Sunday, July 18, 2010

Growing Healthy Soil AND Organic PEI Produce


This week the blog shares a few snapshots from the fields, gets you ready for what's soon to be coming from the farm and a NEW PODCAST takes you on one of our regular walks in the field.

Susan shows off her multi-colored yarrow in the perennial herb garden, a mixture of culinary and beneficial herbs that she tends in our "kitchen garden".  Also includes tarragon, mint, oregano, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary and others that we harvest for friends and fine meals.
One of our experiments this year includes growing small plots of grain.  We planted heritage organic/non GMO oats, barley and field corn.  The harvest of these crops is going to be done "old style" by hand.  We're still not sure how this all works, but you see, sometimes you just have to toss your hat over the fence. 
Our rows of feed corn are planted much less densely than most for a reason. We used the simple tools we have and took care to keep our plants spread apart to reduce the demand for fertility in the soil.  We're doing what we can to learn from the ground up and take it slowly.  What we learn this year, will prepare us to take the next step. This is yellow dent corn, a heritage variety from the 1840's. Growing these big corn plants with a long season means we're taking some chances on this old time variety.  The payoff is in producing a harvest of open pollinated seed to plant next year. 
As I mentioned in the podacst, this is a row of cucumbers planted in a bed row which was planted in green manure last summer.  The oats and vetch were mowed down and disc-ed into the soil.  The plant material is still breaking down to feed these young plants. If you click and enlarge the picture you'll see mushrooms popping up to help breakdown organic matter and transfer nutrients to the plants and to beneficial organisms in the soil. Behind them is a row of white clover that is also acting as bee pasture - attracting pollinators into our crop rows to ensure each flower produces on these plants. This biological activity is exactly what we're after.

Coming in the next week - we'll be moving from planting, weeding and cultivating to picking and harvesting sweet peas, yellow beans and that delicious, tender summer squash. 

Follow the blog for more on what we have for you! If you happen by our farm on Rte. 17 in Murray Harbour North, PEI, look for our roadside sign to tell you you what's fresh and healthy from the farm! 


You are welcome to add our podcast to your online or broadcast programming. All I ask is that you contact me to let me know your broadcast plans/needs and I will do my best to cross-promote your program on this blog. You support healthy soil and organic farming when you support organic farmers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The California Dream: Kelly and Regis Come to PEI

I heard today that some islanders are selling their free tickets to see Regis and Kelly when they broadcast live in PEI.  I have to smile.  And I want to share something with my island neighbors about what all this California dreamin' means - and remind them of what they already have.  

After I left radio, I worked in my own commercial recording studio in Santa Barbara.  I wrote and produced radio commercials, voiced audio for film and television and worked in sessions where I  recorded projects for blockbuster films,  famous actors and models, voice talents, authors, adventurers, Hollywood studios and wanna be's.

About 8 years ago, I had spent the Christmas break on our farm in PEI.  It was a magical time with our young sons. We cut our own Christmas tree from our woods (instead of buying it at Big Wave Dave's Tree Lot), and we spent time in the snow exploring our new home.  A couple of days after we got back to California, I was scheduled to record a commercial voice session with Dennis Miller.  At the time, Mr. Miller had left Saturday Night Live and was working as an announcer on ABC's Monday Night Football. Mr. Miller has a home and family in SB.

Mr. Miller had a bit of a reputation for being gruff and difficult to work with. I never saw that in all the times I worked with him. On this session I came in a bit hung over but ready to make sure the studio was in order. Reputation or not, I knew there would be no excuses for not getting things right; we were connecting to a commercial studio in New York.  I was introduced to Mr. Miller as I was setting up the mic booth and he said, " how are you today Johnny?  "Delirious" I said.  He laughed.  And we began the session.

The laugh broke the tension for me and things went well.  During a break in recording, while the clients in New York were reviewing the takes, I turned off the mic.  "So how was Christmas?" I asked, trying to strike up some mild conversation to pass the time while we waited for New York. There was an unhappy pause. 

"I was in Pittsburg"

At that moment, a light went on in my head.  I had just spent a glorious and memorable Christmas with my wife and children at home on our farm.  He had been in Pittsburg, watching an NFL game and making ludicrous money from ABC.  But he missed Christmas. Funny, huh? It was the moment I realized that all these people I saw on TV and sometimes even worked with at the studio were missing out on something my wife and I held more dear than money. Over the years, I found many of these charming, highly paid and talented men and women were working hard to make enough GET OUT.  We gave up a good deal of money when we chose to leave all that behind and come here. Now we have what islanders have and what so many well paid celebrities don't...we have our own lives in a beautiful place.

I remembered that today as I was weeding corn and soy beans in the heat. And then I heard on CBC radio that John Corbett would be guesting on Regis and Kelly, here on the island. I laughed out loud.  John Corbett and I have worked together over three years in the studio.  The last time I saw him, I told him I was leaving Santa Barbara and moving to our farm in PEI. I described it to him and told him how much we love it here.

And now, Mr. Corbett has found his way to the island.  Maybe it's just co-incidence.  He is promoting a new film he shot in Canada. So probably just a fluke right?  He and Bo Derek live on her beautiful horse ranch in Santa Ynez.  She is a kind and graceful woman who would sometimes accompany John to the studio (and sometimes did her own work with us.)  She is a master horse woman and I think she loves the country and the outdoors. He is a son of Wheeling, West Virginia who has a touring band. He loves to sing and play country music. Could they have chosen to come here? Will they find their way back home to PEI?

Why not?

Take it from me, for some of us, the California dream doesn't end in California.

And if you live here, you don't need tickets to a TV show to find out why Hollywood is coming here.

Will  I try to track down John?  Well, maybe.  He's a great guy and I'd love to show him our little bit of the him what we love. But I think I might just let time and the island work that out.
I've got corn to weed.

UPDATE: 7.13.10

I watched the 15 minutes "Live" posted on line of Monday's show.  Really enjoyed it.  Regis and Kelly and the Live crew really did a nice job. And compliments to Tourism PEI as well.  They are doing a great job of  showcasing PEI. 

And I did contact John Corbett. He's only making a brief stop for the Thursday show but I offered him our hospitality and a welcome to PEI.  After's the island way.