sowing the farm

Everyone needs a big brother.   My younger brother and I think we have got one of the best.    There is so much about starting this farm that involves the support of family both near and far from the farm.   For me, most of my family is pretty far away.    I miss them and I know I miss the mark they would make on the start of this project if they were here, but the fact that they aren’t means that they provide an important counterpoint for me in the balance of ideas and suggestions of how to move forward with what at times seems an overwhelming endeavor.

This evening I had the chance to talk to my big brother on the phone.   There is so much happening right now at the farm.  It isn’t a discouraging feeling, but it is a big feeling.  Here, at the start of this farm project and with so many visions for the future, at moments it can feel hard to know how or in what direction to proceed.  For instance as I pause in my grading to write this blog post I am thinking about:

  • our 27 growing chicks (where they will go how we will move them and where they will eventually live),
  • the mama Alder Rose and her two daughter goats who are arriving at the farm shortly after Easter and for whom we are yet to build a goat pen,
  • the greenhouse which is sitting in almost, but not quite done splendor,
  • the little starts – who are desperately waiting for a home to land,
  • the fence we have to choose, purchase and install…and those are the small things  – the big ones? – well I won’t go there this evening! 🙂

Tonight my brother told me a story of my father and our 1950’s era tractor that I had never heard before.  It made me laugh to think of my father (who I generally think of as cautious, wise, and capable of all but the most difficult miracles) learning, or put in another light, making mistakes….   The story reminded me that learning, no matter where it takes place, is a humbling activity.  I delight at the developing stories of our farm enterprise and the work of living with the land.   It is filling me with great joy even as I am humbled by the daily learning involved in the sowing of a farm.

My brother shared this poem with me:

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.
-Robert Frost

Sarah has had a similar problem when calling me into dinner.   Only Annie has yet to discover the unending miracle of seed.



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work party!

Many thanks to the folks who came out to the farm for our welcome spring work party!   Welcome spring we did!   I guess that there were about 70 people who stopped by and lent a hand.   An unbelievable amount of work was accomplished.   Here is a short list:

  • 50′ of new blackberry removed.
  • a gazillion native shrubs and 5 cedar trees planted along the creek.
  • 6, 112′ beds were dug in preparation for potato planting.
  • 4 planting beds were double dug in classic deep bed style.
  • 1.5 tons (give or take a little) of rock were removed from the field and carted in the truck to a new home.
  • the truck tire went flat…the truck tire was repaired.
  • a new door was hung in the barn.
  • the barn was prepared for the spring scarlet runner bean crop.
  • we found a killer wheel hoe from ages past buried in the blackberry (and a stirrup hoe).
  • lunch was served to everyone (many thanks to Joanne’s family)

The whole day was finished off by a potluck supper and dance at the Clinton Community center.   It was really magnificent to see all of the people gathered to help us begin our farm and to feel such support from so many people.



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The Farm

SkyRoot Farm is a 20 acre farm on South Whidbey Island. Right now we are watching our starts grow and are patiently waiting for the alder and maple trees to leaf out so that we know spring is on its way. We have periodic work parties and invite you to watch our website (and/or join our e-mail listserve) to know when we are having our workparties. You can read about the events of the recent work party below!  Thanks for reading.

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Creek Restoration

Today we had a work party to do some creek restoration. We learned that although many hands don’t make light work, they do get ALOT done. We reclaimed this creek and will soon plant some native plants.


The creek runs through alot of the property, so if you missed out today, DON’T PANIC, I’m sure there will be more chances to help out



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We just got our first farm animals! 27 baby chicks arrived in the mail monday morning. To Annie’s dismay, I brought them up to the farm, while she has to wait till Wednesday to become better friends with them. Sarah, who was on chicken breed duty, ordered 5 Light Brahmas, 6 Barred Rock, 6 Buff Orpingtons, 6 Rhode Island Red and 3 Araucana. We also received a ‘Free Rare Exotic Chick.’ I don’t quite know what that is going to prove to mean, but boy am I excited to find out! Come see them while they are still young!


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