Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well-Intentioned Vandals...and other News

The oxy-moronic phrase "well-intentioned vandal" is surprisingly not new here in Kingston.  I will say as objectively as possible that there was a bit of a scandal some months back when a fleet of stenciled red goats appeared on concrete planters days before our newly-renovated uptown was scheduled to be announced to the press.  Our city community was divided into sects that either applauded the goat painters' efforts to undermine the system that brought the unpopular renovation to uptown or applauded the administration's efforts to keep the integrity of the renovation intact and turn the vandals into an example - no one will be excused for vandalism, even if their intentions are "good" or their damage is "innocuous".

So why am I even talking about this, except for the fact that goats are farm animals and I actually do want real goats doing real goat things in Kingston?

Well, yesterday Daniel, the dogs and I went to the farm to meet up with my cousins-in-law and a few buckets of alpaca poop destined for the compost.  That all went well, but as we were waiting for them to show up I noticed something odd on some of the beds...
If it just looks like dirt, look carefully...that's right, sunflower seeds.  Hundreds, maybe even thousands of them, densely strewn all over my cleaned-for-the-winter beds.  Since we are in the 21st century, my first reaction was, "WTF?"  After the shock was over, my second reaction was, "Why?"  Why had someone broken into the farm, not to steal anything, not to destroy anything, but simply to spread sunflower seeds all over the place?

I have my theories, and in fact I have a suspect.  I won't name names, but I do think that whoever did this was well-intentioned.  Perhaps they saw my empty and bare beds (the rest are covered with straw) and didn't know that I left them bare on purpose, so that I could easily sow them with spinach in the coming weeks.  Perhaps they thought "a bare bed is a dead bed," and decided that covering them with something, anything would be better than leaving them empty.  Perhaps they like the idea of birds coming and eating the seeds or the idea of a whole bed crowded with bright sunny flowers.  But you know what?  That still doesn't give them the right to do this without my permission.  I am all for growing things, and I like birds and flowers as well, but really this is just ridiculous and disrespectful.  And I am dreading cleaning this up in the early summer.  What is a weed?  It is a plant that is growing in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And that is what these will be.  Thousands of weeds in what used to be weed free beds.  Dammit, I am still mad.  I left the garden open as a space where people can come, learn, relax and enjoy.  It is a community garden in the sense that the community is welcome to enjoy it, but I took it over to manage as single lot on purpose, so that the design and the produce would be coherent and cohesive, not a product of Guerilla farming.  Perhaps this decision was not agreeable to everyone involved, but I stand by it and I think that it has helped the space develop in a positive direction.  Whoever did this, please don't do it anymore, and please contact me first if you want to be involved with the project!

So ya, well-intentioned vandalism.  It's been on my mind recently.

On a happier note, I am pleased to report that the Winter Market at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston has been going very well.  I have a table there that I am sharing with Hudson Valley Seed Library and Prime Print Shop.  That means this Saturday (and every 1st and 3rd Saturdays through April) you can find me, shoots and sprouts of all kinds, heirloom seeds in artful packaging AND handmade letterpressed cards in original designs all at one table.  The last two times we sold out of green stuff, so be sure to get there early!  Doors open at 10am.

Also, a couple of my Winter Experiments are doing fairly well.  As mentioned above, the shoots and micro-greens are growing well. As a matter of fact you might notice that I am growing sunflower shoots...It's all about place and time.  The funny looking rosettes are those radicchio roots that I dug up earlier in the fall.  Further research turned up the fact that I don't need to blanch these like they do endive, so they are under the growlight with the other greens.  They are doing so well, I wish I had saved more of them.  The sideways picture (I don't know what's going on with blogger, but it won't post it right no matter what I do) is my somewhat sad-looking, but still alive lemon grass.  It's got another four months until it can see the ground again...I am hopeful that it will make it.

That's all for now! But if you see someone besides me at the farm suspiciously planting in the middle of the night...let me know!


  1. Thank you for all you do for the community. Please don't let this deter you; you are truly appreciated.


    Jillian Fisher

  2. Thanks Jillian, believe you me it will take more than this to stop me from farming- I am happy to report that the squirrels are doing a little damage control by eating some of the seeds. We'll see what comes up in the spring...

  3. Rebecca, happy new year! What a pity ...
    farmers would suggest "pest control" .... You need signs
    " don't be a pest "

  4. Sorry to hear about this. What ashame. It's never well intentioned if it's not well thought out. This person obviously knows nothing about farming and soil. I appreciate that you keep it an open space. My dog and I enjoy walking by and looking around. Don't let the ignorant win!