Sunday, June 06, 2010

Our Weekend at Three Graces Farm

We spent the weekend at Three Graces Farm in Sonoma County, in the middle of wine country, although the farm is most definitely not a vineyard. Why were we there? To spend time with Indigo and Elena, Roger's daughters (and incredibly lucky me, my step-daughters). I highly recommend checking out their website because these three women (the kids and a friend) are doing the serious work of starting a farm from scratch.
I mean scratch: an outdoor kitchen; no electricity; no potable water (a well that can be used for dishes, watering the garden, etc); a newly drilled well, but not yet pumping; no internet.

It was absolutely grand being there. We slept in a yurt that had a view of the starry sky. We used the composting toilet and the shower that drained into a gray water system. It was primitive and futuristic at the same time. Now that's a trick of our era, isn't it?
Indigo had friends visiting from the city who had come to build her an outhouse. They spent much of Saturday in that endeavor, and as the sun was going down it was loaded onto the old pickup truck and hauled almost to its destination. Some more digging of the hole was in order before it could be planted.
Elena showed us around the farm and introduced us to the pigs and goats. They have plans for raising heritage pigs and for producing dairy products from the goats' milk. They have an already-productive garden and space to grow a ton more. I should have photographed the huge pile of kale I cut for Saturday night's feast, but instead I've got a pic of the puffball that Roger found on the way to the creek Sunday morning. This puffball was featured in our breakfast feast a short while later.
Three Graces Farm is extremely hard, endless work. But you can't imagine what it's like to eat a gourmet Indian meal that has been cooked in this beautiful outdoor kitchen. Or to sit with young people who understand what they are doing and why.

Mostly Roger and I don't have much hope for the future, but when we spend time like this with young people who have this profound and deep understanding of the earth, we actually begin to feel a small hope stirring.

24 comments:

  1. Quite wonderful! It reminds me of an Ursula Le Guin novel, "Always Coming Home", in which the future was like what these people are working on... beautiful.

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  2. What a wonderful post! And how exciting to read what young people are doing to create a beautiful and more meaningful life. Thanks for sharing the fun, Robin! Have a great week!

    Sylvia

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  3. Wonderful!! How did you prepare the kale - and the puffball?

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  4. What wounderful kids. No empty headed youngsters here. You can indeed feel proud.
    That baby lamb stole my heart.
    Yurts have always facinated me. There should be more.
    Hope they get that blog going but wonder about no internet.

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  5. That's a cool post. Keep us updated on their progress please.

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  6. What a great post. Just warms my heart and soul. And just what we all need right now...a bit of hope for the future.

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  7. That is so neat what they are doing. It takes a lot to live that way but there are rewards beyond material for what it gives a person. I wish them luck with their enterprise. If only more people would learn that food can be gotten in healthy ways for the animals and us. It just takes work for both the consumer and the producer.

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  8. I think it's great to see what Roger's kids are doing. This is like a second, or perhaps third wave of back-to-the-landers. My brother and I have discussed this a bit and feel that this group might actually have more success. Thirty-some-odd years ago, a person had to be remarkably handy to make it, especially off the grid. Equipment such as power invertors, wind turbines, etc.. were expensive and difficult to get. There were very few DC appliances or other equipment available. Solar was so early in its development that it wasn't practical. There's so much more that can be done on a very small scale now. If I were a young person again, I wouldn't hesitate to do what Don and I did the first time round, but I'd go further from the city and definitely be off the grid. However, I'm older and alone now, so sort of half-doing the back to the land thing. (-:

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  9. Interesting trends in food--My nephew is peripherally involved with www.heritagefoodsusa.com, based in Brooklyn NY (they buy beef, pork, chicken, etc from heritage farms throughout US and Canada) and he is always willing to talk about heritage meats,especially pork! Funny that he was a vegetarian 10 years ago but he's now turned into a major carnivore. I think it's a marvelous undertaking and takes a lot of willpower and know-how to undertake such a project as these 3 women have done! Bravo!(and good luck!)

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  10. It looks like Paradise! And that's the secret, isn't it: Paradise isn't a place you sit on your butt all day and have Fruit of Ignorance drop into you hand whenever you're hungry; it's a place of hard work and community, death, birth, grief and great joy.

    I love the name "Three Graces"--how fitting! May the earth grace those three young woman with her bounty each season.

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  11. It's simply fabulous! A NEW generation doing something I believe as organic to our souls as can be. It shows what fantastic influences have been around her. Congrats!

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  12. It's simply fabulous! A NEW generation doing something I believe as organic to our souls as can be. It shows what fantastic influences have been around her. Congrats!

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  13. how cool are these women? very cool!

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  14. I love it when you two get hopeful.

    What a great project they have begun. I am rooting for their success.

    The future IS primitive, in a futuristic sorta way.

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  15. WOW! How exciting...and we are neighbors, here, in Forestville. peace, Mandt & Bodhi Dog

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  16. I like that they are raising dairy goats. I need to expand my repertoire of cheese making into the goat realm.

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  17. Love the homage to the Beatles last photo shoot in the first pic.

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  18. Are puffballs edible? Incredible! What a great post, though, Robin. The story reminds me very much of my own recent visit to friends on the Napa/Sonoma border, and their fruit and vegetable garden, their intentional husbandry of the land... A parntership, that is. Not a use. Thanks for this one.

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  19. It sounds like a wonderful visit. I don't know that I would like to be without electricity, though.

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  20. They are so beautiful every which way.

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  21. THank you for stirring my small pot of hope. What amazing daughters!

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