Thursday, August 27, 2020
Farm Buddy and I got connected with the Organic Growers Research and Information-Sharing Network (OGRIN.org). They are working to help re-establish small farms in the Northeast. From their website:
is a network of growers, millers and other grain processors, bakers, chefs, and consumers in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey who are working to support the production of wheat and other food grains in the Northeast. In the effort to make our regional food system more sustainable by supplying locally grown products to consumers, locally grown grains have been lacking....Not anymore!
Over the past eight years, our on-farm research has shown that we can grow high quality grain in our region, including hard red bread wheat, heritage wheat, and the ancient grains spelt, emmer, and einkorn. Each year we have seen an increase in the number of grain growers and processors in our region.
Given that I have tillable land that I have spent the past 10 years working hard to restore and that I need to find a way to continue supporting myself, my dog and my herd, I have decided to take the plunge and try to grow a marketable crop. What better ways are there to make a living than art and farming right? RIGHT????
Seeing as I also have Celiac Disease, I don't want to grow the more profitable crops like wheat, emmer and spelt so I am going to focus on gluten free ancient grains. The goal is to grow, process and sell organic, TRULY gluten-free grains that never become cross-contaminated during shipping and processing (which is a HUGE problem for Celiacs) directly from my farm to the consumer.
I also want to continue improving my land, which means continuing to give back to it rather than just always taking nutrients and fertility away from it, which is what modern farming practices do. To that end, once the soil is plowed and ready to seed, I will be planting a cover crop of peas and red clover. This crop is for the land. In the Spring, I will plant hulless oats, which are good for the soil and will (hopefully) produce a crop that I can sell.
This falls into the category of micro-entrepreneur farming. Although, this 1.5-2 acres of plowed ground feels like a huge, vast endeavor from my window....
Here's to a new venture, doing things the old-fashioned way and reinventing the wheel - again.
The Border Collie certainly has his doubts.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
That could be right.....
As a side note: no tails were chewed nor mule babies kicked in the making of this photo:)
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Monday, August 3, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
First, THANK YOU for all the kind comments about Kaia. While I may not respond to them directly, please know that I read every one and greatly appreciate every comment. I don't respond because.....I just can't. It is always hard to open a heart that has been repeatedly damaged by grief, but kaia was a huge, vivid spirit that would not allow for anything less. Now, I am having a hard time saying goodbye to her and I just can't talk about it.
As for why she died, we still don't know. The preliminary pathology report said that she was healthy in every way except for a great deal of fluid and blood in her lungs from pulmonary embolism. We are waiting on the histology report to explain WHY and HOW she had pulmonary emboli. All I can do is speculate at this point and the most likely speculations are that she died from a snake bite or a rare thing that sometimes happens to super fit, athletic dogs that (for unknown reasons) have a sudden drop in blood sodium levels. I don't entirely understand that one, but it occasionally happens in hunting and sled dogs after exertion. Kaia had just been racing after chipmunks with her best friend, Ian, ran into the pond to cool off, which she did all the time, and died.
When I have better answers, I will let you know. The vet's office is now telling me it may be 3-4 weeks before I get the histology back to answer those questions. Since I have spent the past 20 years working in a histology lab and I know damn well it does not take 3-4 weeks, this is just adding to me stress.
That is all I can manage about Kaia right now so let's move on before I have to just give up completely.
I lost my new job because of the COVID mess. I could easily get another histology job, but it would mean selling my farm and moving, which I do not want to do. I am also really burned out on Histology and our broken healthcare system so I want to try something different so I am trying to set up an online shop to sell some of my artwork. Etsy is an option, but their fees are very high and many artists say they no longer have good results with it. I am trying to set up a page on my blog and am floundering around trying to figure that out. You may see some odd posts pop up as a result.
I did have a plan in mind and then Kaia.......this is why I loathe the word "plan".
I have set up a facebook page, which you can find here if you are so inclined: https://www.facebook.com/The-Dancing-Donkey-104011334727955
Just liking and sharing the page could be a big help to me. I am also on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/thedancingdonkey/.
I trying to set something up on the blog though, because I want all of you to have first dibs on anything I make. You guys have all become part of the Dancing Donkey family and who else do you hit up to buy your stuff when the shit hits the fan?
I floundered my way through this post. I hope it is comprehensible and I hope you understand that all this comes from the heart....a broken that I am trying to hold together the only way an old farm woman knows how - with duct tape, baling twine, grit, work and forcing myself forward because the animals still need to be fed, the fields still need to be mowed, the hay still needs to be stacked. The sun still comes up every day.