The Season Has Begun

Whoa, is it Summer already?! Holy cow!

This post will be mostly about what I have been up to on the Farm and in life… which pretty much revolves around the Farm.

Each Day I wake up around 5:30 am. I head up to the Farm, feed & water all the critters and plants, collect eggs, open up the green house so that all the baby plants don’t over heat. On Tues, Weds & Thursdays I then head off to my paid internship with Wisdom of the Elders. My Stipend is something like $7.80/hr. It’s not much but I get to hang out with other aspiring Native American Farmers and learn all about Native Plants, when to take cuttings, when to collect seed, how to plant & propagate. But most importantly I am surrounded by community, learning my heritage, learning the stories of the People Eater, Elk and the Salmon Berry, of a Lover’s Quarrel that lead to the lack of Camas root growing in Okanogan Territory, of how Black Moss (looks like someones black braids) came to be food when Coyotes antics lead to the death of his youngest son. Learning, sharing, visiting with my Grandma, it’s worth every hour I spend with Wisdom’s Agricultural Business Incubator program crew.

Unfortunately as a result of the internship I Spend every morning and evening driving back and forth to Camas and Portland. I spend 10 hours a day for 4 days (Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon) working my tail off to get the work here on the Farm done so that I can feed those of you who are CSA members and those I hope to meet at the Farmer’s Markets.

The Farm isn’t immune to Murphy’s Law and I am yet to be in a position to successfully weather the downs. What can go wrong, has gone wrong.

If you recall the green house exploded, and I had to wait for enough CSA money to come in before I could afford to buy a new one, then I had to borrow a trailer from my Father and a Truck from my Step-dad and then I didn’t have the right ball hitch and the morning of the pick up I was at Home Depot at 6am buying one, then I had to be patient with the help and labor of my boyfriend Trevor, then we found out they sent me off with the wrong parts, then Trevor solved that problem, then my Grandmother and Mother helped me get the plastic installed and all this took place on the weekend days over three weeks after I had already be without a greenhouse for two months. My back-up baby plant nursery caused the babes to reach and I almost thought I had lost them all, but some how they have hung on.

I thought I killed all the herbs because I couldn’t get in the soil as early as I had hoped – turns out they are hardy plants and are bouncing back.

The chicken’s where laying eggs and roosting all over the barn and exploring further and further away during the day. I knew we were playing a dangerous game of Prey and Predator and an Easter Egg hunt that wouldn’t end until sometime this July when I am sure I’ll accidentally crack open a rotten egg.

And it rained, Oh, I love the rain, Sq̓it, I named my Farm for it after all. But I couldn’t till in the cover crop and start work on the soil. I waited for good weather and for CSA member money to again come in so that I could slowly stock pile the necessary soil amendments that would insure strong, nutritious and healthy veggies.

Then I started planting, and then I laid out the drip tape. Then I went to the pump to turn it on and it had a big old crack. We are now currently waiting for a replacement part and I am doing my best to water all the plants that are in the ground now and to get those plants in desperate need into the ground as fast as I can.

I think, I believe, I am working so hard to start our CSA on time this year. I want you to know that. I don’t currently pull a wage from the Farm, most all the money coming in is going right back into the business. I suppose as CSA members you know, you’ve read the disclaimer and you are ready for the ups and downs. I want to prepare you for a small CSA share beginning or even a late start. But know that in June when my internship ends the Farm will be my sole focus but until it can pay me $2k a month I cannot yet rely on it as my sole income and will be working 1, 2 even three days a week elsewhere. Your farmer’s gatta pay her rent, gas, insurance, debt and living costs just as you.

I greatly appreciate your patience and support as I complete this amazing internship experience, developing invaluable relationships and knowledge. I hope you look forward to learning, eating and hearing all the stories my ancestors managed to record enabling me to share them and the taste of them with you. I dream of a day where we gather under the Oaks, surrounded by Camas Lily and feast on Salmon berry pemmican (Vegan Acorn Flour Version?), roasted Camas Root and fresh spring foraged salads with a warm fire, comfortable chairs and I am up in front of you performing an Oral Story of the foods we are eating, who gave their lives to nourish ours.

All My Gratitude, Lim̓lm̓t,

Farmer Michelle and the Farm-ly

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