December at the Ag Park

Back out at the farm after almost a month. Cover crop coming up. Little green blanket across the ground. Skeletons of Bermuda grass hanging on the edges of the fields. And new growth unrelenting. Green nets of Bermuda. 
Bucket like, spoon like valley- Sunol Ag Park- shades of green. Between 4 and 8 inches already. The grey blue sky, cool and wet. Awaiting a storm, they say will bring 80 mile an hour winds in parts. How to ready for a storm? Schools closed. Will the streets and waterways flood? Drought drenched California. Drought starved California readying for a storm. Unbalanced root systems and soils. Cement laid freeways and roads. No where for water to go except spilling on the sides and centers. Hanging around making pools. 
Rain. What will you bring.
The soil's wet in Sunol. Dark brown. Green, grey, light spilled tree tops. December!

Feels so good to walk around the farm. Unknowing. What shall it bring. Just walking. My boots caked in mud. The turkeys by the fence see me coming and fly, first a few and then all at once. Up and out. Helena planting ranunculus. Kristyn raking the weeds to get cover crop in. Early in the morning back to seed, she says, before the rain comes. Shawn cleaning up irrigation, saying goodbye to his farm for now. Selling hoes, and rakes, and shipping containers. Letting myself enjoy this place. The mountain blue bird with the blue purple like feathers. The owl that dips above my head just as I am heading out the gate. I look up in time to see its wingspan like a giant hanging in the air. And dip out onto a persimmon branch. 
And there, the Water Temple, with wooden art at the top. Below, like a swimming pool, tiled bottom, yellow and blue, a slow flow of water. And a sign, “ no throwing things”

Large pine tree’s and parking areas. Behind the hills, the green. So quickly you came. Green shadows. Good to be out at this land. What will come. And will it feel like a home. The way farming has for me up until now. This commute from Oakland to Sunol. For a 1 acre plot of land. Where summer temperatures regularly reach 100. And where as of now I have no shade structure, greenhouse, or storage. Just an acre plot where I hope to have a market farm. Letting the anxiety of it all ease off my back for a moment as I let myself walk and enjoy this place. The cool light, wet soil, small plants and green! 
May I come to know this place, these people, this soil, make a home of it. Grow some crops, and see if I can make a living at this and take care- of myself and others. My relationships!! That’s what this life is made of. The stuff of life. Relationship.
With soil, people, plants, air, water, bugs, dirt, music…. Thoughts.. emptiness. 
Back home, with bok choi Shawn let me harvest from his 200 foot rows that he has no plans for. Pasta and canned tomatoes. Bok Choi, red wine, and watching a you tube video of a Russian couple doing a remake of Keisza’s song, hideaway.
Other thoughts

  • how to let my work inform my life.
  • How to work and let my life inform my work
  • How to walk in the protests. And find meaning in my work. How does growing flowers relate to social justice work.
  • How will growing fulfill some of my needs for intimacy… and awareness of city living and the things that need attention.
  • How to put my whole self into my work. And my whole self into my life. And still have time and energy to share with others, dance, food, conversation, sitting, stopping, noticing, smiling, the quiet

Fall- Seeding Cover Crop

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Seeded cover crop today. Out at the farm in the early morning. Stuck in traffic on my way from Oakland to Sunol. Drumming my thumbs on the wheel. The sun coming up, cool light of fall. The crows at the farm chasing the hawks. Talking with fellow farmers about this life on the farm. The hills turning a bit of green. Hopefully more rain on the way. The land mostly clear of crops. Seeded with cover crop- beans, grasses, vetch and peas or left fallow to work on getting the bermuda grass out. 

An acre with no crops looks big to me. Next year- shaped beds and crops. How it all happens. This life as a farmer. The wind and sun and dirt under my nails. Carrying a bag on my shoulder full of seed. Wondering to myself if I seeded well. Time will tell. Jim with the disc and ring roller turning the seed into the soil. Looks so easy to drive, wish I had my own tractor. Or something to move all these implements across the fields. 

Talked with farmers about the stresses of farming. So many things to do, and so little margin for financial stability. 

On being a Farmer

Notes from Richard Wiswall’s book- The Organic Farmers Business Handbook 11/5/14

Farm Gate Flow: in gate, and out gate flow

- Mineral dollars, paper dollars, solar dollars

100$ left what would I do

buy some seed....

Personal values:

self respect, (responsibility, personal growth) creativity
health,
affection, (collaboration, family)

economic security, ((order)) social service

wisdom, (intellectual stimulation, stimulating/ challenging experiences)

trust, (social recognition, power– (non-hierarchical organizing)) In my life I want to have self-respect and confidence and make decisions based on respect for myself and others and from a place of kind-heartedness. May this lead to being truly present to my life and what's happening around me, and meeting myself and others where we are; being present, enjoying, and sitting within the challenges, heartbreak, and sadness of the world. I wish to use my creative understanding of the world around me in this way challenging myself to use all of my excitement and wisdom of life (may this include understanding power structures, history and healing in our world). I would like to enjoy my life; have a healthy lifestyle- eat well and with others, cook often, get exercise, dance, and rest. I wish this for myself and the world. I hope for health for everyone and for the world in all meanings of the word health. Also I wish for economic health for myself and others. And I hope to be involved in non-hierarchical work places. (( work hard and enjoy my work, and also not work too many hours so I have time to be present with my life and the world, and walk, dance, eat well and be with family, friends, and strangers. ))

How does farming help realize my personal goals?

Work that feels good, takes as best care of the land as I can, and provides for others, and nourishes some creativity in me. Working for myself, making my own decisions, being respected by others and having self respect. Working in relation to the seasons, working outside!! Work that hopefully makes my body and mind feel alive. I know I don't want to work at a desk all day or in a school class all day. I don't believe that's what our bodies and minds were meant to do. I know this is not good for my mind and body either. I know I need economic return on my work.