The snow has nearly all melted as winter gives way to spring. Many of last year’s CSA members have signed on for another year. New people are finding us and sending money to reserve their places. If you are interested in being part of our CSA, which means an exciting journey of eating with the seasons, get in touch with me, Robin, as soon as possible. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 810-793-2511.
Read more about our CSA on the page called Subscription Gardening.
Very soon the pussy willows will open and the bees will be buzzing and the whole cycle of life will begin anew. This year’s CSA members will get asparagus!
Dr Greg and I look forward to serving you and enjoying nature’s bounty together!
Snow is no deterrent when it comes to dreams. In winter we dream, we plan, we order seeds and tools, and we keep faith that spring will come again. We invite you to dream along with us. We are seeking those with the desire to eat fresh, local organic food in harmony with the seasons.
This year we will be able to harvest asparagus in large enough quantity to share with our members. This perennial comes in May, which is preseason, so we invite all members to tour the farm and share lunch and fellowship on Saturday May 30th at which time the asparagus will be distributed. Those who can’t make the event can make other arrangements to get their share.
The season will run from June 11th until October 22nd. Price for a full share is $700, half-share $350. Those with the time and interest to help every few weeks get a discounted price: full share $650, half-share $325. A check made out to Robin Mallor and sent to Three Roods Farm/4281 Our Acres Drive/Columbiaville 48421 will reserve your share. See the Subscription Garden page for more details.
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. 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?
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. We’ve enjoyed the short-term help and companionship of Belgian intern Mathilde Bonte, North Carolina native Sahil Dayal, Connecticut apprentice Katie Fisher, as well as the ongoing relationship with full season intern Gigi Sobilo. 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. We appreciate our CSA members who come on schedule every Thursday morning to help harvest, sort and bag the produce. 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. Our 4 Muscovy ducklings are growing. They are never far apart from each other. Sending positive vibrations out into the universe and hoping that the good work of Three Roods Farm brings peace and happiness to many.
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.
A new crop of interns appeared.
Seedlings were planted out.
The chicks grew and changed. Easier to tell them apart.
Trees were planted. This poplar was planted in the Picnic Grove.
Lettuce grew and was harvested with the first CSA share on June 12th.
Strawberries ripened and are given to the CSA members every week until gone.
Interns came for a Reunion weekend. With Dr Greg’s careful instructions, they created and planted a new black currant grove.
The next day, Gigi and Dr Greg mulched the plants with straw.
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.
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!
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.
The feller made several piles of logs under the tree.
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.
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.
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.