Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

The day finally arrived!  This blueberry bed was years in the making. We first planted potatoes into it, then tomatoes the following year. In autumn 2009 a thick layer of pine needless was laid on top and left there over winter.  In the spring it was rototilled. More soil amendments were added the next year.  Only now in spring 2012 is the soil sufficiently loamy and acidic to nourish theses 12 blueberry plants. Hooray!

Our CSA members only see this plant in fruit.  Nowadays it is flowering. It’s called Juneberry or Service Berry.  It is extremely slow growing because the new suckers come up thin and far from each other making them easy accidents with the lawn mower.  The tall inner shoots never thicken, no matter how much they age.  Last year’s wet spring gave us abundant berries. They are sweet, but not as sweet as blueberries.

 

I used to be so annoyed by Henbit. This weed comes up before any other. I would pull it out of all the garden beds. Then I began to notice the bees like it.   It comes up even before the dandelions thus giving the little darlings some nectar when they venture out in early spring.  Can you spot the honeybee in this photo?  Hint: it’s near the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

This row of Osage orange was well mulched with leaves last fall.  The young trees are doing better than they appear, given the poor contrast in this photo. I’m at the far end of the sheep pasture, near the edge of the reforestation area.  The fruit of the Osage orange is a natural alternative to mothballs, containing a substance that repels many insects.

 

These young people are completing a degree in the Environment at University of Michigan. They drove up from Ann Arbor one warm March day to spend a day planting trees.  Greg dug up the poplars from a spot near the house where they had rooted but were not needed.  He uses them to fill spaces in the reforestation project where our original plantings failed.

 

This young man came along too.  He is graduating from MSU and will be going on for a D.O. after taking a gap year.  He’ll start off as an intern with us next month.  He’s preparing a hole for a poplar.

 

The colony from last year survived the winter. Its the same queen from 2 years ago because they survived last winter, too, and never swarmed, which is a minor miracle.  The hive is so active, I’d like to split them, but have no queen to give the split. Queens are in short supply, I’m told.  Meanwhile, I hived a new colony and they are doing well.

This ewe was the last of our 7 ewes to give birth.  Her 2 little ones looked so strange to me, until I realized that they resemble their father more than any of the other lambs.  Their mother is very protective of them.  I will take a photo of all the lambs on pasture soon.  They are so cute and playful, chasing each other around the yard and leaping in the air with delight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Lapeer and the Lapeer Land Conservancy

 

Ever heard of Wild Lapeer?  It’s a county wide event started about 10 years ago by North Branch resident Marian Listwak.  Not to be confused with Lapeer Days which is a weekend in downtown Lapeer every summer.  No, Wild Lapeer is a spring event which previously took place around the Lapeer court house, using the Farmers Market area and court house lawn for activities.

For the 3rd year, Wild Lapeer will be held at Chatfield School, home of The Willows Environmental Education Center.  Peter McCreedy, visionary and lead teacher at Chatfield, heads up the planning committee for Wild Lapeer. The Lapeer Land Conservancy is now the major sponsoring group with much help from Lapeer County Parks, Lapeer Conservation District, the Farm Bureau, Backtrack to Nature and others.  The purpose of Wild Lapeer is to bring people together around their love of the natural world.  Families will find much for children to do, such as canoe rides, buidling bluebird houses and enjoying a petting zoo.

Special guests this year include Barb Barton from the Great Lakes Wild Rice initiative.  This singer songwriter is an enviromental activist extraordinaire. She will explain the requirements for growing rice in our area and why this is nutritionally and environmentally a sound idea.  A falconry expert will bring live birds and teach about them.  This should perk up the ears of our Lakeville Falcons.  Another special guest is Michael Mallon, also known as Laughing Moon.  He is the founder of the Superhero Training Academy.  He will tell stories and show how you can discover your superhero name and powers!

So reserve the date: Saturday May 5th.  10am-4pm.  Check the local paper for more information as the day comes closer.

Elin spins yarn at Wild Lapeer 2009

My Daddio

I love my Daddio.
  Oh how I love my Daddio.
He’s so cool.
He’s so bad.
  He’s the best Daddio I ever had.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – –
My teeth hurt
  for my Daddio
For all the wrong I’ve done.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – –
How I’ve mocked him
   Disregarded him
Forgotten him
   For my impatience with him
My lack of understanding of his needs
   I feel remorse.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Oh my dear Daddio
   Be happy!  Be well!
I will enjoy our time together.
   I will not over plan.
I will find things you like to do.
   We’ll go to Frankenmuth for lunch.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Oh Daddio
   I’m make you coffee
And we’ll sit outside.
   We’ll work on the photo album.
We’ll visit Clark
   or Vivian and Dorothy.
We’ll visit Rosalie and Kris.
   I’ll take you to Bloomington
      to see your brother Sam
So you can annoy him in person.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Oh Daddio
    I sound more like you every day.
Rich or poor its good to have money.
   Der reydala dreytzik
Its a veshaydana veld.
   Singing snippets of songs
I feel happy and big hearted
   Like you Julio Leonardo
Lion hearted one talking, joking
   I talk to myself so someone will listen.
He’s a riot.  He’s one of kind.
   He’s Julius what-did-you-say Mallor.

CSA Signup

The Royal Couple, Shah Jahan & Mumtaz

 

Our 17th year begins!

When I look at photos from our first years here, I know we’ve come a long way.  We bought a 23 acre field which had been fallow for 10 years and was a grazing pasture for many years before that.  Thanks in large part to the vision and hard work of my dear husband, the landscape is a beautiful sight to behold.  To see some older photos, visit our previous website: http://webpages.charter.net/rmallor/

We are selling full shares of our CSA for $600 and half shares for $350.  Half shares tend to get somewhat more than half of a full share, thus the price increase.  Returning half share members will get a discount ~ we appreciate your loyalty!  New members are in for a treat.  Our CSA has stayed true to the original concept of CSAs.  If you are looking for a farm where you can bring your family and enjoy a few hours of simple farm work outside once a month, you have found the right place.  If you want to grow a large garden at your home, but don’t know how, consider joining Three Roods Farm for a year.  You’ll learn everything you need to know.

As an added incentive, the first 5 people to sign up will get a free cookbook called Simply in Season http://www.worldcommunitycookbook.org/

To hold your place, send a deposit for half the amount by May 15th to Robin Mallor/Three Roods Farm/ 4281 Our Acres Drive/Columbiaville MI 48421.  Make the check out to my name please.  The balance is due by June 14th.  If you need a different payment plan let me know.

We’re looking forward to a tasty season. Hope you can join us!

Winter 2012

Friends and former interns often ask me “How’s the farm?’ Winter is very quiet on the farm.  The familiar green shed

The rooster still crows in the morning, but with all the windows shut, I don’t usually hear him until I wake up on my own. The ringing in my ears grows louder in the silence.

Instead of walking once around the land, I walk 2 and 3 times using different pathways to stay warm and give Schnitzle time and variety to explore.  He is more active in the cold weather.  His warm coat of fur keeps him snug.

If it has snowed, I’ll go to the tipi and use a broom to sweep the snow off the canvas.  On dry, sunny days, I’ll gather kindling wood in the forest. If the weather is mild enough, I’ll start a fire inside the tipi and play tambourine, read psalms, take a nap.

Reading lots of books: Jack London’s Call of the Wild which I’m borrowing from Jeff Morrison, Dr Clarissa Pinkola-Estes Women Who Run with the Wolves for the 2nd time, and Judaism, A Wild Faith, by Rabbi Mike Comins to name a few. Am I feeling wolfish and wild? You decide.

Mumtaz
Her coloring is more vivid against the snowy backdrop.

Rosh Chodesh

   For over a year, I've been holding gatherings to celebrate the new moon of the Hebrew months. It's called Rosh Chodesh.  Chodesh means moon or month, chadash means new. Rosh means the head or start of the month.
    My friend Deanne Bednar holdsFull Moon celebrations at her place. It's usually a large crowd, often delicious food, and always exciting to walk around and see the new projects developing.
    Deanne and tribal mother/sister Tina Kahn were the 2 friends who supported me at the start of the Rosh Chodesh project.  I made a commitment to myself to light the tipi fire and celbrated the New Moon whether anyone joined me or not.  But I am such a one for others, I must constantly shake myself and remind myself – hey! – this tipi is here for me every day! If I want to commune with Shekinah in the Makom, the Holy Place, it is open to me! I placed a cot inside and thickened it with blankets and foam so I can rest there.
    I wanted to dedicate it on Rosh Chodesh Kislev, celebrated Sunday, but the rain came straight down on that windless, almost balmy late November afternoon.  The smoke was intense.  "This is too much with my asthma", said Miriam, "I'm going to bail." Sara Rus was holding the scarf over her nose and mouth, indicating her difficulty with the situation.  "Alright", I said, although I'd hoped we could overcome it.  So we went into the basement of the house, in my meditation/yoga room and convened there.  It was good.
    The 1st commandment given to the Israelites after being delivered out of Egypt, was to sanctify the new moon (Exodus 12:1-2). The Egyptians worshipped the sun-god Ra.  It seemed that the Israelites listened to the beat of a different drummer. They looked to the moon for a new means of reckoning time and seasons.  Jewish days start at sundown, as it is written "and it was evening and it was morning, the 1st (2nd, etc) day" in Genesis.
     Imagine a time when the month didn't begin until 2 people staring west into the dusk in Jerusalem, observed the waxing sliver of a moon. The followind day was a festival marked with music, speeches and sacrifices. In the time of Hillel II (360 C.E.), the pattern became so clear they fixed the calendar. Thanks to Chabad House of Flint, I have a calendar with all the important dates and times.
    My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.  I am nothing if not inclusive.  God is not a respecter of persons.  All are equal in that each one is here to fulfill their purpose, so they must discover what that is.  B'ruch HaShem.
 
 

Womens Writing Workshop

Title: Womens Writing Workshop
Location: House at Three Roods Farm
Link out: Click here
Description: The one and only Rae Bird leads us into Sacred Space where our Inner Muses arise and amaze us all. Bring a journal, a pen and a dish to share if you’d like to stay for lunch. Snacks and tea/coffee provided.


Start Time: 10:00
End Time: 14:00

Next Class: Wednesday, March 21st

Cost: $25

Schnitzle, always nearby.

Wrapping up the season

Its been a year of contrasts.  Long late rains in the spring which delayed planting up the fields, followed immediately by a hot, dry summer which shriveled the lettuce and cabbage before it could make any growth. The honey harvest was good. We had abundant apples, chestnuts and peaches, but few cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant.

We hosted the 2 oldest interns, Spring Goldeneagle and Anna Li as well as the youngest intern, Lily Wilkie-Jones and many others in between.  Thanks to all who blessed us with their willingness to lend a hand. Greg and I so much enjoy the exchange of energy and ideas.

Emily and Nate Brezinski joined Cameron, Michael Mallon and myself for an apple cider making extravaganza courtesy of my friends at Hilltop Barn.   This year we added crab apples to the mix which made it sweeter and thicker. So delicious!

According to the Jewish calendar, a New Year has begun. It’s 5772! I never did take down the tipi this year. Talked myself out of it. It only has a few wrinkles and there’s always a chance I’ll put it up worse.  Besides, I’m planning a tipi painting party in the spring.  We’ll take an entire week – take down the tipi, clean the canvas, condition the canvas with a mold resistant solution, and then paint it!  Hoping Persephone, Maggie, Monica, Cameron, and Kjartan can coordinate to come. All welcome.

Meanwhile, had a terrific visit with former intern David Rittenhouse. He stopped here with a friend on their way to Maine. David was here in 2009 and helped me put the tipi up the very first time.

 David and Adam helped me move the firewood to a new location and then brush hogged the old area.  I think Dave amazed himself that he remembered how to use the brush hog.  Big improvement. The Hebrew calendar wheel is now under a tarp til spring.

 

 

I’m celebrating the Sukkot holiday in the Tent of Meeting. Happy for all the occupation of cities going on, including Flint.  May the Almighty One spread the Sukkah of Peace across the nation, rather across the entire world! We should all have that much faith to live outdoors and know that our needs will be met.  To share with one another, to remember our ancestors, to create a simple life. To decrease our dependence on the government and the corporations who do not have our interests at heart.  To expect nothing and to be happy with all that we have been given.

 

The Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, joined by some  members of our CSA, bravely walked all over the farm in cold, wet, windy weather searching for hidden fungi.  We found several edible varieties, but all were too old to eat.  Now that I know what to look for and where I might find them, I will be more proactive in the future. Everyone learned a lot about mushrooms and the potluck was delicious.

August is upon us.

Along with the zinnias came these lovely young flowers. Michelle Cornelison, on the far left, is staying for 2 months. Next to her is Angela, from Paris, who came for only a week but won every one’s heart instantly and will never be forgotten. By coincidence, Romain and Emilie, also from France, arrived the same day. They are touring North America in an RV for a year. Newlywed, they are on an extended honeymoon. Romain explained that at the factory where he is employed, a person can get an entire year off after working as little as 6 years. His company is holding his job for him. Emilie works at a perfume store and also expects to find her job waiting. They explained that the employer hires a substitute while they are gone. Although they are not paid while on vacation, how nice to have that kind of job security.

Greg got the party started with a digging project. The small pond near the black currant bushes has been expanded. The soil removed was used to create a new bed where dye plants will be grown. Phytolacca is already growing there. Its purple fruit is used for dying wool and fabric.

After the rain, the pond filled in. CSA members are harvesting black currants nearby. In past years, frogs and ducks have used this pond. By enlarging it, we hope to encourage our own animals to use it. Schnitzle often goes to the neighbors pond to drink or cool off on a hot day. We’re doing everything possible to keep him on our own property.

It was a great pleasure to welcome our youngest intern, Lily Wilkie-Jones. Lily is the granddaughter of our friends Peggy and Dale. Lily gave herself a birthday present: 10 days on Three Roods Farm. She did everything our other interns do: fed the chickens, weeded and harvested vegetables, helped prepare meals (loved the scones!) and clean up the kitchen. She took a special interest in the sheep. She spent several days wooing them – bringing them water and grain and sitting quietly – until she had them eating out of her hand.

We have 6 mother ewes and 11 lambs in our flock. It’s a spinners flock, meaning that we’re deliberately culling the flock so as to keep a wide variety of colors and hues. We’ll have 8 lambs for sale in November. Please see elsewhere on this website for prices on lamb rams and lamb ewes.

Cameron Healy recently joined us from Washington DC. His first project was helping Greg rework the garden beds near the high bush cranberry (which have grown so tall!).

He proved his worth immediately by discovering where Rani the Peahen had been sitting on her eggs. Soon the young peafowl escaped from the stall where Greg had been tending them so carefully for 2 months.

They are now roaming freely around the property and can be seen together nibbling on green leafy plants. Cameron says they were on the doorstep of the camper when he opened the door in the morning. He has a keen ear and is recording the sounds they make in response to Rani’s calls and other birds. More picture on the next web post!

Despite some crop failures due to weather extremes, the CSA continues and people seem happy with what Mother Nature provides: sweet corn, bush beans, pole beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, Swiss chard, parsley, basil, mint, lettuces, beets, carrots, garlic, cucumbers, crookneck squash, okra and Sunflowers!