Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the Second week of the 2020 CSA Fall Extension! Just like during the regular season, the customization period begins once this notification lands in your inbox (which should be around noon on Friday) and will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, October 25th. Just as a reminder, if you'd like to change pick up locations for the share that is currently open for customization, please email Harvie support to request that change. Always feel free to double check with Holly to make sure the change was made. It is so important to the farm that CSA members have flexibility in their pick up location.
Our reservations for Thanksgiving Turkeys are ongoing, but always sell out early! Our birds are raised to high welfare standards, with GMO-free verified feed, as well as continuous access to fresh pasture, water and sunshine. Reserve one with a $25 deposit on our website: atgfarm.com.
This week's newsletter contribution comes to you from M Mueller and is entitled "Outer Work-Inner Work."
Every morning the farm has a morning meeting. We check in to see how the other is doing; we get down to business by hearing the latest orders for harvesting and packing; we receive the shape of the day from the farmers, that is, we learn what larger production needs are ready for the doing; we contribute to the group observations of areas that need attention, and these are added to the white board list of tasks; we collaborate on the animals’ needs, and we get ready to break for the fields.
But before we cast ourselves into the day, we read a short verse of poetry from Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul, a book of 52 verses written to be read one per week for each week of the year. Steiner wrote these verses for people who wish to bind their spirits more closely to the rhythms of the seasons and the unfolding of the year.
As farmers, of course, it is part of our livelihood to bind ourselves to the workings of the outer natural world. We feel the journey of the sun from earliest spring as it slowly rises more northward in the sky, building up warmth and daylight hours to which our crops respond by more rapid growth, until the summer solstice, when the days begin to get shorter, but the onrushing build-up of heat continues to fire up July and August, bringing our fruiting crops to perfection even as the year is beginning to wane. But this week the colors in the trees and the falling leaves and the smacking and rolling of walnuts and acorns across our tin roofs are all signs that visible nature is receding, sinking back into the earth, and that we must protect our crops under blankets and in high tunnels (greenhouses for growing crops), creating growing conditions for fresh greens which magically gather the lowering sun’s light and serves it up for us in a form we can put into our bodies by eating it. So as we remain ever attuned to these outer manifestations of the seasons, we can lose track of the inner cycle of seasons—what the seasons are in our souls. This is where those little verses from Rudolf Steiner come in.
If you think about it, the trajectory of the sun I just described is capable of building food that encases itself within a winter skin (think butternut and other winter squash, onions, potatoes, etc) and can be stored for winter eating. Within those skins is the high caloric winter fruits that help our bodies stay warm through the winter. The daylight fades, and with it our spirits can fade as the long nights creep upon us and the winter gets really cold. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could store the sunlight, just as the fruits do, to give us strength and warmth and light to carry on our work—our inner work—into the winter, when we finally have time to attend to ourselves! As it happens, Steiner gives us just that encouragement in the words of his verses.
Reading the Calendar of the Soul we receive words into our souls just like the earth around us receives the autumn leaves into her soil. Just like the dying plants tell the history of their high summer lives to the listening earth as they decay, so our attention to the sun and its summer effects can relay to our souls the fruits of those high days of summer that passed in long hot weeks of work that seem like a dream now.
So, this week we finally realize the beginning of the full blaze of inner sun as projected in Steiner’s verse. As you enjoy the vegetable fruits of summer, may you also be strengthened in your soul by recalling the might of the past season. It is still with you and will remain so throughout the winter if you only hearken to it! Rudolf Steiner writes: I can, in newly quickened inner life, Sense wide horizons in myself. The force and radiance of my thought — Coming from soul's sun power — Can solve the mysteries of life, And grant fulfillment now to wishes Whose wings have long been lamed by hope.
Much Love and Happy Eating,
Holly, Andy and the ATG Crew