Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clear Creek Wyoming Blessings of Water, Soil, and Seeds

Overlooking the Mitzel farm in Leiter, Wyoming.

While on residency at Ucross Foundation, where I was investigating the landscape of soils, Ruthie Salvatore, the residency director at Ucross, gardener, and gourmet chef to boot, asked me one day if I might like to take a trip with her to visit with La Resche Farm and Mitzel Farm. We drove east along Clear Creek surveying the historic bottomland, once filled with sugar beets and wheat. Now these fields are mostly filled with alfalfa fields....with the exception of a couple small organic farms growing local food with passion.

La Resche Farm, Clearmont, Wyoming
La Resche Farm, Clearmont, Wyoming

Carol Le Resche, operates a small organic farm near Clearmont, Wyoming. She grows a plethora of tomatoes, potatoes, greens, squash, and cucumbers, to name only a few. She talked a lot about her love of the land and the critical importance for a healthy river and clean water. She also shared a seed story about the importance of heirloom seeds and seed saving like nature does it.

While at La Resche farm, Ruthie Salvatore shared a seed story about the gourds which she loves to grow. She uses these gourds for crafts, bird houses, and seeds to grow more the next year. With great bemusement she also talked about how gourds taught her by mistake how to cure them, a natural process of drying hard over the winter.

Across Clear Creek

During our second trip out, we headed to the small town of Leiter where Mona Mitzel has slowly built the soil, several high tunnels, a small orchard, and a market farm which challenges her daily with hard work, wonderment, and utter passion to keep growing.  Her honesty to dream big is put to task in trying to keep it all organized, but these dreams also move her beyond the status-quo and into a reacher of possibility, pushing the limits of agri-culture to keep learning, trying, and working hard. She talked a lot about learning and experimenting and not in knowing it all. Mona grows organic tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beets, squash, and greens, to name just a few. Her husband also raises beef cattle and they grow alfalfa to feed the beefies. Here Mona talks about her motivation and love to be out in the garden.

Mona Mitzel's farm, trellised tomatoes (top), happy, fat toad (middle), bell peppers (bottom)