A Stick in the Mud – Harvest Week 9: Tue/Wed/Thurs Delivery, Aug 6, 7 & 8, 2013
In Farm News, Farmer John Writes about A Stick in the Mud
Very cool. Several Showers.
Many of you know that I’ve been farming since I was about 7 years old when I started taking care of the chickens. That’s now 56 years of farming. That’s a lot of weather, a lot of hoping, bracing, pleading, wondering, guessing, thanking, resenting, imagining, a lot of looking towards the West
When my parents built our main barn in 1957, they positioned it so it wouldn’t completely block the view to the West from the kitchen window, because that was our window to the weather. Two of our favorite things could be viewed in one sweep from that window, the glorious barn and the wondrous weather. My dad would often get up during the meal and gaze at the red-roofed barn and the western sky, and make weather pronouncements. In the mid-60’s, when the farmhouse kitchen was about to be remodeled, the kitchen designer tried to talk my parents out of having that west, barn-and-weather-gazing window. No chance.
Tomatoes are turning. Corn is cascading. Melons are making. Peppers are proliferating. Eggplant is evolving. Potatoes are popping. Cauliflower is calling. Brussels sprouts are sproinging. Broccoli is braying. Carrots are cramming. This writing is wridiculous.
We have really loved everything so far, it’s just been delightful.
We enjoy the bounty! Thank you and your co-workers for great vegetables!
Just a quick note to share a picture of two quarts of pickles I put up with your pickling cukes. I used a Claussen pickle recipe and can’t wait to try them. Thanks for the great produce.
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The Stick that Went into the Mud
There’s a tree in the farmyard that I’ve been beholding recently. I suppose beholding is the right term for it, because its stature invokes awe in me. I started to tell growing manager Chris Voss how the tree came about the other day, and then I dug out the following story, written for Farm News in 1994, to refresh my memory. (A few of our shareholders probably remember reading this story.)
What Are You Going To Do With That Stick?
The following excerpt by Farmer John is reprinted from Farm News: Week 13, September 24, 1994
The open house was a grand event–[editor’s note: John is referring to the September 16, 1994 open house; all other references are to the 1994 season as well] 75 big and little people enjoyed hayrides, pumpkin picking, the loft of the big barn we watched home movies of the loft being filled with straw for the first time – 37 years ago.
When we came out of the warm barn after watching the movies we headed for the shade of a small hard maple for a CSA meeting. We had just watched the first roof going on the barn in ’57, and when we walked towards that maple tree, I thought about the second layer of shingles that some friends and I put on the barn in ’72. We were still under the strong influence of the sixties, so we would roof for a while, and then come down and play some football or just mess around, then maybe go back up and roof again. This wasn’t the way farm people normally got work done, but it’s the way I farmed for a while.
On this particular May day, my roofing friend Stanley got out of his pickup carrying a stick about two feet long.
I said, “What are you going to do with that stick?”
Stanley said, “Stick? This is a maple tree.”
We planted [and watered] it. When my mother got home from teaching school that afternoon, we were playing football. It didn’t set right with her that we were playing football instead of roofing the leaky barn. We would-be roofers were all giggling and trying to think fast on our feet and wishing we had been up pounding roofing nails when she drove in, at least for show.
“Stanley,” I said, “it’s her birthday today. Tell her that’s her tree.”
Stanley went running to my mother.
“Anna, I want to show you this tree I planted for your birthday.”
Stanley dragged her over to the little stick pointing out of the [muddy spot in the] ground. He couldn’t get her to believe it was a tree at all, let alone her birthday present.
It’s getting to be the nicest tree in the yard now. On Sunday, as we were adjusting to the bright sunlight on our way to the shade, the name of the tree popped into my head. I am always surprised when its name occurs to me, because it is more of a process than a name – the densification of an unresolved moment. Its name is “the tree that was my mother’s birthday present… pause… but not really.”
There I was on Sunday, leaning against ‘the tree that was my mother’s birthday present… pause… but not really’, children babbling under it, CSA members reveling in its shadow, my mother amongst them. We discussed recipes, melon ripeness, harvest procedures, the love one can have for kale. The discussion was lively, informative, supportive. I wanted it to last longer, but we still had a farm tour on our schedule…