Monday, May 23, 2011

Biodynamic preparation 101

Phew. As we near summer, we near the end of our busy season. We have been busy with Dinners in Paradise at night, harvesting during the day, Brunches in Paradise on the weekends, not to mention our bungalow guests and private events! We will have more posts soon to capture all of our activities!

But first, to touch on one of our continuing endeavors: Biodynamic Farming! And we have our expert, Janelle, to instruct and assist us on our Biodynamic path! You may be asking what is biodynamic farming? It is a method of organic farming that works to balance the relationship between the soil, plants, and animals. Instead of using pesticides and fertilizers, it emphasizes the use of manure, compost, and herbal and mineral preparations to enrich soil structure, soil life, humus, and thereby pest control. Everything is done according to an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. It takes organic farming even further.

The Biodynamic journey begins with a nine-step preparation, numbered 500 thru 508. The preparation helps stimulate the physical world to enable the etheric world (those subtle energies that science cannot explain) to complete the role of providing the appropriate balance between man and nature. We have already finished step 500, which you can see in the picture from “The New Team” blog post. You can see Janelle placing fresh manure into a cow horn. While this may sound (er, smell!) unappealing, the result is an incredibly nutrient rich soil!

The picture at the top is us hard at work on the next step: 501. We are crushing quartz into an ultra fine powder between two panes of glass; earplugs are highly recommended! This will be packed into a cow horn and buried from spring through the summer. When we unbury it in the fall, we will mix it with water and use it as a spray to stimulate and regulate growth. Although biodynamic farming is a timely process, it gains more and more positive energy with each action!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day on the farm, part 2

It was 8:00 in the morning on Mother’s Day and the day of our Mother’s Day Brunch. As with every brunch, we create fragrant, beautiful, and edible flower arrangements. So I began to collect bigger plant leaves that would serve as a base for the arrangements. I thought that our large leafed oregano, with its vibrant kelly green color, would make for an excellent base. As I roamed the patch, looking for the most pristine of leaves, this one leaflet stole my attention.

I suppose oregano does not normally grow like this? Either way, I wanted to share this beautiful discovery with you!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day on the farm

By Maria Marewski for Paradise Farms

Mother’s Day Brunch was the last event for the season at Paradise Farm Organics and its series of dinners and more recently, brunches on the farm. It seems somehow fitting that it was Mother’s Day. The end of a season, a project, an event can be bittersweet. If we look at the cycle of nature, we can see that endings are a natural part of change and growth and that endings do no signify failure, but growth.

And it is mothers who know more than anyone, that change and growth has its own rhythm of activity and quietness, of movement forward and movement backwards as challenge and integration mark the journey to change. Just before spurts of growth, many children exhibit regression to the safety of familiar younger behaviors. This retreat is a preparation for what will soon look like a leap.

At the Mother’s Day Brunch the talk at my table of ten turned to gardening, or perhaps more accurately, home farming. The mother of a young family of four was growing an edible garden to supplement the fresh, and very local, food available to her family. Her girls helped in the growing process. The grown family of three was also discovering the joys of home farming. Retired from the work-a-day world, this mature mother has been discovering not only her passion for agriculture but also a growing talent in building something which is essentially a system. Self taught, this mother has been benefitting from the other side effect of growing one’s own food, and that is growing one’s abilities and range through daily problem solving. The more you do it, the better you become, learning through meeting all kinds of new challenges, both big and small. Although there are accepted protocols and practices, farming is always specific to the piece of land on which one is farming. There is always the tweaking that comes from noticing, from giving attention to details, and it is here that the dialog between nature and humans is visible. This dialog brings us into the moment and helps us to be aware of and alive to the present moment.

Farming, like mothering, is about the daily rhythm of nurturing and care and a daily investment onto the future.

Change is afoot. Let us embrace it with the devotion, patience, intelligence, adaptability, and faith of Mother Nature herself.