck ring and the mottled colors. With hindsight, we know he was a juvenile pheasant.

A few weeks later, Dr Greg was rototilling near the tipi when he heard loud sounds in the woods. A pheasant seemed to be following him, watching him through the trees. Eventually, the bird cut in front of him with more squawks. He pranced around the rototiller making it impossible for Greg to work. Finally Greg got in his truck and the pheasant chased the truck back to the house.

The next day, the same thing happened.  Only this time, when the pheasant stood in front of him squawking, Dr Greg got down on his knees and caught the fellow by his legs! I know this is true, because he brought the pheasant to the front garden where I was working and showed him to me.  Dr Greg was so proud of his achievement, he had me pluck a long tail feather to put in his hat. He brought the bird back to the woods and released him.

To make a long story short, Greg and the pheasant have met so many times, that Greg has lost track of the number of times he’s caught and released the bird. He says there are 2 birds because they are not the same size. One is big enough to eat – but that is not the plan. Meanwhile, Greg wonders about the deep meaning here.  Why are the pheasants so interested in him such that they allow themselves to be caught. Is the pheasant Greg’s spirit animal? What is he trying to say? What do you think? DSCF3427 DSCF3429 DSCF3432

New Moon Gathering

The calendar wheel in  late April:

The calendar garden now ~ from a distance, showing the magnolia tree which Gigi and Greg planted yesterday.

The Tent of Meeting is the center of new planting on both sides.  To the south, leaf piles graciously dropped by the Village of Columbiaville DPW and rototilled several times by Dr Greg nourish crops.  Delicata winter squash ripens there. Farther south, last years leaves are being prepped for next season.

The hot and bothered times of Tammuz and Av are coming to an end.  On Thursday we enter a time of deep heart-centeredness.
This month – Elul – we clean and purify our hearts, so that we can serve in Truth.  We can rise to a higher level of service when we serve from Truth, meaning authentically, without pretense. To be clear about who we are, honest about our intentions and abilities, while avoiding guilt and self-punishment – that is the goal. This month can be compared to the Christian time of Lent. At Lent, people examine their behavior carefully, often giving up a bad habit, in preparation for receiving the Christ at Easter.  Jewish people spend Elul preparing to deserve another year of life. We seek out the behaviors that have gotten us into trouble in the past and ask for strength to overcome these faults. The good news is that it is So Easy to do this month! We have help from the angelic realm; the Angels and Archangels want to answer our prayers! The Holy Oneness is so close, so available. We need only take a step in the right direction, call out into the wind, .

Looking for my Sisters, Daughters, Mothers, Friends ~ Thursday, August 28th 6pm – 10pm.
Deep Sharing. Singing. Potluck Dinner. RSVP

Like to bring a tent and camp overnight? Just ask.

July flew by and August is upon us

Since my last post, about 6 weeks ago, the weather has been practically perfect.  Days in the mid 70′s, nights in the low 60′s. Plenty of rain.  But it’s not perfect for growing summer vegetables which thrive on hotter days and nights.  Fortunately, most of our crops are ripening slowly but surely.  It’s been great lettuce weather.  If we had known the weather would be this mild we would have planted spinach!  Still, we maintain a spirit of gratitude for what we are given every day – our lives, our homes, our farm, our family and our friends. And we are grateful for the abundance all around us.  DSCF3208 DSCF3207 We’ve enjoyed the short-term help and companionship of Belgian intern Mathilde Bonte, DSCF3158 North Carolina native Sahil Dayal, DSCF3178 Connecticut apprentice Katie Fisher, DSCF3215 as well as the ongoing relationship with full season intern Gigi Sobilo. DSCF3173 The CSA is in its 10th week and we’re expecting a heavy harvest tomorrow including Provider green beans, Nevada lettuce, many tomato varieties, sweet and hot peppers, carrots, shallots, garlic, Swiss chard, zucchini and crookneck squash, and parsley.  Corn is just days away. DSCF3192 Photo 28.07.14 12 45 04 We appreciate our CSA members who come on schedule every Thursday morning to help harvest, sort and bag the produce. DSCF3162 DSCF3161 Shah Jahan excited us in June and July as he displayed his feather for all to see. It must have worked its magic for his lady Mumtaz  is now far off sitting on her eggs and is rarely seen.  Shah lost all his long tail feathers  in the last few weeks and has stopped crowing. He quietly awaits her return. 14497462101_14cacc1e32_q                DSCF3209 Our 4 Muscovy ducklings are growing.  They are never far apart from each other. DSCF3197 DSCF3196 Sending positive vibrations out into the universe and hoping that the good work of  Three Roods Farm brings peace and happiness to many. Photo 25.07.14 16 20 38 Photo 17.07.14 11 17 58 Photo 17.07.14 11 17 19 IMG_9323 IMG_9211 DSCF3219 DSCF3181 DSCF3185

June is Gone too Soon!

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. 14499480684_3f41af3756_b

DSCF3064A new crop of interns appeared.

14499478414_e516a09827Seedlings were planted out.

14499476214_77aa491412The chicks grew and changed. Easier to tell them apart.

14497400241_00b1662975_mTrees were planted. This poplar was planted in the Picnic Grove.

photo 4Lettuce grew and was harvested with the first CSA share on June 12th.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3Strawberries ripened and are given to the CSA members every week until gone.

photo 4Interns came for a Reunion weekend. With Dr Greg’s careful instructions, they created and planted a new black currant grove.

DSCF3112The next day, Gigi and Dr Greg mulched the plants with straw.


May Showers

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.DSCF3038

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, DSCF3039 DSCF3020 DSCF3022 DSCF3023 DSCF3021DSCF3025With 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.

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DSCF3041 DSCF3040 DSCF3027 DSCF3045 DSCF3046 DSCF3050 DSCF3048May peace prevail on earth!

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Shah Jahan and Mumtaz

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. DSCF2781Here they are wistfully looking for spring in early April.

DSCF2888Sometimes they can be seen in the catalpa tree near the garage.

DSCF2887I 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.

DSCF2925Later that day, I saw Mumtaz on a bee-box.

DSCF2910DSCF2909One never knows where they might be. Lately I’ve seen Shah Jahan open his feathers in full display, but I haven’t had my camera with me. Whenever I catch him on film, I’ll post it right here.

UPDATE:I got him!!

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Here’s Taj on the landing to the interns quarters.

DSCF2935And here’s the Shah waiting for her down below.

DSCF2937He jumps up on the barnyard gate.

DSCF2940This photo shows why his breed is called ‘brown shoulders’. They are different from the completely blue peacocks which roam India.

DSCF2944 She flew down from her perch on the landing.

DSCF2948And I caught them kissing through the fence. They stopped when they saw me.

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A Message from our Hens

DSCF2754HI THERE!

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.

DSCF2750We’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.

DSCF2752When 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.

DSCF2755Our 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.

DSCF2741It’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!

Slippin’ out between Storms

First came the ice storm.  4 days without electricity. Dreariness.

DSCF2693 DSCF2694 DSCF2695The 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:DSCF2700I 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.

DSCF2697Sophia and her beau.  Although they are both gainfully employed, I think they could earn well as models if need be.

DSCF2726Sophia with her father.  Now there’s a good-looking gentleman! What? He’s 63?  63 never looked so good!

DSCF2719Luke 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.

DSCF2734Look at the color! This is not only a food co-op.  It contains a healing arts center, a middle eastern restaurant, hip clothing store, and more.

DSCF2728The rug I made as a wedding gift from the wool of our Shetland sheep.

Esther and LukeInexplicably, I took no photos of Luke and Esther.  Probably because there are so many great ones already in cyberspace. I love this one.

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.

DSCF2740DSCF2746DSCF2738DSCF2743DSCF2745That’s Michigan for ya.  Love it or leave it.  I choose to love it. For now.

 

The Old Willow Tree

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.DSCF2636This 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.

DSCF2645The feller made several piles of logs under the tree.

DSCF2646Greg cut some of it up for tipi firewood. DSCF2649He chopped some into smaller pieces.DSCF2652Willow wood is light and will burn quickly.  But this is how we make the best of our misfortune. DSCF2650I 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. DSCF2654

 

 

A Poem

Their farm grows ideas

even now

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