Monday, May 28, 2007

David's Farm - The Beginning

"I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. No I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."

Well, this ain't Maggie's farm, it is David's farm. Well, technically it isn't his farm as he doesn't own the land. With respect and gratitude to the landowner (also named David; positive karmic energy), David is managing the farm. This entails doing the seeding, planting, tilling, weeding, harvesting, and all else that goes with being a farmer. For those of you unfamiliar with the life of a small, local farmer, it is arduous and time consuming. (David met landowner David through the local organic farm network. Despite his relative youth, David sold himself and was given the opportunity to manage the farm.) Farming is neither for the faint of heart nor for someone who is concerned with their hourly wage. For those who know of New Jersey through only the Soprano's, or the Newark area, New Jersey justifiably earns its state motto as the Garden State, so the notion of having an organic farm, actual in the area around Princeton, there are a number of organic farms. For those not familiar with organic farming in its current incarnation, the goal is to grow food without the use of chemicals and pesticides. This will be in the best interests of those eating organic produce as well as the land itself. Associated with the organic movement is the notion of locally supported agriculture. Most of the food we eat comes from, an average, of 1,500 miles of where we live. This means that much of the 'fresh' produce that you buy at your local grocery store isn't always all that fresh. And fresher does indeed tast better. What David is doing, along with the other organic farms in the area, is providing people with field to consumer food, eliminating various middlemen and reducing the added costs of transporting food for long distances. (By the way, in future posts I will list the produce that David is growing.) One way in which a community supports its local farm is to buy a 'share'; this means paying money up front and then picking up the produce that has been paid for on a weekly basis from early June through the end of October, early November. Well, there is more that I can write about, but I have gone on long enough. What I will be doing is providing a pictorial review of the growth of Gravity Hill from early spring through the end of the growing season. I will try and post pictures on a weekly basis, so, if you are interested, please check back on a regular basis. For those of you who might stumble on this site, feel free to post any comments or questions and will get back to you as time allows. For those of you who received direct notification of this site, get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions.

To all, healthy eating, peaceful days, and restful nights.

This is Hule; David's dog. I'll start with Hule as she is David's erstwhile companion. In addition to the usual stuff that dogs provide their owners, Hule guards the plants by hunting critters that would enjoy making a meal of David's crops. In particular she likes going after ground hogs. Go get 'em Hule.

This is the barn. This is David's apartment. No, as opposed to the last three years when David lived in a hoop house, no floor, no running water, an outhouse atop this structure is a gorgeous apartment (pictures to follow). The bottom half of the structure is the barn, an office, and three garages. David will be able to live here year round as opposed to the past three years where he would winter with the parents.

Stating the obvious, this is the kitchen. It has all of the amenities and, as you might be able to tell, a lot of cabinet space. There is more cabinet space here than in my home.

This is the den/family room. The picture doesn't do justice to how big the room actually is. The bed room is spacious, there is a closet for a stacked washer/dryer, the bathroom is of ample size, from where this picture is taken is the dining room, which is a nice open area, and there is an area for a desk and computer.

This is the future home of the green house. The whole process of getting the green house put together was long and frustrating. A friend told David that the second one that gets built will be easier. A shout out of thanks to all who had a hand in helping getting the structure completed. (Pictures of the finished structure will be posted in the future.)

This is a picture of part of the farm. This land will not be planted this growing season. It is a lovely area; quite scenic, very serene.

This is a view from the deck fronting the apartment above the barn. The land front left will be tilled, planted, and harvested. The owner of the property, who will be active in the farming process, put in all of the infrastructure- road, equipment, drainage, irrigation. He also purchased a significant amount of the necessary equipment. David would not be having this opportunity were it not for the owner of the property.

This is another scene of the land of the farm. This is still early spring; later pictures will better convey the beauty of the area.

This is another picture of the barn (stating the obvious). What you can see on the top of the roof are solar panels. They are also on the part of the roof that isn't quite visible. In addition to being organic, the farm is solar powered. Go Green!

A father and son moment. David's hand is resting on one of the 'hoops' that makes up the green house. The biggest challenge, among various challenges, was getting the posts that the hoops go into to be level. Having the right tool makes all the difference. Once a laser level was used, the type that are used by surveyors, things went more smoothly. Various stumbling blocks delayed the completion of the task, but eventually the green house was completed.

As you will see in future pictures, there are eight of these hoops that needed to be assembled. They are then covered with plastic and a front and back wall are constructed. Thanks to all who helped in getting the green house built.

Just another scenic view. At the date of this posting you can not see the house thru those trees.

This is the front gate. I choose to end at a beginning. I invite you to return to check out the growth and development of Gravity Hill Organic Farm in beautiful Titusville, NJ.

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