CSA Newsletter 10/3/18- Wild New Friends to the Farm
One of the things I love best about farming is that there are always surprises. Even after farming for 20 plus years, and farming this land for 10 plus years, I learn new things daily, making new discoveries and connections, and sometimes completely shifting my understanding. This happens in big ways, sometimes, but mostly it happens in small ways, on a micro-scale. It is like a treasure hunt that keeps me looking and interested- what will I find next?
This summer, a sweet little surprise was a new wildflower living quite happily at the southwest corner of the farm. To those who are accustomed to traipsing new territory all of the time, it is not really a big deal to discover a new plant- perhaps you haven’t yet been there during that time of year, or weren’t paying attention, etc. But I literally walk, tractor, and drive every square inch of the farm on at least a weekly basis, day by week by year in all seasons. I was floored to find this thriving patch of electric yellow cheerfulness in such abundance. This new plant friend turned out to be Toadflax (Linaria), which is desired by herbalists and of course, as is common with many plants, thought of as a weed by others. I am just tickled by its sudden presence and reminder that there is always newness to be discovered.
The wild world is always overlapping with the cultivated farm world in so many ways. All of us on the farm seem particularly drawn to the birds who grace our skies. With so much focus on earth all of the time, sometimes all that is needed to shift the perspective of a hard day is to look skyward and see a soaring turkey buzzard or eagle or purposeful heron.
Just this summer, a red-tailed hawk moved into the tall Douglas firs bordering the northwest corner of the farm. Assuming that she built a nest, she spent her days guarding it mightily. The relentless piercing cry defines the soundtrack to my 2018 summer. In comparison, the past summers seem so quiet.
Another new presence on the farm was a pair of ravens who took to staking out another tall group of Douglas firs and Cedars in the southeast corner of the farm. This pair kept a watchful eye on all farm activities, especially enjoying some early strawberries, as well doubtless other benefits to be gleaned. While I have seen raven visitors before, it was new to have their company day in and day out for the summer.
It is these wild residents, be they plants or birds, as they move in and through the boundaries of the farm with little regard to fence lines or ownership, who add so much depth to my farming days. They keep me eager to look around, with openness and awareness at my surroundings. It is such a blessing to get to work outdoors in one place for so much time, to get to know not only the land, but the life that moves through it, noting changes and newness in each moment. It provides deep inspiration to continue looking- what will I see next?