Posts Tagged ‘Friends & Neighbors’

Wilma & Merle Ziebarth and Kathy Ziells, 1982

If you’re interested in the history of the land that is now Stone’s Throw Farm, check out the page I just added, complete with some really nice photos that Kathy Ziells shared with me. Kathy also sent me a deed from 1961 and some other papers that I’m really glad to have. I’d like to research the land even farther back and find out who owned it before Paul Pinard, etc.

I’d also like to share the story of the Conover family and our farming history. My dad recently shared a video with my sister and me of his family threshing oats the old-fashioned way when he was a kid. It’s really neat and I’ll see if I can upload it somehow.

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Here’s a couple more in depth articles about the Fisher-Merritts, my mentors at the Food Farm, and the award they won. Very well-deserved award, I should say.

This afternoon I’m headed to the Lake Superior Farming Conference; specifically, the season extension sessions. It’ll be good to see a bunch of other farmers — it’s been a while!

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John, Jane, and Janaki Fisher-Merritt -- farmers extraordinaire

My friends and mentors at the Food Farm were (finally) named Farm Family of the Year at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference this past weekend. Go, Food Farm! (Wild applause!)

I really did learn from the best. You can, too — they’re looking for an intern.

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This stack of buckets sitting by our garage is a daily reminder of all the help I’ve received to get to this point. The three gentlemen involved in procuring and delivering this stash of multi-purpose, highly-essential carry-alls are exceptionally generous people. Then again, I seem to run into a lot of people like that around here — I guess Paul, Eric, and Dave aren’t that special after all. (Just kidding, guys — thank you! Stop by with donations any time!) 

The donated buckets also remind me of all the miscellaneous supplies needed on a farm that a person doesn’t necessarily think of when making “to-get” lists ….  I find myself quick to correct anyone who says that Elden and I “bought a farm” — we’re making it into a farm, yes, but we bought land. It’s not like my parents’ farm, which was (somewhat shabbily, upon purchase) equipped with a well, barns, sheds, and miscellaneous items that no one bothered to clean out of those sheds.

My parents understand. When my dad sent a truckload of machinery to me last fall, he also sent hitch pins, spare parts, a log chain … you name it, he sent it, even a pliers and crescent wrench in the tractor’s toolbox (I already had a pliers and wrench, but it was sweet and thoughtful nonetheless). I’m lucky to have so many people out there thinking about the buckets of buckets it takes to run a farm.

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I got an email the other day from Orion Grassroots Network about new job and internship listings. It brought back a ton of good memories of my first internship at Caretaker Farm in Massachusetts — an internship that I found online almost exactly 3 years ago.

The day we pulled up plastic mulch at Caretaker Farm.

When I first arrived at Caretaker, I didn’t know a radish from a rutabaga, as I believe one of my references told Don, the farmer (thanks, Jeff!). When I left at the end of October, I could plan a week of distribution to 250 farm members, milk a cow, cook a meal from scratch for 5 1/2 hungry farmers in an hour, can tomatoes, hand-weed for 9 hours in one day, pull a garden cart of pumpkins up a hill without breaking a sweat … and it was uphill both ways, let me tell ya. My point is, I learned a ton during those 7 months, and I had a great time. I wish every aspiring farmer could afford to do an internship, because taking that intern position was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Me at the Food Farm. Photo by Karisa Centanni, To Milk and Honey.


If you”re at all interested in learning about farming in the Duluth/Superior area, the Food Farm near Wrenshall is looking for an intern for the 2010 growing season. The Food Farmers are some of the most skilled and knowledgeable farmers I know, and they’re more than generous about sharing their knowledge with interns and other farmers. Just as important, they’re incredibly kind and are somehow able to guide even the most novice of novices so he or she can make a valuable contribution to the farm work and feel good about it.

Another great option that I learned about through Orion is this internship at Philadelphia Community Farm, northeast of the Twin Cities. Besides being a cool farm in general, PCF also helped create a land trust called Standing Cedars Community Land Conservancy. The listing says they’re looking for someone with “a keen interest in agriculture and ecological restoration and in living in a community context.” If that’s you, I say go for it.

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I was sitting in the kitchen eating lunch with my good friend Sharon today when the doorbell rang and Sharon said, “Looks like you just got a big box.” I excused myself, skipped to the door and brought in a big box from one of the seed companies. Hooray! The first seeds have arrived!

Actually, this is the second batch of seeds because my sister sent some sweet marjoram, catnip, asparagus, and ground cherries seeds for V-Day. Thanks, Chris!

Those of you in the know will notice the stirrup hoes in the box, too. All sorts of goodies. Now I just need some locavores to sign up for summer shares and send their deposits so I can pay for this stuff! That’s the beauty of Community-Supported Agriculture:  the farmer gets paid when she really needs the funds — at the beginning of the season when she’s got to pay out in order to get the growing going. Thanks in advance to all you future Stone’s Throw Farm members out there — these seeds are for you!

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