New members on the farmstead
The gardens are bursting with color: red, purple, pink, yellow, orange and lush green everywhere. The insistent rain has been mostly a blessing because the gardens love moist soil, but we have lost a few items to the resident woodchuck family. Yes, they have duplicated and the babies are learning just how delicious chamomile and tulsi taste. I never thought they’d eat herbs, they must be the healthiest woodchucks on the block! Thankfully I joined the Pick Your Own Herbal CSA at Foxtrot Farm in town so I can gather what I need from their farm to make up for my losses here.
We’ve been planting currants, paw paws, plums, persimmons, high bush cranberry (AKA cramp bark), juneberry, and elderberries on the property. Each one has a neat little fence around it to deter the family of woodchucks and deer. So far so good, no nibbling yet.
The apothecary is filling up with gallons of medicine jars. The drying racks are overflowing with lemon balm, mint, bee balm, chamomile, lavender and calendula. All the herbs that calm our nervous systems arise in the high summer when we are at our peak. Busy as bees with the garden and family activities, the herbs invite us to slow down and rest our souls into their calming arms.
I love how the medicine we need always shows up. The community of nature provides such abundance and healing, even the delicate essences of plants. Yesterday in the apprenticeship we made an essence of Ghost Pipe and everyone’s buzzing giddy energy suddenly dropped deep into the earth and we laid down in quiet restorative peace on the forest floor. Humbled, I am, by the power of the plants when we slow down enough to listen.
The greenhouse is full of tomatoes vining up the sides almost reaching the top. I tasted the first sun gold cherry last night while watering and oh my it was divine! So sweet and full of summer vibrancy. It’s moments like these, when the rain is hitting the greenhouse and the thunder roars in the distance, that I remember why I do what I do. The rewards of farming are beyond comprehension. It’s a feeling deep in my bones. Yes, yes, yes. This is worth living for.
On our little farmstead we have two new additions: Clover the mini horse and Tilly the Aussie Catahoula Leopard puppy. One wants to play with the other more, can you guess who?
photo by Carin Teresa
Clover is settling into her new home and will join the goats after they get used to each other on the other side of the fence. Goats and horses are good companions. Clover can pull a small cart, haul manure and bedding from the barn, and till up the field for our new flower beds. The goat kids, Nettle Rose and Daphne are growing up so fast, beginning to eat hay like their Mother Aster and Aunt Daisy.
photo by Hanakekua Joao
Tilly is 9 months old hailing from Arkansas with a brief stop in Hadley before making her way to Ashfield. She’s an avid huntress, thankfully, and the overpopulation of voles and woodchucks in our gardens have been kept in balance since she arrived. Everyone on the farm has a role whether it be providing milk and eggs, hauling manure, or filling our hearts with sweetness. Gratitude pours over our teacups for these gentle loving animals.
Come meet all of them in 2 weeks at our Open Farm House on July 31st from 1-4pm!
We hope to see you soon!