* Alchemy Farmhouse *

Seed Saving Workshop
July 26, 2008, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
* * * Hudson Valley Seed Library’s Seed Saving Workshop * * *
Ken Greene of HVSL with a fowl friend at Phillies Bridge Farm, New Paltz

Ken Greene of HVSL with a fowl friend at Phillies Bridge Farm, New Paltz

Today I had the pleasure and good luck to attend a seed saving workshop at the Phillies Bridge Farm in New Paltz, taught by Ken Greene of Hudson Valley Seed Library.  The HVSL is an amazing project rooted in the ideals of locally grown food, and thus, locally-saved seeds.  As with a printed-material library, seeds can be ‘taken out’ , grown for the season and then returned as seeds once again. Seeds can also be purchased. The seeds of locally-grown plants are better-able to adapt to the weather and soil conditions of this area and this also prevents unnecessary carbon usage by shipping ‘foreign’ [not native] plant seedlings, seeds, or  the fertilizers/chemicals needed to sustain plants not suitable to our environment in the Hudson Valley. The project is so much more than that though, and much more than I can sum up in a blog post. So thank you Ken and everyone else at HVSL for doing what you do for our community, and do check out their site and consider becoming a member or attending a fun workshop!

I have perused some books and websites on the topic, and had even tried it myself a few times through trial and error, but I was really ready to get a better grasp on the topic and put it to practical use. Ken is really the go-to guy for this stuff in our area, so I was fortunate to attend today. He taught us that one of the first basic concepts to understand with seed saving is the individual plant’s life cycle, and how to pay attention to the stage it is in and determine when to collect seeds. There were many different pollination techniques discussed, a hands-on investigation to discover male and female plant parts, and demonstrations of seed preservation methods. Overall, the experience was eye-opening to the endless sea of information that exists to this topic. I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise to me, considering  all the bits and pieces of massive plant data that have filtered in and out of my life in the past several years as I have read and researched these topics.  If I could only remember them all exactly when I needed them…Now a whole new topic to get geeky about!

checking lemon cucumber plants for male and female flowers--a necessity for seed saving

checking lemon cucumber plants for male and female flowers--a necessity for seed saving

At HVSL, flower and herb seeds are saved, as well as vegetable seeds

At HVSL, flower and herb seeds are saved, as well as vegetable seeds

The other fantastic aspect of today’s workshop was that Carrie Schapker, a certified health counselor with Inner Compass prepared a 30-mile lunch for us! Most of the ingredients were locally grown and organic from within 30 miles of our site. The food was beautiful and tasted outrageously good, as well as being super-nutritious. Carrie does consultations with individuals and groups about nutrition programs and how what you eat affects your whole being. Thanks Carrie!

beautiful local lunch!

beautiful local lunch!

For more information on seed saving, check out Hudson Valley Seed Library

Seed Savers Exchange

Organic Gardening Forum


February 27, 2008, 8:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

SO I have been tagged by the fantastic artiste Liz…so here goes:

p. 123

Now the remnants of war are buried in the ground. Ten years ago, when my grandfather was turning up dirt for the first  strawberry bed in our Dacha plot, hit shovel struck metal–a foot long artillery shell, unexploded hibernating since 1944.  A sapper brigade loaded the rusted jacket onto an armored truck and hauled it away. 

-excerpted from Elena Gorokhova’s Belye in The Southampton Review, Volume I No. 1 Summer 2007

check her blog out for more details. This is fun for those of you who are into chain letters and all that jazz…


February 22, 2008, 10:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In the remaining hours

before the birthday becomes,

hopes and fears dangle

like the New Year’s ball

suspended stationary for

so many days

until the last moments

when the trickle becomes

a plunge

the scales are teetering

heaped with reflection

balanced by foreshadow

neither worth the

weight of their worry

but each a coin that

jangles in my pocket

this morning.

A new leaf…
January 27, 2008, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In order to save my sanity and also revive this floundering but earnest attempt to present myself to the world, I am reorganizing this beyond just my writing. From now on you will see my paintings, photos, food, and other creations on a somewhat-daily basis. This is now the home of all good things salvage and serendipity. Enjoy, and enjoy your own creating.