Monday, November 14, 2011

Sometimes life goes in reverse...

It seems as though life is leading me to reverse my course, at least for a time, just when I started to go forward in some new directions. So that got me to thinking about my farm and blog. I was so busy growing and harvesting this year on the farm that I couldn't find the extra umph to blog about it. And I think it is a story worth telling. So, I figure if I can live life in reverse, I can also blog in reverse, too!

So here is what my bestest friend and I harvested from the farm today:

We also brought home some salad greens and kale. I even found one delicious, cold, strawberry that we shared, along with baby O. :) There are at least another 100 carrots and 6 or 7 heads of broccoli to November...incredible! I am finding the veggies to be quite flavourful, and I think it's because they've experienced some pretty cold weather for this time of year, perhaps even a frost or two.

As the darkness crept in and the city lights took over, our surroundings began to glitter. It was cold and crisp. And in the middle of November, we are eating fresh, local, 'organic' food the same day it is harvested. Our good fortune. Life, with the mix of beautiful friendship and nutritious food, couldn't have been any better right then. Harvesting in the last hour of daylight today, with someone that I love, is a memory I will hold close for a long time to come.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Life at the farm has been fabulous! Up until this past week if you wandered the beds to see what was growing at Ripple Farm, you would have been convinced we were expert weed growers! With a couple of days of dedicated attention to weed pulling (almost all by hand!) you can see food is up and growing.

To the far left you of the first picture you will notice flowering potato plants. Then in the middle picture are some gorgeous lettuces/greens and in the picture on the right are beets, glorious beets! We also have green onions, storage onions, carrots, broccoli, kale, cabbage, sunburst squash, peppers, winter squash, mizuna, mesculuns, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, soy beans, pumpkins, parsley, potatoes and quinoa growing. It is absolutely delightful to see so much food on its way. Although we have missed the first harvest of the season due to the odd weather, we hope to have at least a couple before the winter sets in.

Heading out to the farm tonight I was feeling pretty tuckered. Upon arriving and surveying the progress, I noticed the little marvel peas had doubled in size and were being boxed in by weeds from the past few days of sunshine and heat (which thankfully arrived in the nick of time). Ack! Sprinkle began a weeding frenzy and I headed to the closest store for staking materials. Is it because mercury is in retrograde or because I am exhausted (who's to say for sure), but staking with the florida weave in mind was quite the task, as this first picture shows...

Can you see how messy that is? There was twine everywhere and the stakes were coming out of the ground. This was partly because I didn't have a hammer and was trying to put them in the ground by banging a shovel on top--until Sprinkle determined it was better if she pushed them in with her brute strength :). Then I was MacGyver-farmer (so named by Sprinkle) as I tried a trick (based on my research) where you tighten the twine by twisting a stick in it at the stake. This was a hilarious task as the only sticks at Ripple Farm consist of half decomposed corn stalks!

After about a half hour of trying this "most preferred method" (based on my research, of course), and a few good laughs, we abandoned the florida weave and put one length of twine towards the top of the pea plants and draped them over. Fingers crossed this works. It sure was easier and looks better as you can see...

Ripple Farm--where we research, we try, we laugh, we simplify and at the end of the day, we are grateful for the experience.

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Acre, One Farmer becomes Half and Two or More

Finally I have made it back to the blog! What a crazy farming this year has already turned out to be and we are only in July. By the weather you would think we were just starting April. Sadly, this is what actual mid-April looked like this year(ack--snow!):

Although hopeful, May turned out to be one of the rainiest on record--double ack!!--particularly farming in clay soil. And so no food, absolutely none, made it into the ground at the farm. The one acre farm...

That's right! We've been blessed with one acre on which to grow Ripple Farm. This year started out with one acre and one farmer (me--Farmer Ripple). Since March, the plan has changed to plant food on half the acre and cover crop on the other half to get it ready for the next planting. Then, one farmer turned into two and sometimes more. How delightful! This year Sprinkle has jumped in with both feet and has spent as much time as me at the farm (I have already doubled my total time spent at the farm last year in just the last six weeks and then doubled it again with Sprinkle's help and that of a few friends). Unbelievable really. Generosity abounds.

Here is what Ripple Farm looked like on May 21 (on the left) and here is what it looked like about a week ago, after weeks of tilling, turning in composted duck manure, creating raised beds and laying the irrigation system; plus the beautiful new sign made by Sprinkle and I (goodness how I love this sign). Yup, I know it's not straight. Neither are the beds. No matter how much we tried, nothing at Ripple Farm is straight and we love how it looks! Acceptance is a freeing experience :).

There is so much to learn at the farm, every time I am there. Although everyone said last year was the worst year to start, it now seems that this year is even worse weather-wise. Although I wasn't able to grow a ton of food last year due to weather, plot and lack of experience, I realize now just how much I grew! This year has presented a tremendous amount of hurdles and I have calmly approached and sailed over (most of) them. Some hurdles take a bit more 'umph' to get over then others, some take me a few tries, some require me to ask for help. This year I feel more capable, grounded and patient. I have learned to let go of some control and expectations to better appreciate what is happening right here, right now. It feels remarkable and further deepens my belief that growing food grows humans too.

Please visit us often to see how Ripple Farm grows this year as we endeavour to provide harvest boxes to a small group of customers and head out to some local farmers' markets. Now, if I can just transfer the "capable, grounded and patient" feelings to this part of the business...wish me luck!