Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Friends to Farm

haying in 1890s
The land and the fields, the marsh and the woods have been a farm for many generations. The walls of the barns and buildings have stories to tell of those who have farmed before us and planned to sow the seeds. Many made hay when the sun shone, while others trucked produce to Boston. A pond was cut for seasonal ice and felled or fallen wood was plained and cut for homes and heat. There are many who have formed on the lathe, constructed tractors and created pieces of lasting, museum-worthy art.  work horses by main barn 1930sThe dozens of animals who have called the Farm home also have perspectives and tales of 5 o’clock rides on trails and daily meals brought to them with care and in a timely, consistent manner. The rocks remain, often moved from one spot to another. Many walls are permanent reminders of borders and protection. As years pass, more rocks emerge, none like the massive ones from the movements millions of years ago, but yet they rise, almost like the returning leaves in spring, with consistency and great presence.  The water too, in this coastal village, seems ever-present, in ditches now, on field edges and up to the well-cover, only to seem too sparse come August when it only flows from a hand-pumped spigot.
planting fall
field - tillingAnd who minds this choice topography? Who works today to write the current chapter and the coming changes and remaining status of vegetables, flowers and herbs?  So many farms and surroundings have lost their stories. The land has been swallowed by homes and lawns for sprawling. The history of dairy farms and homesteads have disappeared and only remain in the minds of grown men and women who once played in the woods, worked on the farms and who hold the memories in technology-filled minds, applicable now through apps. and touches, tablets and innovative devices.  If Isaak Dennison had a farm in Africa, I’ll wager, many Boston-bound business folks and hard working parents remember the family farm of their youth and the backyard garden where hours were spent with a tractor, a tomato and innocence. On this land, the farmers remain. Though one bittersweetly departs, we will hear her melodious voice in the distance, as she knows and trusts the willing community she departs. The farmers and caretakers here now, and waiting in the wings, are ready and prepared to write the next chapter. fiels in winterHolly Hill Farm will indeed remain and host a new farmer or two and willing apprentices come 2015. There will be new and long-ago familiar growers and teachers to come see which seeds germinate and where. They will solidify loose foundations, turn now ancient soil for new plantings, make compost with an organic vengeance to feed the soil and make sure salad mix, arugula and spicy mix adorn the open bins from spring to fall, May to November, along with hearty pre-historic textured kale and funky-formed carrots, to name but two of the hundred or more.
Perhaps there are fewer rocks at another coastal farm in New England. Maybe the water levels appear and disappear with less annoying inconsistency and the land is flatter and more agreeable elsewhere.  Are the buildings more solid or more permanently heated?  greenhouse-rows.gifHere the heat will stay on in the greenhouse when the sun peeks through the clouds, even on these short, frigid winter days to come. The farm house will come alive in winter with warm, community suppers, yoga, plant planning and cooking. The soil sits just off the drive, covered, but ready to cover the seeds about to be pondered over, read about, ordered and placed with care in that soil. The residents of that farm house and the neighbors in nearby towns, who also call this farm home and refer to one another as family, are ready for the coming seasons.  They and we will grow, teach, learn and farm again, with help and renewed energy to put down on record, virtual and in ink, the stories, the pounds, the pictures and the produce for all who wish to consume and enjoy.

© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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