Autumn Equinox and we head into the darkest nights of the year. The days have been shortening since Summer Solstice June 21, becoming noticeable around August. We bow to the deep dark and withdraw back and in and down in reflection and visions of the season 2020. I like to write an assessment this time of year looking back over the season and what went well and not so well.
Truck went out last week and we got them up to the mechanic thinking it was the trasnsmission. It turns out the wire harness had an electrical fire sometime ago and the issues have just manifested. We have a 1998 Chevy Tahoe, one of the last models with barn doors. We were just getting into the electronic age with push button 4 x 4. Barn doors are excellent for an edible landscaper for obvious reasons. The only other better option would be a pickup truck. Tahoe is a great truck. We will go take a look today to decide on replacing the wire harness.
It’s time to put the gardens to sleep. I cleared out Garlic bed at SDG and laid down hay. I started early this season because I didn’t get all the beds finished by mid-November when I travel to Miami for Thanksgiving. Hay suppresses weeds and feeds the soil. Come Spring, I just have to move the hay aside and plant. Hay is the Winter coat for the beds.
I say good-bye to Flora Jones Garden after nine years. It was my experimental garden, where I had the opportunity to learn edible landscape and go wild! I cannot be sad for the end because it is time. Family and friends have expressed their chagrin and I am aging and probably should cut back on gardens, not to mention I could use another day to develop as a businesswoman. Flora has asked me to finish at the end of the month and I am delighted. I developed an edible landscape. I let the land be itself and show me her beauty, her bounty. I harvested Wild Salad out of Flora Jones. She will be missed, but I cannot be sentimental. I have to take my leave. I look forward to my new adventure.
A Farm for All! is in a good place. We have had our first annual fundraiser. We have gotten a grant to offer Solidarity Shares for White Pine’s Herbal CSA. We will be able to offer free and half priced CSA shares to three low income communities. We look for new community members. Look for our post on Craigslist in Hudson Valley and North Connecticut.
I have five beds to open and plant at Hiddenbrooke - Sage, Lavender, Wormwood and two Comfrey. Hay will be welcome weed control from now on. Hiddenbrooke seems to be a different eco-system. Phlox and Sunrrot have not done very well here. Anise Hyssop comes in much later than other places. We’ll see what Sunroot does next year. Critters eat plants like Echinacea, Valerian and Comfrey like never before. She may be more wild, a half mile in from the main road, DePuyster. More critters have a comfortable home I suppose. I mowed the entire season creating a series of pathways throughout the garden - so fun! I have had black plastic laid out since July to kill the grass for beds. I learn a new space.
I’m harvesting Zucchini and Tomatoes, still making Zucchini bread for potlucks and sauce for Christmas supper. I have also harvested Corn (Zea maize, Graminae, Annual, Turtle Island) and Green Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris, Papilionaceae, Annual, Turtle Island). Corn contains carbohydrates, fiber, protein and vitamin B. Green Beans contain potassium, folic acid, beta carotene and protein.
It is root and seed harvesting time. I will be collecting Amaranth and Lamb’s Quarter seed to add protein to oatmeal and rice. Plantain seeds can be used the same way for omega 3’s. Seeds are often ground into nutrient rich flour. I have my stores of tincture of Burdock, Elecampane and Poke. I will have to check on my market stores.
Thankful for the peace and solace of Autumn Equinox. An opportunity to pause and savor before the dip down into the deep dark and hibernation. I take a tip from Bear and rest, rest. We are entitled to all the blessings life has to offer by the very fact that we were born. Joy, love and peace to you and yours this Autumn Equinox.
The weather cools and we bow to the deep dark of the coming Autumn Equinox. I forget and then am enamored when I realize there are three more weeks of Summer September 1. The weather did not cool until today so it was easy to enjoy Summer still here at the beginning of September. My classes wind down and I look toward markets for income Autumn and Winter. I went to market for the first time last Autumn and it sparked imaginings of a lucrative income opportunity and the opportunity to share herbal knowledge with folks is always a blessing. My wares are Salve, Tea, Tincture and Vinegar also available through my website www.sarahannelisabeth.com.
Time to wrap up the season gardening and processing harvest. I have ordered hay for the beds at SDG and Hiddenbrooke and I made Basil Pesto and Zucchini bread this week. (Ocimum basilicum, Labiate, Annual, Asia). Basil is a well known spice. Although my first Pesto was Parsley, I have come to appreciate having a variety of Pesto now for the Winter. I make seven quarts - three Parsley, two Basil and this season two Lamb's Quarter. Lamb's Quarter grew into a small tree at Flora Jones so I had no choice but to make Pesto. I have had Basil tea in the past and in the Mediterranean O. comosum is made into a drink called cherbet tokhum. The essential oil is used for flavor in condiments and liqueurs and scents in soap and perfume. Leaves have been used as mosquito repellent to expel worms and for snake and insect bites as well as acne. An infusion aids digestion and is antibacterial. Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae, Annual, Turtle Island) is high in beta carotene and also contains vitamin C and folic acid. The word squash comes from the Native American word askustasquash which means eaten raw or uncooked. Europeans pounded the seeds into oatmeal and used it on their faces to remove freckles.
Hurricane Dorian travels up the East coast in North Carolina today while wildfires rage in Brazil. The great storm of 2019 so far having ravaged the Bahamas. Two more months of hurricane season to go. As I stared at the radar image on the Weather Channel I marveled at how singular the weather is, having its own purpose and we just have to get out of harm's way. Let go of applying gender to the weather and its force just becomes a violent entity for which we have to prepare. Not unlike the Establishment that emulates nature and of which we have to stay out of harm's way. Hitler has a famous quote "I do not see why man should not be as cruel as nature," so I suppose we should take it into account managing our new reality. We are capable of benevolence and compassion, community and cooperation, but in the face of those who do not abide by such notions we have no choice but to stay out of harm's way.
I love to watch animal documentaries most recently Serengeti and it is wonderful to watch how the animals interact. The circle of life indeed as any of the animals from Baboon to Zebra can fall prey to the wild through starvation, injury, dominance, etc. Might makes right in the animal kingdom and so it seems in our Establishment. It helps me to recognize it. It sets my mind at ease to have clarity about the challenges we face. Embrace and appreciate the kind and loving, but remember we are inundated with animals who rule us. Those who see so far into the future we are but a speck of dust on their grand plan - dominance. The animal kingdom dips and sways adjusting to its triumphs and losses as we do. I want to understand and here is my latest attempt.
I have gotten my first grant for A Farm for All! In the frenzy of organizing the space I sent in some information and lo and behold we got the grant! We will provide Solidarity Shares from our Herb CSA for low income folks. So exciting! A Farm for All! appears to be a project with much potential (www.afarmforallny.org). I have spent my adult life working in non-profits in one way or another and I'm bringing that knowledge and experience to A Farm for All! We will have our first fundraiser September 15. Get your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets https://bpt.me/4344733 or donate at paypal.me/afarmforall. It will be great to see you! We harvested fifty pounds of Shiitake mushroom and we will be serving them at the fundraiser. Come one come all, there are rooms and campsites available for overnight stays. Air Bnb www.airbnb.com/rooms/345o2699.
Shittake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes, Omphalotaceae, East Asia) has been eaten since 199 CE and is the second only to Button mushroom which is 60% of the world's mushroom production. Before ketchup, mushroom sauce was the favorite condiment. Shiitake as well as velvet shank, nameko and oyster are the favorites in Japan. Oyster mushroom has the ability to take up toxins from the soil and still be edible. Mushrooms contain potassium, linoleic acid, folic acid, carbohydrates, iron, niacin and B vitamins.
2019 becomes memory. Joyful and peaceful and full of fresh food. To have all my crops again is awesome. I have spent my life making it up as I go along which has its share of pitfalls and triumphs. I believe it is the nature of Spirit, although controlling one's reality is the norm. Courage and faith, joy, love and peace abound. Certainly not for the faint of heart.