Archives for the month of: February, 2021

Northern Europe is under a cold spell. For the last two weeks, night temperatures went far below zero Celsius while daytime hovered around 0, Snow has covered the ground for over a week now, the white world is comforting and reflecting, giving the ground a rest. 

One of the nice things about biodynamic farming is that during harvest the plants are picked but not removed, they continue to grow and give more. The kale and Brussel’s sprouts are bare and covered with snow at the moment, but as soon as the weather warms up they will provide again and only taste better after frost. 

Meanwhile, snow and icy temperatures grow something else, ice crystals cover the fences and tree branches. Nature is pretty awesome. 

Weekday’s I run quite early when it is still dark. I run on a bike path along the forest rim, where I can make out the dark outlines of the trees and branches to keep me on track. Last week, the reflected full moonlight gave everything a beautiful glow, the remnants of snow lighting up my path.

On the weekend, the forest awaits. Last week was beautiful when the first substantial layer of snow covered everything and I was the first human to track into the forest, but soon I get to places where deer and hare had gone before me. This weekend, after a week of freezing weather but very little new snow, most of the now trampled snow turned into ice. The ground is hard and uneven. It is better to run off the beaten track. 

Also I notice a lot of birds of prey these days, buzzards mainly, I wonder how their world looks from up there now that the ground is frozen. I see them also from my window, resting high up in the treetops and wonder why they choose these spots in this cold weather. I wonder if they have a group thing going on. But maybe this is a good spot, where food can still be found and they are letting the territorial boundaries loosen up a bit.

When I embarked on my current lifestyle, I had a vague idea of how working on small organic farms would enhance my life; I would be living outside, in beautiful places, I would have good food, importantly, I could contribute to the regeneration of our lands, and I by doing all this I would be inspired to embark on a different kind of research path, based on re-valuation of our beautiful planet. 

Over the years I have had many great experiences, some weird stuff, but generally inspiring and at times it confirmed my vague idea that a lifestyle like mine could be implemented as valuable strategy to face our current climate crises. People contributing part of their time to organic food production, and still have enough time for their other kind of work that makes them tick. Many things can be done remotely, in the land, as the last year has taught us. 

The main challenge for me over the years has been to keep afloat, to bridge times when farm work is slow, to be able to move from place to place, and even finding the next place. All this farm work over the years, of course, also gave me an informal training in the different farm sectors. That is why my current situation sounds pretty good on the surface, where it all seems to come together. I am employed in cheesemaking on a biodynamic farm, a community supported by all means. A basic income while contributing to the land, and spare time to engage in other inspiring activities.

But things are changing, as I have written before, the ‘business’ is growing, out of proportion, in my humble opinion, and my job is less than inspiring, even less than satisfactory. Over the last months my activities have changed from making cheese and other milk products to primarily bottling up and putting lids on. I am calling myself Dr. Deckel, after the German word for lid. As a compromise I requested to work less hours, as 40 hrs of this is pretty rough. It was denied. It makes me sad, as my vision of creating collaborations between farmers and part-time contributors in our common sustainability goals are maybe still just that, a vision. 

For now I am a bit disenchanted, and my brain is in need of some nourishment. I will have to do some thinking if there is a better strategy. 

endless Deckel….