Monday, December 24, 2007

Snowy Solstice

We celebrated the Winter Solstice, the return of the sun after the darkening of the days through the autumn, on both Friday and Saturday. Friday, we had a dinner made of 100% local foods, most of which we grew on the farm- squash soup (okay, cinnamon in the soup wasn't local- that's the exception!), beets, kale, green beans and organic bread made by Bill! Dinner was followed by a bonfire to pay tribute to the returning sun, and to combust attachments no longer needed coming into the new year. Saturday night we hosted our community Solstice potluck and were joined by about 35 friends and neighbors to share delicous food, music, and another- this one a LARGE- bonfire. A good time was had by all.

It is also snowball season here in the Pemi-Baker Valley, and we have done our best this week to honor the Snow Gods by sending our own frozen projectiles through the air. At our solstice potluck, we had kids of all ages join in a good hearted, but pretty intense, snowball fight over, around, and through the bonfire. We seemingly have an ongoing friendly snowball fight that happens here at the farm, so be sure to be on your toes from now until spring thaw! Bill and I ambushed Louie (after he had tricked each of us, on seperate occasions, by knocking on the greenhouse door...we answered only to be pelted by a snowball!)...Louie threw 5 gallon bucketfulls of snow in retaliation to our incoming snowballs...a truce was called for the day when I put Louie into the snow half-nelson style after he buried my mittens! Nothing like good old fashioned family fun in the snow.

All of us here at D Acres hope that you and your loved ones are enjoying the true spirit of the season- a time of reflection, relaxation, and love for one another. May you joyfully look to the new year and coming season with an eye for transformation and new beginnings!
Peaceful blessings!


Monday, December 17, 2007

2:30 Moon

Some would say that winter begins on Decmber 21. This is something that I question. Not the law of nature and seasonal changes, but the idea that different regions would not have different dates to observe the changes in seasons. Some areas may have a 6 month beginning in November winter and others a 2 month winter beginning in January. While this regional seasonal diversity might not be observed to its full extent, the Winter Solstice is something that has been celebrated during this time for thousands of years. Each year, the Earth reaches the farthest point in its orbit around the sun, and daylengths are at their shortest. Then the Earth begins its return to the Sun. This turning point has been happening since the planet was formed, and is observed as the Winter Solstice. The celebration is for the return of the sun, its warmth and light during the darkest time of the year. So gather with friends, share food and music, light fires, and appreciate this point in the cycle. We are having a Potluck here at D Acres on December 22 to celebrate. We invite you all to attend. BE

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Snowy Nights and Open Mics

We had our first Open Mic a week ago, and I'd say that it went pretty well. We're always looking to improve upon it, and one such way is the potential for recording an event like that, or perhaps even videotaping it. Many incredible artists came by to share their talents with everyone, and the late night crowd was around playing music until almost 1:30 AM. Many thanks to everyone who came by to make it an awesome night, and many thanks to Dan, for bringing the PA system!

Jim Merkel gave an excellent presentation this past Wednesday on sustainability. I thought the crowd was very receptive and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the talk. Reducing our footprints seems to be a key factor in approaching sustainability, and we're all striving to reach that!

Woodshop shenanigans continue.

J Blye./

Monday, December 3, 2007

whew! Last night I decided to move my sleeping bags and blankets from my treehouse to the "G-Animal" greenhouse, where there were 2 wood burning stoves already heating the place up. It was pretty nice except when my roommates started roosting at 4:30 in the morning - still better than waking up to an obnoxious alarm though.

So yeah, when I walked outside this morning there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground and throughout the day we got about a foot. Fun times. Gotta keep an eye out for snow balls around here...


Saturday, November 17, 2007

firewood frenzy

After ten years one would think we would get on top of the firewood scenario...and to a degree we have, the chipper is set to deliver bedding for the pigs after we have filled the ox area...we are clearing a new pasture to the east of the homestead, it is pretty optimal conditions...ground fairly frozen but still good traction..a strong crew of sawyers, splitters and stackers is making the job result in is amazing how we pull together and work zealous for an agreed agenda...everyone is putting in effort to get ready for a winter to share...

We are very excited about the upcoming D Acres open mike and is fantastic to host talented musicians in this area with an informal setting to share the vibrations..the next potluck is on the 25th and the open mike is scheduled for the last friday of every month (nov 30th)

Last Thursday we welcomed a friend from NC named Trey (his nickname is T-Rex and he is a friendly dinosaur). Trey is here to experience the north country, exploring a new direction in which he can share his love of landscaping. It is wonderful to have a life long friend and nurseryman on the project and we hope Trey can establish a professional presence as a landscape designer and implementor for this region. The combination of Trey's experience as a designer and our knowledge of edible, medicinals and ornamentals presents a great opportunity to spread the forest garden and edible landscape concept. If you are interested in site work or plantings in the spring, contact Trey at the farm.

The sad news on the farm is the departure of three great friends..Michael and Marika have volunteered on the farm throughout the summer. They were in the SCA as trail crew for the Squam Lakes Assoc and helped with trails, campfires, dance parties and good vibes throughout. Guarantees theres a brite future for these two. We hope to host Michael next summer as he passes through on the App trail journey.

Pat Kong left Friday am on the long journey to Nepal. His presence, essence and vitality as a human will sorely be missed. Effort and wry humor characterize this individual who will not be undone. Thanks for the gift, didnt last long though. Sorry about your last night being soo uneventful.

miss ya until we meet again

thanks for coming and being real

paz, amor y felicidad
viva la revolution

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


We finally have seen the first signs of winter this last week. Freezing temps. through the days have kept the ice on the ponds and a wintery mix left Moosilauke covered in snow. All the more reason to work harder in the final days of closing in the garden and making sure everyone has enough firewood. 16 HOURS of intense soil science was taught this last weekend by Mark Fulford. The crowd was of everybody from all around. Some coming to hear him again after the Common Ground Fair in Maine. GOODTIMES AND GREAT FRIENDS I got to go, There is not much day light left get to you next time.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Short Days, Long Shadows

Warm days and cool nights here at D Acres. The cold frames are on and the fires are being lit to extend our growing season as long as we can. We still have Cabbage, Kale, Carrots, Beets, Leeks, Daikon, J. Artichoke and Salad Greens outdoors, with Tomatoes, Peppers, Basil, Greens, and more Carrots and Beets in the greenhouses. Combined with the potoatoes, winter squash, and canned goods we have stored, we should all eat well this winter. It is always a joy to share our harvest with friends, while celebrating the hard work that so many have helped with.

Wild Turkeys have made themselves at home on the farm. It is encouraging that our land stewardship efforts are encouraging a diversity of wildlife. The woods, fields, and abundance of food and water sources provide for many animals, in addition to all of us humans. At the same time, it causes us to reflect upon how intimately related our actions are. As influencial members of this farm ecosystem, the habitats of many other species are determined by the decisions we make. While it is often difficult to know what is truly best for the whole ecology, our consideration for the soil, water, plants, and animals is always at the core of our decision making and agricultural practices. As we understand more about this ecology, our practices evolve. The Turkeys let us know that they like it here, and that what we are creating is somewhat in tune with the natural design. -be

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

week of the Full Moon

This past week, we celebrated the Full Moon (October 26th) with a community potluck dinner and open mic featuring a number of fantastic dinner entrees, Michael's homemade tortillas, one of Ken's famous desserts (this time it was chocolate pudding pie with french vanilla ice cream...mmmm...), drums, rattles, fiddles, mandolins, guitars, vocals...thanks to everyone who joined us in celebration! And, Happy Birthday Darcie! Thanks for sharing your evening with us!

Speaking of Darcie, she (Darcie Shedd) will be joining us at D Acres every Friday beginning Nov. 2nd to teach a new Anusara-style yoga class at the farm! This will nicely compliment Sarah Hall's terrific Wednesday night yoga class, also held onsite here at D Acres. Yoga is open to the public for a sliding-scale donation of $5-$10 per class: Wed. 6:30-7:45pm, Fri. 6:00-7:30pm.

Louie is recovering from quite the serious run-in with a tree limb while chainsawing in the woods...luckily, his back is on the mend, and should continue to heal so long as he avoids reinjury (hear that, LD...take it easy this week!!)

Writing Workshop with Carli Carrara was fantastic on Friday. We will be sad to see Carli move south this winter, but wish her the best of luck and happiness, as she will be living closer to her grandkids. We warmly welcome Nylah Lyman, who will be the new faciliator of our writing group!

Lee Ann and I finished our batch of her family-recipe homemade relish...I didn't even know that I liked relish, but it's delicious! It was quite the endeavor, but it gave us lots of time to chat and brainstorm other projects that Lee Ann, Jeremiah, and Benny Zeoli can help us out with at the farm, and we certainly enjoyed the relish process. Our "famous" relish will soon be for sale via Local Foods Plymouth ( and at the Norwich Winter Farmer's Market (first one is Nov. 17th, 10am-2pm).

Saturday I attended the Small and Beginner Farmers of New Hampshire (SBFNH) conference in Tilton- it was a great opportunity to network with other local farmers, and to catch up with some friends who I haven't seen in quite awhile. Sunday, for the farm tour portion of the process, I visited Bonnie Brae Red Deer Farm in Plymouth- Henry Ahern gave a wonderful tour of the farm he operates with his wife, Cindy. The red deer themselves are beautiful and healthy, and they seem to thoroughly enjoy their fields and forests at Bonnie Brae.

We had a strong frost Sunday night/Monday morning...each time the temperature drops it spurs us to move even faster to try to squirrel away what food we can still harvest and to put the gardens to bed weed-free and well-mulched before winter...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bridges are being built at D Acres

#2 bridge is operable!!

The D Acres Trails, Bridges and Interpretation Project is rolling towards fruitition here at the farm. We have completed bridge #2 and pulled the beams over it yesterday for bridge #3...these beats are rugged, as LD says "you could land a crop duster on that bridge"...i strippped 2 of the #3 logs yesterday before the weekly meetings. Today I am gonna fetch some stone, skin another log and get the beams into place if possible. Then we move onto the kiosk and the development of trail improvement around the community building and the interpretation...the bridge and trails project has been a super opportunity to work as a team and sort out the details and logistics as we go under a common theme...lots of heavy things to be moved and decisions to be made along the way but when we have a goal and enthusiasm we move forwards...many thanks to Joe, bill, louie, jess, kat, pat, josh b, kevin, ky, michael and marika who have put blood sweat smiles and laughter to the woods this fall...

Friday, October 19, 2007

fall is here!!

Green house and Weather Station

wooowzers...fall is here, farming and life are so vivid and real so tangible every breath and color observed have a magnificent signifigance, moments are passing but we are primed to absorb and relish this time...activity is accentuated by the fleeting seasons and the time that we have to share with one another thanks ma and pa, sister and brother

we are closing up shop trying to prepare for the seasons...mainly our efforts have focused on the outside work...the gardens need weeding and mulch, the bridges in the woods are getting built, the new greenhouse is settlin in and there is a weather station off the back deck...steady traffic of guests here for leaf season, we had a very pleasant weekend with our neighbors from the north during the first weekend in Oct, se bon...last night was the first amplified public session of Josh Blye and the D Acres family band, there is an open mic scheduled for next friday night the 26th after the potluck...should be a hoot an annnie

we are excited about fall events..there is a film fest Nov 3rd for step it up and Mark Fulford is here for two days Nov 10&11th...saturday nite is a north dorchester theme party...gonna be a WIG nite so should be a great time to shake it down..looks like i am heading south to argentina this winter, hopefully before christmas then next summer i would like to join the bread and puppet circus next summer...we are trying to organize a collaborative speaker guild to get inspirators to the someone recently told us we are at a crucial stage and we need to join in union with nature and make something happen more talk, DO

pat Kong has been great to hang with a strong back and a sly smile...jesus man that was a six footer you hauled in

i will miss you KAT, come back soon...thanks for being you!!! ride on
much love y continued good vibes for the evolution
paz yall

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The community of Dacres wants to commend every pirate for coming together in a celebration of life! Good Times and Great Friends make a bondfire magical as Capt. CrazyI went another night without catching his sails on fire.

There has not been any slowing down on the farm as each day is getting shorter and shorter. The warmer weather has been very enjoyable while each of us at task in hand, trying to get as much done that is allowed. A great edition has been added south of the Red Barn Inn,TheBlacksmith formally named joe set up shop and will be here through December banging away.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Common Ground

Merry Equinox y’all! We just got back from Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine, a 3- day event promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. A whole D Acres crew populated a table in the education tent. Lauren sampled maine’s finest horse powered ice cream, JT gave a talk and yucked it up with Elliot Coleman, KatDawg learned the dance of universal peace, J Blye won a wedge with his chainsaw knowledge, Joe stared deep into the anvil, I saw a broccoli as big as my head, and Jessie videographed the whole thing. All in all the fair was a great time to see old friends, meet some new ones, and celebrate our rich agricultural heritage.

Louis D held down the farm while we were away and had to lay down the law on some nonpaying campers trying to sneak off. Luckily their ploy to cheat a non-profit organiztion was foiled by the goose. It is tough to pull one over on LD, I think he has some pirate in him…
We are having a volunteer day this sunday, so come on out to plant some garlic and we will feed you. Take some time to check out the full moon tonight, it should be illuminous! -be

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First Frost is Here and Snow's a' Comin'

Over the weekend, Bill and I were asked when the first frost generally hits this part of New Hampshire. Our reply was something to the effect of, "Well, the tomatoes are about ripe, so anytime now really..." Sure enough, early Monday morning we woke to a chill in the air and a crunch beneath our feet as we headed out into the frost. Luckily, crop damage was minimal thanks in part to a late-night effort to cover the sensitive crops Sunday p.m. (we tucked the squash, zucchini, and field tomatoes in under remay and blankets, and closed up the greenhouses). We should have a little time before snow falls (and I'm hoping a few more late-season thunderstorms will roll through), but there is much to do here at the farm...our focus over the next few weeks will be on lots of final weeding projects, preparing the garden beds and perennials for winter, and we are beginning our general snow preparations.

My family (there they are, at right, in our homestead...Hi Mom, Dad, and Lisa!) came to visit D Acres this weekend. They spent three days in lovely Dorchester, NH, where they got to see the piglets and walk our gardens, and they met our wonderful hostel guests from California as well as a number of our neighbors at the potluck we hosted on Sunday. We visited the swimmin' hole and some historic sites in Dorchester, and we went out for dinner at the Six Burner Bistro in Plymouth, NH, which everyone raved about all weekend (Thanks to Chef/Owner Rob Kelly for a fantastic dinner once again!).

Bill and I also became You Tube celebrities this past week...check out our interview our friend Ruben, the Urban Healer, who visited our farm from New York City in this video clip, which shares some organic farming and herbal medicine ideas as well as why a visit to D Acres is good for body and soul: Organic Farm Vacation!

Have we mentioned that D Acres is also a FUN place to be...
check out this clip of Ruben on the local rope swing: Mexican Tarzan
Now if that doesn't look like a good time...


P.S. Check out Ruben's web site ( to learn many things about how you can eat and live healthier, especially if you live in or around NYC!

Winemaking and a Visit from The Kid

Bill E. taught a winemaking workshop this Sunday. Lisa (my sister) and I harvested grapes from the vines in the Mandala garden early that morning, and we had a lot of help from the D Acres crew and guests alike in harvesting and processing elderberries in preparation for the workshop. Everyone's favorite part seemed to be the crushing of grapes and elderberries with our (clean) feet (see my foot, covered in the wonderfully medicinal elderberry juice, as I pose with Bill in his chef attire, above), and, of course, the wine tasting at the end of the workshop. We tasted and bottled a white wine that we had made in early spring, and began the fermentation of an elderberry and a mixed grape wine from our fruit. Good times, good times.

We also had a special guest star at the farm this weekend. "The Kid," aka Jeff, was here to visit Louis D. Holland (see those two, above, near the Ox Hovel) straight outta Greenville, North Carolina. The Kid made himself right at home here at D Acres, helping Louie with the oxen and the pigs, and doing a step dance on top of a flaming pile of pallets at the fire pit. And you said it couldn't be done.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Agnes the Mule

Myself and Amanda working on the chassis.

For the last few days we've been taking the chisels and hammers to the chassis of the mitsubishi fuso the farm purchased a few months ago. Preparing the surface of the steel is a good first step towards preserving the truck we've bought. KTM came over Monday night and we rerouted the diesel fuel system in the first step of the vegetable-oil conversion process. We're installing a parallel fuel system that's plumbed with our coolant system to heat the vegetable oil. If we lived in the tropics we'd be all set and could just have one fuel system and put veggie oil in it. Because it gets cold and the hydrogenated fats in the oil congeal into a butter-like substance, we T into our coolant system and heat the veggie filter, the veggie fuel line and the veggie tank. Two solenoid switches control the fuel and return selection between the two parallel fuel systems.

Pretty simple. $350 dollars worth of parts (excluding tank) and you can run on recycled waste vegetable oil straight from the fryolaters of your local restaurants. We got our entire kit donated by Wise Guy's Auto Supplies in Plymouth. Tonight (Wednesday) KTM returns to help install some of the coolant tubing etc. I've got to get back out in the garage and whiz wheel/hammer this frame for the rest of the day. We're treating the chassis with a rust prevention and sealer treatment called POR-15, which we've been waiting to apply because the humidity has been too high in the rains we had from Saturday night on thru this morning. The sun is shining now, a gorgeous morning in the New Hampshire mountains.

PS. Agnes the mule is the current name for the truck. It incorporates a female name, Agnes, from the granting agency the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust, which donated $2500 dollars to purchase the Fuso. The animal name, the mule, refers probably to the load the truck will carry. Someone just blurted it all out Monday night when we were getting tired.

Hope everyone else enjoys the day. Morgan

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Hats off to Louie
Bill and Louie chilling at the skinny shack

Chips fly

Bill and Louie discussing proper chainsaw saftey techniques

Today sept 6 started overcast with a thunderstorm in the works...sorta awkward...there was alot of harvesting done for the farmer's market, I focused on the new greenhouse and we were able to set the panes of glass in before a 1pm safety meet...Lauren went to the farmer's market and Bill, Louie and I went to the woods...We surveyed a new section of trail to be cut and then hiked through to the neighbor's to look at a roofing job...then Bill went to cook dinner and Louie and I cut some trail...The trail project is really going welll and we are making good progress towards improving access to the woods....Around dinner i went to a board meeting of the Cardigan Mt Art Assoc, always a hoot, lots of interesting people and conversation...I feel strongly that there is a swelling of the movement of community and localization that is empowering and inspiring as you read this, you just gotta believe, intend and participate!!
tomorrow we are to finish some aspects of the greenhouse roof, do some more trail work and clean house...there is a film in the evening called the Power of Community about the Cuba experience when cheap oil was cut off with the collapse of Communist Russia, a real life example of the transformation we need to make with increasing environmental and economic costs of fossil fuels...look forward to getting some shut eye on these comfy cool nights...looks like a late season blast of warm weather is coming through this weekend, amybe a couple last trips to the swimming holes...see ya there jt

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tuesday-Wednesday Fall is here!!

The picture shows the view to the north with Mt the foregound is the flower garden and the skelton of the new greenhouse.
Wow, the weather got chilly last night on Streeter Woods Rd. Yesterday was gorgeous i spent the day cruising around the Upper Valley picking up chicken food and flour. I got to have lunch with one of my favorite people, marion settle in white river jct. I went by here new studio space and then we went to the deli at the Jct co-op...we talked about love,

relationships, the street fair in the jct on sept 29th, the pirate party and rise up vermont.....stella conversation..then i went to canvass the area with a focus on the soil workshop with Mark Fulford in November, when i got home i went to a neighbor's on the river rd to get some metal chimney pipe she had lieing around, after dinner of weekend leftovers we went to ktm's catch i walked the oxen and we had a meeting about the class we wanna teach at plymouth in the spring..the noontime we have another meeting on planning for 2008 and then Bill and I will work on grants,then we should take some measurements of the neighbors roof so we can give him an estimate on putting a metal roof on...i also have to cook dinner and go to the conservation Commission meeting this evening...Rebecca (possible intern) is visiting today...tomorrow i am psyched to get in the woods and do some forestry..hasta pronto jt

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

post-labor day

This is Josh, I am the current director and a long term resident of D Acres. We just finished an exciting labor day weekend. There was a lot of outdoor activity with climbing and rope swings. We had campfires and music at night. Sunday was Bill E's (farm manager) b-day and we saluted him with a big log on the fire that was like a flaming phallus, then i caught myself on fire and we went inside for the dance party. Nothing got broke but it was a great party. On Sunday we also met two exciting and inspirational new friends...Margo y Vida are starting a farm project close to Mendoza Argentina and with the D Acres trip to Argentina planned for January the serendipity is immense. It was also great that our NYC friends came back special thanks to Brian, Ann, Dee, Martin, Alli y the Urban Healer (Rubin) for a tremedous weekend...keep the groove alive!!!
Today I am to run errands on the upper valley side to pick up flour and chicken food. The crew is harvesting and preserving apples, kale, beans,...when i get back we are going to meet and discuss plans for a class we are to teach at Plymouth State University this spring...I am also looking to proceed with some construction work on the new greenhouse today...all in all it will be another busy week as we have workshops and a long list of tasks at hand before the ground freezes and the snow falls...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Blog Ever

We're an Organic Farm and Educational Homestead located up in the hills of Dorchester, NH. This blog is going to help facilitate discussion of sustainable agricultural and lifestyle practices. We also hope to convey an idea of what our daily/yearly work and outlook is like up here in hills, allowing a more coherent understanding about the motivations behind our work. Look forward to starting some discussions with all you bloggers out there. - Morgan Casella