Summer Harvest

Quail SpringsCommunity, Farm and Garden, Food Leave a Comment

The farm team at Quail Springs has been working hard tending the garden on these 100+ degree days, and the harvest is starting to come in! We're enjoying an abundance of juicy red tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and lush lettuce, to name just a few. We'd been looking forward to the day when we'd have enough ripe zucchinis, eggplants, and tomatoes to make Ratatouille (a classic French late-summer stew) for the whole crew -- and the day finally came! Let's just say we were not disappointed.
Are you growing a garden this summer? From what we're hearing, a lot of people are experimenting with growing their own food for the first time during this pandemic. We love to hear garden stories; let us know what you're growing, and what you're doing with it in the kitchen! If you've been wanting to grow a garden but aren't quite sure how to get started, we have a new video on Patreon explaining a simple technique for converting a patch of lawn into a garden using all free materials.
Marta, one of our farm managers, gives a demo of a classic soil building technique

At this time in past years, we'd be gearing up to host our 2-week fall Permaculture Design Course at Quail Springs. This year is, however, not like other years (if you hadn't already noticed.) Instead, we're busy developing an online version of our flagship program. It's different, and we're going to miss having the PDC class out here in November, but we're excited about the potential to reach people we haven't been able to reach in the past, and for the chance to continue offering permaculture education even when it's not possible to gather in person.

We've been filming sessions with our core teachers, and we'll be spending the fall putting the final touches on the course experience. Stay tuned for more details, but the plan is to launch the course in March 2021. Reply to this email if you want to be added to the waiting list and be first to know when it's open for registration.

Online PDC
Brenton Kelly teaching a lesson on compost for our upcoming online PDC

Quail Springs is producing the online PDC in collaboration with the team at Commune. We're so grateful for their generosity in sharing their talent and expertise in online course production with us, and for so gracefully navigating the challenge of filming during a pandemic. Quail Springs also received a Small Capacity Building grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation specifically to help us develop an online version of our PDC -- deep thanks to the Foundation for the ongoing support!

We've been able to expand our watershed education and outreach work in the valley recently, thanks to a grant from the Department of Water Resources, by way of the Cuyama Community Services District. Along with a series of educational videos, infographics, field trips and botanical drawing classes to raise awareness of watershed health and watershed issues, this grant paid for a beautiful public mural on the outside of the Family Resource Center in New Cuyama, based on the infographic below (Water Cycle of the Cuyama Valley). Check it out next time you're in New Cuyama!

Cuyama Valley
This infographic was designed by Brenton Kelly and artist Betty Seaman
Also in New Cuyama, Molly and Brendan continue to meet with the Cuyama Youth Leaders with a focus on encouraging civic engagement. Monthly gatherings have changed a bit since Covid, but the group continues to meet once a month in a socially distanced way. This youth mentorship work is funded by a grant from the FUND for Santa Barbara -- big thanks to the FUND for your support!
Cuyama Youth Leaders
Youth doing an outdoor awareness activity outside with Brendan, a Quail Springs mentor
Back at Quail Springs, we've been working with Ventura County to legally permit our cob buildings. We are blessed with a network of skilled friends and collaborators who have been helping us to navigate complicated codes and make detailed architectural drawings (see drawings of one of our cob houses, The Farmhouse, below).
Cob Farmhouse

The staff at the County office have also been extremely gracious in guiding us as we try to find the best way to fit our square peg into a round hole. Wish us luck!

There have been some very heartening developments in the past year that we hope will act as a tailwind in this effort to permit our earthen buildings, not the least of which being the adoption of the Cob Code Appendix in the International Residential Code for 2021! Read more about this good news, what it means in practice, and the next steps toward making cob building accessible to all in this blog post.

Speaking of cob buildings, have you seen our sweet little Farmhouse (featured in the drawings above)? Check out the virtual tour below, and visit the Quail Springs Patreon for Part Two, where Sasha gives a tour of the house's special features including the rocket stove, earthen floor, and glass bottle details.

Sasha gives us an overview of natural building and how this farm house was built

As summer comes to a close, we're wishing you bountiful harvests, good health, and meaningful connection with people you love. Speaking of connection, we so enjoy hearing from you — please reach out and let us know how you're doing!

In gratitude for water, fruits, vegetables, and each other,
All of us at Quail Springs

summer harvest footer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *