The basics of biodynamic farming

By education I am actually a biodynamic farmer, which is a branch of organic farming. If you don't have a clear idea of biodynamics, well neither had I before I studied it. I found the studies while following the lead of very special ecovillage type of moments. It was the people dancing folk dances on our summer country house's big hall and then the smell of a wooden house at Labby organic farm that got me into Snellman-korkeakoulu and the biodynamic studies.

The concept of biodynamics didn't really win me over immediately. Biodynamic farming is basically using organic farming methods, but then there's the specific dogmas to follow. You know, that cow manure stuffed into a horn, dug into the earth and processed into the Preparate 500. When discussing biodynamic farming these preparates tend to steal the show, for the only explanation is that they are done following R. Steiner's rules from his Agricultural Course. The book is incomprehensible, I have to say, and it made no sense to me even the second time. What bothered me with these rules and guidelines is not really the thing our culture has in general; not believing before seeing. The problem with biodynamic farming was for me the idea that there would only be one way to do any given thing, like fertilizing a land.

But the biodynamic farming did win me over. Over time. I think I got it all together on our last school day. It was spring and we painted together with two other students, the three of us making together a huge work. The months of observing the creative processes through our art studies, reading that incomprehensible book, discussions, blended on that big piece of paper. The ways of knowing that are subtle, intuitive, subjective. The bees, the cows, the compost and fields and somewhere the farmer, taking care of the earth. The different subtle realms and layers of a farm.

In biodynamic agriculture the intention is to create a farm that is a living organism. It is not only the one field of vegetables that needs to be organically farmed, but the whole farm. The farming system needs to recycle the nutrients. That's why the biodynamic certificates are for the whole farm, not to a field of crop.

The farming guidelines for biodynamic produce are basically stricter than organic farming guidelines. In the States 10 % of the agricultural land on a Demeter farm has to be let to its natural state, for biodiversity. In Finland the guidelines for organic and biodynamic are different e.g. in that in biodynamics the growing medium is never glass wool as it can be in organic greenhouse production.

Main point being the same as in C. Mattinson's great article: the food tastes better. Phenomenally.

An interesting article and discussion about the future of agriculture here.

After a day of heavy snowing

The best thing about the garden fair last weekend was masses of blooming flowers. After a winter that never seems to end the flowers felt like summer in the middle of it.


Leg o' mutton gloves in organic wool

My favourite material for knitting: Wool, gone organic. Organically produced wool guarantees the sheep can free range and are fed organic feedstuff (thus no GMOs or chemical warfare on agricultural land involved). The land is also being taken care of by prohibiting overgrazing it. A big difference in the organic farming system is that it does not use antibiotics and other drugs except for sick animals. That sounds like stating the obvious, doesn't it, but in conventional sheep farming the drugs are often a routine procedure. I'm not going to all the dirty details of the toxic (yes, also to the agricultural workers) compounds that the sheep are dipped in, or the chemical treatment of wool. More information can be found on Organic Clothing's wool facts, on the pages of Soil Association and on the factsheet of the Organic Trade Association.

This specific pure and white organic wool is a very thick and soft one, but don't let it steal the show. Instead do also note the leg o' mutton gloves. I found the pattern from Yearofthegoat at Etsy and couldn't resist it. I love the round, exaggerated shape. I've been thinking these gloves would be good in the Nordic spring with warm days yet cold mornings and evenings when it's good to wear an extra layer. I'm still only dreaming of those warm days while walking in sleet and slush or ice, but since this pair is my friend's birthday present I have time to make another pair for myself before the winter spring is over.

Yarn: Sirdar eco wool dk.
For 5 mm needles, but did fine on 5,5 also.

Ps. My love for the sculpture-like knits was definitely influenced by Warmi autumn-winter collection.


Amelia earhart aviator cap

Knitting this aviator cap included counting a lot. At first I thought I was just making a mess, so it
was fun to see how a pattern started to evolve. I'm very pleased with the result, and hope to get
something else than knitting done for a change now.

Pattern: Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap from Headhuggers. Found via 10 feet high.
Yarn: 7 Veljestä
Needles: 4 mm