Category Archives: Updates

Autumn Update

A Joyful Season

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The seasonal shift has already begun, and so too at the farm our priorities will begin to change.

Last Friday marked the final Port Susan Farmers Market of the 2014 season, with the Camano Island Farmers Market ending a couple weeks ago. We said hello and goodbye to many new familiar faces of customers and vendors whom we’ve gotten to know this year. The connections made were great strides taken towards the community building model we seek and require as a community farm.

 Fall Garden Prep Workshop

We will be offering a hands on workshop on Saturday October 25th 1-4pm, for fall bed prep here at the farm, teaching interested folks how to prepare no-till garden beds for the winter. Naturally, an increasing role for the farm(ers) will be the education and sharing of the permaculture / hand-cultivated model of production, which will continue to refine itself in correlation with our own understanding. What are the benefits in this model, and how do we share them that we and others may grow in our collective understanding of the role of agriculture in the extraordinary dawn of the 21st century. Sorry, that was a thesis for something else… hehe.

CSA 2014

This Wednesday marks the final week of CSA, which by most accounts has been successful and mostly fun too.  We hada small but mighty group that helped almost every week to help the boxes get harvested and distributed. Thank you, team, for your dedication and friendships. Thank you also to all the CSA members who supported and consumed our growing efforts! Finally we wish to express our gratitude to Gil  of Skipley Farm, Spencer & Karen of Hazel Blue Acres, and  Robin & Craig of Silvana Produce; it was a joy to work in cooperation with you to fill our weekly boxes with quality local fruit and veggies.

Vacation

For Hailey and myself, we will be in the back of our minds at least, starting to prepare for a 3 week break. Our return will be in time for holiday events starting up on the Island (Camano Center Holiday Bazaar, November 22nd), as well as Sundays at our own Ananda Temple in Bothell.  Our vacation will be a visit to my parents in St Louis for 5 days, and then a ride with two old friends to the the Baja Sur for about 10 days of sunny beach time a midst the desert.  In our absence, Sharon from Laurelwood will be staying at the farm house, taking care of the animals, etc.
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Meanwhile, at the farm, we will spend the next two weeks winterizing various aspects, spreading mulch, burlap, and sowing seeds. So too at the community, we will begin to work with Omprakash for fall bed preparations. In addition, the fall is an excellent time for planting fruit trees, of which we have many from our grafted trees in the spring, and so staking sites and planting will be a continuous operation through the winter.

Orchard

The abundance of the orchard (which we lease outside of Stanwood) has been wonderful, and a true God-send for the second year farm.
photo 3Each week seemed to grow a little greater with the handsome and delicious heritage varieties of apples and pears offered. The experience of working with almost 90 mature fruit trees for both Hailey and myself (pruning, thinning, and harvesting) has been invaluable to our growth as aspiring sustainable farmers… And quite amazingly, the realization also that although quite abundant, we could use a lot more fruit going forward. The demand for local, freshly harvested and organic fruit feels quite limitless to the creative mind. We have begun selling fresh spiced cider through the Camano Marketplace for the holiday season (thank you to Gil from Skipley farm for always sharing your press with us!). Going forward, cider presents an exceptional growth opportunity both for market and our own health reserves throughout the winter.

Herbal Medicinals

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The herbal medicinals continue to be a big part of the farm operations, and grow in their out-reach. The amount and quality of feedback we have received from folks having used the comfrey oil for example, is quite extraordinary. One day we will start collecting testimonials! In the meantime, a slow but steady growth of small batch production seems the best model for sharing the farm remedies and maintaining the best quality control. We don’t wish to compete with dove and irish spring – but we do hope to provide our community with better and more effective alternatives to the basic health and body needs we often share.

Meanwhile, Glenda has lead the food preservation charge: tomatoes, salsa, fruit preserves, apple butter will all be offered during the holiday season.

Looking Ahead

At the farm, the winter hopefully holds slower periods for reflection and planning, in addition to some time spent improving the farm’s infrastructure. Last winter we put up and built beds in greenhouses, a chicken coop, and created a tree nursery. This year we will look to erect a harvest/processing station near the farm house, and work towards creating seasonal outdoor living accommodations for farm interns and ourselves, continue the expansion of vegetable beds in the lower field, and plant more fruit and supporting trees here on the farm.As one may guess, I could go on, and on. A final and important note of gratitude, to all of you, who have helped the farm come into fruition, and provided the field for which Ananda Farm(ing) can blossom. Praise be to God and Guru for providing the knot of community which ties us together and makes all things possible.In grateful service

zach and hailey

Winter 2014 Update

Hobbes Rudi

Rutabaga Meets Hobbes

I do believe Nivritti will begin moving in this weekend? I do know from going inside the Haven house that it has been painted!

Haven Green House raised beds have been constructed on both sides. Today we began filling the base layer with wood from the arborist, Doug. He has volunteered to come by this week or next to prune with us the handful of fruit trees on the Haven side. These didn’t produce much fruit this year, and are badly overgrown, so it will be another good experience to see how we can reshape the trees back into production.
Larger prunings can be used for cooking wood stock-pile (which we have started to maintain from prunings in Stanwood) and the rest can be used as the base layer for the Haven House beds.

Hailey’s brother Cole and Kieran joined us today in a bamboo planting effort, from the bamboo stock we received last year from James the bamboo gardener in Seattle. We planted the stock on the ‘wild’ hill side, off the second trail. It is a good location for expansion on the hill, and also for harvest from the food forest side. On another note, we found actual clay deposits in the hillside, and found the soil to be of excellent quality. Very promising for future orchard sites.

The main garden has been mulched for the winter and looks to be in great shape going into spring. Leaf Garden has been expanded upon, with a fresh supply of Detlings applied to build the beds, and will be mulched again in the coming weeks. Also to be in great shape for the spring.

Vihaan will be joining us on Thursday to get the plastic on the walls in the garage (the first step to developing a kind of processing center), as well as to attach the plastic lift on the Haven green house. We have materials, including poly tape which Larry donated for use.

Vihaan also was able to get the water going again, by reversing the check valve that was reinstalled after pipe bust. Good to have someone getting to know that well system at Haven so well :).

Friday, Derek from the County will join us from the County with 8 more 55 gallon drums, and will help us get them ready for conversion and implementation in the coming weeks. We have parts on hand already. All together we should have around 20 55 gallon drums at our disposal (1000 + gallons)

We will be working with Kieran to make more progress on the chicken coop greenhouse above the leaf garden this week – the roof has gone on the chicken coop side, and we will likely use simple plastic covering for the greenhouse side. We have some re-purposed plastic from the little kitchen garden greenhouse we used last year. This should be ready coming into spring to host chicks as well as starts for the leaf garden. We will use the solar fence from last year to pasture/feed the chicks in the larger grassy area behind the coop.

We are well into seed planning mode, and will be making seed purchases for outstanding needs in the coming week or two. We have many, but will require more, including some cover crops for different sections of the lower field. Estimated cost a few hundred dollars all together.

We have begun grafting for the year (still a little early in the season), but we have a great opportunity to make many a apple and pear trees of selected varieties through the spring… to then plant them in the coming years, as well as share them with friends and fellow Anandans. We are developing a new area for the nursery this year, and will hope to transition the back of the house into a more friendly flower/herb garden that transitions into the forest.

Hriman has signed the paperwork for the orchard and I do believe all things are go. We have already pruned about 1/3 of the orchard, and been finding it to be very rewarding hands on experience.

I also have a tree order set to arrive in early february (thanks to christmas gift from my mother!) for selected nitrogren fixing trees and livestock food trees, to be strategically planted on both properties to build soil, feed ourselves, future and current animal companions, as well as acting as windbreaks in the lower field! . The Chestnut, persimmon, siberian pea shrub, see buckthorn, *thornless* honey locust, and others. We are in a good position to be a provider down the road, of such trees, as well as educator as to their importance and role in regenerating the earth.

The front orchard has been fully mulched for the year, planted with garlic and bulbs, and we look to begin more work converting the kitchen garden into the herb and strawberry gardens.
An anticipated upcoming expenditure is that of cedar grove compost delivery. Though initially I hadn’t planned on needing this, the immediate cultivation of the haven green house, as well as the continued bed expansion, well, everywhere, seem to warrant another delivery. Any thoughts on this? Larry I think is versed on the pricing.

Carole and Dakshina continue to find ways to help us. Last week was the first that I didn’t go to the bookshop, Larry has done a wonderful job transitioning at East West.

The CSA is a big item for discussion… and I’ve had opportunities to talk briefly with Rick and Larry. I do think things are moving forward positively and the farm is poised to be a large provider for the upcoming season, in addition to the more specialized growing which can take place in Lynnwood.

AUM

 

 

A Great Success!

Camano-Harvest

A big thank you to all those who turned up to help with the farm activities on Sunday, from Lynnwood to Bellingham (Dave and Marylin) and out to Whidbey Island (Krishnapriya).

LavenderMany hands lead the lavender harvesting charge and processing, too (Sadie, Chandi, Betty, and many others), leaving the entire house smelling of divine essences. Bundles hang on the walls drying, and bowls filled with flower trimmings await honey infusion. Hailey will be joined again today for more processing activities.

Randa lead the kitchen charge, creating delicious lemonade, farm salad, and a fresh Tabouli salad that warranted 3 servings on such a hot day.

Dakshina supplied the farm with much needed homeopathic bee sting medicine. I tested some stings out myself last week to confirm the need to upgrade the farm’s first aid kit.

Kieran joined in the terrace construction and engineered a new blueberry terrace in the driveway circle, with a partial stone foundation with rocks supplied by Larry’s efforts in the lower field.

Sandhya and Catherine Hobson and Brian lead the mulching charge, dressing the apple pear orchard with fresh chips.

Whew. There was more, and in the moment of typing I forget others who joined us in the activities, and many other activities performed by those mentioned. The farm truly felt like a farm, with so many devotees buzzing about like the bees.

Thank all of you for your joyful service, and helping us (me?!) to remember to have fun amidst all the summer farm activity. Truly inspiring.

Blessings from your Ananda Farm on Camano.
The caretakers