Recently, Farmer Matt, who organizes most of the growing and planting, started a video series to help others farm more efficiently, organically and just plain easier. Check out the full playlist here.
Here are a few examples:
Our lovely friend and film maker from Montreal, Maxime Pelletier, visited us 5 years ago as he was traveling across the US to make this film. We were still building and gardening and had a little baby living in the house. Check it out.
Film Description: American Utopias is a special journey on the mythical roads of the United States of America. We drove 10 000 miles across the country to view firsthand practicing utopias. We saw communities of tiny houses, intentional communities, an urban laboratory and also participated in Burning Man, an artistic gathering in Nevada. All along our journey, we wondered about the possibility of an ideal community and the core values that underpin any such initiative. Have you ever imagined living in a 150 square feet home? Could you live without electricity or gas? Would you live at a stone’s throw from your workplace? These questions and more are the subject matter of the feature-length documentary American Utopias.
Yesterday was the perfect day to inoculate some logs. We ordered spawn and a cool inoculation tool that puts sawdust spawn into pre-drilled holes. We cut down the sugar maple wood 10 days ago. That was the first step.
Then we drilled a lot of holes with a special drill bit that attaches to an angle grinder.
Here is Matt working hard. We used 2 strains of shiitake spawn – one that fruits in late Fall and early Spring and another that fruits during the warmer months. This will extend the harvesting season.
Maple with spawn in the holes:
We used hot wax (with mineral oil in it) to seal the inoculation sites so that other fungi wouldn’t have a chance.
Now we have about 48 logs and hopefully some will fruit this October! See the stacking method Matt used below:
Here are some photos from Winter 2017. Giant icicles, lots of snow – but milder than usual. We’ve also been working on projects indoors like making cool art, and finishing up interior walls and fixtures. If you haven’t visited us in a long time, come by this summer and see the changes we’ve made!
Well, despite the rain, we were able to try out our experimental, interactive bit of theater @ Ithaca Festival 2016. It was our first attempt at this type of performance art and we learned a lot. Our favorite part was collaborating with Art Club – amazing! There may be another round of I Sense a Presence coming up, and we will certainly keep working on more art in this vein. If you’d like to know what we’re up to join our mailing list:
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Recently, we have decided to really finish the bathroom. DIY style as usual, we got a lot of broken pieces of granite for free from a local tile shop for our floor. Next, we got a used claw foot tub and cleaned it up real good. It’s really coming together! More on this breaking news as we make progress! 🙂
We’re collaborating on an art and agriculture project! And we’d love your help to make it awesome. Check out the details below and get in touch if you’d like to get in on it.
MUTANT CORN : TRIFORCE
For Summer 2015, The Dacha Project (Freevile, NY) and ArtCodex (Brooklyn, NY) are collaborating on “Mutant Corn,” a project inspired by the genetic and economic history of corn. Essentially an experiment in cross-breeding corn, it is also an experiment in crossing the social boundaries of agriculture, science and art. We will be executing this project in the region surrounding Ithaca, New York. The long history of agriculture mixed with alternative living initiatives makes this city a perfect venue for an experiment such as this.
In front of the main house at The Dacha Project, we will grow a small field of different colored corn to see how, at the end of the season, the corn will cross-pollinate. The structure of this field will be triangular, divided into three smaller triangles that meet together to form the boundaries of a fourth triangle in the center.
The three outer triangles will each be planted with different, brightly colored corn: red, blue, pink. In the center triangle, we will plant a commercially produced genetically modified maize (GMM). This will be a pale yellow or white corn. This central corn will be our neutral test subject, growing ears that will display a mosaic of color reflecting the genetic influence of its neighbors. Unlike the rest of the corn, it will be de-tasseled (stripped of its pollen producing flowers) to prevent both cross- and self-pollination.
An important aspect of this project is social. During its development, we have worked with scientists, artists, and agriculturalists, and will be seeking many other collaborators for the physical growing projects. Work parties – much like an amish barn raising, will be a very important part of this process. This will include building the raised beds, planting the seeds, de-tasseling the GMM corn, and harvest. In addition to gathering interested minds and hands together for this necessary work, we would like to program cultural events such as film screenings and performances.
Around harvest time, we will have a gallery exhibit at The Dacha Project that explores the cultural landmarks that have grown up around corn. This will include a simultaneous screening of the classic horror movie “Children of the Corn”, with the agricultural documentary “King Corn”. There will also be a collaborative mapping project reflecting the results of the cross-pollination, as well as photographic and video documentation of the process.
We are looking for collaborators on all different levels for the project. Though the basic project has been fleshed out, we would like to invite artists and other creative people to bring their own ideas into the mix. We will be programming events throughout the growing season where interested folks can bring music, discussions, performance that converges around the topics of agriculture, commodity and community. We will also be hosting an art exhibition in the autumn to coincide with the harvest.
Also, we will definitely be needing lots of help with the physical tasks of the project- lining the pond for irrigation, creating the raised beds and filling them with soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting. One of the greatest parts of this is that it’s been designed with long-term results in mind, and both the pond and the raised beds will benefit Dacha’s gardens for some years to come.
If you would like to be involved, please contact us.