Monday, May 07, 2007

Springtime Explosion in Sequence Scrolling Down

Monday Morning Springtime Update From S. Scatter:
At the moment the ground appears to be erupting with multilayered carpets of green seedlings and grasses. The garlic mustard is already going to seed everywhere, the tiny purple flowers of the ground ivy are a majestic backdrop to the bright yellow dandelion blossoms dotting the landscape. We’re eating wild salads full of dandelion greens and violets and yarrow and crecey-cress and wild onion and bedstraw and chickweed and goldenrod and trout lilly and ales hoof and curley dock and garlic mustard (though it’s not quite as sweet once it goes to seed.) The cherry trees are in full blossom, the apples are just coming on. The seedling flats are blowing in the spring breeze outside the potting shed – lettuce and kale and chard and onions. The bunnies are already munching the lettuce in the field. The flea beetles are biting little holes in the collard seedlings we just put in the ground. Digging beds in the garden and the mockingbirds land in the old plum tree and fire off a couple dozen different calls, one after another. The sugar maple outside my window that we tapped for sap is leafing out now and shading the ground below. The lilacs bushes are filled with dark purple buds about to bloom. The greywater is starting to stink a little when the wind blows West. The sugar buckets and taps and lines are all washed out and sitting outside the barn waiting to be stored until next winter. The rainbow lacinato kale that survived in the house garden is sending up thick frilly dark green and purple arms with flower buds poised expectantly at the end of them. The new duck house and pen are almost finished in the swampy area by the compost toilet. Out in the CSA field there are beds full of peas and collards and lettuce and leeks and onions. There’s been a massive barn clean-up, the old apple storage room is totally open, and there’s a big pile of scrap metal waiting to go to the scrap yard. A new section of the house garden just got tilled up. There are two large newly tilled up sections by the road, on either side of our house, that are going to be filled with raspberries and flowers for market. 9G is abuzz with Monday morning traffic. The baby goats are adorable and literally frolicking amidst the flowers. And life goes on...

What: Two days of wild plant ID, harvest, and fermentation
When: April 29 & 30 (Sunday and Monday)
Who: Global teacher and wild herbalist Frank Cook
Where: Germantown Community Farm, in Germantown, NY
4872 State Route 9G, across and just south from Upstate Auto
How Much: cheap!

Day One: Sunday 1:00pm Gathering - 5:30
Frank will lead us on a walk around the farm, meadow, orchard, and forest, on what he calls a "plant inventory." The walk is open-ended, and we can take the discussion wherever we like. Frank's considerable experience working and teaching at the interface between the human world and the plant world means that he can guide discussion on: plants as allies, wild foods, medicine making, botany, plant spirit medicine, thrival living, and plants and healers of the world.
Cost for this workshop: $20-40 sliding scale.
Materials to bring:
notebook and pencil
camera if desired

Bring a dish and stay for the potluck dinner if you like!

RSVP to reserve a spot -
we're capping both workshops at 15 people.

Day Two: Monday 9:30am - 4:00pm
Frank will guide us through a complete process of making a wild medicinal mead. We'll go from selecting and harvesting wild plants for flavor and medicinal value, through choosing and preparing our infusion, to preparing our batch of mead and setting it to ferment! We'll learn and discuss the history of fermentation generally, and mead-making in particular, as food-preservation and medicine, and how that history is useful for us today. The results tend to be pretty magical, in flavor and vitality.

Cost for this workshop: $40-60 sliding scale
Materials to bring:
1-gal. glass jug (or a few)
notebook and pencil
potluck dish for lunch!

Come to both workshops!

Let me just say that both Ben and I, here at the farm, have experienced multiple workshops of various kinds with Frank, and he is amazing. He connects a grounded scientific awareness of the botany and biochemistry of our present and historical relationship with wild plants, together with a fully engaged, global, and spiritual perspective. He is a sensitive and patient teacher, as willing to stop and explain the subtlety of a botanical distinction as he is to push us to expand our awareness of the dynamic ecological and planetary relationships that we are part of.

Frank travels the world, learning and teaching about plant allies. He lives entirely by the donations he gets from teaching. The chance to support the work that he is doing, and learn from his experience in the process, is a rare opportunity. I recommend that everyone who has the opportunity to attend - do so. I haven't ever been disappointed with a minute of the time I've spent learning about the plant world with Frank, and have been greatly enriched by it in the process.

RSVP to reserve a spot!
We're capping both workshops at 15 people.

Here is Frank's personal statement:

"Over the last thirteen years my passion for being a
repository of plant knowledge has grown steadily. I
have studied with Herbalists, Shamen, Vaidyas,
Sangomas, Green Witches, Doctors, Professors, Medicine
Men. . . ..around the world. They have initiated me
into many ways of walking with plants. More and more
there are opportunities to share what I have learned
at workshops, schools, conferences, and gatherings of
all types.

As an extensive traveler I have developed a
deep-rooted network of people whose lives are
consciously intermingled with plants, healing, and
ways to create a better world. I make a wide range
of foods and medicines to share with my family, friends
and community. I lead a simple life communicating,
teaching, reflecting, and spending a lot of time in
the forests and gardens delving deeper into the
mysteries of the plant kingdom and our place in the web of life."

Don't miss it!


It’s springtime. We work hard right now.
There’s nothing satisfying like working outside under the sun with a crew of my friends.
The food tastes so much better when we’ve sweated for it.
When we know all the time and love and rain and soil and compost and digging and forking and planting and watering and weeding and pruning and harvesting and preserving that goes into it.
When we go out to milk the goats in the morning and we know their milk is going to feed the people in our community and that the hay they’re eating is from a neighboring farmer’s field and the grass they’re grazing is from under the cherry trees in our orchard and their manure is going to back into the compost to fertilize our vegetables. With all the things that feel wrong in the world, this feels right.


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