Julie Boy, it’s July!

DSCF2482Which means it’s your birthday month. Don’t we know it? Leonard is your middle name, Leo your sun sign, and your temperament is lion-hearted!

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.  Dancing with Zaidy July 4th 2013 #2 Dancing with Zaidy July 4th 2013 #3

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. DSCF2514

June sings a happy tune

Please note: We had a computer glitch which erased all the posts since August 2012. We are working on restoring the site.

Strawberries!
Strawberries!

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.

Meghan cleans the sorrel.
Meghan cleans the sorrel.

The 3rd harvest, on June 27th, will contain spinach, peas, strawberries, lettuce mix, dill, purple scallions and Juneberries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghan picks a winner.
Meghan picks a winner.

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!

Amy and Dan thin the apples.
Amy and Dan thin the apples.

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.

 

 

 

Merriweather and Robin.
Merriweather and Robin.

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.

 

 

 

Sophia and Merriweather plant out lettuce and kale.
Sophia and Merriweather plant out lettuce and kale.
Careful hands.
Careful hands.

Midsummer’s Superhero Deluge

August began with intern Sarah Boehm leaving after her two-week stay on the farm. As she left, two new interns filtered in to take her place.  Peyton Ginakes (coming from Minnesota) and Emily Hines (traveling from Colorado Springs) came at an unusually hot and dry time. The long drought that has been plaguing the US has certainly been felt here at Three Roods. Luckily, rain came just in time. Here they are weeding the Saskatoons.

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The excitement of the precipitation was paralleled by the arrival of our visitors: a rowdy, affectionate, and colorful group of 21 Superheroes. Organized by Laughing Moon and Stardust, the Michigan Superhero Bike Ride began with the intention to bike through SE Michigan performing random acts of goodness and allowing their collective consciences to lead the way. After several days of synergizing energy, they broke camp this morning with words of gratitude and inspiration – along with singing and dancing. All was right with the world.

Super Heroes say grace before lunch.

P1010113 Sarah’s last day at Three Roods Farm.

P1010125A preview of the glorious tomato harvest. We tried a small variety called Indigo. It is a deep purple and green while ripening. When the green becomes red and the purple becomes black, its ready.  It’s visible in the foreground of the photo. Despite the excitement of a purple tomato, the taste is dull.

045Dr Greg, later dubbed Mulching Peacock, talking with Superhero Training  Director, Laughing Moon.

033The Superhero stance.

031Bike ride organizers Laughing Moon and Stardust with Dancing Breath.

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The Superheroes, capes flying in the wind, depart on heavily laden bikes. Bon voyage! Adieu!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July flew by

July 29th. The end of a full weekend.  All my daughters were here for their cousin’s wedding, and a very happy affair it was.  Intern Rivka Switala left this morning after a 4 month internship. So much gratitude for her excellent help! I’m taking time to catch up and post some recent photos taken by new intern Sarah Boehm, a teacher from Massachusetts. 

 

This week brought rains giving over an 2 inches of needed moisture.  The garden has responded with bright colors and ripening vegetables. These are crookneck squash with a visiting honeybee.

 

 

 

 

Rivka found someone her own size to talk with.

 

 

 

 

 

                                              

                                              Sun Gold tomatoes in all stages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close-up of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz on the barn roof this morning.

 

 

 

Sarah and Rivka spent some time visiting the sheep and in the tipi and then Sarah conducted this interview:

Sarah: Since arriving at Three Roods Farm earlier this week, Rivka, who has been here since April, has been my guide. She showed me the secret to collecting eggs without getting pecked and how to know when the cucumbers are ripe for picking.

Sarah: What brought you to Three Roods Farm?
Rivka: I was here for a week in 2011, preparing for an Ag-Forestry program with the Peace Corps. During my stay I received an invitation to go to Ukraine.  I spent several months there. After returning to the States,  Robin found me on facebook and  invited me to come and do an internship this summer.

Sarah: What has been your favorite project at the farm?
Rivka: The act of moving the sheep, known as rotational grazing. Watching them leap after Greg opens the fence has been an entirely new experience. Watching the lambs grow has been really rewarding.


Sarah: Have you eaten any foods here that you had not eaten previously?
Rivka: Greg’s fermented oats for breakfast. Edible weeds like lambs quarters. Different meats such as lamb liver and lamb heart. I never knew how delicious lamb heart was.


Sarah: How has the farm changed since you arrived?
Rivka: The whole place has changed altogether: there were no crops planted when I arrived, and now as you can see the place is full of all different sorts of plants. In the spring we did more forestry because it was too cold to plant.  But after it warmed up our time has been consumed in growing food.

Sarah:Have you changed at all during your time here?
Rivka: I feel more open, more connected with nature and like I have a deeper understanding of the earth. It has created in me a peaceful balance.

Sarah: What lessons have you learned these four months?
Rivka: Maintaining patience and seeing projects through. I’ve learned that if something doesn’t go according to the plan you can start over with something new, which often times works out better.

The Formless Farm

Only two weeks here and time has already faded away. That seems to happen when you fall in love. Before arriving to 3RF, dates and times, schedules and weeks, tomorrow and yesterday, I was thinking all about when the events in my life would happen. Sometimes waiting and remembering kept me from the present experience, right now, in each moment.

Sunrise From Intern Barn

It helps that the landscape here is more beautiful than I could have imagined. Immersed in nature, the birds and fireflies, the plants and trees, the sun and bees, I have found a balance in the perfection of nature‘s handiwork.

Ox-eye Dasiy

While reflecting on the feelings of pure nature I have begun to quiet my mind. More and more I am tuning my inner-being and body together with the rhythms of nature. Meditating in the magnificence of this place I feel balance and become calm like the silent sun. When my total self is in the present, I am able to perceive and learn more. I have only been here a couple of weeks and yet I have gained so much.

 

Greg is incredibly knowledgeable so I try to absorb everything I can. Just like the plants! (It has been so hot and dry here that the plants extend their roots to try and absorb all the water they can.) I have learned so much about organic farming that I can’t wait to one day have a permaculture farm of my own. Planting and harvesting your own food is very rewarding because you and the plants must work together. One of the greatest lessons that I have learned here at 3RF is that you can choose which seeds to plant. And those seeds that you choose to water are the ones that will grow. These seeds can represent any thought, feeling, or behavior.

Tipi

Robin is full of goodness. She always helps to bring a positive atmosphere, especially after working on the farm all day. She is a refreshing brilliant light of peace. She has also given me so much and has been a catalyst to my spiritual growth.

Both Greg and Robin have been generous to take in interns and make us feel at home. They remind me of my own loving parents, and I am so grateful for their gift.

I will always remember my time at 3RF, and all of the amazing people that have come into my life. An intern named Rebekah (Rifkah)is a beautiful person who has taught me to see all sides of things. I look to her as big sister. She is a boss.

Marian, who is our lovely Kiwi neighbor intern over at Clark’s place, has been a great person to meet. And most recently Sophia Rose, a friendly herbalist, has joined us on the farm traveling all the way from Texas.  And I can’t forget about Schnitzel, who is recovering from a hurt paw, and cats George and Fuzzy.
       

 

Three Roods Farm has a special spot in my heart where I will always be reminded to be more present in each moment.  I have fallen in love with this place. I want Greg and Robin to know that this land is not what I fell in love with. Rather, it is the formless atmosphere that has been created by two awesome beings, as well as everyone that was here before me.

My spirit has been truly uplifted on this stop of my journey. Excited to see what comes next! Please comment, and keep me updated!

Peace,

Ryan Abboud

 

Rhubarb Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar (or 1 cup)
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups rhubarb

Cream sugar and butter.  Add egg and beat well.  Add flour, salt, milk, vanilla and beat well.  Spread in a greased 9 x 13 pan and add rhubarb on top evenly – or mix it into the batter before you put it in the pan.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over it.
Sugar mixture: 2/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon or ground nutmeg
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Good served warm with ice cream.

Rhubarb Dream Bars

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour (we use ww)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon (og cane) sugar
1 cup (og cane) sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (we used ww)
4 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (we used neufchatel)
1/2 cup (og cane) sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream (we substitute yogurt)
1 tablespoon (og cane) sugar
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 11×7-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, the softened butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar until well combined; press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven until it starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the crust. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.
Using the same bowl, thoroughly mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup flour; stir in the rhubarb and toss to coat. Spread the rhubarb mixture over the baked crust. Using the same bowl, mash the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the egg until the mixture is creamy; spread over the rhubarb.
Bake in the oven until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is set, about 35 minutes.
In the same bowl, mix sour cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar; spread over the hot dessert. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour (we use ww)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon (og cane) sugar
1 cup (og cane) sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (we used ww)
4 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (we used Neufchatel)
1/2 cup (og cane) sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream (we substitute yogurt)
1 tablespoon (og cane) sugar
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 11×7-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, the softened butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar until well combined; press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven until it starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the crust. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.
Using the same bowl, thoroughly mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup flour; stir in the rhubarb and toss to coat. Spread the rhubarb mixture over the baked crust. Using the same bowl, mash the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the egg until the mixture is creamy; spread over the rhubarb.
Bake in the oven until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is set, about 35 minutes.
In the same bowl, mix sour cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar; spread over the hot dessert. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

Be a Lert

Greg built a compost heap in March!

Starting with a January that showered more rain than snow, its been a strange year so far. Which doesn’t mean its been a bad year.  Unpredictable is where its at.  The month of March was as hot as June used be, bringing fruit trees to blossom only to be killed by April frosts.  Which translates into no apples or peaches this year.  Fortunately last year was a bumper crop.  And, truth be told, the trees may benefit from a year of growth without bearing fruit.  They look healthy.

 

Many of us felt guilty for enjoying the hot sun in march because we knew it was a foreboding of difficulties to come.  And indeed the insects returned early and in full force only to find little to eat.  I fed my honeybees sugar water through mid-May to make up for the lack of fruit blossoms.  The slugfest on the strawberries is the worst I’ve seen.  Still we’re happy to have strawberries at all – we kept the row covered for a couple of weeks to insure their survival.

 

The first day of June was as cloudy and cold as October – only the lush green growth didn’t fit the picture.  Everything is speeded up this year.  We never had winter and spring came too soon.  Greg and I decided to start the CSA a week early – June 7th – and, thank God, we do have plenty of vegetables plus the strawberries.  The peas have set fruit and the lettuce is enjoying the rain.  Beautiful curly garlic scapes, rhubarb, sorrel and mint will fill out the first weeks share.

 

To survive in these times we must adapt.  We can expect nothing to be as it was.  Lighten up I tell myself, renewing my connection to 100% raw living foods.  Green smoothies made of lambs quarters, mint, strawberries, banana and coconut oil (with E-3 Live super blue green algae) are my daily drink.  Be alert, my daughter Esther Rose once said, because the world needs more Lerts.  And so it goes.

                                                                                                     Mumtaz is a Lert!

 

Intern Reunion

Kameron learns to use the rototiller to grind leaves. He does a great job!

I love the people who come help us with our farm work. Most often young and excited to help, they renew my dedication to stewarding this land.  Here are some photos from the last 10 days. Many thanks to Emily, Nate and Jake Breczinski, Aliya Bajhet, and Juliana Mitchell for returning to help. Rebekah Switala and Kameron Creager are our current interns.  Noah Lipham came as a special friend of Emily’s and fit right in.  Regretfully, I have no photos showing the special visit of Laughing Moon mid-week. Laughing Moon is the director of the SuperHero Training Academy!

 

Noah, Aliyah, and Emily in the reforestation area.

 

 

 

Noah and Emily removing invasive plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg shows Julianna how to use loppers for plant removal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noah helps Greg load the truck with leaves for tree mulching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily and Rebekah help create a new garden.

The inspiration for this garden was a large pile of dirt we had excavated to put sand and then pea stone under the tipi.  Later I saw a lunar calendar garden at Kayam Farm near Baltimore based on Kabbalistic insights into the months .  Since I have been gathering women on the Rosh Chodesh, or New Moon every month, I wanted to create my own version of a calendar wheel.

Rocks gathered for the calendar garden.

 

Several friends brought rocks to contribute, but most of the rocks were brought from the Strawbale Studio, a free gift from my good friend Deanne Bednar.

 

 

 

Robin placing large stones around the garden.

We dug a trench and placed the stones. At times it felt like a jig-saw puzzle, looking for the rock with just the right shape to fit next in the circle.  The garden was covered all winter with a tarp to kill back the weeds.  It did the trick.

 

 

Emily and Julianna considering the correct stones.Emily and Julianna devoted much time and effort into this project.  When all the rocks were placed, we tapped them in with a small sledge hammer. Then they made a mixture of clay, straw and water and used this to fill in the gaps in the stones as well as around the front and back of the stones to hold them in place and create another barrier against weeds. 
Jake, Rebekah and Nate weeding in the main garden.
Dinner together.