Tuesday, April 15, 2014

When I made the decision not to go to the Intervale and farm this year I admit I was hoping for a 12 or 13 foot flood right about now.  That would have left about half or more of my land under water - which isn't good news on April 15th.  Everyone in Vermont is getting a late start, AND I know there is a lot of clay soil and that's going to take some time to dry.  I would not be able to work the field for approx 2 weeks, assuming decent weather, not even able to drive in for about that much time or longer which would have meant many extra hours carrying trays 1/4 mile and shoes that fall apart.  So, that could have happened and I would feel like, "there, i made the right decision."  Had it not happened I would have still been ok with the decision and am happy about it for various reasons i won't go into now.  But that isn't what's going on, this is what's going on

This is what is going on.  A flood of this magnitude is likely to hit all or some of the fields of my friends and collegues still in the Intervale and that sucks.  The water will be gone quick and not as heavy or as long as it will be on the soil i was using, but still not pretty.  No one probably had anything in, so in that way it's far from the worst, and given last years flood, which was much later, and reports from Digger's and Half Pint that they still ended up with pretty good seasons due to a nice fall, maybe it is not a big deal.  But that still sweeps under the rug one issue which nags me: the FDA regs would say not to plant anything in that land maybe for as much as 120 days, maybe 30.  Those are big numbers in a Vermont season, no matter which it is or if it falls inbetween.

It strikes me as a bit hypocritical not to vocally say, "The FDA doesn't know what it is doing w/r/t food safety & these floods. Their pre-occupation with it is way out of purpotion to their lack of pre-occupation with prescription drugs, alchohol, you name the hundred issues they stick their head in the sand for."

Instead I think the intervale center and NOFA as well have their hands tied behind their backs, and may end up sacrificing these farmers as well, maybe for some logic like, "as long as we get most of what we want for organic ag . . " more and more it doesn't seem like they are getting that either (see regs coming down the pike).  They are basically NGOs as we in peace corp would say.  They may not be the gov, but they aren't in much of a position to do anything but nod to whatever they say.  Grants and business certifying land ain't nothing.

Yes, this qualifies as one of my favorite rants, and it's just something I know about from my work farming, but it might be viewed as symptomatic of a larger problem (prbably in the ecosystem of the internet as well).

WEll, good luck to all vermont farmers this year, and may the rest of the year be uneventful (at least weather events) and productive and may I eat your bounty tout de sweet.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Minor Literature

This is a little bit in response to those feacebook lists about what books you like.  I like facebook and all, i really truly do (not just saying that to keep the stazi from coming to get me), but there are only so many times i want to broadcast in hope of likes even from my friends, - anywho

I was looking for the old solid red cover of this book, for an image of it, but none are preserved.  The good news for all of you is that you can just get a pdf of this whole book apparently online, so that's sweet.  I mean for FREE.

But what was I going to say about it.  It really came to mind cause I was thinking of the various kinds of writing that Rachel teaches, comp for beginners, poetry, and then I have a few other friends teaching various college classes which require your standard essay and what-not, beside which we are all writing for our blogs our facebooks and ourselves.  One thing all of the more academic settings seem to stress is to know your audience, i guess now that i think about it, its funny that those settings seem to cause a certain ammount of amnesia in which grammar lessons might seem like a scapel to simply remove more memory/knowledge.

but i was talking about the book toward a minor literature which makes my top ten list of books that even tho i don't remember much of continues to influence me cause for one it is a way of grounding where you are writing from in a very specific writing way, which is good if writing is what you are doing.  from there i do think it cross applies.  minor literatures in rock and roll are numerous.  I guess now is a good as time as any to clarify what I mean.  or what i think deleuze meanth, which is, you have your major literature, which you read as the canon, and the which you read as phrase might too be important, even shakespeare might be read as a minor lit.

i'm beginning to get the sense i'm in over my head and either need to reread the book or have one of my more up on it friends step in.

but until i do let me finish the point with aspiring poetry and comp writers. i think it makes it clearer.  what makes so much of that work so painful is it is trying to be written as major lit, and its not that they will work themselves up to the major leagues tho that may be possible too, it's just that where they, maybe most of us, are positioned is not as part of the major cultrue, but part of the minor, or even sub-culture (again, someone, explain the dif to me).  people are trying to write their movie reviews as movie reviewers and they lose any particularity in their language.

i'll stop for now until i figure out what im talking about but book, youre still on my top ten.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

This is starting to be the season when people are going to check old links and search for names and come looking right here for a CSA, which we won't be running this year.  That, plus the fact that some time has passed, seemed to make it the appropriate moment to reflect (for me at least) on the decision to not have Open Heart Farm this year.

I've got mixed emotions about it:

1) (and it's number one for a reason) The land I was on in the Intervale was marginal, and the option to move the whole thing to truly unmarginal land wasn't really there.  A few Side points here: the soil quality down there is excellent. b) as little as five to six hundred yards away as the crow flies are farms that have significantly different circumstances.  I can understand why they would stay.  Maybe they only lost 25% or less during the actual flooding of what was there at that time.  you replant as quick as you can, bet on a long fall and you maybe have done just fine.  Besides which people on bad soil probably lost 25% of their stuff just to rot in that clay soil, whereas had we dodged the flood we would have been slow, but lost nothing.

brings us to

2) I didn't want to move to a space where I would be choosing seeds (today probably had I been doing it) and I could have no excitement, just worry.  I know there is always chances and always weather, but being so close to that river's edge is avoidable, everyone else who is staying in the intervale is further.  All they really need is 4 inches less rain in May and then again in June and they are probably golden.  Even if that happens my fields still would have had loss and thats the difference.

3) so that's where i am now on that. working at a job i still don't think it's too wise to name online cause there must be things ive signed that said i won't, kinda looking for land where one and two don't have to occupy as much space in my brain as the joy of farming would normally.

now that I do have that job for which i am actually quite grateful i don't have quite the time to ruminate via typing on pet sounds box set that i want but we can always say maybe that is for the best . . .

Friday, December 13, 2013

Farmers & Artists

It seems Meyers-Briggs is in the air.  Seven days did an article just days after I posted specifically about Farmers and Meyers-Briggs.  I stand by my post re Myers-Briggs Directly preceding this, but wanted to add a few thoughts after having seen this article. 

I don't think it's any accident that this is focusing on farmers, or that the term psycho-analyzing was used.  The brain/mind/soul of the farmer is the great unknown continent in the same way that artists used to be before post-modernism.  The fruits of that era (yes, pun entirely intended) was that we all knew the psyches of artists.  "He's a Jackson Pollock / Crafter sort of thing."  It is all eminently categorizable.  It is almost as if the corollary of not knowing the authorial intention made it easier to box the psyche of the artist/product thereof.

NOW, flash forward, a product that we do not understand at all how it is produced (time to mention sub-corollary of pomo: we are all artists): FOOD, specifically the stuff that comes from the Earth.  The Dark Mysterious farmer is upon us.  Rock Star Farmers soon to follow (hopefully they won't have to die first to be famous like artsits). Time for me to get back in the game.

Thursday, December 05, 2013


So, as I've been going through my job change i was talking with someone whom i respect who reccommended taking the myers-briggs.  He knew a bit about me and figured that i wouldn't like being classified and he was right.  Still, at that time (a few weeks ago, before I had a job, and was hence nervous, and hence perhaps a bit more suseptible, a bit more wanting of reassurance (of what, more later)) I thought about taking it, and had I been figured out how to do it online might have.  But I couldn't and so it sort of faded out of my consciousness.

Then, yesterday, another friend I respect listed on facebook that they were working with myers-briggs, and I know that they have done so many times before and love the results they get from it (not love the group they are in, but love the help knowing the relationality of themselves to others).

As I was taking my walk today it occurred to me (and this is the deep thought I've been working towards all this time) that myers-briggs is much like the kind of question we (everyone, right?) encounter continually on facebook: Which character on M*A*S*H* are you? etc. etc.  I would posit the way in which meyers-briggs brackets personality types is the same way it brackets a world (or set).  I.e., basically as limitted. 

So, you pre-limit the world and then this test makes sense.  As long as everyone has to be someone from M*A*S*H*, then everyone will be someone from M*A*S*H*.  Even MB purist allow for change over time.  You can have been a Klinger in your youth but a Burns in your adulthood (tho I have to admit exploring thisas even making sense might be confusing), but you can't be someone walking off Mork and Mindy into this thing.  There will always be someone from Mork and Mindy walking into this thing in my opinion.  The list of personalities even if you do want to use one (and they do have a funcionality you can argue for (argument?)) is historical and changing I would think, there being an unknown future and all.

But this kind of fitting yourself into a world is obviously popular, and probably makes sense that it's more necessary as we expand into new territories or whatever you call cyberspace.  In fact, if nothing else it's staking out that territory.  I guess the reason I've been reluctant is just that, I'm not that interested in staking territory MB has to offer, now on the other hand, I'm totally Hawkeye.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

magazine poems

thee days, why wait for your poem to be accepted or not to a magazine, publish it yourself in their name (if it is for they it is written).  So for the mag Armed Cell (http://armedcell.blogspot.com/) (online and print)

we were hungering for media my own mother everything comes out there wasn't much to say today

in the more ever-changing calms

communicative scope

we don't often
but a hurt for same
the bloody insurrection
that                                        and that music wasn't an outlier, but what the other functions of government

and so

that unicorns exist

you do know

so then we felt less bad about inventing it

Friday, November 22, 2013

Timon of Athens/Depeche Mode/This Blog

In case you haven't notices the focus of this blog is changing, as the farm in the Intervale winds down.  I am checking out other farm locations and other farm related jobs/stuff all the time but I am also working another job and suspect that it will take another year to have a family farm again.  When it does get born it might not be called Open Heart Farm, it might be Lost Places Farm, but might be something else.  Which leaves, For now, Open Heart Farm a farm of the mind, and this blog will mostly function as a record of that.  Which is to say as a blog did in the early days of blogging.  As thoughts - diarylike or not, interests, basically anything, the soil, what grows out from it, the fruits (poetry? (suppose that depends on which part of the lifecycle you are in, cause poetry could just as easiliy been the compost?)) etc.

As for poems that appear here: the formatting may be off that may be fixable by how wide your window goes.  I kinda like this medium, the blog, for whatever is going on with my writing now and how that intercects my desires with audience.  I'm still into writing for myself and strangers, and the thing about facebook is it wasn't strangers.  I would fall into the trap of trying to impress actual people,  Not sure why I don't have a moral problem with impressing myself.  That impressed-ness takes the form of enjoyment mostly, so maybe that is why.

Get to Timon and depeche next time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

look to the shadows

                                                         what other pronouncements shall be

                                                         and that's a manifesto with rhymes

                                                         or, when we break our backs (haven't heard what

                                                         Cathy Wagner is writing)

                                                         just cause I haven't bought the

                                                         what sense!  doth level apply or this time

                                                         who said slant it should

                                                        (slant it does)[no command (doth (like (


                                                                      the senses are slant or oblique

                                                         any poem is proof of this

Saturday, November 16, 2013

But things must Matter and one so often has the sense that they do not so the impulse Arises . . .

Trolletry?  Troll Poetry?  Trollism, as something broader than just poetry or writing but that most clearly encompasses it and is meant to be a lifestyle.  Hell No.

And so you ask if I'm not just meeting enough people, and I used to love people.  and they are still out there. the people they rush back in and out and they, if they exist are an antidote to trolls.  Yes, But trolls don't exist.  Any more than Marvin the Sad Robot.

Some people ask if Trolls are a Question of Magnitude but this is an error in Optics.  Optics just don't matter the way they used to.  You used to look at things like movies but now you don't; this is through no fault of your own.  Even if you were to watch the Original Version of the Man Who knew Too Much on YouTube for Free you would not be learning much about optics, in the way u might have say, ten or fifteen years ago.  You would be learning about TRolls, primarily.  More than any other topic.  Trolls have no eternal selves, or souls.  That part has remained True.

The existence of your mistakes were not . . . Things were less mutable.  I was going to say that Drilling down is part of Trolldom cause they so obviously live in the ground.  Sometimes Matter is the only thing to create.  OR you Feel like you should be Creating matter.  And then you think wasn't there this Newtonian or Einsteinian or Buddhist thing that matter is a Zero Sum Game.  You thought that, though you also assumed that it had been somewhat Autocorrected into your life.

There was a Time when we did not TRoll.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Constant Movement

I feel like time of year-wise this should be a still point.  And I guess it is for farm work (still a little cleanup to do but . . . ), but even since our last dramatic post things seem to be happening.  Without giving away any details (they are not fully formed and I don't like to jinx stuff), options for farming, even as soon as next season, keep popping up.  Like Said, the form this will take, Open Heart Farm Reborn (that name is too long) or just the same old Open Heart, as they say in Cote d'Ivoire (where Rachel and I were for two years), on va voir!

In the meantime, I do want to take this winter to discourse on some just general gardening things that I think would be useful or at least interesting, like a listicle of my favorite tomatoes for home gardening and which ones might be different - that will be coming your way soon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Open Heart Farm

At the end of season I will often do a year in review.  Well, Open Heart Farm is ending as we know it, so I am doing a farm in review.  Let me preface that review, by addressing your shock.  Open Heart Farm at the very least has to take a pause between beats.  It will take a while to assess whether it will recommence elsewhere or not, and in what form.  Rachel and I have been talking about a possible retreat involving writing, performance arts etc that would also have the food growing at part of it.  This is an idea that is resurfacing after about a 20 year preparation.  When we were first talking about it, I was in Iowa getting an MFA in creative writing, and had still never set foot on a farm (that first bite of feed corn was a real surprise).  The skill set has changed a little since then.  The desire to live in the city has changed a little since then.  The ability to farm successfully in this particular floodplain known as the Intervale has changed since then.

I guess rather than go through some point-by-point plus-and-minus grading of the whole life of the farm, something more appropriate for a business strategy session (that can happen later if/when something new (re)develops) I would just like to appreciate it for the life it had.  I would say we (me, Rachel, Ciaran, Francis, everyone who worked with me, members of the CSA . . .) gave it alot, and it gave us alot back in terms of food, so much learning about so many things (plants, tractors, rules and regulations) and even most of a livelihood for eight years.

The whole thing reminds me of this bit from Metropolitan

Charlie Black: Fourierism was tried in the late nineteenth century... and it failed. Wasn't Brookfarm Fourierist? It failed.
Tom Townsend: That's debatable.
Charlie Black: Whether Brookfarm failed?
Tom Townsend: That it ceased to exist, I'll grant you, but whether or not it failed cannot be definitively said.
Charlie Black: Well, for me, ceasing to exist is - is failure. I mean, that's pretty definitive.
Tom Townsend: Well, everyone ceases to exist. Doesn't mean everyone's a failure.

 Like I said, I'm not even sure yet OHF has ceased to exist.  Below is a picture of a curly willow that we sprouted from Ciaran's Morning garden a year ago, now planted in this year's fire pit.  These things love water.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Turnips generally get the short shrift, and while I doubt I'm going to start eating them even once a week for the next five months until we have Spring again, these four recipes do make it seem possible to imagine involving them in something every other week.  Particularly the ginger version seems adaptable to a mix including carrots and parsnips and even rutabaga.

We do have two more weeks after this week.  More carrots and garlic coming our way.  Probably cabbages, both napa and regular, kale, spinach, and who knows what else.

Monday, September 23, 2013

kohlrabi and daikon

Having not known much about kohlrabi up until now i looked it up on wikipedia.  It's name means "cabbage turnip" in old time-y German, and that about describes it.

Our particular kohlrabi are mostly of the Cossack variety, which is giant and remains tender even when giant.  if you get that variety use one instead of two in this recipe for carrot kohlrabi slaw.

On the other hand I have been growing daikon for a long time.  This spicy Asian radish is really nice in stir fries, or, if you like the heat and crunch, just with a nice balsamic in your salad.  here is also a basic Asian salad using the daikon that we make sometimes.  In this case our daikon are currently on the small side (they can get quite huge), so I would use 1 1/2 - 2 instead of the one that the recipe calls from

Sunday, September 15, 2013

fennel and how to use it

this week we are giving out some really wonderful bulbs of fennel.  It is one of those vegetables that people always ask me what to do with.  This recipe is a great answer (we will also have some flat leaf parsley (part of the recipe)).  It is the classic Italian fennel salad.  If you are worried about the licorice-y flavor, I recommend roasting it in the oven with the beets in order to mellow it out.

tomatillos are another one we don't use that much, or at least cook ourselves, but if you have ever had salsa verde than you have eaten tomatillos. We will also have cilantro as an option, so check out this recipe if you choose tomatillos this week

we will also have green beans again this week, which is exciting for me.  We may also see the introduction of some fall greens like mustard greens, kale, or collards.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Week 9

Week 4's intro was so telling, huh . . . well, we are back, finally enough stuff post flood to mention and post some member recipes as well.  And give a bit of an update.  First the update: we have planted more fall stuff than normal, and as with the last natural disaster, Irene, I have actually learned a valuable farming lesson from all this: late summer and fall are wonderful times to grow, and even lean on in terms of production.  Spring is such a battle to get things to germinate and then struggle past the weeds, whether it is brocolli, arugala, carrots - it is all easier to grow in the fall.  Yes, there is the limit of temperature and daylight, so it can only last so long here in Vermont, but depending on the fall the greens can keep going even to Thanksgiving (in the best of years).

We are having some baby collards cooked in chicken fat (just from bone-in chicken thighs with a bit of Lawry's) and fresh white onions, blueberries and whipped cream for desert.

Anyway, without further ado:


and a whole slew of fun things to do with CSA veggies