This month, we are celebrating our first year of tending the land at Cypress Road. It was one year ago that Julia Bartlett (our wonderful land matron) so generously and enthusiastically allowed us to start farming the plot on Cypress Road. In preparation for the rains to come, we painted the tool shed fire-engine red, hung a disco ball for good measure, and neatly organized our tools. Soon, all matter of activities from fence building, to greenhouse construction, to soil preparation would have the once tidy tools in our shed lying scattered about. Out of necessity, we embraced the disorder. Once the field was planted, the entire farm became a haphazard quilt of tools, plants, piles, and parts. And in this disorder, there was a certain beauty that emerged.
We soon realized that there are weeds, and then there are Weeds. Determining which weeds were the friendly sort, we realized, is really a thing of skill and wisdom – learning how to discern the difference is something that takes practice. Things lying simply out of place might seem like Weeds, at first glance. But after a while, the trowel with the dirt on it, the gloves left on the potting bench, the kinked hose, dull scissors, drooping branch, puffy purple thistle seeds floating on the air…they all become part of the backdrop of the farm. Maybe bit of chaos can be ok!
For a person who loves the look of a place, I struggled with the constant onslaught of growth, rarely getting a chance to maintain the system of organization that we hadn’t had time to develop. And now, thankfully, we’ve come full circle. This month, we’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out and re-organizing, and our tool shed is back to being organized again. We have a new harvest preparation and cleaning area emerging, and more space to keep our tools out of the rain. Things are looking up!
We look back and see that a lot has happened this year!! Where one year ago there was a grassy field, we now have: two greenhouses, a deer fence, gates, a tool shed, a farm stand (for which we owe a huge thanks to the talents of Justin Goldwater), irrigation lines, automatic drip watering systems, compost piles (thanks to Pt. Reyes Compost and Cowgirl Creamery!), mulch piles, good soil, a drainage swale (thank you Duane Hope!!), and all the tractor implements and tools needed to continue the growth. We’ve had much help along the way – John Martinson spent many days last winter fixing up our 74-year old Ford 9N tractor. Our good friend and neighbor Mike Coffino put in a lot of his weekends helping build the fence and greenhouse. Many other hands helped us get the sod out, weed when the weeds were out of control, and prepare the soil for planting. People gave resources and housing, skills and time! And the use of land (thanks to Julia Bartlett)! Amazing! It has really been a community effort that there is now a vegetable farm in Point Reyes Station, where one year ago, there wasn’t one!
Now, the field is plowed, the cover crops are growing. Our winter crops are in. Hundreds and hundreds of strawberry runners are potted up in the greenhouse for planting in the spring. The gloves sitting on the potting table, the trowel lying out in the sun and all the other stray tools have been put back in the tool shed, safe for the winter where they belong. Now, we can start getting those seed catalog’s out for next season, and we can sit cozily with a cup of tea, dreaming about the future and planning for next year. We are thankful for this time when we can take a deep sigh of relief. This long season full of joyful work has ended! And still, daily, there are new changes to observe. It is a hopeful sight to watch and emulate the soil as it takes a breather, to lean in to the radio speakers as the weatherman delivers the weather forecast, and to wait, as the great rains we’ve been blessed with soak into that dark, mysterious sponge. Meanwhile, the cover crops sprout and reach to the sky, greening up the land. There are many more things we are thankful for.
We wish you all happiness and joy, as we celebrate the abundance that we have been blessed with, with good food, friends and family.
If you need anything from the farm stand, we will be stocking it daily through the winter with an assortment of wintertime veggies grown in the upper plot. And keep your eyes peeled for our new website! Soon to be completed.
As always – thank you for your support!
Best wishes and happy holidays –
Arron and Vanessa
Table Top Farm
33 Cypress Road
Point Reyes Station