Category Archives: Quirk put to work

A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.


Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.


An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.


Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.


I’ve housesat for various kitties…


Some who love their kale…


Some who like their space…


Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.


And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.



There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.


It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.


I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.


These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.


It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.


I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…


I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…


Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…


And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…


It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.


I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.


I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.


Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.


I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.


To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”

Anyhow.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.


This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)


Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.


Autumn at the farm.

Panorama view from the greenhouse, which is now occupied by heaps of winter squash.


This isn’t an up-to-date photo… It’s from last week before I cleaned & sorted onions. Now the wire racks are covered in Butternut  & Acorn squash, while the floor has twice as many crates of Delicata, Buttercup, Honeynut and Kabocha varieties.


Greens are dunked, or properly termed “hydro-cooled” in the greenhouse.

Here’s John, one of the on-farm interns washing endive for this past week’s CSA share pickup.


Head lettuce in a wheelbarrow awaits it’s turn at the sink.


Jared, another on-farm intern, bags mesclun for the shares, which are given out in re-purposed banana boxes.


“Captain” Bob talking with the interns about what will be going to market this coming week near the list of vegetables in Week 17.

These are some of the most dedicated & hardest working people I know.


Yellow tray full of Basil and boxes of Hot peppers for the heat-lovers.


Equinox brings changing. This is from just this past Sunday.


And the previous Sunday.


Sebastian (the Elder) cozy in the “cold frame” where tender seedlings are a step closer to being set outside in order to “harden off” and adjust to being out in the swing of temperature & elements.


These are all from the last seeding of the season in early September. They’ll be heading to the high tunnels for the Winter CSA share.


Tio. The neurotic farm dog. 

In a recent/former life, he was used as a “bait-dog” and consequently has some unresolved issues. He loves laying in the sunshine and being the center of attention.


Dandelion greens (photo from last week’s share) at the greenhouse.

Also from last week, I got to housesit with a sweet pup & kitty:


Tiara.


Who loves a good sock.


Genuine.


A polydactyl kitty. 26 claws and toes in all.


At night, T slept on my legs and Genuine slept on my chest.

Best. Thing. Ever.


Wishing you all a happy Autumn.


Happy Anniversary.

That’s a Spring Beauty from a couple weeks ago.

It’s Spring Ephemeral season. That brief stretch when the forest floors have light and some warmth & these lovely beings emerge, bloom, fade, and sinense as the leaves in the high canopy unfurl and gather light from the Sun.

A woods walk was in order.


Miraculous, and thankfully perennial.

Spring Beauty and Blue Cohosh.

(Blue Cohosh sticks around for longer, but emerges with the others)


In an earlier stage of life, Blue Cohosh shows up a gorgeous deep dusty plum color, shifting to green.

(I wish my vocabulary for the various greens was extensive & specific… I’ll need to work on that.)


Hello, Hepatica.

Notice the three-lobed leaf from the previous season… Three lobes corresponding to the three lobes of the liver.


You can see this season’s leaves, fuzzy & unfolding in its time.


Dutchman’s Breeches.

Such adorable blossoms. They are nearly exclusively pollinated by bumblebees. 


Double (flying) Dutchman’s Breeches?… Anyone else play jacks as a child? My sister taught me how to play when I was 8 or 9 years old. Double Flying Dutchman was one of the most challenging levels.

(Thanks M!)


Trillium.

Only a few were blooming the day I went for this walk in Late April. Many were in bloom the following week (on a phone-less walk).


I just love this plum-green stage in the Blue Cohosh plant…


This is not Oni, my cat of 10 1/2 years. (He’s all spirit kitty now.)

Please say hello to Nemo. Who could be Oni’s distant cousin.

Fortunately I was able to be with Nemo for a stretch of time in March.


(Black kitties is da best.)

So today is my tenth year since returning to Ithaca, after four years away, with my cat, Oni.

Happy Anniversary!

11 & 1/2 years is the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult (if you count the time before I left…)


It’s my fourth season with Nook & Cranny Farm.


Spring shares just began this past Sunday, May 1st.

It caught me by surprise. I’m in my own little seeding & transplanting world most of the time I’m there.


For me, the season began in February, seeding Alliums.

Shallots, Onions, Leeks, Scallions.


And greens, after being transplanted into high tunnels, were harvested just days ago.


Infant spinach that now waits for me to sauté with last season’s garlic. Tonight, after work.


Another image from February. We tried a new method to keep track of the many Allium trays.

I don’t have an image of the trays in their current green stage, but they’ve began to be transplanted last week. Tonight they’ll complete the rest of the trays.

This method was too complicated, and spray painting edges of the trays will likely be next season’s method.


I hope to blog a bit more this season & dye paper again. It’s been a while.

We’ll see how things unfold.

Till then, happy anniversary day & wishing you all a joyous, long slow spring.


Past Sunday as the season winds down.

  
Another unseasonably warm day for November in upstate New York.

  
With a month more of the 2015 CSA season, roots & greens are in abundance.

  
Most of the winter squash plants succumbed to the heavy summer rains (*sniff*), but thankfully there are some that made it through…

  
Bob bagging greens for the large shares… (small shares received spinach). 

Note the t-shirt in mid-November.

  

  
I’ve really enjoyed this year working at Nook & Cranny

Some of the workers have moved on to their “winter jobs”, so the crew is small these days…

I miss their presence.

  
The confluence of people’s efforts & the elements showing up as vegetables is a constant amazement.


Today.

Morning sun shone through a crystal before a work day at Nook & Cranny.

Thanks, Mom!

  
That’s Soandso.

  
Couch buddy & travel companion.

  
Beautiful breezy day

Pink ball shows signs of children from the evening before…

  
Boxes building up through the day

  
My favorite view

  

Greens (parsley, kale, lettuce, lettuce mix, endive, Brussels sprouts) covering up sweet potatoes, red potatoes, hakurai turnips, cilantro, carrots, acorn squash, onion, garlic, parsnips, spinach…


Harvest & seeding day at Nook & Cranny (take 2).

  
Can you see the hot?

It was warm this past Sunday. 

I tried to post on Monday, but there are many photos & my phone dropped the thread & so none of it was saved…

  
Sooooo, Take 2.

It was the second to last day of seeding for the 2015 season, & Sebastian was holding down the Yin.

During a pause while filling trays, I asked Bob if he could let me know before the cover-plastic was unrolled so I could take a photo of the boxes…  
 He asked if instead I’d take photos of the boxes as they were filled up through the day…

 Seriously, I have the cushy job.

I’ll try to keep the small & large boxes in order (I’ll be more methodical next time)

Above, the top box is the large, their tomato box comes later.

the bottom box (the one with the 1/2 peck box of tomatoes) is the small.

Back to the seeding…  
24 trays in all

10 Spinach, 4 Sylvetta Arugula, 4 Lettuce, 2 Red Pac Choi, 2 Red Mustard, 2 Mizuna.

   
 
“The Nusery”

   
 
The ones outside a little further along.

All these greens will head to the hoop houses & high tunnels in time.

  
Chard drip-draining before being set into boxes.

   
 
Small on top, Large below.

  
Bob sets leeks into the Large boxes.

 “Shining the zucchini” with a cloth, removing any stuck on stuff from the field.

   
 
Small on top, large on bottom.

  
I’ve tried three times to load a short video of Garrett’s hands washing carrots, but WP on my phone keeps crashing.

Suffice it to say that Bob intends to invest in a rotating drum spray method for next season. Garrett is super fast on the sprayer, but I guess the rotating drum is a faster way.

  
Into the box they go.

 Edamame happy dance!

Those were seeded in early June & here they are!!
One of the workers generously gave me a mounded quart full. One of the many benefits of working here.    

 
Here are two “smalls”

Bob knows details about each CSA member regarding any vegetables they may need to avoid…

So every now and again, some of the boxes will have slightly different contents.

   
   
You’d never know there was a lot of vegetable action going on underneath this layer of leafy greens.

    
Large boxes with tomatoes on top, a final sweep of vegetable droppings, plastic comes over, & Bob sets out Brussels Sprout tops at the “extras” area.

   
 Mmmm. Basil.

 
Week 14 ready for pick-up.

Did I mention it was hot?

It was SO hot & all the workers were amazing & lunch was a time of great delight & welcomed rest.  

Blessings on Late Summer.


known & unknown.

(please pardon the blurred photos to follow – they are from 2009, taken on a flip phone, & are slowly being downloaded from my Facebook account which has served as a photo album between 2009 and 2014)  
I know how to see & recognize beauty in this world.

I try to expand this notion of beauty as a practice.

Sometimes I fall into rigidity, sometimes, I stretch this seeing.

  
I try to honor life in all forms.

Sometimes I fail to see my actions, sometimes I can be gentle with this life so-called outside.

  
It’s easier to encourage others, harder with myself.

  
(Don’t worry, Mom & Dad, I didn’t get another tattoo – it’s the forearm of an acquaintance)

🙂

But it’s great for me to see. 

  
I’ve written before that I tend to forget, which is why I write things down.

But what do you do when there’s an unknown to step into?

  
Like beginning graduate school

  
When telling yourself “I can do this” feels like a lie

  
Where does faith come from?

  
I lean on my friends when the voice of “who do you think you are?” presses on like a broken record.

  

They say things like: “have you talked back to that voice question? Tell it who you think you are!”

This has been helpful.

  
Plants, like this late Autum Sedum already sending buds forth before the long Winter, anticipating Spring.

I can learn a lot from plants.

I have learned a lot from plants & this world continues to be one of my greatest teachers.

  
So, I’ll keep on, like the sedum, beginning, again.

& heading in a direction…

  
…like the Red-Winged Blackbirds migrating…

  
With whatever is luck…

  
…and whatever is faith…

  
To challenge the voices, (or even simply turning my attention elsewhere, dropping the habitual thought, as suggested to me) 

Sensing the world 

  
And challenge myself to step into the unknown.