September 2013


 

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Here’s Our October Newsletter
Food! Music! Stars! at Turtle Rock Farm Retreat

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Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.

—Rumi

 

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The cooler, cloud-laden blue sky,
the clearer and crisper and softer
light,
the longer shadows,
capture
my attention
and awe
in autumn.
Yet,
silently,
seen and unseen,
smaller faces move into view—
faces missing
for months—
suddenly, instantly,
thrilling
too.

She stretched her web
between the branches
of two giant Russian Sages
next to the fish pond
at the corner of the porch.
And as I stepped carefully
between flowering branches
I saw her,
shining in the morning sun,
her web aglow too.
A small moth
was trapped in the web
and in an instant
spider wrapped it in a bundle of silk,
to save for a later meal.
I love this neighborhood.

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DSCN1444We set out
to grow rabbits
and harvest their droppings
to give to the Red Wiggler worms
that create nutritious soil
out of paper, alpaca manure,
kitchen scraps—they especially
like rabbit manure.
But then,
we didn’t like
keeping the rabbits
in small hutches,
so we let them out
into a larger area,
inside the barn.
Eventually,
they tunneled their way out of the pen
and into the barn
where guineas and chickens
roost at night
and hang out in the heat of the day.
Now, guineas, rabbits, chickens
all live together—
though only the four rabbits have access
to their system of burrows.
But only the chickens and guineas
get to go outside.
Chickens eat rabbit food
and rabbits eat chickens’ corn.
Everyone eats the fresh greens we bring.
They share water bowls.
And all the manure
is mixed together.

What has emerged
is not what we intended,
and beyond our control.
We can only
keep our eye out for everyone,
keep them as safe as possible.
Within the limits
we try to manage
(rabbits can’t get out of the barn;
they rely on us for food, water;
we shepherd in the guineas
and shut the barn doors at night
to keep out predators)
these three species
have created a way to live together.
Interesting—
promising—
to see what we all create
together.

May we always
remember
the comfort—
for all living ones
here on the prairie—
and the beautiful lush growth
due to rare, regular rains
and temperate temperatures
the summer of 2013.
And now may we breathe gently
into the first
glorious, gold-on-green days
of autumn.

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Harvest of any kind
is exciting.
A year of nurture
culminates
as the health of the crop
is finally discovered,
celebrated.
Last Saturday
was honey harvest
here at Turtle Rock Farm.
Ann and Frank,
the beekeepers in our family,
donned the garb,
lit the smoking cedar,
took out necessary tools
and equipment
and opened the hives.
Thanks to regular summer rains
there has been plenty for the bees
to pollinate and gather
and we suspected a good honey crop.
It was.
Ann and Frank took frames
from each of the nine hives—
except for one,
where they discovered wax moths
had taken over the hive—
and left enough honey
for the bees this winter.
After carrying in the honey-laden frames
(and a few bees!)
we uncapped them with a heated knife
and spun the honey from the comb,
using a hand-operated extractor.
Thick, golden honey
then dripped slowly through three fine filters
and we bottled it all into clear glass jars
and labeled them:
“Happy Bees Honey
from Turtle Rock Farm.”
111 pounds!
The best honey in the world.
(Really! We did a taste test.)
Thank you rain,
flowers,
bees!

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