Moon Dog Farms

Certified Naturally Grown family farm growing fruits, vegetables & flowers in the Texas Gulf Coast

MoonDog Farms is dedicated to stewardship of the land, reinforcing a healthy community and producing great food.  

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Oranges, Machetes and Grant Applications.

I get that it's fairly lame for me to just share a poem and call it a day.  "What kind of blog entry is that?" you exclaim, filled with well-deserved indignation. 

But here's the thing. 

On my desk, there has been a mountain of paperwork like never before, and more tabs open on my computer than I dare give away. It's grant-application season. All I want to do is eat carrots and cuddle our farm cat who's FINALLY deigned to be the affectionate cuddle bunny I've wanted all along, but I can't. Grants need a lot of attention.

And if you know about this, then...well, you know. And if you don't, then you're like me. And you're in for a gnarly surprise.  Tackling multiple grants for both our farm and our farmers' market has proved quite the task, and so today, I want to share a poem that makes me happy.

This poem has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in 6th grade, and it still resonates with me today. Incidentally, our Nicaraguan friend Oscar and his family have been with us much of this past week, and the man cannot stop eating oranges. He peels them with his machete.

Yeah, it's as cool as it looks.  Not only that, but his family is beautiful and his children love fresh vegetables. As in, they stuff them in their mouths.  As we walked through the farm during a break, both Bella and Celeste helped themselves to the Winter buffet (as well as the last few stragglers still fighting the good fight in the summer fields).  It made me so happy. Words don't do these kids justice, so you'll just have to see some photos of them as well. :) 

Enjoy, and may this winter poem give you the same warm pleasure it does for me. And I hope you get to eat citrus afterward. 


by Gary Soto

The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted -
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickle in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.
I took the nickle from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all

A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl’s hand
In mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

Seed Babies

On a recent jaunt to Austin for some farmy-related fun, Alex and I had the good fortune to stay with some amazing, good-looking people, eat and drink lazily and zealously, and get some very much-needed baby time.   

What a kernel. Could've stayed there for hours.

It's a wild assertion to make, but babies might be one of the best things on earth.  I know, I know...who likes babies? They smell good, fill your heart with joy, take the world as it comes and nestle in your arms like a warm baguette.

Baby Nolan honing his fruit-chewing skills on a Moon Dog Farms grapefruit, 

It's a wonder we have them, really.

It's a clever feat of nature that the miniature versions adults create-- their offspring-- are adorable.  We're biologically motivated to care for our young as a means of preserving our species, but a dash of cuteness sure doesn't hurt.  

Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel-prize winning zoologist, was a supporter of this observation of animal behavior. He was a smart European fella, and as he gives me the excuse to include cute animal photos, I'll expound further.


He worked with geese for years, developing hypotheses for instinctive behavior patterns, i.e. delving into the "whys" behind the weirdo stuff we animals do automatically.

 His work also included research into our human affection for certain animals over others, or


the retention of childlike characteristics--such as big heads or large eyes--into adulthood.

I think he was way off.

However, it's worth noting that this theory applies in many way to plants as well.  I mean, this is pretty darling:

Baby amaranth flower, batting her eyelashes.

And so, if you're hip to the idea that nature has us homo sapiens all figured out, then it makes perfect sense that

plants start out as cute babies as well.  

We go to all this trouble of watering, coddling, and protecting them in their infancy not only for their promise of tasty bounty (undeniably the BIG motivator) but for the pleasure of mommy-ing their wee, vulnerable cellulose souls.  Just minus the big ears.

Starting out so small...

...and they grow up so fast.  

The Texas Organic Farmers and Growers Conference was the reason for our Austin travels this past weekend, and it was a confidence-boosting, information-filled event to be sure.  We geeked out with other Texas plant-lovers and picked the brains of wiser, sunburnt farmers to whom crop rotations are nothing new under the sun. (Thanks Glen at The Laughing Frog Farm!)  It was great fun.  

Our "Anna" apple, flirting with danger by blooming before the risk of frost is over. But she sure is gorgeous.

But I'll confess, nothing could beat how I felt seeing our formerly bare apple, plum and peach trees IN BLOOM as we drove up the gravel driveway home.

Tiny pink and green buds busting forth, peeking out amongst the branches. Soft unfolding blossoms. Simply adorable. 

And you know what?

 I never liked Tweety anyway.

*Special thanks to Monica and Kyle Langhorst for their permission to display the champion who is their son Nolan purely to draw people to this post. I'm devoted to your son forever.