Greeting farm friends
The seasonal shift is officially upon us.
The first order of business: this is indeed the final week of the CSA for 2016. So we want to offer a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the great commitment to grow with us, each and every week this season. We realize it is in fact a great commitment; to be present to pick up your box each week (and hopefully return them?), to be willing to adapt your own kitchen customs, and to support an alternative and still-evolving no-till, yoga-nature farm model.
Meanwhile at the farm we are setting the sails to catch the winds of fall, and get carried forth into an ever new sea of change and future farm expansion. With the Camano market already having come to a close, the final Stanwood market coming up this Friday, and the final CSA distribution on Tuesday and Wednesday, we will joyfully begin setting roots anew at the homestead. Throughout the growing season, as we plant, harvest and travel to and fro, the farm list at home steadily ascends the mountain of aspiration. The seasonal flow of nature offers a solution to the growing to-do list of life on the farm: “Adopt the pace of Nature, her secret is patience,” Ralph Waldo Emerson. And yet, when we are in harmony with the seasonal transition, it is nothing short of beautiful to experience each and every passing season.
While we simultaneously move into the new season at the farm, one also can’t help but feel the inward pull of the fall weather; shorter, cooler days, which naturally bring us more into a space of peace and quietude. And most likely as well, back around the farm table in friendship and satsang.
This passed weekend, Hailey, Sharon, Paean, and myself were able to venture west to Fort Flagler to attend the annual PNW permaculture convergence, which alternates annually between sites in WA and Oregon. Sharon was blessed to be present Friday night for the keynote by Paul Stametz, world-renowned mycologist (“How mushrooms can save the world“); listen to his Tedtalk, if you haven’t already. And Saturday the group of us spread out and took a variety of classes and made great connections, including that of Michael Dolan, the owner of Burnt Ridge Nursery in Onalaska, WA. At the forefront of perennial agriculture, Burnt Ridge has the most incredible selection of fruit and nut trees and shrubs in the PNW. He operates about 21 acres of farm-nursery, collects cuttings and varieties from all over the world, and shares as much of his abundance and wealth as he can. We are hoping to arrange a visit to his farm later this month.
Meanwhile at Ananda farm, we are gearing up to host our annual investors meeting this weekend, in the form of farm supper and sharing. This is an opportunity to host and update all the great souls that made the original investment in the farm possible by pooling their resources. Though our cooperative model doesn’t offer fiscal returns, the investment and return does come around in the form of energy and community-based solutions. It’s wonderful, in fact, to share with others the basis of Ananda as a community farm – a merging of ‘elders’ with resources and experience, and youngers with energy and enthusiasm, to help create something greater than any single one could do on their own. The farm continues to grow in its own ability to provide abundance and happiness through its residents and the growing community of like-minded friends on Camano Island. The farm serves as a great example of what is possible when we invest willingly of ourselves and our resources in causes that are indeed, greater than ourselves.
On the farm, Hailey serves in the medicine shop with Sharon and Paean, making the last rounds of herb harvests for the year, pots of comfrey oil bubbling, the final distillations of lavender coming to a close, and fresh batches of soap being pulled out of the oven. Glenda is back in the canning mode, having made dozens of preserves, from plum to pear sauce and tomato jam; as well, she is back into the candle shop pouring candles for the alters in the winter months. Alpaca fiber is in process from Swami Dakshina, as well as apple cider vinegar and fermented veggies. Stanley has helped lead the fruit harvest (and all harvests!!!), and the corresponding cider press efforts, a big job indeed with this years fruit crop! Paean has been sharing her cookbook, Cultivating Your Inner Chef: A Sustainable Guide to Cooking, a wonderful, holistic education on how-to-cook, techniques and right attitudes in the kitchen; in addition to running the farm kitchen, lavender still, and apple pie efforts! Sharon will actually be leaving this month to join Don Tipping at Seven Seeds farm in Williams, Or, for the Seed Academy. Don and the seed school are at the forefront of seed culture in America, and his voice and example serve as one of the most respected in the world of sustainable, regenerative agriculture. Sharon is the most awesome ambassador for Ananda Farm.
We have a new addition of 13 little chicks. It’s been three weeks and we have not lost any! Cute Olive is not so much a puppy anymore. She has grown and matured in leaps and bounds, being the best understudy Tulsi Dog could ever have.
Some other topics of interest at the farm:
- We hope to add our biggest greenhouse to date this winter, a lean-to off the south-side of the Haven barn, as the new start house for spring seeding.
- A new walk-in fridge in what is currently the barn’s ‘tack room.’ The fruit abundance this year has made it abundantly clear that we need to cold storage!
- Re-walling and insulating the bungalow, that it may host visitors even in the winter months, like Paean’s family for Thanksgiving.
- A goat shelter and tool at the base of the lower field, that soon we will allow a goat family to be supported by the incredible abundance of goat food on the hill side! This will ultimately open up space for more expansion into the rich tilth of the alders, brambles and native cherry trees stands which densely populate the hill.
- The gardens will continue to expand, especially so at Haven, where the warmth and windbreaks near the barn and house make for wonderful tomato and hot crop growing conditions. This also is to include a round of nut tree planting – in the form of cold hardy Russian almonds, Japanese Heart Nuts, and Burnt Ridge Chestnuts.
- A final great development worth mentioning – the constant request for yoga and meditation gatherings at the farm have been heard, and we are actively exploring what it will take to create the right space for the farms own meditation chapel, large enough to host guests and groups like yourself. Do you want to be involved or contribute in the manifestation of the Yogananda Farm Shrine?
As always, the updates could go on, but well, the sail is catching wind! We’ve got a couple more CSA boxes to fill, and goat shed to finish! Thank you all for a beautiful season.
Please find us and the full line of farm products throughout the fall and holiday season, on Sunday’s at the Ananda Meditation temple in Bothell, directly after Sunday Service, and at various holiday markets, and at Camano Marketplace on Camano Island.
Also, this is a good time to let you know of an event we will all be attending – the showing of Seeds: the Untold Story, in Bellingham, at the Pickford, on Oct 26th. All the farmers will be in attendance, and would welcome you to join us in the spirit of Seeds of Hope for the Future. Get your tickets as soon as possible; the director will be in attendance, and it will likely sell out!
Let us stay in touch. If you would like to help out at the farm or at the gardens in Lynnwood, please email us.
With love, on behalf of the ananda farm family. Zachary