Category Archives for "The beauty of farm life…."

Welcome Spring!

You have sure taken your sweet time arriving this year!  Record rain fall, cooler than average temperatures, creates a few issues with planting.  I feel like working with mother nature is creating the most complex mathmatical equation.  You know the type i’m talking about, the one with lots of brackets, integers and to the power of numbers.  We know the end result we want to achieve, but there are so many variables along the way.  It sometimes feels like we are faced with a great advesary, one with far more complex weapons then we have.  But it is in the face of these great challenges that we learn resilience, we adapt, we plant more then we need, we search out solutions.  And we deepen our connection to our environment.  Farming can be challenging on so many levels, and equally rewarding.  As i write this, Adam has finally been able to till in Production Garden, the cows are contentedly grazing out in the 4th field, the sheep are in the crescent, and we feel hopeful.  Resilient.  Strong and ready for the season ahead of us.  Welcome spring, as always, it’s so good to see you.  To hear the dawn chorus of birds singing your praises, to smell the smells of a world awakening after such an epic winter and feel the rush of spring energy.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but where i am!

Nourished ~ A dinner club at Linnaea Farm

Winter series
$30 per meal
Nov. 26, January 21, Feb 25

Delectable locavore dinners with organic ingredients from the farm

November 26th menu:

Appetizer- Amuse Bouche
Winter Squash three ways one plate three distinct flavors
Squash and sage ravioli in brown butter
Rich soup
Butternut crisps with arugula

Main Course
Braised Lamb in an apple cider and Rosemary reduction- with caramelized onions and apples
Herbed and paprika potato croquettes – lightly breaded and baked with minted yogurt
Leeks poached in white wine with thyme

Wine available from Southend Winery Quadra Island at extra cost
$6/glass
$29/bottle


Full details and to book your space:
(250)935-6747
info@linnaeafarm.org
Pre-payment is required

Why Hello Jack Frost!

I have to admit that i love the brisk, sunny, crystal clear days that surprise us at this time of the year. With it, comes all the nasty stuff, burst pipes, frozen water, cold house, slippery barn courtyard. However, when you go out into the fields, and get to see the beauty of a frosty landscape, it all feels worth it. The weather gives our animals a reprieve from the day to day, kept up off the fields, and in the barn. They are once again, released out onto the fields. At times, they are hugely outnumbered by the Canadian Geese that seem to think we grow grass just for. Or perhaps they will meet up with some of the beavers that have taken up residence on the corner of the 1st field. Linnaea Farm has over 30 acres of pasture, that our animals graze throughout the late spring, summer, and fall months. Once the rains fall, our fields become saturated in certain areas, and we keep our animals off of them, as hard as it is. With this cold weather, our fields are nice and solid and okay for the animals to walk through onto areas that they can still graze on.
But for today, the sun is shining, the ground is frozen, and the animals are all out in the fields, in a sunny patch, stretching their legs, and the Stewards? You’ll find us in the barn first thing in the morning, and once again around dark tending to the animals (how much manure do we shovel in a day?), in the Education Center weaving willow, at my desk, updating the website and tending to emails, and in the shop, working on the back breaks of the farm truck. The pace of the farm has slowed, thankfully, although the list is still long, the hours of the day no longer support working until beyond exhaustion. It’s time to dive into the stores of food we worked so hard all season to produce and preserve, get the seeds all cleaned up and ready for next season, and dream of what comes next. At the end of the day, it all feels worth it, and although we have many, many days until the season starts up again, the seeds are being nurtured and prepared for planting. The joy of farming is there is always next year.

And the garden keeps on giving

It’s almost the end of October, and I can’t believe that we are still eating 4lb cauliflowers out of the garden!  I’m not sure for how much longer, as the darkness that was still covering the fields when i awoke this morning, reminded me that it is indeed autumn.  The leaves are changing color, alighting the sky with beautiful hues of yellow and red, the mists are settling on the fields, and surprise me when they lift, leaving a bright, sun filled sky.  I was reminded of one of my favorite poems recently that i’d like to share here.

Happy autumn, may the stillness inspire you!

 

John Keats (1795-1821)

TO AUTUMN.

1.

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

2.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

3.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies

 

Change is in the air

You can feel the change in the air.  Perhaps it was just because it rained last night, which was awesome, perhaps the full moon had something to do with it, or perhaps it’s just that time of the year.  How did it go by so fast?  I tried to be in the moment, even on those days when exhaustion was tapping me on the shoulder, begging me to get off my feet, take my work gloves off, find a nice spot of shade and rest.  I tried to just feel that summer was endless, like it was in my youth, where the days went on and on and on.

This summer had that feeling, the lake was warm, the work was hard, the tomatoes, well, damn they are fine!  But i must’ve blinked a few to many times, cause it’s almost over.  I know that there are afew more weeks, perhaps another month of good weather, of capturing the bounty of the harvest, of being in the garden, the fields, the lake, until we are thinking more of indoor projects, of weaving, felting, cooking, baking, and plotting for next year.  wow.

Did you know that we are losing 7 minutes of light a day now?

 

Ah, can’t help but wax poetic, here’s some Keats for you. IMG_1455

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To Autumn
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John Keats (1820)
clr gif

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.IMG_1833

Plants oh sweet plants!

The smell of spring!  The birds are back, the grass is growing, and we are roasting radishes over the fire, moving cows through fields, and they are thanking us by producing the most amazing, creamy milk!  The slugs are coming at us in numbers unseen in previous years, alas, we sacrifice our tender greens to their insatiable appetites…

We continue on in our pursuit of a full greenhouse of glorious plants awaiting their position in the garden, the cloche moved to it’s summer position, peas staked in the garden, and will we get our potatoes in?  If the rain stops for a wee bit, our plan for Saturday will stay the same, get our storage potatoes in the ground.  The fine line between seasons.

I was read the poem below and felt that it need to be shared.  It’s by E.E. Cummings.

 

 

 

 

sweet spontaneous

earth how often have

the doting fingers of prurient philosophers
pinched and poked thee,
has the naughty thumb of science prodded thy beauty,
how often have religions
taken thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and buffeting thee
that thou mightest conceive gods
(but true to the incomparable couch of death
thy rhythmic lover thou
answerest them only
with spring)
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IMG_4326Tomatoes

 

roasted radish

Fresh Tilled Soil

It sure didn’t feel like it would ever be dry enough to till.  Alas, the sun has been out all week and the ground is drying incredibly fast!  The cows are out grazing in the 3rd field, the sheep are in the lower orchard, and the 4th field has been tilled and carrot seeds are in the ground!  Things are moving fast.

 

 

 

 

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Farmers in the Mist

Got out of the barn early today, went for a walk down to the Production Garden to see what Adam was up to. I found him and Jeff, shrouded in mist. An illusion i dare say. It is March 2nd, the sun is warm, but in the shadows….chilly! Here’s a few of the things i saw…

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It happens every year

Spring, you fickle season.  You have us in the palm of your hand.  You can make us drop everything to pick up the tools of the season, pitch fork, shovel, gloves, and get that back warmed up.  Moving plants, finding fence lines, planting seeds, shoveling manure.  The life of a farmer is truly never dull, or without a task at hand.   And every year,  it excites me.  Every year is a new start.  A new seed in the soil. Spring starts and stops, in her dance with winter. Today, spring started, but winter moved in for the rest of the day with the temperature dropping and the wind picking up. But who knows, tomorrow will be another day.  

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