Author: Laura Northrup Poland

Hi! I'm Laura. I'm the farmer, writer, and artist behind Strawberry Moon Farm. I'm currently in year seven of a forty year farm project, and I've planted over 3,000 native fruit and nut trees on the ten acres of Indiana wetland that I call home. I'm working to help this land bring its most special gifts into being, but it's not a completely selfless act. When the trees mature, they could produce even more food than the corn fields that came before them. Thank you for your presence here as I share what I learn on this fascinating journey that's changing what I eat, how I live, and how I view this amazing planet we call Earth.

Long Live The Queen : Lessons in Beekeeping

Although honeybees are not native to this continent, they are a connecting link between humans and the insect world. For the sake of honeybees, people will plant wildflower gardens, forego lawn chemicals, and advocate for organic agriculture. Fewer people would be willing to take similar actions for the sake of native pollinators such as the paper wasp, but the same actions benefit all pollinators. The honeybee has a certain charisma that helps to affect positive change in the world. I believe that because of the honeybee, and our human relationship with them, the world is a better place. In this article, I talk about the evolution of my beekeeping journey and lessons learned through my first few years as a new beekeeper.

Finding Beauty

Beauty exists in unexpected places. In the entangled geometry of fallen branches, in the wild weedy exuberance of spring, in the cleansing downpours and the spaces of rest between tasks. Those small moments of inspiration are the fuel that sustains me when life gets hard, when my best laid plans are thwarted, when I reach my limits. This spring has taken some unplanned turns due to physical limitations, but there is still great beauty to be found.

Slow and Steady

The tortoise and the hare is one of the first stories we all learn as children. In the story, a slow moving tortoise races a super fast hare. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, the tortoise wins the race by steadily placing one foot in front of the other, while the overconfident hare wastes time on a nice long nap. It’s a good lesson about the power of persistent, steady effort and the downfall of overconfidence. Lately, I’ve been wondering what would have happened if the hare had really put in his maximum effort. What if he ran at maximum speed for the whole entire race. Would he have won, or would he have developed an overuse injury?

Creamy Dandelion Pesto Spread

If you’re a gardener, you are likely to find yourself pulling dandelions this time of year. I certainly am. Since I practice no-till gardening, I do not simply chop up weeds with a big machine. I smother them with mulch, I pull them, or I simply leave them be. I take a hybrid approach to the dandelions, letting them grow until I am ready to harvest them for food and medicine. If you have some dandelions sprouting in your garden that you’ve been meaning to dig up, then you’ll definitely want to try this recipe for my favorite creamy dandelion pesto. It’s wild, it’s vegan, and it’s delicious!

The Brushwood Fence

A brush fence serves multiple useful functions, it looks nice and tidy, and it requires only a few inexpensive materials. If you find yourself with an overabundance of cut limbs and brush, consider this interesting and easy to DIY solution that yields privacy, wildlife habitat, compost, and more. Read the article for complete instructions on how to build your own brush fence for under $100.

Thriving with Marginal Land

Marginal land is a term used to describe land that isn’t well suited to industrial scale farming. But for a small farmer with a little creativity, these spaces can offer unique potential for inspiring harvests and new forms of abundance. Read the full article to learn how I’m thriving with several types of marginal land here on the farm.

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