April / May 2014

MAY 2014
Dear planet earth spinning in the height of spring with all of us spinning as well. Doesn't it feel so full,tremendous, out of control and fecund right now?

Leo Nani Farms is thriving with long awaited rains. Everything wants to be weeded, seeded, mulched, pruned, fed and planted. With a new guest hale, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms) cottage and barn addition, we are on the brink of wonder here. Making new spaces has created new possibilities. Our fully outfitted outdoor kitchen is ready for farm to table dinners including guest chefs and cooking classes. Next comes the music teaching and performance studio. I stand in that spot in the pasture every morning to sing my prayers. Turns out to be the perfect place for the music to live on the land. Studio kit house in the works. Fundraising coming soon.

And time for Rhiannon to get out into the world and make music. Rhiannon leaves for Europe on June 9 visiting Rosenheim and Koln Germany as well as Castricum and Amsterdam Holland. Rhiannon will end with a performance with singers friends in Dusseldorf. July 11 and 12  and in Vancouver in concert with more singer friends and finish the tour at dear Hollyhock on Cortes Island BC from July 13 to 18. Lucky Rhiannon to continue to travel and fertilize with music. We hopes to meet you at one of these sessions or that you find a way to come to Hawaii to sing in the new studio which we plan to up and resonant by 2015.

Life is continuing to require deep faith, trust and forward motion. The more of us operating in full faith while singing, the better.  Janne and I wish you a beautiful spring with the full bloom of summer on the way. 

Stories on the planet right now are hard to hold, the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria, the missing Malaysian plane, the ferry boat in Korea loaded with young ones, the senseless shootings, mining and landslide disasters, sherpas in avalanche, all the disasters and trauma that exists full on right beside the grace. How is it possible to hold all that? We understand that we are connected to all of it and to one another. We know that.

Here in Hawaii are two sailing canoes, traditionally outfitted and guided in an ancient Polynesian understanding of navigating by stars, waves and currents. The Hokule’a and Hikianalia set sail this week from Hilo harbor traveling for 3 years around the oceans of the planet in a spirit of oneness and aloha. We are so proud of these navigators and the crew who travel our connecting waters spreading peace and ancient knowledge. I hope you might follow them and encourage the understanding of our oneness—in troubled time

Please keep faith and keep singing. A hui hou, Rhiannon and Janne


April 30, 2014  

       Leo Nani Farms, The Beautiful Singing Farms, received funding to further develop the arts aspects of our farm. We call ourselves farms in plural because we believe in the sustainability of our intersecting interests; growing and sharing food in combination with growing and sharing the arts in community. Our theme is Cultivating the Arts Through Farming. 
1) First we needed to develop this weedy sugarcane field that we bought in late 2008 by mowing, mulching and amending the soil. All efforts were devoted to the land and listening to what was needed to restore this beautiful 9 acres from the 50 years of monocropping. Permaculture practices and sustainable local organic ideas guide us. One hundred cacao trees, two hundred and ten green tea (camellia sinensis) plants, a huge circle of olena (turmeric), and arbors with five varieties of passion fruit (lilikoi) have become our main crops. We also grow many types of local fruits and vegetables for our own use and to trade and share. Ten chickens and three ducks provide eggs and manuring in the pasture, and two beef cows that we buy locally and raise for two years are grassfed and butchered in our own pasture with an excellent team of local men continuing a Hawaiian tradition of animal husbandry from birth to beef all on our hill. 
       We built a barn, extended greenhouse and nursery and most recently a 12 x 16 guest house (hale) as well as adding to our house a covered porch (lanai) with a full outdoor kitchen and dining area where we can process our crops and invite guests, students and workers to share meals as well as creating a series of farm to table events. 
       With the Gratitude Fund from the East Bay Community Foundation, we built the guest hale and completed the purchase of appliances, counters and storage areas for the outdoor kitchen. We also re-fenced areas of the land to better use the pasture for the cows and plant a new food orchard of macadamia nut, star fruit and ulu (breadfruit) trees. plus new WWOOF cottage (World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms—an international organization to connect organic farmers with people wanting to learn more about farming principles, crops and farm animals). 
       There are three of us living on the farm since our arrival January 1, 2009: Rhiannon, singer, teacher, co-owner and farm worker; Jan Watson, art photographer co-owner and farm manager; and Floyd Bucklin, master builder and inventor. 
2) Our goal for the coming year is to advance the arts on the farm now that crops are growing and coming to harvest. Critical to that goal is building a 1000 square foot teaching and performance studio. Rhiannon can then base her world wide vocal improvisation work on the farm as well as inviting other guest teachers working in the arts, sustainable farming techniques and healing modalities to share their work and discoveries. We have already been approached with three projects that seem perfect in our community. We plan to build the studio in 2014 and begin those projects in the spring of 2015. Design, materials and fundraising are underway. We need a home for Jan’s photographic archives of her life’s work, current projects and the documentation showing the development of the farm. We plan to add a 12 x 16 room to the studio for this purpose. 
3) Leo Nani Farms sold $1800 worth of beef, eggs, turmeric and lilikoi in 2013. The major funding comes from Rhiannon's teaching and performance work. This means intensive travel for her and in her absence, more labor and responsibility for Jan and Floyd on the farm. Time to bring Rhiannon's teaching home to the farm as she turns 70 in 2015. Non-residential teaching work and a small performance series at the Leo Nani studio is our goal. 
To see photos of the farm, please follow this link: http://rhiannonmusic.com/galleries/151893/spring-2014


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