It's Sunday in the middle of March… I wake up at 5:30 am with 50 ideas and 100 tasks to hash out, accomplish and multiply. The Field Guide is just getting its legs and I baby it, at every step. I am busy verging on too busy. I do follow the stars a bit, so I also know that it's a full moon this day, a time for completions and new beginnings. My intentions are clear, I have made space to acknowledge them…
For this celestial happening I have pre arranged that I visit my very dear friend Gabe Cipes at his farm - more aptly, stewarded ecosystem - at Summerhill Winery in Kelowna, where he organically grows much of the food for The Sunset Bistro at the winery. The visit is an intuitive gesture and it's also mindful. Gabe is a Demeter Certified Biodynamicist, an organic farmer that is, following the beautiful practices and traditions of such masters as Rudolf Steiner and the biodynamics experts. Gabe will have to expand on this very beautiful and effective method to you in the highly anticipated articles coming in the near future. They are vast practices worthy of the time of farmers, gardeners and those seeking to find holistic balance.
I wasn't expecting anything from the visit except perhaps a nice conversation and some downtime. A visit at the "farm" with Gabe for me always ensures I have some time with my feet literally on the ground with someone really listening, who doesn't own or use a cell phone and is completely immersed in the natural happenings at hand. A meander through an immaculately "imperfect" garden always quiets me, simply by its magnificence.
The density of wisdom in this place makes time stop. The simplest of life processes are happening at an alarming rate, just as they are supposed to. Compost is developing billions of micro organisms. Chickens are free running. Last year's crop is caringly preserved for rebirth in seed form. The local ecosystem is gaining momentum, nurtured and supported by the loving hands of these stewards. I feel young, humble, and full of life affirming optimism in the quietly awakening yet dense and fecund expanse of the pre-spring farm.
If the gifts of this kind of sacred space weren't enough, I was doubly blessed. I arrived this particular Sunday to be greeted by Gabe specially preparing small seed envelopes for me and another friend, Kyle Zsombor, a home gardener and old friend who happened to also visit this Sunday afternoon. Of Gabe's own accord, and to my later knowledge I learned of his motivation that, "It's my favourite time of year. I get to share seeds with friends" said Gabe. He's moved to share the progeny of his own plants and the seeds he has collected from fellow organic farmers. So, I sat on his living room floor delighted to select my seed varieties. Kyle and I left Gabe's that day full of culinary and herbal possibility. Lucky us. It's up to us to cultivate the gifts.
I am making the assumption that this article will do more to stimulate questions than to answer questions to the introduced topics of organic farming, ecosystems, and biodynamics… And for that, I am very enthused! I look forward to offering articles from Gabe Cipes in the near future. If you have a a chance to read his pieces, you will gain knowledge of the indigenous plants and habitat while cultivating food for you and your family and endlessly sustaining your body, heart and spirit.
Happy Spring! Here's to a beautiful new beginning, continuing cycle, and future possibilities!
Tarynn Liv Parker
Enjoy a collection of photos of my afternoon last Sunday, shared today just two days before the first day of spring 2014, the Vernal Equinox. Summerhill Winery annually hosts a celebration to welcome Spring, check their website for details.
Gabe Cipes, already preparing seed packages for his arriving friends. Hovering above, last year's Elacampagne root, good for coughs.
The seed collection is everywhere. Gabe's living room is dedicated to it.
The fun task of choosing my seeds :)
The seed collection Gabe shared with our friend Kyle and me.
A routine sight at a Biodynamics farm. The site of buried horns filled with crushed silica, marked by other horns and silica.
Wood about to be buried at new compost site - intelligent planning utilizes a rich core for insect and microbial activity to enrich soil produced
The Summerhill Cattails…
Cattails or Typha Latifolia are one of the most diversely useful plants in the history of civilization. Today they are considered a weed but they have effectively been used for food, fodder, shelter, insulation, tinder, ground water restoration and much, much more
Heritage Goldline chickens pictured here, out for the day but always back to the coop by dark.
Gabe and Fozzie at the compost pile.
The Mother of all this Sunday's blessings, Gabe shared a couple of his Kombucha cultures with us.