September Farmer Updates from Rock Bottom Ranch
October 3, 2022
September 7, 2022
September marks the beginning of a transition here at the farm. We continue to work as though it is July and August, but frost is looming in the near future. We hope for the warm days to continue as long as possible, while also longing for the reprieve a frost brings.
The vegetable crew has had a few beautiful, difficult, and immensely busy weeks. We have been short one person for two weeks now and we are feeling the workload deeply. What has been exhausting has also been a wakeup call, that we can lean on the rest of our RBR crew here. The livestock crew has shown up and spent nearly full days harvesting. Mariah, Kitty, Alyssa, and Johanna have also shown up to assist in big pushes in the field. We even had help from other folks in the organization, which helped the vegetable crew get all we needed to accomplish this week done!
Seeing all of our crew and others in the organization show up when we need help has brought an immense amount of gratitude to the vegetable team. I wanted to make a point of showing appreciation for everyone because we cannot do it alone. It takes a community to care for the land, grow food, care for ourselves and others. Thank you for supporting us and I hope you all continue to enjoy your CSA boxes. It is always a joy to grow and build the boxes for you all.
— Ariel Rittenhouse, Vegetable Lead
September 14, 2022
The edges of the hills are slightly blurred beyond the fields, the smoky haze obscuring the clear lines that never really existed in the first place. Maybe the smoke is a nuisance that scratches at the throat, or maybe it’s a blessing that invokes a beautiful canvas to paint the dusk and dawn with cashmere rose and duff orange. The full moon took center stage last night after the dusk opener. It slowly rises over those blurred edges and creates a crisp light that reflects off the settling cool droplets on every blade of grass. The sheep are quiet, recognizing that the full Pisces moon has the attention of all night wanderlings.
It’s been a full season since I wrote about a similar full moon preceding the summer solstice. Now I rinse, repeat for this burgeoning fall equinox. These moons and liminal spaces at dusk and dawn always transfix me. As every human is drawn to that earthly magic. In my second season farming, these full moons and seasonal changes have a different intensity to them. They are reflections of our daily workings of the land and reminders of beginnings and ends.
As the first frost threatens, I can’t help but welcome the coming death, decay, and breakdown. Life or death, it all just is. Beingness. Let us all feel this sense of beingness in our breath and bones. Come back into our bodies and selves after the manic energy of summer. Enjoy our last tastes of tomatoes and sniffs of marigolds. Soon to walk a little more slowly, to breath the crisp morning air a little more deeply, and settle into ourselves a little more gracefully.
— Jess Burroughs, Vegetable Apprentice
September 21, 2022
The pink belly of a Lewis’s woodpecker flashes over me as I breathe in and out, in and out. My breath warms the frigid air condensing into dense, cloud-like reminders of my existence. I am not the only one who breathes here. On this morning, after the first frost of the fall, the world pulses with both stillness and life.
The Lewis’s dips and swoops above me, finally alighting on the deer fence to chatter and churr.
The icy frost drips down from the aptly placed cloth protecting rows and rows of vegetables. The grass glistens with icy sparkles and the cows crunch even more loudly than usual with every bite. To me, it is the most beautiful sound in the world.
Stillness and life. A quiet blanket of cold enhancing the sounds, the visions, the existences around me. The first frost is a time of beginning and endings. Some of the vegetables are even now wilting, fading back into the soil. The amount of eggs the chickens lay decreases by the day, making me infinitely more grateful for each and every one. The sheep grow back puffy wool coats and on these chilly mornings even the cattle move slowly, meandering from one paddock to the next.
The new life emerges subtly. An unexpected peafowl chick scurrying through the stall barn. The green, lacy carrot seedlings emerging from the earth. The triumphant faces of our veg team after seeding all of the winter kale and spinach. Our cria galloping through his first frost, relishing every hoof fall on the crackling ground. Stillness and life envelop me, each shivering morning a reminder to savor it.
— Mary Kate Wilcox, Livestock Apprentice
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