Tag Archives: Farm

tim returns to pitcher mountain csa ~ stoddard, nh ~ 24aug10

BACK EAST TO EDEN

for 6 long, beautiful, intense years, tim was the farmer for pitcher mountain csa. perched on the flank of pitcher mountain in stoddard, nh, the farm was the source of joy and beauty, stress and frustration. i met tim during his last two years of farming there and when i began to go up to visit with and help him out with farm chores, i was overwhelmed by the scope of the endeavor. by the time he left, tim (and a small team of interns) was responsible for starting, planting, growing, nurturing and harvesting about two acres of local, organic vegetables; enough to feed 120 local families.

the decision to leave pmcsa did not come easily for tim. after pouring so much of his soul into this rocky patch of windswept soil, he wasn’t sure what would be left to define him if he gave it up. this cold day in august was the first time tim had returned to pmcsa during harvest season in almost two years. since he left, there have been three other farmers and the scale of the operation has diminished considerably. the dozens of raised beds that he so lovingly crafted have been tilled under, the years of constant weeding have been all but undone. but more important than the changes that have occurred is the simple fact that pitcher mountain csa is still going strong. tim has left a beautiful legacy for his community. i am so proud of what he accomplished on pitcher mountain and what he has accomplished since letting it go.

just deserts ~ joshua tree to las vegas

on the border of the mojave and colorado deserts
we woke to a bright, wind-chilled morning near the military town of twenty-nine palms, ca. the campground’s name, indian cove, hinted at a safe haven, a shelter from the harsh elements, but on that night at least, it felt like we were camping in a wind tunnel. i’m pretty sure that if not for our combined weight anchoring the flapping, whistling tent, it would have blown clean away. the next morning we found tent stakes that had been securing the rain fly 10 feet away from where they had been driven into the hard packed earth. random items from who knows where — a sweatshirt, a towel, a sock, several empty cans of heineken — littered the campground.

under the comforting, warming glare of the desert sun, we made a leisurely breakfast and then headed into the town of joshua tree to restock on supplies and run some errands. as usual, things took longer than we had anticipated and by the time we made it into the park, it was already late afternoon. given the quickly fading light, we decided to hike out to barker dam and back.


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the heart of the mojave desert
the next day, we left joshua tree, heading north towards las vegas. once again, we passed through the mojave national preserve , the magical place where i entered my 39th year of life . we had already visited the kelso depot twice on our crisscrossing travels through socal, but given tim’s love of all things train, a third visit was inevitable. it’s a charming, beautifully restored building and sitting at the restored lunch counter while freight trains thundered past on sun silvered rails, it was easy to imagine what kelso was like when it was a vibrant railroad boomtown.

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an oasis in the mojave
north of tecopah, motorists pass several handpainted signs imploring them to stop and visit the china ranch date farm . it is such a harsh and desolate landscape, all horizon and disintegrating sierra, that it is easy to focus on some distant destination and ignore all potential distractions, especially one as seemingly incongruous as an asian themed date farm. but thanks to our lackadaisical traveling style and the recommendation of the woman we met in a campground in tecopah, we decided to follow the signs chop-suey lettering down side roads, ravines, and into a sheltered canyon that glowed green with life.

the date farm turned out to be a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit. apart from the farm itself, the property also housed a bakery (which served date-based delicacies like chocolate chip date cookies and date bread), a cactus nursery, an antique store, a campground, and several hiking trails. they also served up a wicked date shake, an indulgence that we reluctantly passed on when we were visiting palm springs — really, people, $6 for a shake? — but that we happily and greedily slurped down in the sunny warmth of the mojave.


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next time: fear and loathing of las vegas.

Posted by Wordmobi