We’re excited to begin our 16th season as Columbiaville, Michigan’s first and only CSA. When we began our CSA, members drove nearly 2 hours from Harper Woods and St Claire Shores. Now, with the proliferation of CSAs, most people can find a CSA within a half hour’s drive from their home. Most of our members come from Columbiaville and surrounding communities. Here’s a photo essay of what’s been happening.
I wish I had more photos, but the upload mechanism isn’t working on my camera. Fortunately, Eitan brought his camera. That’s why this photo is of his good friend Jake. May was a happy reunion of my daughter Persephone’s friends from Kibbutz Lotan. Jake stopped at 3RF on his way from his family home in NJ to a farm in Minnesota. He helped out in the garden and the kitchen while he was here. Eitan arrived from St. Louis, Missouri soon after. The young men and Persephone visited the Strawbale Studio.
They had learned about Deanne Bednar and seen slides of the Strawbale Studio while studying Natural Building at the kibbutz. Here they are outside the same building they learned about in Israel.
After Jake left, Eitan had the opportunity to check out the bees. 1 of my hives survived the winter. We didn’t see the queen, but we saw evidence that the colony is ‘queenright’ and growing so we placed another brood chamber atop and closed things up.
I’ve decided not to purchase any more bees this year. I will split this hive if they start making queen cells. Or I’ll catch a swarm if need be. But after 2 bad honey years, I don’t want to waste money on bees. Eitan did well. No one was stung. But we missed seeing the queen. She is elusive. We saw drone cells, so I’m sure that next time I check, I’ll see queen cells. With the recent weather in the 90’s, swarming is likely.
An important job in May, is building up raised beds. Greg always lays out the job clearly with strings to mark the sides of the bed.
Notice the hedge row of comfrey at the end of the rows. These plants have done a super job keeping weeds out of the garden. Their root system is thick. And the bees love to visit the purple-blue comfrey flowers. Garlic planted last fall is coming up strong.
Rhubarb is a perennial which needs little attention once it gets established. We weeded it and cut many tender red shoots which taste delicious cut up and sprinkled with a little salt. Mildly sour and easy to chew.
Here’s a nice photo taken from the barn staircase. The redbud is in bloom, the hedge of high bush cranberry encircles the background. The raised beds neatly dug. A row of wild marjoram is visible in the foreground to the right. They are a new perennial bed; a mild herb which is easy to incorporate in salads or as creative cooking dictates.
Eitan was not the only intern to bless us in May. Spring Goldeneagle spent several weeks pulling weeds and planting flowers. She did a nice job with the St Francis Garden near the entrance to the farm. Everyone helps in the kitchen, either preparing food or cleaning up. Eitan and Spring did both.
At the end of May, another friend from Kibbutz Lotan drove from Massachusetts with her girl friend. Here they are mulching the Juneberries with sheep bedding. They spent hours weeding the Juneberry hedge with Japanese hand sickles prior to mulching. Unfortunately we only had 1 day of good weather during their visit. But we made the most of it. They weeded thistles out of the strawberry patch, too.
Now all have moved on to other summer positions. I give thanks for all the good help in May and look forward to the next batch of interns. Don’t forget to bring a camera!