Greetings Farm Folk Friends –
The Michaelmas Daisies & Arrowleaf Aster are abundant in the fields at Zinniker Farm now. The Sedges & native grasses plumb with radiant spikes. The plantain like little ladders full & tall. So many tiny wild-flowers I couldn’t name in clusters under foot. And O those patches of stinging nettle, yep they were ready & willing to give us a healthy tingle in our limbs.
But before we ventured over to the sacred spots where the ground was already prepped by Farmer Mark for the Autumn interment, we sat together as a community on the hay bundles & filled the cow horns. Mark & Petra’s new pup Mia bounding between us with enthusiasm.
Then comes my favorite prep making activity – stuffing the long translucent cow intestines with Chamomile Flowers. A little girl there kept saying eww, but love everything about it.
It was unsually hot, in the 80’s with a clear blue sky. The Zinniker’s said it was also a very dry season.
There in the shade of the barn, we worked with the Deer Stag Bladders filling them with Yarrow Flowers.
Walking past the free ranging chickens & the pig pen, we paraded down to the magic spot where we always bury the horns in the Autumn. They transform there all winter long in a curation process that creates a deep rich, odorless humus that is full of life forces.
Next we brought the Chamomile sausages to the spot that gets the Winter Sun, but also allows snow drifts to build up, providing a steady melt come Spring.
Next the yarrow filled bladders were set to rest in their designated hole by a big circle of stinging nettles.
I asked Petra to speak about the qualities of the Stag & Yarrow, so we got a great overview which helped us add our human thoughts to these cosmic & earthly substances. The Antlers of a Deer Stag are receptors from the Animal Kingdom taking in the properties of the cosmos – the fixed & wandering stars – which Spiritual Science calls the astral world. Petra mentioned a special connection with the outer planets, especially Saturn. I got that impression when I handled the flowers.
Later I remembered that the ancients called yarrow ‘the eyebrows of Venus.’ And I wondered at that. But then I thought about how the flower, like the antlers, functions as a little chalice – a vessel for receiving the beneficence of the cosmos thru grace of the Plant Kingdom, connected with the etheric realm.
This enables the yarrow to concentrate trace minerals into the soil. It is also one of the best biodynamic preparations for detoxifying the earth.
As a regulator, yarrow pulls in fine dilutions of invigorating light substances from the celestial spheres, using Potassium & Sulphur to bring cleansing light forces into the soil. It carries organic materials like carbon & nitrogen into the organism of the farm, thru the soil, which forms the crops, which feeds the cows, who feed us.
Dr. Rudolf Steiner called yarrow “a miracle of creation…as if some plant-designer had used an ideal model in bringing sulfur into relationship with the other plant substances’ especially potassium”.
Steiner mentions another benefit: that by using the yarrow preparation in the compost, animals & humans alike will become more sensitive to their surroundings, & ‘any weakness of the astral body – the spirit’s ability to feel & carry forces, will be brought into balance.’
Spiritual Science is fascinating. It makes perfect practical sense. It works even if we don’t understand it all.
AND, these practices are enhanced when WE make the connections, adding our good thoughts & healing intentions. The more we realize the practical aspects of Biodynamic Agriculture the more we can awaken & apply our human responsibility of bringing culture to Agriculture.
We came back to what I like to call the social arena of the farm, there in the shadow of the barn, near Petra’s huge garden, & what used to be the milk house, where folks come now to get their eggs & meat & honey, & soap.
We took the prepared silica out of the old horns. Petra showed us the big flecks of gold in the powdery white substance. Horn Silica can be experienced as a sort of spray of sunlight, promoting vigor, while also reining in excessive growth. It adds a luminous crystalline quality to the plant life & reduces susceptibility to diseases.
Livestock benefit by feeding on plants that have received Horn Silica. The animals themselves become healthier, & the quantity / quality of meat & milk are improved.
Next we did a 20 minute Barrel Compost stir. I call it the Kitchen-Sink Prep. This is potent stuff. One of the most versatile carriers for all the biodynamic preparations.
As we took turns stirring, I brought out a few Michaelmas songs. And so we added our voices to the making & unmaking of the vortex in the stir.
Petra poured the Black Gold into buckets & we fanned out to spray the field, dipping & flinging our brooms in every direction making our way toward where the herd was grazing.
This year’s herd seemed more skittish than on other years. They weren’t as curious or attracted to our singing, but they loved the spray, as it certainly smelled like them.
As the Sun was turning the sky orangey pink, we gathered for a lovely potluck dinner. Chuck Ginsberg, president of the Zinniker Farm Stewardship Association (ZFSA) spoke about: Working to create an economically sustainable community support system so that Zinniker, the oldest Biodynamic Farm in America can thrive into the future. Mark and Petra Zinniker are doing their part keeping the soil rich so that the land can be fruitful for many more generations to come. But in the near future they will need to step down from running the day to day duties on Zinniker farm after 80 years and 3 generations.
And it is up to us to ensure that they and the next farm family can be supported. In order for this to happen our relationship to the farm needs to be different.
For many years, Hazel and I “purchased” food from the Zinnikers without thinking about ‘true price’ – what it actually costs to bring the farm to our table.
The truth is the Farmers are working 7 days a week, caring for the land, for the chickens, cows and pigs, the equipment etc…There are no days off, no vacations.
When you come to the farm you see the herd roaming the pasture, the chickens free-ranging naturally, the pigs rolling around in the mud, the bee boxes flourishing on the hill. You can sense the love and care given to the soil, bestowing vitality to the earth. It is alive with healthy microbial life which nourish in the pastures, inthe animals and in us!
In the factory farm model food prices are artificially low because they produce poor quality industrial food. When we connect the dots we realize that our health as a country is also very poor…Think of the pandemic, and the epidemics of Type II Diabetes, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Cancer. These health crisis’ are related to the chemicals and poisons used to produce low quality, big volume, highly processed food at under-valued prices.
Or maybe you shop at the high priced places like Whole Foods which is owned by Amazon! Is that really where you want to give your money?
I don’t know about you but I want to eat food that nourishes my body and soul. So
What has to change?
We must recognize that healthy sustainable farming practices cultivates healthier food, and that takes more financial support. But we can’t look at it like, Ok eggs are 6 dollars and that’s that. We have to get rid of the old paradigm that we are purchasing food – that the farm is a commodity – and replace it with a new mind set.
We must value our farmers, who are priceless stewards of the land by supporting them beyond price.
As individuals we can look at our own family budgets & say yes, I can afford to contribute such & such an amount beyond price.
And then as a community, with each of us contributing what we can we all grow stronger.
On August 16, 2023 we took a formal step to create a new way. We incorporated Zinniker Farm Stewardship Association.
Supporting ZFSA can take shape in many ways.
Perhaps your financial resources are limited but you feel inspired. How do you want to help?
Perhaps your financial resources are bountiful, and you feel inspired to help others too?
Perhaps you are longing for community connection. What does that look like to you?
Do you have kids and want them to know where their food comes from?
Do you feel refreshed spending an afternoon in the country?
Maybe you want to contribute monthly like Hazel and I do on Zelle. Even giving what you would spend for a cup of good coffee can help.
You can contribute even if you don’t live near by:
Some folks use the Patreon page (although this company does take a fee)
Are you looking to change the world?
I’m ready! Are you?
Then after a stimulating conversation we circled round the bonfire, for our Michaelmas Festival: Food for Thought – Working from a 3-fold perspective.
In the Economic Realm we contemplated the Ideal of Mutuality, the spiritual Bounty found in sister/brotherhood. We tossed a ball around each taking a turn to look with gratitude & thankfulness at the spiritual gifts given to us by others that we are harvesting so far this year.
We could pair the ideal of Equity, from the Rights Realm, with the reality that in life we have to have boundries, sometimes we have to say Farewell to what no longer serves. We have to recognize what is over. Say good-bye & thank you. Seeing the equality & beauty of adding to the compost. We moved around the circle tossing herbs into the fire as a representative offering. I brought dried oregano, mint & sage from our garden, & Hyssop from Angelic Organics Farm for folks to choose from.
And looking to the Cultural Realm where science, art, spirituality & education brings the ideal of unselfish Freedom, we cultivate the seeds of the future. What do we want to Preserve? For this, folks took some of the dried herbs home, thinking about how their various properties enhance us.
We ended with a little community Speech work:
Forge me with fire, a sword for my smiting
Fright to my foes and flames for my fighting
Shape me a shield forceful and fierce
Stalwart and shapely to fend against fears
Strike me a spear of speed as a shaft
Fearless to fly as a shot to the start
Staunch be my front against fury assailed
Strong be my soul where the feeble have failed.
Driving back to the city listening to music by Ultra-Violet Archer. We had the bright waning Harvest Moon shining on our faces, leading the way home – completing one of the many arcs that connect us all on this Good Earth.
Thank you Petra & Mark Zinniker! What a Blessing to be part of this Beloved Community.
RUDOLF STEINER’S CALENDAR OF THE SOUL
translated (with added titles) by Roy Sadler
Natura, in the being of my will
I bear your soul of motherhood
and in my will enkindled firepower
my spirit impulses are tempered, steeled,
that feeling of the selfhood formed from them
bear I in me.
It is the last verse of the Baritone’s imaginative insight
to incarnate the spirit’s summer dreamtime gift. Next week
the Soprano will have the longing to find a new soul seed
that will inspire her to birth the Spirit Child at Christmas.
(The Soul Calendar’s voices – Tenor, Baritone, Soprano & Alto –
for the 4 quarters of the year were given by Karl Konig.)
The Sun Of The Soul
To permeate my depths of being
arouses longing, ardently divining,
that I, self-contemplating, find
I am the gift of summer sunlight in a seed
that germinating warms my autumn mood
with motivating power for my soul.
2 October 2023 – “Speaking with the Stars”: The bright waning gibbous moon glows near Jupiter. Also nearby is the Pleiades star cluster, one of the cosmic gems in Taurus the Bull. The moon will rise about an hour after sunset, so this eye-catching trio will be visible traveling across the sky together until dawn.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1869 – Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist & philosopher – referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national festival celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation”. It is one of the three national holidays of the country
1803 – Deathday of Samuel Adams, American philosopher & politician
1928 – The Opus Dei, is founded by Josemaría Escrivá.
1947 – Deathday of P. D. Ouspensky, a Russian mathematician & esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He shared the (Gurdjieff) “system” for 25 years in England & the United States, having separated from Gurdjieff in 1924 personally, for reasons he explains in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous, a recounting of what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. After Ouspensky broke away from Gurdjieff, he taught the “Fourth Way”, as he understood it, to his independent groups.
Gurdjieff proposed that there are three ways of self-development generally known in esoteric circles. These are the Way of the Fakir, dealing exclusively with the physical body, the Way of the Monk, dealing with the emotions, & the Way of the Yogi, dealing with the mind. What is common about the three ways is that they demand complete seclusion from the world. According to Gurdjieff, there is a Fourth Way which does not demand its followers to abandon the world. The work of self-development takes place right in the midst of ordinary life. Gurdjieff called his system a school of the Fourth Way where a person learns to work in harmony with his physical body, emotions & mind. Ouspensky picked up this idea & continued his own school along this line.
He finally gave up the system in 1947. (“A Record of Meetings”, published posthumously) “you must make a new beginning” after confessing “I’ve left the system”
All Souls in the City – Election Day 7 November 2023
Community Prep-Stir / Potluck / Bon-fire
Celebrating: The Festival of the Dead, & Martinmas
6 – 8 pm at the Lucchesi-Archer-Ginsberg domicile
Please Bring Food & Drink to share, & a jar for the prep
Save the Dates for Community Workings TBA:
The 1st New Moon after the Autumnal Equinox – Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, annular solar eclipse
The reprise of the Great American Eclipse Monday, April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse