Farmer John Writes: Lost and Foundered

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 8, August 16th – 21st, 2021

The U-Pick Garden is Ready for You

Shareholders–come out to our U-Pick Garden west of the barns for green beans, flowers and herbs (notably thyme and sage). Check here for details: 

flowers for you

green beans for you

New Customizing Policy

It’s quite the interesting challenge to forecast in advance what we will have available for you to customize your box with in the upcoming week. Most of the time, we have everything available that we say will be available, but not every single time. From now on, if we run out of something that is scheduled to go into your box, we will simply substitute as comparable an item as possible, as opposed to tracking you down to offer you an apology and a credit. This new policy will help us to keep things in balance.

A Peek at Peak Summer

We have melons, peppers, tomatoes and sweet corn galore—plus arugula, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, garlic, kale, and more…and on their way, onions, sage, cilantro, baby chard, baby lettuce, leeks, and more—a great year for variety and volume.

muskmelons in bins; honeydew melons repose to the right in the field

Our Neighbor Called and Left a Message about Our Corn

“That corn is the best corn I’ve had in my lifetime, I believe. At least, I can’t remember ever having any better than that.” 

He’s in his 70’s, so he’s sampled a lot of sweet corn. I’ll add that he’s not prone to exaggerating.

enough corn?


Neighbor: Thirty years ago, it just rained. Now, when it rains, the alarms go off and we’re supposed to take cover. Take cover from what? It’s just rain.

2nd Neighbor: That alarming people is a big business today.

Want Farm Animals in Your Back Yard but Without the Fuss?

Helga Stentzel hangs clothes to create surreal farm animal illusions.

They Say It’s My Birthday

I have a story that won’t go away. I wouldn’t call it a farm story, though you might be able to read something farmer-ish into it. I normally won’t go to the trouble of sharing a story unless I think there is a point to it—a message, a meaning, a moral. I can’t locate a message, a meaning or a moral in this story. Since I had a birthday this week, I’m just going to take the liberty to share the story, and maybe there’s something in it for you.

Lost and Foundered

A few months back, Haidy and I spent a weekend in a lovely cabin on a lake in northern Wisconsin. 

Upon returning to the cabin that afternoon, Haidy spotted a feather on the boardwalk. She stooped to pick it up.

“Such a gorgeous feather. Where do you think it came from?” I asked. 

Haidy, who has been finding a lot of feathers in the wilds this summer, examined it wondrously. “So beautiful,” she swooned.

“I want to keep it,” I announced.

I then noted that the base of feather was wrapped in copper wire. “This is someone’s personal feather. It’s more a constellation of feathers,” I said. “It’s important to someone—sacred, a good luck charm perhaps or—what do you call it?—an amulet. Some people think that way today—that feathers will protect them. We can’t keep it. ”

We took the feather charm to the office. I said to the receptionist, “do you recognize this feather? We found it outside our cabin.”

She studied the feather and replied, “no, I don’t recognize it.”

“It seems like the sort of thing that would belong to someone on your staff, maybe the person who brought us lunch. It seems like it would be important to someone.”

“I’ll check with the staff,” she said as she studied the feather.

When we were driving back to the farm that afternoon, I had my hat perched on the dashboard of our car. 

Haidy said, “Isn’t your hat supposed to have two feathers in it?”

“Uh, oh.”

I called the clerk at the lodge. 

“This is John who turned in the feather today. Remember?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“It’s supposed to be the second feather on the hat I was wearing.  Could you please send it to me? I guess I’m the one it’s supposed to be important to.”

“Will do,” she said.

More About the Providers of Feathers

Every morning before I start work, I do an exercise suggested by Rudolf Steiner to consciously listen to the sounds of nature. It’s a good counter measure to listening to the roar of farm equipment, the whir of the air conditioner, the sound of the printer. It’s an exercise in subtlety, in noticing that which works through quietness. Mostly in this listening, I notice that I am listening to birds. Real birds, I thought, until Amanda August, our customer service manager, showed up recently wearing a shirt claiming that “Birds Aren’t Real.”

I was disappointed. I was sure I had been listening to real birds, and sporting real bird feathers in my hat. Should I trust Amanda? Perhaps the birds are real and Amanda’s news about the birds is fake.

coming Chicago way in October

Farmer John

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Showing 8 comments
  • Hazel

    Blessings on your Natal Return! May this next spin around the Sun bring you ever closer to your highest destiny!

    • Farmer John

      Thank you for the blessings, Dear Hazel, who also spins around.

  • Lou Hong

    Thoroughly enjoyable reading~! Elegant as always! Thank you!

    • Farmer John

      Always evokes memories when I hear from you, Lou.

  • Alison Carney Brown

    Thank you for the photo and words! Such a delightful way to begin the week!

    • Farmer John

      You are welcome, dear Alison. I miss hearing your voice.

  • Carol Anderson

    Thank you for the corn. I made a corn salad with it. Delicious!

    • Farmer John

      Corn feels like my calling (and that of many other farmers, too.)

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