June 21, 2016
What is in the VEGGIE BOX?
Red Onions, Apricots, Summer Squash, Beets, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Basil and Potatoes
What is in the FRUIT BOX? Apricots, Peaches & Plums
This Week on the Farm
From pruning grapes to picking apricots, to tying tomatoes, to setting drip tape, these are the longest days of the year. This moment, today, is the very longest day of the year of 2016. The sun has reached its farthest northern rising spot over the Sierra Nevada to the east and the farthest north setting spot in the Capay Hills to the west. Tomorrow it starts the long journey back to the south and the shortest day of the year on December 21st, until it rises somewhere down near Fresno and sets over the Altamont Pass. On Sunday, I sat in a chair and watched the high, beautiful cirrus clouds parade overhead and reflected on their visual statement. Unchanging over the millennia, I could have sat and watched the same show 200, or 2000, or 10,000 years ago. What has changed, and will continue to change is what is going on down here. In a blink, they have seen my farm come and will watch it go, have watched the hustle and bustle increase in no time, so fast it is almost like an explosion to that stately procession. And like all explosions, it will pass, leaving in its wake a momentarily changed surface, a wound that will heal to a scar and then, before there is time to notice the scar will vanish leaving the Hungry Hollow facing the future. In times each year when the work is overwhelming and there seems no way to pass through it, we use any tools at our disposal to make it through the days and weeks. An appreciation of the beauty of the eternal cloud forms and realizing the impermanence of all my striving serves to release me from the worries that cloud my nights and days. It is a tool in my survival kit.
Is it my imagination or has Good Humus gotten more complex? It is still a very small family farm, now more family than ever with both Alison and Claire here and helping, and Zach, Nicole and Nolan living nearby. But as we all know, the need for information is now pretty much insatiable, and as we fall prey to the encumbrances of a more and more tightly packed and limited culture, each new endeavor brings with it a raft of newly important considerations and requirements. Most days I feel as if I could fill the day as our mechanic, our field hand, our maintenance person, our office worker, our tractor driver, take my pick. Ali and I were talking yesterday, and I realized in that conversation that the farm that Annie and I have created has gone about as far as our physical energy can take it. It has the beautiful presence of a job of love well done, and is now waiting, balanced in the moment of transition, for that which will take it to its next destination. Knowing that it cannot remain in this form, and being aware that in its present form it offers real potentials for the future, is both saddening for the loss of a certain pioneering time and energy, and exhilarating for the visions of what may occur. So as I sit at my desk, surrounded by the mounds of paper that come with survival as a small business in these times, thankful for the process of the farm that has brought me to the point where I can share these thoughts without angst, listening and watching the farm proceed well today, I find another tool for coping with the overwhelming nature of today. There really is hope for the future. There really is a lot of good that has come about because Good Humus has been blessed to survive and prosper to today. And there really are new energies and movements, appropriate for the technologies and strictures of the times that insure that Good Humus and its community have the unified potential to bridge to a productive and worthwhile future.
We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant small farming community. They are truly rare in California, especially in the Central Valley. Through an accident of time and geography, Yolo County in general and the Capay Valley in particular have become a hotbed of agricultural community activity. In the last month, I have gone to two weddings of young farmers, and our household has received trades of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, herbal soap, feta cheese, hamburger and steaks, and rosemary foccachia in exchange for apricots and rosemary. If I am feeling unproductive on any given day, in the evening there might be a meeting of the Ag Task Force, the Farmers Guild, the new Capay Regional Grain Group, or the Western Yolo County Grange. I am neglecting to mention the Old Curmudgeons Club, which is in, and may stay in, the discussion stage of development. It may or may not meet, depending on our attitude, at the Upper Capay Valley venue of choice, the Guinda Commons. If I want to start doing animals at Good Humus, there is tremendous practical experience and advice and help of all sorts available at Full Belly Farm, at Riverdog Farm, at Pasture 42. There are multiple farms engaged in grain growing, value added products, events production, school classes, education centers, agritourism, almost you-name-it situation for the expanding list of small farms in our community. All this presents a picture of a vibrant community. Such a far cry from 30 years ago. And behind all that is the larger, growing regional community of people that have been supportive and aware of the truly human value of this form of food production. These people, their buying habits and the network they support has effects that are major impacts in the entire Sacramento-Southern Sacramento Valley-extended Bay Area-Western Sierra Nevada slopes region with reverberation far beyond. What a thing to belong to!! Yet another tool in the toolbag for the dark of the night lying awake, for the day full of crises. We will certainly see you next week. Jeff