A Grandparent’s Prerogative

Our granddaughter Rayne has been with us the last few days.  She really enjoys time on the farm and it’s a joy to have her here.

Of course is a Grandpa’s prerogative to post pictures of his granddaughter on his blog.  🙂

Helping harvest potatoes

Helping harvest potatoes

She especially likes playing with the animals.


One of the great things about grand-parenting is the sense of freedom to be a little more relaxed about things than a parent might be.  So when Rayne requested a supper of strawberries, mushrooms and carrots, we consented.

It seems to me that as grandparents we should be able to spoil her just a little.


Garden Patrol


Things have settled down with our Dominickers.  They have been safe from hawk attacks and they’re thriving in their new location.

Their run includes one large garden that is resting, and sown with a cover crop of buckwheat, and another that has sweet potatoes and our late summer veggies.  I hadn’t intended to let them into any garden that is actively producing, but our hand was somewhat forced by our available fence and so far it has turned out well.  We’ll probably have to change the set up once the tomatoes start to ripen, but for now the chickens doing a fine job foraging for bugs and they haven’t damaged the vegetable plants.

This morning when I went out to open the coop door there were 3 deer standing next to the fence, perhaps contemplating eating our beans.  If only I could train the Dominickers to attack deer.

Going to the Goose

We rarely leave the farm overnight.  It’s especially difficult to do in the Summer.  So when we do, there has to be a really compelling reason.

We haven’t yet figured out how we’re going to manage it, but ten days from now we’ll be going to the Wild Goose Festival for a few days of camping, music and wisdom-seeking.  This festival has rocked our world the last two years.  (See posts about that HERE HERE and HERE).  My experience there in 2011 convinced me to (finally) leave my old job.   It revived us in many ways.  We’re hoping for more inspiration and rejuvenation in 2013 as well.

This year we’ll be part of a presentation entitled “Food, Faith and the Future.”  The format is PechaKucha, which is new to me.  We’ll be talking about alternatives to the industrial food system and hoping we don’t embarrass ourselves.

I can’t recommend this event highly enough.   It’s an extraordinary gathering of soul-nourishing people.  Hope to see some of y’all there.


Silence is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation.

I like this quote.

I discovered it in Ian Cron’s book  Jesus, My Father and the CIA.  He attributed to Mother Teresa. When I tried to confirm the source this morning (after I had already published this, attributing it to Mother Teresa), I found it attributed to Thomas Keating, John B. O’Reilly, Eckhardt Tolle and Rumi as well.  Fr. Keating looks to be the most likely source, but I’m not sure.

Anybody out there know?

In any event, it seems to me to be a thought worthy of some reflection.

Being Illegal

Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio was 9 years old when his parents, travelling on tourist visas, brought him  with them from Mexico to the U.S.  They never returned to Mexico.

Jose went on to become the valedictorian of his high school and an Eagle Scout.  He attended the prestigious New College of Florida and later Florida State Law School, from which he graduated with honors.

In 2008 the Florida Bar imposed a requirement on bar applicants that they show proof of citizenship in order to take the bar exam.  In 2011 the Bar granted an exemption to Jose and he passed the exam on his first try.

But after Jose had passed the exam and satisfied all the moral fitness requirements the Bar asked the Florida Supreme Court, in December 2011, whether it could lawfully admit an undocumented immigrant (aka an “illegal” immigrant).  The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case, arguing that federal law prohibits states from issuing bar licenses to “unlawfully present aliens.”  At least 3 former presidents of the Florida Bar have publicly opposed the position being taken by the DOJ.  In April the Florida Supreme Court declined to give any advisory opinion on the matter.  As of now Jose, who was truthful about his status in all of his applications, is still not admitted and perhaps never will be.

My wife’s niece lives in Texas.  A few years ago she married a Mexican-American man.  After they were married he applied for insurance, using the social security number his parents had told him many years ago was his.  Unbeknownst to him, he had actually been brought to America by them as an infant and the SSN was bogus.  His parents had never told him.

He was arrested and deported–dropped over the border into a country he had never visited. Fortunately he was able to connect with relatives in Mexico City, so he had a place to live.  My wife’s niece was able to travel to Mexico City from time to time to see her husband, who had lived almost his entire life in the U.S., and who went to and graduated from American schools.  His crime was that as an infant his parents brought him into the U.S. without permission or the proper paperwork.  Very recently he was allowed to return to the U.S. to be with his wife.  I’m not sure what his current status is or whether he’ll be allowed to stay.

Deportations have doubled under the Obama administration, to about 400,000 per year.

There is a story behind every deportation and every privilege denied.  Perhaps in many cases justice is being served.

But “justice” is not the word I would apply to situations like those I’ve described.

In those cases and those like them, something is broken.


With so much going wrong in the gardens this crazy spring and summer, the sweet corn gave us no trouble at all.  I’d always believed that unless corn seed was treated with fungicide it would germinate poorly if planted in the spring.  But this year we decided to make the switch to untreated organic seed.  It was one of the few things we planted on time this year.  And even though it was an exceptionally rainy and cold spring (which creates a high risk that untreated seed will rot and not germinate), we had a germination rate of well over 90%.  Unlike last year, we lost none of our planting to crows.  Many of the young stalks were knocked down by a spring storm, but they righted themselves the next day.  The entire stand grew tall and proud.

As I saw crop after crop fail, I could look at the corn with relief, knowing we’d have plenty of it soon for our members and ourselves.

Then the wildlife attacked.

Last week, just days before the corn was ready for harvesting, we noticed that raccoons (presumably) had been tearing down stalks and eating the maturing ears.


So we put up an electrified fence and I set a live trap in the field.

But the damage only got worse.  Every night more and more was being destroyed.  All I caught in the trap was a possum, who was innocent of this offense.


We applied liquid fence and I set a steel foot trap.  Neither worked.  By yesterday half the corn had been destroyed.



A friend suggested the culprit might be a groundhog, rather than a raccoon.  Knowing a groundhog lives in the area of the garden and never having had any success getting him to go into the trap, I staked out the area.  Eventually he appeared.  Rather than being patient to let him get closer, I took a shot that I thought was easy enough, with the usual result (I missed).  Yesterday I tried again.  This time I chose to wait until the groundhog came closer, so I’d have an easier shot.  He never did.

So far this season we’ve managed to harvest 2 ears out of over 1400 row feet of corn.

It’s just been one of those years.

Around the Farm

With August right around the corner, the purple hull peas are finally planted and starting to emerge.  File under better late than never.


Our pigs continue to grow.  

They like cooling off in their water trough.



They also like getting their heads and necks scratched.



And they like rubbing against the gate.  It’s holding up fine for now, but when these girls weigh over 250 pounds each, I’m concerned they’ll tear it down.  So I ran a hot wire to electrify it.  Hopefully that will stop the gate-rubbing.


I took a break from tending a garden to admire some butterflies.  They love these flowers.



We’ve had to get creative in our efforts to save our gardens from the deer this year.  This is one of Cherie’s more elegant deterrents.


Finally, meet Rhiannon’s new kid.  I never get tired of seeing new kids on the farm.