Monday, August 22, 2016

August's Monday Melodies

by Laura

August 29, 2016

Tao Te Ching Chapter 10
translation by Stephen Mitchell
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things? 

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Produce Update:

Basil - now is a perfect time to make pesto (before the basil succumbs to disease or frost)! In food processor, process: 2 cups packed basil leaves; 2 peeled garlic cloves (roasted in a dry frying pan, in skins, until softened and browned, ~5 minutes); 1/2 teaspoon salt; 3/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds; 1/2 cup olive oil; Parmesan cheese (optional)

Flowers - this week's bouquets feature poppy and nigella seed pods, baptisia leaves, and majestic fuchsia cockscomb celosia

Aster 8.29.2016
Prairie at sunset 8.28.2016
A bountiful summer meal 8.27.2016
The "hot house!" - our small hoop house, filled with six kinds of hot peppers 8.26.2016
Chickens settling into the coop for their nightly sleep 8.25.2016
Phlox 8.24.2016
Ready to go to the city for the first farmers' market of the season! 8.23.2016

Late August Winds
August 22, 2016

Papers are blowing around the house today. Dry autumn airs have begun their gradual entrance, reminding us of the dramatic cyclical changes that come, almost by surprise, every year. Today is the beginning of the last of our summer programming, a 5-day junior high apprenticeship, as we make the annual movement into another new school year, another season of leaves falling to the ground and corn rustling in the fields, another time of sleeping fields and deepening darkness. We began this Monday morning with a circle, an opportunity to listen to one another, to ask and answer a few questions:

By what sound have you been intrigued this summer?
What is something towards which your being has a natural inclination?
How would you answer the question that you would hope to be asked? 
Our farmyard friends 8.21.2016
Another beautiful evening sky 8.20.2016
A bouquet of perfect August zinnias 8.19.2016
The achievement of a 2016 Garden Goal: plant many many sunflowers! 8.18.2016
Jewel Weed 8.17.2016
Aster 8.16.2016

A love for foliage, flowers, and for choosing stillness
August 15, 2016
A sun hat is almost like wearing a personal forest canopy of shade. 
Is there anything more beautiful than a leaf made transparent by the sun?

We will never tire of the beauty of flowers. 
What are they saying that they are hoping we will hear? 

Choosing each day amidst the busyness of life to remember and return to the restoration of stillness. 

One of the activities into which I always enjoy inviting students is a simple experience we refer to as 'magic spot'. We spend much of our time as people engaged in the dimension of human conversation: listening to others, formulating our own thoughts, telling stories, sharing exclamations as we experience the world. There is infinite value in these practices of human communication and expression, and yet if we spend all of our time within that space, there is something (indeed much) we neglect to notice, something by which we neglect to let ourselves be fully affected. 'Magic Spot' is an opportunity we give students to enter into their own space of silence, stillness, and sensitivity.  

We entered into the pine trees and each found a soft needled place to sit down. Nobody spoke, nobody seemed even inclined to speak. We all dropped into our own way of receptivity from and attentiveness to our surroundings. Layers of voices emerged all around us: choruses of insects, the chattering of birds, the sound of the wind breathing through the high branches of the white pines. We noticed our questions: who is that singing? Who all lives in these woods? What are these trees beneath which we are lying? I called for the group to return, and as we approached each other after this period of our silence, I felt that there had been a palpable shift. I sensed a peacefulness, a wonder for having noticed something,

 a deepened sense of gratitude for our place in this world

Produce Update:

The first sweet corn and watermelons of the season are almost ready for harvest! A full harvest tote of purple beans was picked today, many of which will end up in the freezer for wintertime eating. The flowers are eagerly blooming and will surely make for some gorgeous bouquets for next week's market: Tuesday, August 23, 4-6pm, in the Lake Country parking lot. 

Tuesday's Community Workday, August 15:

The time has come to harvest this year's crop of onions and shallots, and to move them into the greenhouse for the curing process. The are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these big beautiful bulbs to bring in from the fields. 

Baptisia leaves: a love for foliage 8.15.2016
The clouds of late have been displaying their full summer grandeur 8.14.2016
Plum season has arrived once more! 8.13.2016
Tomatoes, packed into their winter homes 8.11.2016
The grape vines, transplanted from the old arbor, received their relocation well 8.10.2016
New rose hollyhocks by the farmhouse: a love for flowers... 8.9.2016

August 8, 2016

many carrots this week from the weeds we did free
fernly green leaves now so lovely to see

our soils need rain so the sprinklers are swirling
fulfilling the needs of each leaf who's unfurling

the market begins in just two week's time
the tomatoes are eager and continue to climb

a summertime cold has descended on me
a pool of thick energy from which to give thee

this news from the farm, where the humming of flowers
is the honey of bees who are filled with great powers

Tuesday's Community Workday, August 8:
The Long Barn is receiving a fresh coat of white paint, requiring that the many plants who grow along its sides be pruned or relocated. Tuesday morning will find us transplanting monarda and rudbeckia as part of this project. In the afternoon, garden work may include some of the following: breaking onion stems (which will allow them to begin drying and curing in the field in preparation for this year's big harvest), hand-weeding potatoes, or hoeing beds up in the Farmstead garden. 
Allis Chalmers Model G tractor, used for cultivating crops in the "Big Field" 8.8.2016
Thistle in the prairie, sending forth vital seed! 8.6.2016
The Grain Bin 8.4.2016
Our resident spider in the peppermint patch 8.3.2016
Chamomile and Echinacea, drying on screens 8.2.2016

Keeping it Simple, Abundant, and Desirable
August 1, 2016

April: spring peepers. robins. the constant drone of the propane greenhouse heater. remembering the immensity of the seed's magic. 
May: rediscovering the feeling of digging a shovel into warmly scented soft soil. 
June: plant. sleep. repeat.
July: 'weeds are simply the exquisite expression of the wild fecundity of the earth.' but where did the carrots go?
August: tomatoes! basil! tasseling sweet corn! little striped watermelons whispering sweet promise! 

August has come. The fruits are ripening and the flowers are blossoming. "Transplant" and "seed" have been fading off of each week's to-do list, as "harvest" and "preserve" have inversely begun to grow, calling forth a new flavor of creativity from the strategizing prioritizing mind. The drying racks are layered in herbs, the freezers are beginning to fill, the canner who has been asleep on the shelf knows it is soon time to awaken. This cyclically familiar and generous time of year has returned once again, and with it a new bit of clarity in my ambitious mind: keep it simple, abundant, and desirable. Food is a central piece of almost every student's Land School experience, an experience that encompassed the planting of the first seeds in the soil, the harvesting of hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, the sharing of beautifully prepared feasts at our familiar and storied tables, and so much more. As a Land School staff, we strive to preserve as much of the year's harvest as possible, not only for the ecological and economic benefits of eating our own home grown food, but also because through eating the fruits of this land all throughout the year, we literally never stop becoming this land, this land from whom we are learning and in whom we are finding home. And we do it because, whatever else the many-layered reasons may be, it simply brings a lot of joy. It is a joy to open the freezer on the coldest day in January and to find there the memory of August's garden still alive. Here is the beginning of a list of what we hope to preserve this year:

Broccoli (frozen)
Brussels Sprouts (frozen) 
Cabbage (sauerkraut [fermented, refrigerated]; root cellar)
Cauliflower (frozen)
Kale (frozen)
Flint, Flour and Dent Corns (Floriani Red Flint; Hopi Blue Flour; Painted Mountain Flour; Great River Yellow Dent [dried])
Popcorn (dried)
Sweet Corn (frozen)
Applesauce (canned)
Blueberries (frozen)
Raspberries (frozen)
Basil (pesto, frozen; dried)
Echinacea (dried)
Peppermint (dried)
Oregano (dried)
Thyme (dried)
Tulsi (dried)
Eggplant (for Baba ghanouj: roasted, pureed [frozen])
Sweet Peppers (frozen)
Hot Peppers (fermented hot sauce; whole frozen)
Potatoes (root cellar)
Tomatoes (salsa [frozen]; ketchup [canned]; pizza sauce [canned]; oven-dried oil-packed herb-infused; whole canned)
Carrots (root cellar)
Daikon Radish (root cellar)
Dry Beans (Black, Honduran Red; Brown; Lima)
Hakurei Turnips (root cellar)
Green Beans (frozen; canned; fermented)
Winter Squash
Tuesdays' Community Workdays:

An invitation is extended to everyone in the Lake Country community to come out to the Land School on any (or every!) Tuesday throughout the growing and harvest season (June-October). As I have done below, I will give a general sense each week of what the Tuesday work may be. While I will have ideas and direction to offer, work is responsive to people's needs and desires. Please call or email ahead if you would like to come, and please feel free to call or email if you have any questions: 715.265.4608. We would love to have you join us!

Tuesday's Community Workday, August 2:

With a forecast of rain, ripe tomatoes, and abundant basil, much of tomorrow will be spent in the kitchen: making fresh salsa (to freeze) and pesto.

Produce Available:

While the Land School market does not begin until Tuesday, August 23, there is the possibility of certain produce being available now upon request. The past two years have found our basil succumbing to fungus just as the market was beginning; the zucchini are starting to pile up; with an especially warm summer, the tomatoes have already begun to ripen in earnest. While we will be working diligently to get as much of this ripe produce put up for our student programming, there is only so much we can achieve! It would be delightful to be able to get some of this produce that is at the height of its beauty into hands that could receive it well. I am thinking larger quantities here, as logistically it could be a bit complex making the exchange happen! (It may be that you would have to come to the Land School to pick up the produce.) Please be in touch if interested. Potentially available produce: tomatoes, basil, eggplant, kale, fennel... and the list grows.

Echinacea paradoxa in Homestead Prairie 8.1.2016
Silphium, commonly known as 'Cup Flower' 7.31.2016
Comfrey leaves, growing beneath the Farmstead plum tree 7.30.2016
Echinacea purpurea, harvested to dry and save for use in tea 7.29.2016
Papaver laciniatum, Peony Poppies 7.28.2016
Hyssop 7.27.2016
Kapoor Tulsi 7.26.2016