Ancient Wisdom Reveals Itself
Two years ago, we poured a cement slab next to our dairy, located on a rise of land beside a stream. Two months ago, I learned the operator of the Bobcat, when excavating the slab, found a "stone tomahawk" in the dirt, which he put into his truck and drove away with at the end of the day. Two weeks ago, I told his supervisor the "tomahawk" belonged to the property from which it came. Two days ago, the supervisor recovered it and returned the artifact. As he laid it into my hand, I felt dumbstruck to be holding something so ancient and powerful...
What does an implement like this mean? Where did it come from? Who made it? How was it fashioned? Why has it been resting on our property? How old is it? For what purpose was it used? Can its stories and mysteries be divined? Why did it come to our attention when it did? How do we honor it? And what should we do with it? These questions circle...
This implement is made of granite, most likely coming from a northern latitude. It is either derived from Native Americans of the north, who were passing through, or from a local tribe, who had traded for the material. Given our proximity to Fort Hill, a site of prehistoric worship five miles away, one would think this implement stems from that culture, which no white man ever witnessed. How would they carve those smooth and nearly symmetrical features out of something so hard? What tool did they employ? Certainly not a hammer and metal chisel. How old is it? Pictures of similar artifacts are dated at 5,000 - 6,000 years old. Imagine any tool of ours lasting that long. We are lucky if cell phones survive one year. Was this an implement of war, domesticity, or religion? Was it left behind by design or accident? What other implements accompany it, now protected beneath concrete? So many more questions arise than answers.
I distinctly feel this beautifully beveled, granitic, ancient, artifact of war & peace has a heart. One can almost hear it beating. It feels sacred and powerful in the hand, representing an immense span of time. Imagine all it knows and is willing to impart, if we only knew how to listen. Because it is impermeable, imagine how much more life it still anticipates.
We consider it a blessing to receive this ancient symbol into our midst. It is hard to understand how and why it happened, but here it is. It perhaps reflects immense knowledge lying within the land, awaiting recognition. It is confounding and stimulating how much there is to observe in any landscape, if one opens the eyes and is patient. Patience is the most difficult aspect of learning. Imagine how patient this carefully carved piece of granite has been over the millennium. And as patience is a characteristic of wisdom, it seems this artifact is a symbol of wisdom, offering infinite possibilities to us, as we learn how to receive them...
One clear sensation that arises from holding this five-inch-piece-of-history is a sense of humility. What are we, compared to it? How many hands, peoples, miles, and seasons has it known, compared to us? It is immense in experience, while we are small. Yet, we have intersected with it, for a brief moment in time, and are now partners in a journey ahead, until it outlasts us. What a deep and curious privilege...
Notice the stunning wooden board, racing with rich grain, beneath the stone artifact. The board is cross-section from an olive tree in Italy. Olive trees are very long-lived, into several thousand years for some. This section of olive tree and this carved piece of granite seem to recognize each other. They produce harmony together, unavailable to contemporary matter, They now reside and preside in concert, momentarily on our dining-room table.
This is the first year we are not making hay. Instead, we are planting an annual, sorghum-sudan grass, into pasture to extend the grazing season into the winter, as an attempt to replace some hay. Seedbeds for annuals are typically prepared by either plowing or spraying. We are doing neither, but applied "animal impact" in the winter to break up sod, grazed heavily just before planting in June to remove competing plant-matter, and mowed remaining plant growth just after seeding. The benefit is we are not reducing organic matter by tillage nor mixing herbicides into the food system. The drawback is the resident perennial grasses may grow faster than the newly planted annual and shade-out its growth. So, there is some risk. If this works, however, the approach would reduce reliance on hay, generating significant cost savings.
We are trying to eliminate the high financial and environmental cost of the picture on the left, by drilling annuals into pasture, as depicted on the right. If you look closely on the right, the lines of the planter or "drill" are evident, but seeds have not yet germinated. You can also see how the dense sod was weakened or opened-up this winter, to prepare for drilling this June. We will keep you posted on progress.
Below is a recent repast of Bolognese sauce with pasta, fresh asparagus salad, a mozorella & tomato salad, and fresh strawberries from Elmwood, all presided over by an ancient beveled stone. The Bolognese is remarkably clean, smooth, and elegant. Three cups of Bolognese on one pound of pasta easily feeds four adults.
Purchase of Bolognese and other prepared food is available by going to:
The Farm Tour is set for Saturday, September 10, at 11:00 AM. The link to that below should now be working.
We processed chickens today and have chicken wings on-hand, for the first time in a few months. If you would like some reserved, send an email or go on-line to:
We look forward to seeing you at the Hyde Park Farmers Market this Sunday.
May we each be wise enough to receive wisdom when it surfaces, especially when it is 5,000 years old!
Drausin & Susan