Ananda Farm Camano Island Winter Reflections

 

February 2015Newsletter and Reflections

Greetings farm friends,

2015 is the beginning of our 3rd year of Ananda Farm on Camano Island (Wow!). We finished up 2014 with successful holiday markets and were able to share a lot of the farm’s herbal care products with a lot of really nice people. And we hear that some of them are really helping people too! Comfrey oil, the farm salve, herbal hydrosols, handmade soap, to name but a few. What a blessing it is to provide for basic needs, for ourselves and a growing community of friends.

 

With another year upon us, more residents are calling the farm home (Welcome Home Dakshina!), with plans for more to arrive with the coming season.

A friend and fellow farmer from Seattle will be joining us in the farm house in April, and it’s likely that additional interns will join us to farm with spirit as the interest and infra-structure for hosting them align.

The winter months have been invaluable, for spending time on the farm, silently walking and observing the land and life and water. The growing season is very energetic and busy, leaving little time for quiet reflection. In the relative inwardness of the winter, one can slow down enough to imagine the farm as one flowing temple of life, void of any property barriers or unnecessary mental-barriers, surrounded by magnificent evergreens, cedars, and maples, towering above our little haven valley sanctuary. In the quiet moments of winter, one realizes how vast the garden of Nature really is, and the inspiration percolates through in seed thoughts and visions of the future.

Certainly for us also, the winter time has helped to keep us moving forward, one small step at a time, and also to address all those things that got pushed aside during the summer.

The work at the farm is continuing to expand, and while still balancing the here and now of vegetable production, equally important is the growth of the tree & plant nursery for perennial agriculture. In mid-February we will add some 700 trees, of varying services to the life at the farm. In the future, we hope that sharing a genuine love of these special trees will spread far and wide on the island and surrounding area, helping more than just ourselves to establish permanent and sustainable agricultural communities.

 

Look closely to see the whip/tongue graft on the light colored stem interlocked with a green gauge plum branch – to create a delicious plum on dwarf rootstock.

As we look forward to the spring, we’ve already begun sowing seeds in the field… our favorite fava beans and peas, garlic, onions, carrots, greens, and more… the farm has always been an experiment, but as much as ever we are trying new methods, with polyculture (vegetable seed mixes) sowings directly into the gardens, as well as observing the natural cycle of how plants reseed themselves; one of the great benefits of no-till agriculture!Pictured below are garlic, left in the ground to over-winter and growing very well in the middle of January!

 

Often we wonder, how can we garden with as little intervention as possible? Surely, the answer lies somewhere between the power of a seed and the human heart. In Nature, we see and feel that anything is possible.

This year also, we expect to start seeing fruit from our young trees and more berries than ever before.

For the coming season, we will again be participating in the Port Susan (Stanwood) and Camano Farmer’s markets, as well as the popular Sunday Market at the Bothell Temple. Winter Market February 15th with herbal products, preserves, winter produce, and alpaca textiles!The CSA will be starting in June, and in the coming weeks will be the opportunity to sign up to reserve your share. We hope to inspire more involvement this year in the Lynnwood gardens in the spirit of self-reliance and awe-inspired gratitude for the blessings available to each of us in God’s garden. The CSA would not be possible without the many hands and and hearts that come together to help it grow.

 

As the farm’s mission expands, we offer to all of you, the question, what is my role with Ananda Farm? Whether as a friend, farmer, knitter, soap-maker, teacher, candle-maker, berry-picker, care-taker, trail-blazer, healer, food preserver, and beyond, the opportunities are boundless in both supporting the farm and each other. Only we as a community can determine what the future of the farm will behold, through the grace of the Masters, but for us farmers, the greatest feeling is one of holding space for all our friends – that one day, the farm may not merely be a sustainable farm, but an active village, full of people serving together to provide for basic needs and meditate in the Spirit of Life from within.

We Look forward to an expansive, beautiful and blessed 2015 for the Ananda Community Farm.

 

Jim fitting the door for the farm’s new honey bucket

Winter Projects (both completed and ongoing) include:

  • A new outhouse (thank you Jim Kent!)
  • Garage improvements with the addition of kitchen cabinets and counters, and shelving units (with remarkable help from Matt and Vihaan!).
  • Greenhouse renovations
  • A tool shop in the barn
  • Re-organization of herbal product materials and processes
  • Alpaca fiber arts (washing, carding, spinning & knitting) Dakshina is turning out some fine hats and scarves, coming soon…
  • Lavender Love (Nivritti heading up the effort to prune and beautify the lavender patch!)
  • Garden bed expansions and mulching
  • Tree planting, establishing food forest
  • Plant propagation & grafting, developing the nursery
  • Compost manufacturing, in the chicken and alpaca yards!

Tulsi dog looking on as alpaca Hobbes makes his way

 

The farm community continues to be grounded by, as much as anyone, the presence of our four-legged friends and various birds. The farm dog; 3 cats; the diverse flock of chickens; two charming ducks; and eight alpacas, curious and beautiful as they are, mowing and fertilizing in ever-expanding areas of the farm. Maybe this year, we are joined by goats?The animals give us a focus for basic service each day, and provide the farm with many services themselves; protection, upliftment, companionship, fiber, eggs, compost production, and more. We experience both the joy of working in harmony, and the upsets when disharmony occurs, hopefully learning from all, but always with gratitude for the community we share with each other.

chickens scratching and fertilizing in one of the straw-mulched strawberry beds

 

Our people community on Camano Island grows and deepens with each passing day.

  • Local beekeeper, Andy, will be helping us to keep more hives at the farm this year.
  • Friendly fruit farmers both on Camano and in Snohomish will be helping to provide more fruit for the growing demand of fresh, local and organic fruit.
  • The Sisters at the Quiet Light Candle Convent in Stanwood have recently supplied another spinning wheel, drum and hand carder, drying racks, and more, for the processing of our alpaca fleece (with Glenda’s much appreciated initiative and financial support!).
  • The farmers markets are truly wonderful example of community and we look forward to reconnecting with customers and vendors alike.
  • We have found like-minded friends at Cama Cafe (just a few miles from the farm) and look forward to providing produce to their kitchen.

 

For those looking to help, we welcome you to volunteer each and every Friday from 1-4pm until the markets start in June, for a different garden or specialty project each week. Select Saturday’s will offer different opportunities for focused hands-on garden workshops, and Mondays through March offer a day dedicated to grafting fruit trees in the loving spirit of Luther Burbank.

We are bringing back Farm Suppers in 2015 and planning for a July 18th Lavender Fesitival to serve as our annual open house.