Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall (Winter) At The Farm

October 20, 2009: Hello, David Rauch blogging here, farm-sitter for the farm while Laurie is away.

So, we've still got summer's last tomatoes cluttering our tables, summer's last corn drying in the chicken coop, and just the beginning of fall's pumpkin seeds roasting up at our friend's house up the hill.

The farm is still very alive. Though, truly, the season has reduced the field to withered crops and given our rooster, Spot, steamy breath when he crows, the soil is still alive.

Laurie and I are already in the works to put a cover crop over the field to guard it from the long winter and prepare it for the coming spring, whatever it may bring. The acre isn't sitting idle, no, we're giving it alot of thought, using a lot of imagination, wrapping up a mile of irrigation, and we at the farm are excited to see what the winter brings.

Thanks for everyone checking out the post. Again, the weather may be inhospitable, but Locavore Farms is still active. Check back for more winter updates,

Warmly, from your farm winter-watcher,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Growing with Love

Philip and Amanda showing Natalie the ropes

When WWOOFer Natalie (secret radio name: Awesome Turtle) came to the farm, she had just a few hours to learn so much about it before she took care of it single-handedly for four days. For a couple of weeks after that, she was the only WWOOFer in a place that is usually teeming with many people. Throughout, she was cheerful and positive. It was a joy to have her! Here are her thoughts about her time at the farm after being away for a while. Oh Natalie, it was a magical time with you!

Natalie rocking the Lakeview Farmer's Market

It’s been about two weeks since my departure from Locavore Farms and I can only look back on my time there with blissful memories and jealousy towards the WWOOFers who remain. Henrike, Eliv├ín, Micaela and Noah - you lucky, lucky dogs. Our life at LoveJoyPeace was how it ought to be; waking up at dawn, hitting the sun’s snooze alarm until it blindingly beats through the mesh of the tent roof at 6am, working hard until the sizzle of the dirt burns the skin of our legs, dining on the unbelievable deliciousness provided by the combination of Laurie Wayne’s culinary genius and the miracle of what the farm can produce. Once the clothed dip in the creek was introduced to us the heat of the Surprise Valley afternoon was no longer a menace but instead a solar dryer. Our evenings filled with zucchini creations, hot spring visits, music and the company of fantastic neighbors rounded out eventful and fulfilling farm days. Surprise Valley’s name doesn’t disappoint. Not only was I surprised by the place’s physical beauty but the beauty of every person, plant and animal I met. People aged 0-90 with their fantastically designed gardens and incredible knowledge never ceased to amaze. And I am a much better person for having known the Peopletons and the Chickens Wayne, hugging their soft feathers, using the air-lock method for chicken retrieval and receiving nourishment from their adorably teeny tiny eggs. Coming back to New Jersey, the traffic, the chain stores, the plastic and Styrofoam wrapped zucchini, the parking lot farmer’s markets with boxes marked “California” (not kidding)…it’s all pretty shocking to the system. As I readjust myself to college time, staying up until 4am, sleeping until the late morning, I laugh when I realize I’m sleeping through what on the farm is the most productive part of the day. Thank you Laurie Wayne for opening up your home and land to us and sharing you luckiness with us. We are so lucky to know you and LoveJoyPeace! And thank you Fort Bidwell for opening up your beautiful corner of paradise to us WWOOFers.

Coyote, Killa, Chico, Awesome Turtle, Ladybug, and Li Tong

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harvest and Preparations

We're not sure how it happened, but the wheel of the year has turned again, and life on the farm is about harvesting, watering, and creating the foundation of future years at the farm. The sun is rising later and setting earlier each day, and we've started to have cool evenings and a few cool days. We've got several weeks of harvest left, and we are delighted that every day we are able to welcome old friends and new guests into the U-Pick. The chickens are laying three or four eggs a day now, but the delight with which each egg is discovered has not diminished since that first small brown miracle was found on July 27. Tender Chicken has declared her independence from the current chicken enclosure and is usually found wandering near the house and supervising the construction of the greenhouse/chickenhouse.

We're at Farmer's Markets every Saturday, alternating between Lakeview and Cedarville, and preparing for the fair parade this weekend. Our wonderful WWOOFer crew now consists of Noah and Micaela, Elivan, and Henrike, and they are guardians over our bounty of beans, broccoli, cabbage, onions, beets, celery, peppers, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, corn, melons, lettuce, mustard greens, herbs, and more. This is an enchanted piece of land that inspires and and invites a close relationship with life in its many manifestations. Also, we eat really well, every single day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lovin' the Rancho life (a post from guest writer WWOOFer Ladybug)

With the U-Pick garden up and running we have had many daily visits from supporting neighbors and friends gathering up big baskets of our fresh and tasty goodness grown with love. The garden resembles a rainbow of mouth watering delight with tons of bright leafy green lettuce, zukes and cukes bulging deep purple eggplant and onions, bright blue broccoli, and soon to be juicy red tomatoes! Now that the the garden is flourishing we will be hauling the goods to the Saturday Farmers Market, alternating between Lakeview (where we'll be this Saturday) and Cedarville each week. Meet us there to peruse the produce and chat about our Organic methods.

Sue, Natalie, and Micaela goofing around at last week's Farmer's Market in Cedarville.

This week has also been filled with "hello's" and "fare thee Wells" as Locavore Farm has received 4 new WWOOFers, just a few days shy of sending off our good friend Phoenix and his amazing mutt Abbey to venture onward. The new arrivals consist of Noah & Micaela visiting us from the East coast, as well as Joey & Libby coming up from the Bay Area to help out with the daily grind of weeding, planting, committing aphid homicide and dreaming up many exciting projects for the farm. As of today the new Chook house is drawn up and being pieced together, while a railing for the stairwell down to the U-Pick garden is also being constructed.

WWOOFers doing their thing in the field.

Noah and Phoenix

We are all enjoying the pattern of farm life here at Rancho Love Joy Peace. How refreshing to rise with the sun to the song of the babbling creek as it rambles by WWOOFer's Hollow, arriving at the Hornet's Nest to a hearty breakfast, then on to some good solid energy exertion in the mid morning heat (how good it is to break a sweat!), before breaking for a feast of delicious home grown goodness and a rejuvenating nap. Lazy afternoons of cooling off in the creek, strumming guitars and just enjoying the wonderful company of such dynamic and interesting personalities.
Winding down at dusk to the crickets singing their lullaby to the sleepy sun as she dips her head behind the sage brush covered terrain, watching as the stars wink their shining faces overhead. We love to walk across the dirt path to the hot springs by starlight and bathe in the soothing heat, washing away the dust of the day and letting our weary limbs soak in the mystical healing waters while gazing at the heavens and exchanging thoughts and dreams with people who were strangers only days ago but now seem like soul mates. How lucky we all are, how blessed to have such a place in existence, and such good people drawn to the powerful energy of such special land!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's Pick!

Even though the U-Pick is not yet officially open, we've had a few visitors, and yesterday we actually had our first U-Pick sale - our new WWOOFer Natalie showed our neighbor Lili where the zucchini squash, cabbage, and onions were, and the long drive to Cedarville for dinner produce was avoided. We can hardly wait till more of our neighbors are coming to visit us when the U-Pick is officially open!

Natalie and Lili with the very first U-Pick bounty.

We said goodbye last week to our wonderful longer-term WWOOFers Amanda and Philip, who saw the field go from dirt and weeds to harvested and growing abundance. They helped to create this year's farm, laying irrigation, suffering with the pump and the no-see-ums, and helping to make spring at Locavore Farms a wonderful season. Thank you and safe travels to you!

Philip surveying the landscape from Bidwell Mountain

Goodbye, Philip and Amanda! Thank you for being part of our life at the farm!

Now the beans that Philip, Amanda, Kaitlin, and Rose planted are flowering and will soon be full of deliciousness, the cabbage and cauliflower are nearly ready to pick, the potatoes are producing babies, we have squash and chard to harvest every single day - and weeds for Natalie and Laurie to attack and vanquish! The thermometer is in the 80's every afternoon, and the afternoon breezes stir the stillness that takes over a world of animals hiding from the heat. These are precious days, like all days, and we're rooting for the melons and tomatoes to take advantage and do their things. Come on melons and beans! Come on onions, broccoli, and eggplant! Come on U-Pickers! It's summer again!

One of the many kinds of beans we have coming up at the farm!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Starting to See Delicious Results

Amanda with some beautiful radishes

The summer weather pattern has finally set in - warm, sunny days with breezy afternoons (and sometimes the promise of a little thunder shower), early bright mornings and balmy evenings. The plants are loving it and we're starting to see the miracles happen every day right before our eyes.

Philip found the first baby squash.

This is a precious time in our very short growing season, and we're grateful to have the help of our wonderful volunteer WWOOFers. We were so lucky to have Claire and Chris visit us for 3 weeks while they were on holiday from their home in the UK - they were simply a joy. We wish them the very best and will make good on our promise to send them some of the produce they made possible by spending so many hours in the dirt weeding. Thank you, Claire and Chris, for your unending positivity and energy! You catapulted many projects forward in your short time at the farm! Plus, chocolate beetroot cake!

The Hugelkultur is planted and hosting squash, cucumbers, and many tomatoes that would otherwise have been doomed to the compost pile, along with volunteer squash and potatoes. The chickens will be laying before long, and they are enjoying their time in the chicken corral and Chez Poulet, the temporary predator-proof hutch, but it's almost time to build them a proper house. Lots to do as always. Today's activities are pretty typical, really, of a Modoc summer: up early to harvest, then to the Farmers' Market, a quick stop at the 4th of July parade in Lake City (and we snuck into the end of the parade, even though we didn't have the official parade Farm Truck), then home again for naps, a dip in the creek, and a quiet, lazy afternoon. Soon it will be cool enough to hit the weeds in the onion beds and to start the irrigation going. After a bit more work on the farm, it will be dinner made with love from local ingredients and maybe a stroll up the hill to look for fireworks, then to bed for an early start again tomorrow, filled with more friends, adventures, and lessons from nature.

We don't really need to say it, but we're really lucky to be here on the farm.

Friday, June 26, 2009

(Nearly) the end of another fruitful week and today is our first day out of the field. A new generation of no see'ems has hatched, making outside work unappealing and frustration-filled. But our time isn't wasted. Instead we're working at making the 'living areas' a bit more liveable. The Hornets Nest will soon have a new, varnished wood floor to replace the cardboard we walked on and Wwoofer Hollow is pruned, trimmed and tidied ready for a new influx of wwoofers in a week or so. The sun came out this week after a Summer solstice deluge last Saturday night/Sunday morning. An inch of rain plus hailstones and high winds eventually gave way to clear skies and sunshine on Sunday evening.....oh, and a frost. 8.30pm on Sunday evening (the first day of summer!) found us unravelling lengths of row cover over the tomatoes, peppers, squash and whatever else was deemed too frail to survive the plummeting temperatures. And it was lucky we did as 5am on Monday morning saw a low of 30 degrees. brrrr.
But thereafter, it's been nothing but hot sunshine and blue skies and the field has flourished as a result. The beans have started to seek out their beanpoles, tiny melons have appeared, cabbages and cauliflowers have shot up and even a flower or two has poked its head above the ground in the spiral. We planted more herbs, corn, tomatoes, bok choi and of course the Hugelkultur. The Hugelkultur used to be two empty trenches filled with a bit of raggedy compost and is now two (admittedly wonky) mounds of earth underneath which is a carefully planned network of sticks, sage brush, plant matter and dirt. On top of the mounds are trenches in which we've planted long lines of tomatoes and squash, all doing their best to survive. Fingers crossed. Thank you Elsie for your help and Garrett for your tractor - without it we'd still be shovelling now.
What else.....we finished the Lake City Pumpkin patch and the chickens Wayne and peeps have settled into their new lodgings across the road. Locavore Farms and its inhabitants continue to thrive.