Stew cooked over the fire in the cast iron pot - a perfect night!
The old goat shed needed a face lift; in fact, it needed just about everything. Our old goats - Zinnia, Arian, Butterscotch and Blueberry lived here. We built the goat shed in a hurry years ago when one of us unexpectedly brought the family of goats back from a visit with farming friends. We bartered the goats for a loom. The old milking stand is still here too, ready for a new job - to be revealed sometime soon.
It was a day made for building: Warm from the thinning winter sun, time off from school and work, and two excellent carpenters. We got several board cut in spite of having a rusty old saw, and Andrew and Micah fit them in place. Micah learned how to measure, and mark his measurements with his Dad. He was a greathelp at handing tools and even fitting the final boards in place. We will finish the restoration of the goat shed next time.
Our farm is already all-natural and with the beautiful weather here we are preparing seeds for planting in the rhythm of the season. We chose to make the balls with buckwheat - as it is time to sow those seeds. They will make a beautiful meadow of flowers for the bees, and hopefully, grain for us.
Last Sunday, a few of us gathered to make clay balls with lots of seeds in the style of Fukuoka Masanobu in The One Straw Revolution. This is the best way to sow seed so that it doesn't get eaten by the birds or washed away.
We had beautiful weather, some meditation in our upstairs meditation room. Then we served matcha tea and read excerpts from One Straw Revolution.
"If rice is sown...and left uncovered, the seeds are often eaten by mice and birds, or they sometimes rot on the ground, and so I enclose the rice seeds in little clay pellets before sowing...The seeds are ...mixed with moist clay by kneading with hands or feet. They the clay is pushed through a screen of chicken wire to separate it into small clods. The clods should be left to dry for a day or two...In one day it is possible to make enough pellets to seed several acres....There is probably no easier, simpler method for growing grain. it involves little more than broadcasting seed and spreading straw, but it has taken me over thirty years to reach this simplicity. ...
Ultimately it is not the growing technique which is the most important factor, but rather the state of mind of the farmer."
(One Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka, 1978.)