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  • Published Articles - Consensus - North Country News
    and quickly learned But like so much else about D Acres Farm Educational Homestead reality just isn t that predictable nor that narrow nor that simply explained At least at first My wager though is that our system of consensus decision making sharing responsibility maintaining accountability and developing skills well it asks the individual to flourish while also strengthening community The process of consensus and collaboration can present its challenges yes There are always varying levels of experience knowledge and age to balance and personality strengths weakness must be considered While the buck stops here is applied to everyone each individual is given the skills and the support to fulfill that responsibility As opposed to a more hierarchical power structure consensus cultivates teamwork clear communication cooperative processes mutual respect tolerance and diversity So here at D Acres that means we sit together each Monday afternoon and work through our plans for all the details we need to cover From who s feeding the pigs to who s doing the laundry from who s weeding the kale to who s splitting the wood we talk it out until we re all on the same page This is how I know what to do each day and why it s not a simple answer to who s in charge We work together plan together learn from each other and hold each other accountable It s a proverbial two way street for sure But this is just scratching the surface Far more explicative tomes have been penned on consensus and group processes If you re interested however be it for personal use or for a specific organization you are part of here s what I recommend Check out Cultivating Collaborative Processes Tools for Cooperative Decision Making a training session we are hosting Saturday

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/consensus.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Night Sky - North Country News
    Which is to say I saw ring nebulas and other galaxies double stars and the moons of Jupiter southbound geese and maidens chained to rocks Okay that last duo took some advanced skills at connect the dots nevertheless the whole affair was impressive and fascinating Talk about long distance vision It made me think of a quote by farmer and activist Wendell Berry that goes as follows Here as well as any place I can look out my window and see the world There are lights that arrive here from deep in the universe A man can be provincial only by being blind and deaf to his province Berry has eloquence on his side for sure But in my simple walk through the North Orchard past the pond under the rose and up up up to the windows of the silo the stardust in the sky and the garden dust in my pockets don t seem so disparate There is of course the science of elements and minerals and galactic dust the right ratios of which allow us to be as we are alive in this galaxy on this Earth that houses us And there is too a philosopher s wonder the juxtaposition of life s small details unfolding under stars so very many light years away I suppose I lean more to the latter simply because the awe of metaphysics comes more naturally to me than the equations of physics But whether you consider yourself a scientist or a romantic or are stuck somewhere in between there are still innumerable dusty stars and countless grains of dusty soil We each have to make our own sense of that I suppose It strikes me as a reminder of our human humility and smallness but also of the vastness of Life

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/stardust.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Garlic - North Country News
    are filling our days as we race against ourselves to finish before the snow flies The top floor of our barn used to dry herbs during the hottest months is emptying out as the cool weather and short days descend It is a unique place filled with antique farming tools larger than life papier mache puppets second hand skis dishware old clothes And for much of August and September garlic Yes garlic Tied in bunches with baling twine strands upon strands of garlic heads were hung in three tiers across the top floor room The highest strands required an 8 ladder the bottom willing knees and lots of crawling Warm days and the passage of time dried it well and the dedication of many hands over many hours have accounted for the roots being trimmed the stalks cut off and the heads sorted by size and quality This season s cloves passed through the hands of a summer leadership camp group a high school service class international travelers local volunteers and of course your usual D Acres folks Our garlic heads have heard talk of the next school dance plans for dinner hopes for a nap demands for lunch Guatemalan massacres Angolan politics city trends art museums post colonial religiosity and plenty more to fill in the spectrum World peace has yet to be achieved and the meaning of everything is not quite answered once and for all but then again we do have next year s garlic to figure out the big questions In the meantime we have scores upon scores of pounds of garlic on our hands some for planting some for eatin some for selling By Columbus Day we ll have planted clove after clove into the ground in preparation for early spring growth Through the winter

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/garlic.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Pond Ecosystem - North Country News
    stock of memories while the ponds and aquatic niches we are creating are just beginning to take root With our brand new watering holes we are beginning to capture available water to a much greater extent We are also cultivating a sweet cannonball spot It s been a process of seeding in rye alfalfa and clover watching the water level gradually rise welcoming the increased sunshine on that zone of the property and growing accustomed to the changed path of sound Though we will pretend not to hear it the ring of the telephone can now reach us in the lower garden The homestead s acoustics have also been revamped with the bullfrogs peepers and crickets blasting their cacophonous symphony from their all natural amphitheater We have VIP seating whether we want it our not Nine ducks arrived in July their house was built in an evening their fence cobbled together from bedsprings and scraps of fencing the following afternoon They took well to the water their inaugural swim filled with full on dives head bobs and wing flaps They have this back scratching maneuver that is particularly entertaining Nine piglets the numbers being mere coincidence are the most recent addition again with a fixed up suite and re used fencing Next year s bacon is growing fast while rooting and fertilizing oh so effectively They are the consummate garden bed preparers So these are the most visible signs of the area s transition But there s more We hold the next steps in our heads ready to bring each to fruition as the seasons allow Irrigation and fire suppression graywater filtration cultivated aquaculture terraced gardens orchards hydropower wind power swimming spots backyard skating For now though these earthen swimming pools have seen their first summer come and go We

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/ponds.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Labor Day - North Country News
    weekends Pleasant weather ensures a crowd and holidays rapidly inflate attendance And in no time at all the next holiday weekend will be upon us the one which signals so many things the end of summer and the beginning of autumn a return to school apple season fall foliage the approaching cold the coming frost I am thinking of course of Labor Day There is a none too short history behind this national day off one told in the annals of struggle striving and worker agitation It is a history worth knowing even if textbooks don t give it more than a cordial sentence My interest herein however lies more with labor today My labor your labor our labor Think of it So very many hundreds of millions of us across fifty states know with barely a second thought that Labor Day is synonymous with vacation or at least with overtime pay that the banks are closed and the postman not making his rounds But what of our labor How are we engaged each day and from what exactly are we briefly released It s sort of funny isn t it that one day off is supposed to satiate us for a year of labor in a system that well may not have our best interest at its core Do you know what I mean It s a matter of perspective surely but it would seem that it is all too easy to end up working for money s sake in order to maintain the basics of a comfortable living Yet we the people are at times left with so little control over the factors determining the terms of said comfort Okay so this is getting into some themes that far outstrip the 500 word quota lucky for you So

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/laborday.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Food Sovereignty - North Country News
    there she went on to describe food conglomerates and their total control There were no possibilities aside from international corporations and they dominated throughout the country If you want milk there s only one option if you want water there s only one option Water is un potable from the sink wells are no good you have to buy it and local water is a rare commodity People have no control she emphasized but also no information They don t know don t understand what is happening But here here in America here in New Hampshire here in the Northcountry we do have information and so we can understand that our local food economy is under assault For the moment we do have water that is still potable We do have choices in the milk we drink or the meat we cook We have apple trees that we can relish We mustn t take these options for granted Originally this piece was about our weekly harvests here at D Acres No English major I purported to create some idyllic scenes involving dew morning sun and lush gardens I maintain that such an image is nonetheless fairly close to accurate and that the variety of produce we reap is a beauty not to be overlooked We still trot out with our wooden baskets under our arms we still celebrate a plentiful harvest From purple string beans to pink chard from the deep green of zucchini to the passionate red of jalenpeños from the crispness of apples to the run down your chin juiciness of plums harvest days are a sensory treat I ll still mention our Harvest Preservation workshop to be held here at D Acres 10am 12noon on Saturday August 28 but this is urgent folks We must once again

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/foodsovr.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Piglets - North Country News
    do now One of our sows had piglets Ten of them In the field and sooner than we were expecting She had herself intelligently positioned in the bottom corner a little nest dug into the ground Even while nursing she was on the lookout surveying alert ready to be on defense Unnecessarily perhaps as our boar seemed to know to leave well enough alone and the other sow found the day s assortment of mud and roots intriguing enough danger wasn t imminent There was merely one dead one the other ten piglets were very much alive Nine were big and strong with a tenth runt that immediately won us over with an underdog s charm Our new momma s hardest work was done Ours was just beginning Our prior litter less than two months old at this point currently occupied our pig house suite Where were we to put them Like all firstborns they were thrust from the spotlight to the sidelines in a matter of moments For ours this meant the bottom half of our greenhouse animal house chicken coop cob structure To get them there meant catching them And winning Now the last time I wrestled a pig I ended up riding it inadvertently as the pernicious oinker did 0 60 out of its cage with an alacrity unexpected of the average porker Granted our two months old piglets were smaller than the contestants of that virgin pig tussle but smaller also means a lower center of gravity and a cuteness that inserts hesitation into a forceful grapple No excuses though success was had and we returned to the field for Stage Two The big pigs were distracted with what else food while the momma sow was led inside the pig house with of course food The

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/piglets.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Berry Season - North Country News
    Acres Organic Farm Educational Homestead the development of perennial gardens and an edible forest landscape This means berries yes but also fruits nuts herbals and medicinals With time we ll glean an increasing number of calories from the land not to mention medicine wood micro climates and niche ecosystems with a decreasing quantity of manual input required each year Raspberries are just one example of this but quite the plentiful model for the moment Raspberries and now blueberries currants and gooseberries as well are rapidly coloring our various patches bushes thickets corners beds and roadsides Before too long it will be the cherries chokecherries and elderberries of the fall Deep reds blushed pinks dark blues dusky blacks and vibrant green leaves the splendor of sustenance and the colors of abundance are a sort of art in themselves A farmer s beauty perhaps that s all it is built right into the sweat and bugs of a day s work I take a moment to swat at some rouge flies and tuck a few stray hairs behind my ear My hands and now my shoulder and my ear are stained not with dirt for once but with the juice of overripe raspberries A few handfuls land so sweet and tart on the tongue an excellent treat but a couple of hours and four gallons later there is the decent conundrum of what to do with such surfeit Even with the farm s collection of apprentices visitors and overnight guests that s a hefty bunch of raspberries to plow through So we keep some for eating and freeze the rest to enjoy in less bountiful months By this point though we already have eleven gallons of raspberries stored up not to mention a few gallons worth of blueberries There s only so

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2010/berryseason.html (2016-05-01)
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