Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

13 July

Battle Of The Sun: Me, Sunflowers And My Camera Lenses. Don’t Try This At Home. I Think It Was A Draw. .

by Jon Katz

This morning, I had one of the most challenging brawls with a strong and bright sun. I love flower photographs, which really show the intensity, emotion, and beauty of the sun, mother to all flowers.

The noon sun was directly level with my eyes, the flowers, and my camera. It kept blinding me, even indirectly or when I looked away (this is perhaps why I am probably going to need cataract surgery in August or September. It isn’t the flower’s fault or mine; I have become much more sensitive to direct sunlight but no less stubborn about taking my pictures.

(See one sunflower in the sun above.)

It came out well. I wouldn’t dare taunt the sun by suggesting I win a struggle with him, but I got a bunch of photos I really like, and I hope you do, too.

I had to try each picture about a half dozen times, standing up, lying down on different chairs, moving them so the sun would be where I wanted it, and rapidly changing exposures so I could get the pictures I wanted.

I didn’t look directly into the sun, but it was very difficult to see through the lens or viewfinder. My eyes are back to normal. It is a gift to capture the beauty and emotion of the hearts and souls of flowers. It was worth every minute.

I’m using eye drops, staying close to the air conditioner, and giving my eyes a rest. They deserve it. According to our outdoor thermometer, the flowers captured the feeling on a day when the temperature was close to 100 degrees. I’m checking out for tonight. See you tomorrow in the morning.


Base of a Sunflower

I am still determining the names of these flowers. I love the threads coming off of them.

Wildflowers in the sun.


Sunflower leaves.



13 July

Cambridge Pantry Weekend Stockpile Project. Four Dressings, Each One Under $3. (Plus Spaghetti & Meatballs For $1.)Please Help If You Can.

by Jon Katz

We’re launching a program to help the pantry stock up on its most sought-after and impossible-to-get items. I call it the “Stockpile Program.” Your contributions have been crucial.

This will significantly ease Sarah’s and the volunteers’ workloads and ensure the shelves are always well-stocked with what people want. Your help will make a real difference and prevent any panicked scrambling.

Pantry Director Sarah Harrington will be a Pantry Booth from 10-1 Sunday at the  Cambridge Farmers Market.

This weekend, we’re looking at four popular pantry items: four different kinds of salad dressing. All four are on the Cambridge Food Pantry Amazon Wish List.

The four items, all under $3:

One Kraft Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing (16 fl oz Bottle) by Kraft, $2.53.

Kraft Dressing, Thousand Island, 8 Oz, $2.24.

Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing, $2.33.

Kraft Tuscan House Italian Salad Dressing (16 fl. Oz Bottle) $2.98.


Sneak Peek for tomorrow’s Pantry Support Request: Spaghetti and Meatballs, a great and filling dinner choice for the Pantry’s “customers:”

Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs, 14.5 Oz, $1.


We can do a lot of good for very little money.

13 July

Heat Wave: Morning At Bedlam Farm, Saturday, July 13, 2024

by Jon Katz

It’s hot here, and in many other places, so even Maria is holding off on her many outdoor projects. We are going to a movie—Janet Planet—in Williamstown and then having lunch or dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It’s too hot for me to go out and take pictures, so I’ll check in later. Tomorrow, I will see Sarah Harrington,  the Pantry Director; she will be in a Cambridge Pantry Booth at the Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 1 P.M. I’ll be there to take a photo or two. Maybe I’ll get a selfie.

Hot, Hot, Hot…

Donkeys behind the flower bed.

Sheep staying out of the sun.

Two donkeys are sticking close.


13 July

Saving The Red Barn: Dan Rogers To The Rescue

by Jon Katz

Our sills and low-hanging boards across the front of the barn were rotting, and some porches on our porch were also rotting. Dan Rogers, our friend and the hero of the beautiful Compost toilet upstairs, finally had some time to work on the farm—he is very much in demand.

Sills are critical for an old barn structure; they can cause the whole barn to collapse in a strong wind or snowstorm.

I’ve become fond of Dan. He’s funny, intelligent, and honest, and he has many great stories to tell. He is also meticulous and does great work.

Maria jokes that he and I spend a lot of time gassing each other, country style. But when he gets to work, there is no stopping him until he’s done, no matter how cold or hot. We are friends now, and we have a lot of fun together.

I love having him around.  He’s swamped, but he comes running when we are in trouble. He spent the morning working on the sills rotting in our barn; he’ll return soon to finish the job around the barn and front porch. We know when he is coming, but he always texts me the night before.

He is the best, as you can see from the photos.

This is the first layer of wood he installed around the electric pipe wire – it was tricky.


He was keen on putting stains on the wood to protect it.

The stain made a huge difference. Dan even makes sure that there is what the farmers call a “cat hole” for barn cats. All the farmers have one. Zip will have quick access to his heated cat house in the barn in the winter.


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