Here’s a photo by Gordon Park (1912 – 2006) that I have looked at countless times. These three faces. The woman, not sure what to make of being photographed; the boy, slightly pleased; the man, nervous, annoyed, humiliated.
The vulnerability captured here is remarkable–the vulnerability that has attended farming from the beginning. Continue reading
I stood upright twenty bean poles earlier this week, planted six beans per pole, watered them in, waited, and here on Sunday morning they’re up and circling each pole like girls around a Maypole. Perfect company for Sunday morning, I’d say. Plus, for awhile, two doves joined, weaving in and around the poles and pecking at some small thing on the ground.
But no crows. I highlight the absence of crows because they love newly emergent beans. They seek them out. Not the new-growth part but rather the just-planted seed. Hopping pole to pole, they grab each new shoot with their beaks, yank, and there they are, the bean seeds, which they eat outright one after another. Continue reading
If selling produce at a farmers market makes one a farmer, then today I officially become a farmer. Because today is opening day at my town’s market, and I will be there, with my new, white EZ Up, with my tables full with lettuce and D’Avignon radishes, and tucked under the tables and out of sight, my coolers, each of them filled with backup produce just waiting to take the stage.
My journey to a time when I would vend at a farmers market has been a long one. 19 years, in fact, if you start counting from the day I happened upon a farmers market in Boulder, Colorado. This happened back in 1993 when my wife and I were two weeks into an improvised, see-what-happens camping trip across the American West. Continue reading
I am building a field these days in a section of the farm directly behind our house. I had been wanting to build a field for a long time (eight years to be exact), but in the beginning we needed a house more than a field, and before I could build the house I needed a way in through the trees… so first I built a lane, then a cabin (to stay in while I built the house), then the house, a lawn, a garden, a few outbuildings, a pasture, a fence around the pasture, a stone wall, a small-fruits orchard … but these days, thank you very much, I’m on to that field. One acre. Fenced.
This is how you build a field on a mountain in New Hampshire: Continue reading