Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

23 June

Power Went Out, We Got Out The Chess Set And Waited It Out. Watch Zip Hide From The Storm

by Jon Katz

We almost squeaked through the storms and threatened tornadoes; we just got nipped towards the end when lightning hit all around, thunder scared all of the animals, and the lights went out.

They were out for nearly four hours, and we decided to wait until later to pull the generator from the barn. We didn’t need it. It’s fun being in the dark for a while. The lights came on just before 9 p.m.; we got into three chess games.

Maria is getting good; we are pretty evenly matched. She is excellent on defense, and I am good at offense, so we balance one another out, and neither can entirely break through. She won one game – I blundered close to checkmate, and we called it a draw on the others; it was getting too bloody.

But it was great fun. We both love playing chess. I suspect she’s getting better than me.

I got some popcorn out, and the solar emergency light and the candelabra gave us plenty of light. Every day has been something of a mess weather as everyone in the country knows. I can see from the weather that this will be a different summer than we’ve seen here before. We are about as ready as we can be. It’s sad.

I did get out to get a landscape shot of the sky clearing after heavy rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. When the rain and winds hit, I saw Zip running madly out from under the front porch and diving under one of the coaches for shelter. He has safe and hiding spots.

As the wind built up and Lulu got too close, Zip dove under a pile of wood we had saved for the pandemic. Maria got this video, watching Bud hide and then pop up and down. He has a million safe spots and hiding places here. He knows how to take care of himself, as barn cats do.

23 June

Flower Art, Sunday, June 29, 2024: New Horizons, Wild Flowers, Renegade White Hydrangeas, A New Way To Dream

by Jon Katz

Wildflowers mix wonderfully with cut flowers, and much of my experimentation this week has been to try to capture that interaction. They are all part of the same community and work well together, each with a different message. The Wildflowers have a simplicity and authenticity that I am coming to love. The cut flowers make beautiful backdrops.

I’m signing off tonight, but I’m deeply hooked on Coin Colm’s wonderful novel Brooklyn. I can’t stop reading it. In the morning, we are off to take Maria’s wool to be turned into yarn. It’s one of the richest Bedlam Farm traditions.

The sequel, Long Island, is just out and on my table.

I’ll be gone in the morning. See you after lunch. It’s supposed to begin cooling, which is a good thing. I did have fun with my photos this week. I’m grateful for my photography and dream of getting another macro lens. I can’t afford it now, but perhaps next year. Despite the heat, I’ve had a beautiful weekend.

I cherish my time with Maria; we never tire of one another. I love the work we are doing with the Cambridge Food Pantry. She is very happy with her new sewing machine and has many wonderful ideas about what to make. Stay tuned. Maria made the most wonderful Cucumber Soup; we’re having some for dinner.

Next week, I’ll be back with my meditation class at the Mansion. Good night to you, see you tomorrow.


The delicacy of the wildflower always feels like a guest at a party.

Purple is a beautiful color to go with pure white.

I always look for a light at the center of a flower; they are all about color and light.

A guardian flower.



The blue flowers are not much bigger than ants. But they seem to carry a lot of power.

23 June

Sunday Journal: Head And Rain, Love And Light, Making Friends, Skirting Wool

by Jon Katz

Life on the farm, especially on weekends, is a whole of different things, from the farmer’s market to Zip’s presence to flowers and gardening. It’s pouring now; it was almost 90 degrees earlier. Tomorrow, we go south to a new wool cleaning and dyeing facility just 90 minutes away in Columbia County.

Our old place closed a few months ago. We will miss that wonderful restaurant in Brandon, Vermont.

This morning, we both noticed that Fate was starting to like Zip. He sniffed him, slept beside him, and ignored him peacefully. Flo terrorizes the dogs. Zip likes them, and they are responding. He isn’t afraid of them, so they are not scared of him—a great barn cat. Maria finished cleaning her wool just in time, minutes before it started pouring. I feel like we’re in the Amazon jungles.

(above photo by Maria)

It’s exciting to drop the wool off. This is a huge part of farm life and one of the primary reasons we have sheep. It gives a lot of meaning to our life.

Maria skirted the wool.

She found these wild hydrangeas and cut them for my photos.

I just felt like putting this up. It makes me smile.

23 June

Honoring The Volunteers. We’ve Given 10,000 Pounds Of Food To The Cambridge Pantry So Far: Can We Keep It Going?

by Jon Katz

It was a truly special evening for Maria and me as we were invited to the Cambridge Food Pantry’s First Volunteer Appreciation Night. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful event and to share a meal and laughter with all of you.

As a fellow Cambridge Pantry Volunteer, I am deeply moved by the dedication, hard work, kindness, and passion that each of you brings to our cause. Your selfless work has an immeasurable impact on this community and others who pay attention.

The blog is read all over America.

(That’s me  and, Maria, on the left above)

It was a revelation for me to witness the sheer amount of work required to keep the food pantry healthy and operational. The continuous effort and dedication of these volunteers are truly inspiring, and it’s no wonder that people from all over are inspired by your work.

Each volunteer is the epitome of dedication and reliability. Despite not being paid, they never fail to show up when needed and never complain – just like the Army of Good.

Their commitment to our cause is truly inspiring, and I am honored to work alongside such wonderful and welcoming individuals and to be asked to stand with them for a photograph.

As the dinner began yesterday, Sarah Harrington announced that the Army of Good had sent 10,000 pounds of much-needed food to the pantry in the past few months. I was amazed, proud, and grateful. Thank you all once again.

A number of the volunteers asked me if I thought this kind of support could continue. My answer is just below.


(Sarah’s urgent request for help getting these three items sent over the weekend is below. They are needed and were all gone by Saturday.

One: Maruchan Ramen Pork Flavor, 3.0 Oz (Pack of 4), $6.00.

Two: Nissin Top Ramen Noodle Soup, Beef (2 Ounce Pack of 24), $7.16.

Three: Nissin op Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken, 3 Oz. (Pack Of 24), $6.98.)


While I understand the concerns about the sustainability and cost of any food pantry, I am confident that with the continued support of good and caring people nationwide, we can help keep their doors open and continue to serve those in need.

This is about a lot more than one single food pantry.

I do believe it will continue; here’s why:

1. People all over America are sick of politicians lying, posturing, and fighting.

They want to be able to do what Americans have always done: lend a helping hand to people brought to their knees by bad luck, greedy corporations,  false political leaders, and the high cost of things.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to help a hungry child eat.

People want to do good and are drawn to the chance, and I know of no better cause right now than supporting the hungry and their children. The harder people work, the tougher it’s become. I am eager to help. As is obvious, not a penny comes to me or anyone but the pantry and the people who need help.

2. Sarah is a brilliant new leader for this pantry. She makes helping the needy as inexpensive and easy as I have ever seen it done. We work together as brother and sister.

Notice that none of these three items above costs more than $7.16. For a few dollars, we can get food to a pantry that will feed a family for days, even weeks. She scours Amazon for bargains and the best food she can find at the lowest cost. She is keenly aware that our movement is not wealthy.

People can choose the food they wish to send and send it with a click, often without shipping cost.

Several academic nutritions have criticized me and called me names  – ah, social media – for describing the food we order as healthy or nutritious.

I always reply in this way:

I am not a nutritionist; I do not tell food-challenged people what to feed their children, and I do not tell the pantry what to order.

They do what they can afford to do. My reply is this: the least healthy food possible is no food. Shouldn’t nutritionists, above all people, know this? No one who comes to the pantry goes home hungry or starving.

The pantry does its best, but it rarely can afford the food it wants or the food it asks for. It gets what it can and orders what it can afford. It would love to give every family organic and the healthiest food. When it can’t do anymore, it asks for help.

That’s our role here, as simple and clear as that. We help.

We can do as much good as this for a little cost and effort.

3. Our country is in turmoil, and many urgent crises – drugs, violence, hunger – go unchecked while politicians are on the phone raising money from billionaires and calling one another names. It’s not my job to point fingers at anyone, any party, or any ideology.

But I see that we can all come together on the problem, if not always the solution. We have never failed to help when asked and chose to try. What a joy it is for Sarah and me to see those Amazon boxes pouring in.

This challenge is simple. Hardworking, middle-class people are hungry; they can’t afford to feed their families. We do what we can.  And that is a lot. Ten thousand pounds of food is a lot of food. Wow.

4. The Army of Good was formed in 21o6 by people of all ages, colors, heritage, politics, and wealth.

We don’t place blame or promote conflict and division.  We don’t push or argue politics.

We believe that doing good is better than arguing about what good is. We’ve helped embattled and persecuted farmers, refugee children worldwide, and elderly people in assisted care, high school art programs, and Medicaid facilities.

Now, in 2024, this food pantry symbolizes to the world that the heart of America beats strong.

For this reason, the Army of Good will continue to support this food pantry as a message to the country beyond: people are going hungry, and we want to help.

I hope we can make the point this weekend by supporting Sarah’s request for three different kinds of  Ramen noodles to help these families put dinner on the table.

Thanks again for everything. I’m betting on you. Let’s let them know we are here to stay. We can get started here:

One: Maruchan Ramen Pork Flavor, 3.0 Oz (Pack of 4), $6.00.

Two: Nissin Top Ramen Noodle Soup, Beef (2 Ounce Pack of 24), $7.16.

Three: Nissin op Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken, 3 Oz. (Pack Of 24), $6.98.

Thanks, Jon



22 June

Flower Art, Saturday, June 22, 2024, Fishing With Some Bellflowers From Spain

by Jon Katz

I spent some sweet time with these flowers this afternoon, sitting on the porch with Zip and these beautiful things. All I know is that they come from Spain, some Bellhouse flowers, and their shape caught my attention.

I’m off to a volunteer’s dinner at the Pantry, so I’m signing off now.

I’m not big on socializing, but the volunteers are a wonderful group of people, and I’m proud to work with them.

I’ll see you tomorrow. I hope you enjoy the flowers. They reminded me of fish traveling in the tropics.


They always seemed to be soaring to me.

They also seemed like they were floating to me or swimming in coral reefs.

There’s always a drop of light to center on.



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