Fish Pond Fish

What’s in a name? Back when Devon and I were courting and found ourselves (long story) in the Kenya’s Samburu Valley, she described a minor revelation that the place had for her. Years earlier, when she was reading Deliah Owens’ Cry of the Kalahari – yes, same Deliah Owens – she’d been annoyed at the…

We’re Going Nuts Here

Four years ago, there was a hailstorm the morning we put in all those chestnuts up on the hill. Next spring, on the morning of our hazelnut work party, the skies also opened up with hail and sleet. So it was only fitting that, with spring less than a dozen hours old, we’d wake to…

An Evolving Cast of Characters

The last time we had pigs on the farm was…not an optimal experience. It was a learning opportunity. It was a shining counterexample to the dictum that everything is either a good experience or a good story. But that was years ago (by using the plural, strictly speaking, I mean “more than one”). And I…

Windfall

If you were to ask the storm, it would probably say it got held up in traffic. Fall technically arrived yesterday morning at 6:30, but didn’t start in earnest until somewhere around midnight when everything blew sideways with scudding low clouds and drenching rain on a southeast gale. By the time it got light this…

Get Lost

Between the drive south, the week on the ship, a week in Palo Alto, a week driving Jem out to Missouri, flying back to California, driving back up the coast – (whew – I’m tired just thinking about all those miles!) – I managed to spend pretty much all of August away from the farm….

Meet Mitzi!

It’s not really a farm unless you’ve got a tractor and a truck, right? We bought our adorable Little Tractor That Could three years off a friend of a friend, but have been kind of scraping by on the truck front. No more. A couple of days ago we took delivery of Mitzi, a Mitsubishi…

First Harvest

I grew a thing! Lots of things, actually. And some of them are ready to eat! Given that we’ve had this farm for over four years, you might be forgiven for being surprised at my enthusiasm. But the thing is, I love it whenever anyone asks what we grow here at Natembea, because it lets…

Into the Woods

We were in the grip of a different national crisis when I wrote last month. I know that first one is still running amok and am anticipating that when I next get around to posting we’ll be in the midst of the cross product of the two. Or maybe a third, which worries me, because…

Darwin Stops By For Lunch

I don’t recall when I saw my first bald eagle. They were mythical beasts in my childhood, living in a far off place, commanding and powerful, but driven to near extinction by our wanton use of pesticides. A near-perfect emblem of our nation in the 1970’s for a boy who could spell “conscientious objector” before…

Spring

Spring has stumbled onto the farm like a loud drunk into a hospital waiting room. It doesn’t care that we’re pensive, that we’re taut against our own hopes, almost afraid to move for fear of upsetting the delicate and invisible unknown. That we’ve huddled together in our small groups, quietly giving and seeking comfort. Spring…

An Unreasonable Bounty

My week has been full of “shoulds.” I should write about John Prine. I should write about coronavirus. I should write about the tribulations of my particular family’s attempt to coordinate a Passover seder via Skype. I should write about the birthday of my late grandfather, Jack Cohn, who taught me the deep wisdom of…