ᐯIᖇTᑌᗩᒪ ᗯOᖇKᔕᕼOᑭ TOᑌᖇ
Our friend Ben Taylor came up for a farm + workshop visit early this last summer. These pictures he took capture the moment just before young + tender plants exploded into full chaotic late-summer abundance.
IMAGE ID: Side view of a wooden box bed of tidy young Calendula flowers, just a couple yellow/orange blossoms on each plant. In the background is Farmstead Hudson Valley's lush vegetable garden.
IMAGE ID: Top view of a box bed with a row of California Poppies only just beginning to bud, a center row of the tiniest parsley shoots possible, and a third row of baby Chamomile plants— small and leafy, with no flowers in sight. A red garden hose shoots water across the bed at the base of a single, tall orange Zinnia flower in full bloom.
IMAGE ID: A bed of Baby Marshmallow plants in two rows. Freshly watered with dark soil around the base of each little plant— they're short and there's lots of space between each plant, and no flowers yet. Two bright pink Zinnias punctuate each side of the bed, and a wire bunny sculpture inhabits the otherwise empty center of the bed.
IMAGE ID: A full bed of tiny but lush Tulsi plants, just starting to bud for the first time. Green leaves up against green grass on the ground— hardly any soil showing. Two fluorescent Zinnias (one yellow, one red) stick up in the front and the garden hose is curled up in a figure 8 beside the bed.
IMAGE ID: A bed of young tomato plants not yet filling out the trellis, all leaves no fruit.
IMAGE ID: Top view of a bed with more young tomato plants + some young leafy plants (borage, swiss chard, arugula) and one bright orange Zinnia peeking up at the edge. A pair of legs under a pale pink skirt can be seen in the background, through the leaves.
IMAGE ID: A nearly full view of the herb garden, wooden fence posts, field + blue sky. Remy stands in the center watering some tiny Lemon Basil plants with a handful of leaves, wearing a pink cotton smock over her green bathing suit + big brown clogs.
IMAGE ID: A big hot pink Zinnia blossom popping out in the middle of the frame, next to a wildly coiling leafy stem. Sparse Calendula blossoms standing at attention + fence posts made of fallen tree branches punctuate the background. Tree-lined horizon + blue sky dotted with white clouds.
IMAGE ID: Side view of a young Calendula bed in two distinct rows with hardly any flowers. A few weeks later the soil was fully obscured by tangled leaves + enough new blossoms to warrant daily harvest!
IMAGE ID: Another view of the same bed. Close shot of a big fluorescent orange Zinnia + a plush, glowing yellow Calendula blossom.
IMAGE ID: Box beds in cute rows on a bright green lawn. Top view of the Yarrow bed with the cutest young leafy plants (nowhere near flowering) spaced out in two rows, getting sprayed by the red nozzle of the hose. The third row is made up of (barely visible) tiny sprouts of Arnica that we really didn't think would make it! They survived their first season and should be producing flowers next spring. :~)
Our residency with Farmstead Hudson Valley marks our first real farming season (aside from a backyard bed in the city) and our first upstate summer, having just moved up in March.
Looking back, it's wild to see how sweetly contained everything looks. Almost like a video game garden.
Just a few weeks later the herbs were blooming + bursting over the edges of the beds and we were deep into harvest, processing herbs for our apothecary and for the Herbal Mutual Aid Network, an organization we co-founded in May.
The rhythmic excitement of waking up early to tend + harvest carried us lightly through summer. Every morning the plants brought us out in the sun to move with them. As they grew, we got stronger too. It was beautiful, busy, sometimes chaotic.
Abundance is work. It takes planning, organization, and the grounding support of community. The exhilaration of it all demanded balance, and compelled new respect for structure— a reminder that it can mean something creative rather than imposed from outside. Don't plant or harvest more than you can process.
This time of year we're slowing down to rest, finally having processed the last harvest + prepped the beds for winter. We're writing, formulating, designing, and taking time to reflect before planning next year's garden. :~)
IMAGE ID: Mostly empty cream-colored faux marble work table between two floor to ceiling supply shelves. There's a stack of small brown paper packages on the far end, with our fragile tape along each side.
IMAGE ID: A wooden floor-to-ceiling supply shelf loaded up with variously colored jars + bottles of herbs + extracts, and some jars of our Flying Ointment. Remy is bending down in the corner to grab something and you can see her way too big phone stretching out her back pocket.
IMAGE ID: A big shiny yellow plastic bag, spotlit by the sun, sitting on a chair up against the supply shelf, stuffed with pink-zippered ziploc bags of dried herbs. These were donated to us for the Herbal Mutual Aid Network. Home-grown Tulsi on the left, Damiana, and a big bag of pink + brownish Rose petals on the right.
IMAGE ID: Mid-work day chaotic but cute spread of a few glass jars (raw honey, Spilanthes flower + Goji berry tinctures) next to a cardboard box containing a bag of pink rose petals, drying screens and a bushel of Motherwort from the garden.
IMAGE ID: Close shot of 2 shiny silver-lidded glass jars resting on a cardboard box + leaning up against a tan safe. *Bright* red Goji berries floating on the left, next to fuzzy Spilanthes buds that have faded to yellowy-green-brown in the liquid.
IMAGE ID: Variously sized + colored + textured glistening jars of herbs stacked on the work table next to our steel tincture press, ready to strain.
IMAGE ID: Close shot of two of those jars, up against the tincture press + a translucent supply bin. On the left is a jar of tinctured Violet leaves + flowers we harvested on the farm, pale from extraction. On the right is a big jar of tinctured Chickweed we harvested out behind the barn where it carpets a whole hillside— a deep green concoction with visible stems + little flower bits settled on the bottom.
IMAGE ID: Remy's hands carefully pouring a jar of yellow-green goop into the basin of the tincture press (steel with a clear PVC hose) on a table top crowded with tools + supplies. It's a tincture of blended up Chamomile flowers from the garden.
IMAGE ID: Close shot of the jar in her hand— the mush has fallen forward and leans precariously over the lip of the jar, a single golden drop hovers in mid air.
IMAGE ID: Remy's hand reaching for the last two ointments
IMAGE ID: Busy table top covered in shipping boxes + a variety of donated products being assembled into Care Boxes for the Herbal Mutual Aid Network
IMAGE ID: Pet reveal :~) A small black poodle-ish dog waits by the door next to a big orange road cone + a luminous sheet of bubble wrap.
IMAGE ID: Remy looks over her shoulder at the camera as she operates the steel tincture press in a busy but cute (always) workshop scene. Shelves + tables crowded with gear + supplies + boxes.