It is surprising how much the climate of the North Georgia Mountains reflects the climate I grew up with in the Northeastern US. I often have to take a breath and calm my soul when I view all the incredible pictures of the progress of Spring from Atlanta and even further South in the Low Country. Here we are in March, having battled days of snow, only the maple blossoms having dared to break, with nighttime temperatures in the teens, and yet there is a greenhouse full of beautiful life slowly leafing out with a persistence that is inspiring, but with a gate that lends my heart to anxiety. We are officially located in growing zone 6 and we certainly feel it today in the valley with a temperature hovering at 37 degrees and a wind chill that encourages hot tea and lingered strolls through the greenhouse.
It has been a whirlwind of activity here on the farm. I can just barely remember what this abandoned property looked like before my machete cleared the bamboo and Elliot trimmed up the pastures with a chainsaw and bushhog. We have filled two roll off dumpsters with the remains of what was, moldy memories telling us the story of what this farmhouse, the barns, and pastures used to hold. The energy of that incredible story echoes through the valley on a daily basis and as we spade up the soil to plant, we can see how the direction of this farm has been fated long before we even stepped foot on the property. While I sprinkled our first Biodynamic Preparations through the fields prepared for Spring, I felt more connected to the manifestations of energy all around me than ever before. We have a purpose here. Farming in this beautiful place has given us the responsibility to make it better, to treat the soil and atmosphere holistically, and to share what we grow with the community we love.
Now that we have removed a lot of trash, reclaimed a lot of useful tools and treasures, and now that my Father and Uncle have restored running water to the farm, we feel that the Winter has finally run its course. As we move into Spring, our efforts can be more centered on the pursuit of life. This will include remodeling the interior of the house with fresh coats of paint, continued removal of moldy drywall, and eventually the most important and enjoyable part of the process, adding the touches that will make this farmhouse a home. Life will carry on in the fields and wetlands, in the growing beds and bamboo jungles; arising wherever there are boundaries to create it and filling this beautiful landscape to the brim with the intertwined relationships of this incredible Universe. My collection of Praying Mantis cocoons soon will hatch and with them all the other crawling, flying, humming, chirping, and calling creatures in this lonely valley, returning each to the hustle and bustle of yet another fruitful growing season.
We are looking very forward to April when food will begin to grow and our farmers market will once again return us into the loving arms of the community that housed us back before we moved to the Coastal Marsh. Sun Dog Farm will be selling at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market once again and we couldn’t be more pleased. This market is unlike any we’ve seen before, being the largest producer only market in Atlanta, it is filled with all the food you need and crafts and artistry enough to feed your soul. We will also be particiating in the birth of The Homestead Atlanta, a brave new school offering classes aimed at bringing us back to our roots. Everything from herbal medicine to mushroom cultivation, blacksmithing to wool spinning; The Homestead will remind us how powerful we are, each of us individually, and that when given the right tools, we are capable of creating beautiful things that will make our lives and the lives of those we love better. I will be teaching a class at The Homestead on April 27th called the Basics of Biodynamics and I invite you all to join me there. This journey has already been a test to our spirits with all the ups and downs associated with reclaiming something lost. We look forward to sharing what we have found and our efforts with all of you for another growing season.
“It has been said that by working the soil it is possible to do in a few years what would take nature thousands of years to accomplish.
Intensive soil cultivation and the addition of proper soil amendments can aggregate sandy soil to give it more crumb or open heavy lime marls to give them more porosity. In both instances, when the proper soil consistency is maintained, the soil is said to have ‘heart’.” — Dennis Klocek