August 31, 2005 – Hints of Fall

The first hints of fall are appearing as September nears. Some of the soybean fields are showing a splash of yellow as the drying down begins.

hint fall
We lost our first turkey overnight – one of the biggest toms – just dropped dead, no sign of predation (they are behind an electric netting fence.)

We also closed on a home refinance that was and is rife with errors and bad communication. I’ll be happy when it is completed.

August 30, 2005 – Distracted Day

I’m feeling fortunate to only feeling distracted. I’m afraid I wasn’t entirely productive at work today. I was so struck by the Katrina coverage and unfolding devastation that I found it hard to concentrate. I wonder where the 1.5 million people in New Orleans went? How long can they live without jobs and expenses living away from home?
I’m particularly struck by the force it must take to lift concrete sections of highways up and off. What it must have been like to witness these large chunks of highway lift off, splash and disappear?
How awful must it be in a city without electricity, water, and power. I catch myself wondering what I would do in that situation. Would I go back and live there? If not, where would I go?
It truly is a disaster of mammoth proportions. My heart goes out to all who are suffering.

August 29, 2005 – “Rhythm Replaces Strength”

NOTE: I have turned on a verification before comments can be posted. This blog has been assaulted with blog spam – comments that are really ads and spam. Today I had to delete eight such comments. Feel free to drop comments, just know you’ll have to scroll down the comment entry form a little further to enter a visible code that will prevent the automated spam attaching to blogs. Is nothing sacred?

“Rhythm Replaces Strength” is a phrase I heard at church service this weekend that caught my ear. I may rephrase it as “Rhythm Replaces Force.” Rhythm in this context means the rhythm of the day – waking, eating, working, resting – whatever is part of the day – and the rhythm of the weeks, seasons, even lives. This rhythm isn’t monotonous as it may first appear for there are multiple levels of rhythms superimposed on each other. Knowing this rhythm – the right time to act, the time to wait, (sounds kind of like the beatitudes here) makes life richer.
Life on the farm certainly has its rhythms, particularly seasonal rhythm and rhythms of birth and death. Understanding this rhythm prevents you from doing the wrong thing or the right thing at the wrong time. It’s so much more work to force your way against the rhythm – it’s very possible, just takes so much more work and risk. I can think of many examples we’ve learned by mistake to follow the rhythms – like brooding chicks in May instead of early March. Like writing a business plan before opening an on-farm store.
I’m struck with this concept and the multiple rhythms that have been ignored and collided to nearly destroy New Orleans. The city built below sea level, the concentration of chemical and petroleum industries – had the Category 5 winds hit the coast, the scenario existed for most of New Orleans to be under 20 feet of water, and the gasoline floating on top of the water igniting to put the tops of the flooded buildings on fire.
It’s a useful thought to ponder, one that I’m not near to be able to hear all the time, but worth putting up goals and visions up against to see how they can be measured or achieved in rhythm rather than with force.

August 28, 2005 – Around the Farm

Thought I’d share some of the nice sights around the farm these days. Here’s Claire next to the broom corn – it’s tall!

I continue to be struck by the combination of the blooming buckwheat and amaranth.
amaranth buckwheat
This amaranth is very striking in its deep maroon color – even from a distance, it is the first thing that catches your eye and is much more striking against the green backdrop than this photo portrays.

August 27, 2005 – New Market and Tomato-RAMA

This spring we reserved a space at the farmer’s market section of the local energy cooperative’s annual meeting and fair. We were regretting it after the good market in Grinnell. The market was indeed rather lousy – it was twice as long and we sold a third as much.
The event was very nice though. I won a door prize of a $25.00 credit on my next electric bill. Martin got to ride up 55 feet to as high as the co-ops “lofty” could reach! Dad forgot his camera, so here’s a copy of a Polaroid they took before he went up. He’s got “hard hat” in hand and safety harness on.

We had lots of produce left over, so we went nuts canning – we canned over 30 quarts of tomatoes.
I also completed selling some things on e-bay – mainly things that were broken or in auction boxes I didn’t want – got nearly 100 dollars, led by a DeWalt drill, charger and battery that didn’t work for 34 dollars!