Grasping the nettle

Last week I had a tiny glimpse into the world of biodynamic farming. David (the temporarily landless farmer who planted garlic on our farm) followed biodynamic practices on his farm. It was important to him to be able to follow some of those practices on our farm, since his garlic would be growing here for almost a year. I was open to it, since it can only make our farm more dynamic.

As a new organic farmer (only been up to this for 5 years or so), I by no means know all of the nuances of how to grow food sustainably. For anyone who is in the organic ag world, the words ‘biodyamic farming’ gets tossed around pretty frequently. This is a system of farming that goes beyond forgoing the use of chemicals while embracing…how should I put it…cosmic forces?? Suffice it is to say, I don’t quite understand what biodynamic farming is but it seems to be a system that is a closed loop (produces manure on farm and uses their own compost on the crops) as well as relying on the lunar calendar to plant certain crops. There is a bunch of other practices involved, too many to name here. The philosophy behind this was thought up by a man by the name of Rudolf Steiner.

David stirring the biodynamic prep

David came out last week to spread biodynamic preparations on the farm. This will make the farm even more healthy and innoculate it with a good bit of cosmic energy. The prep is made from compost and not sure what else and stired into water for 20 minutes clockwise and counterclock wise. David then sprinkled the prep around the farm using a small bucket and his had to spread. I joined in until my hand got too cold. Not sure what will come of this, but it is wonderful to see someone giving back to the farm in a loving way. David let me borrow his book, ‘Grasp the Nettle,’ about biodynamics…so I will be reading up on it during the winter.

Spreading the love

With this colder weather, we are able to slow down a bit and do more cooking! Hooray! Its unfortunate that I only have time when there are longer nights, but perhaps I will learn to make time during the height of the season when everything is busting out of the earth!

Andrew got the hankering for some hearty french onion soup! I made some roasted veg stock weeks earlier for this purpose and it worked beautifully. The real trick was Andrew’s patience and craft at caramelizing the onions¬† till they looked almost chocolaty. He topped each bowl off with some crusty french bread chunks and lots of Gruyere cheese.

Andrew digging into his french onion soup

I also took on drying some of the herbs we started in the perennial herb garden. Next year, we will have lots more, but this is a start. My goal is to do most of our own herb growing and drying for the year so we will have farm-fresh ingredients.

The raspberries, table grapes and asparagus got all tucked in for the season! I planted them in the rain on a somewhat warm day. I can’t wait to see the little guys come up in the spring and take on a whole new life!

The hoop house is finally finished and ready for the winter! Compost is loaded in the back–ready for when I re-plant in the spring. The second layer of fabric inside is ready to help keep in warmth.

Not sure if it is clear from this photo, but there are 4 heavy duty wires running down the length of the house, secured to each side of the hoop. When the temp starts dropping I will move the row cover over the greens so all you will see is a big white sheet when you look inside (unless its a warm day and I have to move the cover off). Spinach all winter!

Beautiful fall spinach!

Looking forward to Canton’s holiday market! It will surely put me in the thanksgiving spirit! Andrew and I are off to Minnesota to visit Andrew’s side of the family ( Doug, Deb, Phil and Beth! We can’t wait!) It will be heavenly to have some time off the farm and just family to focus on….

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2 thoughts on “Grasping the nettle

  1. WOW…Interesting I will have to talk to you about this again at Christmas. Great news today, Rick had an appointment with his oncologist today and when we were getting ready to leave Dr. Amy said “well I guess this is your last visit I am going to cut you loose” She then said that with the type of cancer he had if it were to come back it would have done so very soon after his surgery. I will miss those people at the Oncology Center but not going there for checkups with Rick. Love you guys have a great time with Deb,Doug,Beth,Phill and Leo.
    Happy Thanksgiving we have so much to be thankful for!!

  2. Hi Meg and Andrew,

    Sure looks beautiful out there!! Good work, farmers! The onion soup sounds heavenly!

    Drying herbs: good practice. I bundle them and hang them in a dark closet. You seem to be laying them out. Are they in the dark?

    Last market here this Saturday. Will be good to get a break… and I’m only doing a tiny fraction of what you all are up to, so I know that you’re ready to make soup, read books, and think about it all. Steep learning curve, eh?! Keep on growing!

    Blessings and admiration,
    Jon

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