Springtime Agritopian Adventures, Part 1

Our first spring visitor, Chelsea, came from Chicago for a weekend stay during the first weekend of May.  We accomplished quite a bit in a short period of time and had a good time doing it!  One of the future plans here at Earthen Heart is to accommodate more urban dwellers for eco/agro weekend retreats.  Bangor is served by Amtrak and is right between Kalamazoo and South Haven and so is well suited for such endeavors.buki

Chelsea bottle feeding “Buki” whose mama Artie had mastitis for a couple weeks so was facing death without human intervention. cinnafeedChelsea feeding “Cinnamon” the second of our two kids we had this year.  The herd is remaining small for now in order to keep things manageable.  It’s these three and Maddy and Plata staying out in another forage area.  Likely Cinnamon will be our Buck and Maddy will become meat for our freezer.

artienkidsMama Artie is fine after 3 weeks of eating garlic, vitamin C, getting peppermint salve rubs on her udder and eating various nutrients.  After being separated at night a few days ago, she is now giving us a little over a pint of milk each morning, then back to the kids for the rest of the day!

Spring2014WWOOFers_99When Chelsea arrived, the fruit tree order had just arrived through Van Kal Permaculture group.  So, we picked up 16 trees and started planting on the perimeter of several newly fenced in garden areas (one of which Chelsea helped install).

chelseadig1Not bad for a city girl!

pickledeggsLastly, but actually it was the FIRST thing we did.  Pickled eggs.  First time ever for me.  Never been a huge fan, but HEY, we have a surplus of eggs right now and this preserves them for 6 months!  They are actually rather tasty.  Good for making egg salads of all kinds!  Thanks for visiting Chelsea, we hope to see you again down the road!

Spring 2014

WELL, it IS time for a Spring post!  I need an excuse to stay in and rest the bones after a day of moving manure and putting up fencing yesterday.  I also want an excuse to stay indoors from the cold that returns us to BELOW FREEZING conditions this April!  Which is certainly not unheard of in Michigan, but this winter lingers…The cold also threatens fruit again (recall that two years ago there were almost no apples, pears, peaches…) which is a BIG DEAL here in the “fruit belt” of Southwest Michigan.  Many small farms depend on each years income to stay afloat.

So, now, some progress at Earthen Heart.  And, when I say progress, I mean that which moves us personally and collectively towards manifesting a new model for living.  It seems that we must connect with the source of our food and energy, get closer to our human kin and remain in a state of reverence towards nature and the divine source.  This is that which I attempt to focus my energy.  I am so glad that there are so many other humans working towards this new direction as well.

Along with the help of WWOOFer Chris Burke this winter, we set up a nice little starter area in the basement.  Stays nice and toasty by the furnace.

startersCurrently there is Stevia growing nicely.  Thanks to seed given by members of VanKal Permaculture group!

stevia Also growing pak choy, arugula, kale, collards, cilantro…

kaleThe first totally renovated interior is coming along nicely.  Thanks to Ricardo, Chris, Brian and Molly!KVP_grainscoop_99_17Chickens are laying between 10-20 eggs a day now.  The ones that have survived the weather and predators seem to be quite healthy out there.  Hopefully soon I will be hatching eggs in the brooder and candling eggs to see if they are fertilized.

ChickensKVP_grainscoop_99_14 eggs


Plans are underway to turn the 1/8th of an acre right off County Road 380 into a demonstration permaculture garden site connected to driveway/parking and roadside stand.  This area will be amended and fenced in from deer and farm animals to use this season as a test bed for the VanKal Permaculture Grains Co-Op.KVP_grainscoop_61Well, there’s plenty more, but I don’t want to just sit here writing all day now DO I!   Thanks for reading and remember we could always use a hand over here.  We love to host people who love the Earth and like to eat good food!  Also, CSA shares are available anytime at $120.  This serves as a credit on your balance and you keep getting things until it runs out.  You know, like having a tab at the general store.  Right now we have za’atar, file powder, dried or preserved blueberries and farm fresh eggs available.

Winter Berry Pruning

Many thanks to WWOOFer Chris Burke for his help on pruning the bushes this winter!  Seems that, after 3 years of fairly hard pruning, the blueberry patch will finally be manageable!


Come visit this summer to help pick and process during berry harvest (usually from late July into mid-August).  We will have room to camp, make art, options to buy berries and become a farm shareholder.

IMG_0732 IMG_0643 IMG_0744 IMG_0632 IMG_0635 dogblues  IMG_0607

IMG_0736 IMG_0750


CSA members will have priority on these NO SPRAY blueberries, so grab a share now if you can at $120/year.  The berries will go for $3/lb. picked and packaged.  Less if you pick them or bring your own packaging.  Many other products besides fresh berries will be available.  Call (269) 447-1355 for more information on becoming a CSA member of Earthen Heart or email jlauzzana (at) gmail (dot) com.