November 25, 2008
My personal farmprints three
I've been a jill of many trades but took to farming with passion in my late 30s. The old farm I'm currently honoured with is the third in a sequence of patches I could call my own. I came into farming by way of partnership with an extraordinary woman who taught me a host of practical things and who shared a fierce passion for an ethically intuitive approach to working with the soil. A 100 plus acre organic farm, it still produces some of the best food available in BC and is a dynamo attracting eager people from all over the world. Like most working farms, the people who sustain it struggle to balance books, time and social sustainability. I miss that place and always will, this first farm, that first love. But I had to leave. It had, like all 3 of the places I've settled, layers of history of the people who eked out an existence there before and if you go to my page of poetry, you'll find a song about old farm.
After various travels in and through the world and myself: Sri Lanka to the tops of mountains and Theravada monasteries, India on foot and train, Cuba on a bicycle, and other interesting things I may or may not tell you about, I landed on the middle farm pictured above. Also in BC, this was an old Doukabour homestead in very rough condtion and a fishbowl to the traffic driving by. I froze in the log shack, erected a massively necessary deer fence around a 2 acre field and cultivated vegetables that were gratefully received in the city near by. I worked with hoes and a BCS and missed the farmall super C with the basketweeder and all the other great equipment we had. But I came to enjoy the smaller scale and beds where no tractor traversed.I suffered in debt though to have the privilege to farm and so after 4 years I moved on to Nova Scotia where land is relatively cheap and history is deeper in the soil. I've arrived at this new old place this spring and have plowed and planted 2 crops of buckwheat on 2 acres and finished it with fall rye. (A double crop of buckwheat plowed under at knee high in flower has been my technique for preparing old sod for new gardens the following year). I have a massive mountain of my neighbour's 3 year old horse manure (13 hand-bombed loads)composting further which I'll spread in the spring with an ancient manure wagon I was given by another kind neighbour. The seed catalogues await scouring. And for now its just me and the 2 cows, their pasture covered in deep snow. One day, perhaps this old house will sound and these old fields will hum with a human community, adding to all the other living things here. I so wish for that. Perhaps the community of farmers who find comradeship on the net may help lead to that. This would help complete the circle in my personal farmprints.