Category Archives: Yokna Bottoms Farm

~2,500 peas plz

Tuesday, January 14th
Yokna Patawpha Bottoms Farm
Oxford, Mississippi

We started the day in our usual way – with a meandering walk across the field, through the woods, across the creek, along the fields, and to the chicken coop to check for eggs.




The hens are getting older, it’s been cold, several are molting, and food is less rich in the nonharvest months, so egg production has been slow – one to three eggs a day.

Their water dish had frozen over in the night, so we filled up the backup waterer from the pump and replaced the ice block with something the thirsty birds were much more into.


Jeff had a couple pails of pea seeds he’d been soaking overnight, to get their growth kickstarted. I weeded the trespassing grass from the edge-most row of garlic, and we both worked with the other two WWOOFers and planted almost 600 row feet of them – each pea spaced about three inches apart, three pea-heights deep.

The fields feature peaked, raised beds – the trenches between them were thick with sticky Mississippi mud, rich enough in clay to roll up into balls by rubbing your mud-coated  fingers together briefly. We were extremely grateful for our heavy rubber muck boots as we splooged and squashed and oozed around the wetter parts of the field poking peas into the dirt.

After lunch, we got more red-oak-splittin’ practice for when we get home to the Que Sehra homestead – Yokna Bottoms will be hosting a concert/potluck/full moon drum circle Friday night, and they’re going to need all available firewood on hand for it. I split most of it while Kristin hauled it to the porch & stacked it in a neat, crisscrossed, well-ventilated pile, to get as dry as possible over the next few days.


The day had warmed up nicely, into the 50s, so we took a cue from the cats and did some sunbathing on the farmhouse patio, laid out on our (New) Mexican blanket, reading and talking with Doug, sitting on the porch steps.

When the sun chilled out for the day, we headed into Oxford with the crew for veggie burritos at the Taco Shop.

Another beautiful day on the working honeymoon adventure!

a digital marketer walks into a farm

Monday, January 13th
Yokna Patawpha Bottoms Farm
Oxford, Mississippi
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Missi and Cleo in the morning frost
! frosted moss steaming in the morning sunshine !


Today we went to Oxford to “Ole Miss” – the local college, where Doug is a professor in the Education department.

I worked on fixes to their blog and Facebook pages with farm employee Betsy, while Doug and Kristin went from building to building putting up flyers for the Yokna CSA. It was raining on and off – Kristin had a raincoat, but Doug didn’t and they quit after he got quite soaked.

Neither the flyer nor the Facebook squad accomplished all we’d set out to do, but we both got a lot done, anyway.



Later, we wandered the woods, conversed a lot with the other WWOOFers and the farm workers , and then Kristin and I harvested Jerusalem Artichokes from the garden, which she made into amazing enchiladas for us all.

washing Jerusalem Artichokes
washing the mud off Jerusalem Artichokes




plant dusters anonymous

OK, that sucked. I wrote a nice long descriptive post about the 12th and the satisfaction and joys of dusting a huge grey-furred houseplant, but WordPress and Firefox conspired and ate it all irretrievably.


And I’m already days behind posting, thanks to a very spotty and random-access satellite internet connection that tortures me when I try to upload photos.


So instead:

Sunday, January 12th
Yokna Patawpha Bottoms Farm
Oxford, Mississippi



Once upon a time, there was a very dusty plant in a sunny window.



Gabe and Kristin decided it would benefit the plant and the room and themselves to wipe off all the leaves with wet rags, and the grey furry plant became shiny and green and they all lived happily ever after, dusting some other smaller neighboring plants and weeding tons of invasive aggressive Bermuda Grass from a few raised herb beds and playing Frisbee golf and gathering dried plants and lichens for decorative purposes and buying a pair of weird thrift store shoes and naming them “Oxford Squares” because the shoes were quite square and bought in Oxford (which features a central Square, incidentally).






come see the fog

Saturday, January 11th
Yokna Patawpha Bottoms Farm
Oxford, Mississippi

It stormed throughout the night, and we slept deeply, somehow comforted by the sounds of wind futilely battering the house, and rain sheeting down on the tin rooftop.

“Come see the fog,” Kristin whispered, marking the first waking moment of my day. Fog is beautiful, fog vanishes quickly; I was up, clothed, and out the door within seconds of opening my eyes to her whispered invitation.



before the sun rose and burned it away …

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On our way back toward the house, we went through a grove of trees that, the day prior, had hosted a huge flock of some kind of chirping bird. We’d walked across the field toward it, hoping to see what it sounded like beneath such a gathering, but the swarm saw us coming and wasn’t ok with it so they flew away before we could get anywhere close.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today, we were already in that same grove of trees when the flock came in to roost – they blanketed the tops of the tall trees, and groups took turns dropping down to the forest floor, to drink or to feed.


It sounded amazing.

After breakfast we got to work on the raised herb beds. Three of them hadn’t been planted the previous year and had been overtaken by Bermuda grass. We had to dig up and turn over all the soil in each bed, essentially, and pull out every possible scrap of grass root – any piece left behind would likely grow right back.


Bermuda grass is aggressive and the conditions had been awesome in the boxes – so there was an incredible amount of the tough, stalky root masses to work free from the thick soil. It required a lot of effort – there were ways we worked out to do it better and more efficiently, but no shortcuts to avoid a whole lot of digging in the dirt.

Kristin and I got through most of the first box with some help from Doug, and then Tom From the UK and Jason From Virginia joined us and the next two beds came under control in short order with all hands on deck, so we also cleaned out a bunch of dead plants from the other beds. Afterward, Doug gave me a tour of his permaculture hilltop water reservoir swales, and we all ate warmed up leftovers and freshly baked apple sauce oatmeal muffins Kristin manifested, complete with dried cranberries and banana chips.

Then it was a couple hour siesta until it was time to go to a potluck birthday party – where we ate good food, drank, got bonfired & s’morsed and birthday caked, and played or watched ping pong.

Tom From the UK, Doug, and Jason From Virginia pinging and ponging.
Tom From the UK, Doug, and Jason From Virginia pinging and ponging.

Yep – both parties we’ve been to out here have featured ping pong tables – this one was a lot more casual – just a table out in the garage that had just been given the kids for Christmas. We drank quite a bit of “wassail” – a mulled hot cider drink that everyone but me seemed to have at least heard of before, until I was woozy and sleepy and glad to agree when it was suggested we head back to the farm for the night.

Faith in the sunshine

poop ain’t shit

Friday, January 10th
Yokna Patawpha Farm
Oxford, Mississippi

Warm weather is here! Well, in the 50s – which is almost t-shirt weather to us, thanks to the cold-hardening we underwent back home in the northlands – and over the past week even here.

A new WWOOFer came to the house today: Jason From Virginia, who’s now sharing the bunkbeds in the other room with Tom From the UK.

While Jeff and Jason From Virginia started pulling tools and such out of the incredibly cluttered tool shed on the edge of the field, Kristin and I got to work moving a pallet of pelletized poop – a hefty pile of bags of chicken poop fertilizer that needed to be moved to make room for parking various farm implements. We figured out a stable way to stack them and formed a 2-person assembly line, with Kristin picking them up and handing them off to me for stacking. When the pile was all moved, we pulled up the pallets they’d been stacked on, and shoveled the fallen poop from the damaged bags up into a couple of bins.


This whole operation was completed much more quickly than we’d expected it to be, and we set upon the shed organization project with a vengeance, pulling out every single thing, classifying them into piles, cleaning out the shed, and returning the piles to the space in an ordered manner.

Shed Before (doesn’t really show just how crazy of a pile it really was, off to the sides, but you can get an idea through the dooway in this cropped shot from a few days back):



Shed After:

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While we worked, a few mice made a home in the pockets of Jeff’s coat, hanging from the bed of the pickup truck – and when we were done and he went to put his coat on, they came scrambling and leaping out. Widget sprang to work to do her heritage honor, and quickly caught and harried one of the furry invaders.

After a break for lunch, we planted a couple of flats of tiny kale plants (the only plants on hand deemed likely to withstand the likely return of cold arctic air).

We worked chicken poop into the soil ahead of the planting – the same poop we’d shoveled up and recovered from that morning … which was satisfying in some small way.

Before heading back to the house to clean up, we harvested a bunch of various-colored carrots to use for upcoming meals – starting with tonight’s dinner.

They went into a soup with beans,and Yokna-grown broccoli, sage, & rosemary.  Kristin and I stayed home rather than go to a blues show at a bar in Oxford, to relax, read, soak up the farm’s energy, work on our own seed order for Que Sehra Farm in spring, and write this post.

It’s 1:50 am, the wind is howling outside and it’s been deluging on and off in waves for two hours.

Tomorrow will be Saturday, so no field work – I think we’re going to a party at the house of a couple that Doug is friends with.

OK I finally just got tired. Good night. Love locally.