Montana - fires and farming

So I had a couple of weeks off the co-op trail, in Montana, where I started to get a glimpse of the impact of wildfires experienced by the Western US. This is one of the worst years ever in terms of number and severity of forest fires, and like the extreme temperature records, it's a year-on-year pattern heading in the wrong direction. I spent my first couple of days in the state struggling to see the mountains I'd heard so much about, the smoke from hundreds of fires hanging in every valley like a thick, choking fog. Which strangely had a slight aroma of maple syrup to me, but that might just have been my imagination, I don't think it was maple trees that were burning!

But the smoke did eventually clear, and I spent an incredible ten days on a small organic farm and orchard producing for a co-operatively run CSA and local farmers markets. I picked more apples than I ever have before (and those who know Abundance know I've picked a lot of apples), surrounded by amazing mountains, blue skies, and three beautiful dogs. We worked hard and long, both husband and wife work other jobs alongside farming (in fact 50% of American farmers do the same) and the work isn't done til it's done, basically. But I loved every second of it, perhaps because I didn't have to scrutinise the crops with the eyes of someone who has to pay the mortgage. 

Best things, apart from apple picking and the dogs....getting to know my lovely hosts, learning how to make apple butter (oh, the smell), running the farmers market stall, and while doing so being told that my accent made someone want me to read them a story..... 

The Kindling Trust is a not for profit social enterprise with charitable aims (Company number: 6136029).
Kindling Trust Ltd - Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR