By Dina It is Saturday and Thanksgiving is behind us. Erik and I are lounging around in our PJs reflecting on (and recovering from) what was a three-day knock-out parade of family bonding, farm-to-table values, and a few (rather large) surprises. We’re wiped out, but we’re feeling especially grateful. To explain: Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. There are the traditional foods, which make menu-planning a joyful variations-on-a-theme pursuit and the focus is on gratitude rather than acquisition (other than a third-helping of pie). But we also love Thanksgiving because, at... Read the Rest →
The Plough and Stars Project is a year-long narrative by us - photojournalists Erik Jacobs and Dina Rudick - chronicling our family's attempt to become first generation farmers through The Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts. It is a weekly story, told in two parts - words and photos - about the challenges of living our values through life on the farm, the inspiration that sustains us and the lessons learned throughout. The first day of Farm School began on October 4th. You can start there or dive right into this week's post. Either way, please be sure to follow the 'more photos' link at the end of each post. Thanks for visiting!
Our garden keeps many secrets. Even before we tuck our first seeds in the ground, stories are being written that will affect the lives of our soon-to-be seedlings. Soil structure and fertility, disease agents, weather, pH, are only a tiny fraction of the complex language of a plant’s life which, little by little, we’re starting to learn: Limp leaves? Needs water. Stunted carrots? Remove more rocks. Wet smelly compost? Add more browns. Buckshot Kale? Fertilize like crazy and cross your fingers. But no matter how much we water, listen, fertilize,... Read the Rest →
Mary Mary Quite Contrary How does your garden grow? With vermiculite and florescent light And 57 days worth of photos: (1,059 photos to be exact) This is the time of year when we step out of the house and into the garden and feel like heroes. The potential for a season of bountiful harvests is everywhere. Floppy green squash leaves fan out all over the yard. Curly bean tendrils reach out to grab hold of the bottom trellis rung. Shoots of corn stand proud and orderly in their weed-free beds.... Read the Rest →
Chickens get up early, poop a lot and waste a ton of food – all of which are problems for lazy chicken farmers, like ourselves. Over the two years we have owned our chickens, I have devised a few strategies that have allowed us to continue to be as lazy, or perhaps efficient, as possible. First of all, I have to give a shout out to Mark King of King’s Berry Farm who made us our coop. It is a project I could have done myself, but the time it would... Read the Rest →
Favorite things overheard recently: One early spring day one of our neighbors who was out walking her dogs and talking on the phone saw us at work in our garden and said to the person on the other end of the line, “Looks like the farmers market people are out working again.” And more recently, our mailman who seemed impressed with the gardens wanted to know if we sold our vegetables at Whole Foods. Deep down, I think we’re somewhat honored to be taken so seriously that we could... Read the Rest →
Spring has sprung early in Boston and by now I think it is safe to say that we got off easy this year. The snowblower we reluctantly bought after shoveling 80+ inches of snow last year only got one lap around the house and our daffodils began poking their heads up a couple of weeks ago. Spring however came even earlier to our basement, thanks to a new grow light recommended to us by family friends in the medicinal marijuana business: We have tried to plant early in the past to get... Read the Rest →