Category Archives: Cooking

Through Mikaela’s Lens….

One of our June wwoofers Mikaela not only proved herself to be a master harvester, bean planter and quack grass eliminator she also has a wonderful photographer’s eye… here is her blog post.


Washing and sink area…


The trusty Japanese hoe…


The lovely Amy…


The most beautiful Rainbow Chard…


Cute beans that were planted by yours truly….


Faux Honey Bee…




Cheeky Goats! (temporary guests at Talking Horse Farm)


Red Cabbages, Red Pac Choi, Green Cabbages, Green Pac Choi…

mikaela pizza

Beatin’ the sourdough…

gary oven

…for Gary the Pizza master and his cob oven!


Organic Sourdough (hand kneaded), farm-harvested arugula (that day), Amy’s secret sauce, organic local goat cheese, roasted garlic and red onions. Yum…!

October 2012

As the fall begins its time to cover the bare soil with cover crops. Soil is not soil without plants growing in it. Mostly we are using a mix of clovers and vetches with rye in the paths between the beds.

fava beans

In two of our experiment beds however, we are sowing fava beans.

heather cauli

The garden is yielding plenty of crops, like these stunning cauliflowers picked up by our 2011 intern Heather. She’s working at Lacrover a local farm who are collaborating with Sweet Earth Farm on a westside CSA.


The fragrant Basil (one of the only plants in the green house) is at its peak.


Teaming up perfectly with these heirloom tomatoes to make a mediterranean sauce fit for the first clay-oven fired pizza…

pizza oven


Cob Oven Building

Gary has built several earth ovens in India – but isn’t it time we had one at home? Having Sam here, a wwoofer who is keen to learn more about cob building, was a good excuse to get started.

oven 1

1. A sturdy foundation was created using bricks and a portland cement/sand mix. The wire was used to form it up.

oven 2

2. Sand, clay (found on our property) and straw…


… mixed together to form the actual oven.

oven 4

oven 6

3. A sand form is created to make a mold. A wooden block helps shape the front opening.

oven 5

4. The clay/sand/straw mix is then applied thickly around the sand and a chimney hole is made on top.

oven complete

5. When dry and firm, Gary and Sam removed the sand and placed paving slabs on the inside and at the front creating a smooth surface.

oven panther

Panther inspects while we wait for another coat of clay to dry. Can’t wait for that first pizza!

11th August 2012 – Natural Farming Weekend

I spent many years of my youth foolishly searching for something I ‘should’ have been doing. Instead, I should have entrusted everything to the flowers blooming in the meadow. Even if people do nothing at all, the grasses and the trees and the songbirds will live on…. I have finally learned that, although nature does not reach out to people directly, people can always approach nature and seek salvation that way. Masanobu Fukuoka, Sowing Seeds in the Desert


Our invitation to Larry Korn (editor of The One Straw Revolution) to be a key speaker at our weekend of workshops, coincided perfectly with the launch of his latest work: Fukuoka’s Sowing Seeds in the Desert.


Wwoofers and volunteers worked hard to create a beautiful environment for the workshop, including flower art by Whitney…

dome barn tomatoes

… in the newly cleaned and renovated round barn.


Larry joined our temporary community for meals (prepared by volunteers), bonfire and conversation.

Larry Korn presenting

He emphasized the philosophy of natural farming and shared tales and images of his experiences with Fukouka. When the visionary Japanese farmer told him that his soil yielding a thick crop of barley had not been ploughed for 25 years, Larry thought he had discovered “the holy grail”.


Videos of all the inspirational presentations will be posted later.

Krista Rome presentation 3

Krista Rome lead us beautifully though the various steps of threshing, winnowing and using screens to clean locally grown grains and beans.

Krista Rome presentation - group

Lots of work for many hands and feet! A great communal activity.

Krista Rome presentation 1

Her fantastic manual is available at

Errol Speed's tools

Tools of the trade, including Japanese hand sickles, like the ones used on Fukuoka’s farm (we love them!) were demonstrated by the highly skillful Errol Speed.

Errol Speed presentation 1

Passionate about every kind of hand tool. He lead us through the complete process of transforming sod-covered ground into a bed without tilling. From sharpening your scythe to using the broad-fork. Errol’s tools can be purchased at his store on Orcas Island

Ana Manilof presentation 1

Seed Saving and honoring the life cycle of a plant is a crucial aspect of working with nature. Ana Manilof from Lopez Island has been selling seeds through her company Green Heart Gardens for a number of years. She quoted from one of our favorite books: Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth:

kale seeds in hand

The seeds that gardeners hold in their hands at planting time are living links in an unbroken chain reaching back into antiquity… Whenever gardeners begin to save their own seeds, they also become part of an ancient tradition.

Ryan Drum presentation 1

Ryan Drum from Waldron Island, talked about another ancient tradition: foraging and healing with plants.

Ryan Drum presentation 2

He managed to find an incredible amount of beneficial wild plants to discuss, just sitting in one spot in the garden. This is because we do not excessively eliminate weeds as part of our natural farming processes. These wild plants help keep the soil and crops healthy. Including Shepherds Purse, that Ryan told us can be used to stop heavy bleeding. What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. Ralph Waldo Emerson

RP presentation

We finished the weekend with a presentation from RP, who has been volunteering at the farm. A former Phd student in applied chemistry who wanted to warn us of the dangers of the newly developing nano-technology field.

workshop lunch

Lots of information and new ideas to digest during all the delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. On the menu: oatmeal and muffins, local poached salmon, BBQ beef from Talking Horse Farm, fresh garden salad, grilled zucchini and leek, couscous and chick pea taboule, borscht, home made bread and ratatouille with brown rice. Dining was accompanied by the lovely gypsy band OPA. We were all too busy eating, conversing and dancing to take any pictures. Thank you to everyone who contributed their head, heart and hands to this very special event.