Allegan Historic Farm & Learning Center

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First of the year!!!

So grateful that our berries are thriving. These are from everplanting plants we had moved off the hugelkultur into beds.

We had lost ALL the Junebearing plants complete with our entire harvest last Memorial Day during a devastating heat wave.

Fortunately a new friend from Van'Kal permaculture generously shared hundreds of starts and we have new June bearing beds.

So grateful!!


Drum roll please! The trench is done! 90 feet of trench dug by hand. Yes, applause is appreciated. Bravisimo!!!

What? You are pointing out that the raspberries are hidden by weeds and the grapes, oh, the grapes are trailing everywhere and are a royal mess. You would point that out!

Okay fine. You are right. The grapes are a mess. Trench first, grapes second. A few years ago we thought we had help getting the grapes trellised. A couple of different men started to help us with post holes and the like, but each of them in turn expected to be paid in - well, you know. They saw two women farmers and thought.... okay, ah, let's not go there.

We ended having to be have like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi.

"No sex for you. Get away!"

So you see the grapes are going to have to be done by us, or probably me, by myself. Am I crying? Well, a little. I mean, I just dug a trench for goodness sakes! You people.

Am I being punchy? Well, wouldn't you be, if you were spending all day every day in the sunshine hanging out with bees and butterflies and snakes and this strange little biplane like creature that keeps flying around and around and around. I think it might be a drone. Or a dragon fly. Nah, a drone for sure. Probably checking out the trench, wondering if warfare or another hugelkultur is being planned.

Not sure which, but that's all I got.


So, the other day I was happily listening to a Radio Lab episode on dinosaurs and sifting through a compost bin, when a shovelful revealed a nearly completely white snake curled in a corner of the bin.

Startled, we both looked at each other and then hightailed it out of there as fast as we could travel. Unfortunately, it was in the same direction since there was only one way out.

I wished that I hadn't run so fast, because it was a truly beautiful snake, probably the most beautiful snake I have ever seen - a Common Milk Snake, I think, which is a type of King snake.

When I came back to the bin to find her or him, there was a garter snake waiting for me. Well, actually, he was just sunning himself. It's just me who thinks the compost bin could be used for something besides a snake lounge.

All that and I never did find out how the dinosaurs were really killed.

Here is a fellow we spotted lounging under our feet a few weeks ago.

Snakes, snakes, snakes and butterflies. That's what we're growing this year.

Photos from Allegan Historic Farm & Learning Center's post 06/29/2018

You don't think of potato and tomato plants as weeds, but they are in the garden this year. The rascals are everywhere - in the strawberry beds, in the kale patch, even in the cracks of the garden boxes.

They're such big show off's.

"Ooo ooo, look at me. I'm so big and pretty and I planted myself. Ha ha."

I can't argue with them. I mean, I can say, "Okay, fine, I'll grant you that, but you've been eating up all my good compost and those expensive micro-nutrients I put down and top of that you are shading the lettuce."

"The lettuce likes it."

See! You can't argue with that. You can try, but they always win.

The potatoes are so greedy with space, that I am leaving them where they are at and planting around them. The tomatoes on the other hand, I may move, except I have to build a garden for them. So, they are making work for me, those rascals.

The radishes seeded themselves, too. Fine I thought, I'll just eat you. They ended up with the last laugh. They are hot. My mouth was on fire.

Today the garden gets the last laugh. They have even convinced the lettuce to try going rogue.

Photos from Allegan Historic Farm & Learning Center's post 06/30/2017

I tackled recipes and patterns from an early age, but never ventured into furniture making and wood working. Until now. This week, I cut out the wood for 12 sets of these bench/picnic table combos. The goal is to keep six sets on the farm for events there (and future eco-weddings) with the rest free to sell and/or trade.
If you are interested, PM me. They are really cool. I love the design.

The Light Game Launch Party and Celebration 04/04/2017

The Light Game Launch Party and Celebration

It's here!

The Light Game Launch Party and Celebration

The Light Game 03/11/2017

The Light Game

Our latest batch of maple syrup is done! It is really lovely.

Would you like one of those sweet little jelly jars? I want to make buying a book extra sweet and what better way than sharing our maple syrup. Last week I ordered 50 copies of my book, The Light Game. 10 copies are already pre-sold, that leaves 40 copies unclaimed for this very first edition.

Order one of these copies or order online via Amazon and I will add your name to a drawing to win one of the only six jars of maple syrup made this year. Rare and delicious. From our tree near the old barn yard, so untouched by any chemicals of any kind. Boiled and strained to perfection by my own hands (well, as near perfection as you can get boiling and straining.)

Anyway, I want to make buying a book sweet, as well as fun. So, order your book from me or via Amazon and I will add your name to a drawing for a jar of this sweet syrup. Sophia said we should add a dozen of free range eggs, but she doesn't realize how hard it would be to send those to the mail. :D

Thanks to everyone who has already ordered. Cheryl Walsh, Michele Alves, Carolyn Randall, Eric Knight, Emily Alix Fano, Jackie Magee Miller.

The Light Game What if life is a game and there is only one rule? What if there is evidence of this truth all around us all the time? Why does anything matter? Join Maria and Haley, an organic farmer and her young intern, as they plant, mulch and harvest while pondering the realities of permaculture, joy, and s...

Timeline photos 01/23/2017

Roz Linsea recently posted this beautiful graphic. It is perfect. Let it be the rallying cry for the next big gathering of hearts as we call attention to the needs of our Mother Earth and the harm being inflicted on her. A harm that disportionately impacts the most vulnerable and fragile among us.

April 29th is the global People's Climate March. It immediately follows and is followed by important days of action. It will be a time to think about our roles and the ways we can make the most good. More details to come.

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony 12/20/2016

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony

Quilt complete! Arts and Eats! And a new book!

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony

Between the Lines: The Light Game 12/20/2016

Between the Lines: The Light Game

My interview with WMUK's Zinta Aistars airs today. It was wonderful to talk about plant diversity, permaculture practices and our interconnectiveness with all of life. Here is the link to the story. I loved how it gave a shout out to so many great people and thinkers.

Between the Lines: The Light Game Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Can we change our path through life or are we doomed to hit every obstacle head-on? When Mary Colborn decided

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony 10/12/2016

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony

Quilt complete! Arts and Eats! And a new book!

Blessing our Farmers Ceremony

The Light Game 09/10/2016

The Light Game

My latest book is available for free for five days starting today and running through Wednesday. Here is the link. Enjoy!!!

The Light Game Two women, one an organic farmer and the other her young intern share thoughts and confidences while they’re working on an organic farm. They find delight in the interdependence of permaculture and the beautiful results of hard work while getting deeper into each other’s stories and...

The Light Game 09/09/2016

The Light Game

I modeled the farm in my new book The Light Game on our farm. Set on an regenerative organic farm, the story is told through garden metaphors and dialogue between two women, an organic farmer and her young intern. Here is the link. I am offering it for free starting tomorrow, World Suicide Prevention Day in honor of all the work compassionate people are doing everyday to prevent suicide. Since farmers have such a high suicide rate, it seemed fitting. Hope you enjoy it and if you do, please leave a review!!.

The Light Game Two women, one an organic farmer and the other her young intern share thoughts and confidences while they’re working on an organic farm. They find delight in the interdependence of permaculture and the beautiful results of hard work while getting deeper into each other’s stories and...

Timeline photos 06/14/2016

So excited to share this design with you. Remember when I asked people to vote for the best design and everyone voted for something different? We couldn't find a design that would fit all those names and still look great.

Well, this weekend, I met a master quilter at a graduation party and she committed a supreme act of kindness. She whipped out her laptop, plugged in a special quilt program, pulled up heirloom fabric patterns, took note of the hopes for the design and Voila!!!

Here it is! A preliminary idea of what the barn quilt will look like. Now, picture it with names in each of these sections with our logo in the center and the motto around the edge. It is a log cabin design. The reddish squares symbolize the hearth of a home. You can see a "friendship star" in the center. That's where our logo will go.

I am so happy. Happy, happy, happy. This summer - an unveiling and a big celebration to which everyone will be invited. Yes!!! Now, it's just a matter of pulling it into Photoshop or another design program to add the names to the squares. The names of over 100 farmers will grace it once it is finished and on the barn. Hallelujah!!! Dance of joy!!!


Dear small volunteer potato plants,

You have made your point. I am a lousy harvester. I'll admit it's my fault. Still, while I don’t know how to say this, the truth is I can't have want you in the garden bed any longer. I know. I know. I applied all those wonderful soil amendments and added that great rich soil and you thought it was just for you. I understand how it must have seemed that way. It got so inviting in there, that you couldn’t stay away, but I need to ask you to try. Please, for me. You see, I mean, you know, it’s time for me to move on to new vegetables.

Oh, no, no, no! It’s not that I don’t love you. I mean, you know, I do. A lot. Maybe too much. You look especially cute with that purple on your leaves. You know how much I love that special anthocyanin pigment. Yes, it is my favorite and you do wear it well. It’s just that, little volunteer potato plants, it is time for me to move on and try something new in that garden space. There I’ve said it. We’ve made a great partnership in our time together and we did sell a lot of Yukon Gold to those chefs in Grand Rapids, but I was thinking of trying green beans this year. Yes, green beans.

I know. I know. What do green beans have that you don’t have? And, yes, yes, you are right. They don’t make French fries. It’s just that, I feel that, you know, it’s time to move on for both of us. It’s time to try something new. I will help you find a new place just as good. I promise. I know it is hard for you. You were there already and got a head start and I know how much it must pain you when I keep digging you up and taking the small potatoes under you and boiling them for dinner. I know that it practically killed you to have me turn some of your young ones into potato salad for Memorial Day, but I had to do it. I’m so sorry.

Once again, know that it is not because I don’t love you. I really, really do. That’s probably part of the problem. I love you too much and I let you take over the gardens (yes, I am saying gardens) in the past, and in some ways a good part of my life. We’ll always have that season where you got a bad case of Colorado Potato Beetles and I spent more hours than I care to admit picking them off of you and crushing them with my fingers until they turned sticky black. I know that meant a lot to you. So, know that we’ll always have the beautiful memories we made together. You and me. Know that you will always have a special place in my heart, dear little volunteer potato plants. Good bye and good luck.





2566 122nd Ave
Allegan, MI

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