June 23, 2020
A few weeks ago, I made a switch from Stone Bank Farm Market volunteer to a two-day-a-week employee.
I love that I can now add “farmhand” to my resume. My farm job will be in addition to my, now, part-time job as a naturalist at a local nature center. Both jobs involve the two things that I’m most passionate about. The naturalist job provides opportunities for me to connect people with nature, and the farm job allows me a part in connecting folks with healthy, organic food. The common thread between both jobs centers around my love of nature and and my desire to be a small part of the solution in caring for it…
…and much to this naturalist’s delight, nature abounds on small organic farms, like Stone Bank, that use ecologically balanced practices to produce food, which in turn, allows nature to flourish! Below are a few snaps of nature that I took this month while working at the farm:
A habitat must provide food, shelter, water and space for an animal to survive. The hoophouse at StoneBank Farm provides all of that for the resident Green Frog that my fellow farmhand, Maggie, has named Toad.
The lifecycle of a bean plant begins with a seed, where inside is a “baby” plant called an embryo. With the right conditions (warmth and water), the once hard seed coat, splits, allowing the tiny root to emerge (as seen in the photo), pushing down through the soil, in search of water and nutrients. Once the plant matures, it will produce flowers which, in the case of this bean plant, are self-pollinated (i.e. do not require help from an insect in order for the edible“fruit” — the bean — to emerge). The life cycle completes itself when the bean is allowed to mature to the point where its seeds can be harvested and stored —— ready to repeat its lifecycle again next year.
Lucky us that a Robin mama chose the ledge above the market’s side entrance on which to build a nest and raise her brood. Watching the process of egg to fledgling never gets old!
From butterflies to dragonflies —– we see the most beautiful insects flying around the farm! The Red Admiral butterfly (left) and the Common Baskettail dragonfly (right) were just two of the visitors that we spotted in the greenhouse this month.
Wolf spiders are perhaps not on everyone’s favorite animal list, but they play an important role on organic farms by providing natural pest control. This wolf spider mama carries her unborn young around with her in a round, silken egg sac that is attached to spinnerets (the silk-spinning organ) at the end of her abdomen.