Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!
 

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email: raonine@gmail.com

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,
Erin


PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.

 

Prairie grass, Perseverance, Pumpkin Flower Vessels: relief, grief, and gratitude at first frost and last delivery

We had our first frost at the farm last Friday and myself (and I think farmers around Wisconsin) exhaled a collective sigh of both relief, grief, and gratitude. Relief that events at the farm will downshift to a more humane pace, grief for the passing of the squash that couldn't ripen, the dahlia blossoms that were cut short, descending into winter's decay, and gratitude for all the fullness, color, and bounty that this small corner of the world could produce such bounty!

I tried to capture all these thoughts and emotions in the last Flower CSA bouquet of the season and hope the pumpkin vase vessel will support the fall colors.

 There's a pumpkin in your vase. A mix of fall flowers perfect for drying and a pumpkin perfect for carving. Enjoy experimenting! Photo by Erin Schneider

There's a pumpkin in your vase. A mix of fall flowers perfect for drying and a pumpkin perfect for carving. Enjoy experimenting! Photo by Erin Schneider

A South Central Wisconsin seasonal bouquet would not be complete without integrating native prairie grasses.

They are the most forgiving stems in a bouquet, outlasting even the hardiest of strawflower and gomphrena (both of which are also in this weeks bouquet). Native grasses are also the most fiery. I love watching the colors change change from green to gold to purple red in our prairies, reflecting their need for fire every few years to regenerate seeds and keep their populations sustained.

I am reminded that grasses on the landscape are key to accomplishing the goals we seek to steward on our farm –producing food, offering habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects, inviting beauty and balance along the edges and hedges of our farm fields and woodlands, increasing water holding capacity, and celebrating the seasons. Native grasses such as bluestems, bromes, and ryes in partnership with grazing animals, do all of these tasks and all the while sequester carbon and build soil.

While grasses have been overlooked in traditional Victorian flower language – for me prairies grasses symbolize perseverance, hardiness, and regeneration.

 Morning fog over our prairie. Photo by Erin Schneider

Morning fog over our prairie. Photo by Erin Schneider

I hope this weeks and all of your bouquets this season have offered some semblance of regeneration and calm in mind and spirit, perseverance in the form of a long-lasting vase life, and beauty to your day. Enjoy your flowers and have a wonderful 'dormancy' season. I look forward to staying connected and growing for you again in the seasons ahead.

I've added an extra dose of flowers (native grasses included) that work well for drying so you can enjoy blooms into the winter months. Specifically, in this week's bouquet, native prairie grasses, strawflower, gomphrena, statice, sedum, and broom corn.

The following are some tips for experimenting with flower and herb drying:

(for more ideas, visit our flower tips website page)

 Strawflower and stattice are perfect for drying and weaving into garlic, holiday wreaths, other crafting fun. Photo by Erin Schneider

Strawflower and stattice are perfect for drying and weaving into garlic, holiday wreaths, other crafting fun. Photo by Erin Schneider

  • Pick flowers and herbs at the peak of perfection (generally the same time you would pick for fresh use, which is late morning, after the dew has dried but before they are subjected to the heat of the day).

  • Bunch flowers and herbs with rubber bands and attach to string and hang upside down from a clothes hanger in a warm, dark place with good air circulation.

  • Incorporate into bouquets, spice racks, in the bath, or under your pillow to beat the winter blues.