First Friday of the month at 5p.m.
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If you had a 1972 yearbook from Fresno’s Ahwahnee Jr. High, you might find a picture of the “Ecology Club” planting some trees around what was then, a brand new campus. Of those pictured, one became a high school English teacher, another a masseuse at Whole Foods Market, a third became a lawyer for Enron, another came to write a weekly vegetable newsletter and the star of our club became an engineer for California ￼Department of Water Resources, later with the Regional Water Board, where she supervised the Compliance and Enforcement Unit in the Board’s Fresno office. JoAnne remained the truest to our “Ecology” roots and I’m so proud to have known her all these years after she, once again, shined the light on some local dirty doings.
– denesse read story: bit.ly/19UP2W9
Only a few days ago, our winter kale and beets yielded their ground to the seedlings of summer; tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and melons will soon prosper in that same ground. The generosity of living soil is unfathomable, it is eager to grow anything and seems indiscriminate in offering a chance at life for both food crops and weeds. – denesse
My friend, Cecilia Sheeter, once described a moment of evening light when one feels as if its “thick golden sheen could be scooped out of the air.” To me, the spring air has that same feel, it is dense with all the promise of a new year. Bud break in grapes is my favorite week of this, my favorite season. A field of nascent green is suspended over the earth on a squat army of gnarled trunks. Years of past mistakes, misgivings, and missed opportunities are the wood of the vine, nourishing the tender young shoots. Their vigor holds so much enthusiasm; even our human losses seem diminished. This is Mr. Willey’s most stressful time of year. To him, all that spring potential is fraught with tension, danger and toil. With literally hundreds of tasks, for dozens of crops, to be completed in an ever-narrowing window of time and temperature, deciding each day’s priorities seems perilous. “Silty, sandy, muddy Earth, we savor God’s ardent endowment in you. Make us worthy stewards of your robust gifts, in wonderment and fright we witness life renew.” -denesse
We have just planted our first cucumbers and tomatoes under protective row covers. With continuing dry weather, we plan to transplant over 100,000 seedlings coming out of Kenny Lucero’s greenhouse over the next six weeks. Where winter crops have grown, Mr. Willey conducts the highly choreographed, rapid transition of shredding, discing, chiseling, bed-forming and mulch-laying that are key to the productivity which allows us to employ nearly 50 people year round on our 75 acres. People, machines and nature in concert, feeding you the best! – denesse
The soil now gets a rumpling soft and damp, And small regard to the future of any weed. The final flat of the hoe’s approval stamp
Is reserved for the bed of a few selected seed.
There’s seldom more than a man to a harrowed piece. Men work alone, their lots plowed far apart,
One stringing a chain of seed in an open crease,
And another stumbling after a halting cart.
To the fresh and black of the squares of early mould The leafless bloom of a plum is fresh and white; Though there’s more than a doubt if the weather is not too cold
For the bees to come and serve its beauty aright.
Wind goes from farm to farm in wave on wave, But carries no cry of what is hoped to be.
There may be little or much beyond the grave, But the strong are saying nothing until they see.
1936 Robert Frost