I’ve since grown out of mourning the loss of the grains and of feeling dissed. Ultimately, it’s expected for some crops to be lost during harvest and the grain harvester didn’t have any ill will and simply made a mistake. We’re all learning.

This year was a toughie. On top of the tribulations of starting a new farm, business, and set of relationships, this year was the driest in California’s recorded history. That’s hard for dry farming — relying only on rainfall for water. I’m trying to farm in a way that doesn’t stress our dwindling resources, but that means crops get stressed and yield less than the kind of agriculture that takes water away from everyone and everything. But I want to leave water for my neighbors, of human, animal, and plant kind. There’s so little to go around nowadays.

I want to minimize importing nutrients. When we import, the greenhouse gases emitted increase the problems we’re trying to mitigate. But producing nutrients locally takes time. I’m starting with the straw left my the grains. On that I’ll layer wood chips and grape pumice from nearby farms and vineyards. The mycelium from the grape pumice will help decompose the wood chips. Without rain, it may take years, but this is an important foundation. It’ll retain moisture that will be essential for farming. We must be patient if we want to eat and to grow food without adding to the problems that leave us parched and hungry.

There’s still much to do with little time. Onwards!


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