INSIDE THE GREENHOUSE | Re-telling climate change stories

At Clara's Farm


Stephanie Selz

As the sun sweeps west, shadows of life are casted onto this fertile land. This land is alive.

But isn’t all land alive? A lot of my time now, I think of land as either human-touched or pristine; the city of Boulder versus the mountains that reside just a step to the west. This is pretty black and white. But here in Paonia on the Boland family’s farm, I see how humans and land can come together in life, more toward an ecocentric way of existence. Clara, Lisa, Boyd, and Matoush are the stewards of this land; they are tuned into the life that surrounds them and they take actions that reflect love for life.

I am in love with this place. Sitting on the deck of the Boland’s beautiful farm house, I look out to the East and see the many mountains that Boyd introduced us to by name- the Rugged Mountains, Lamborn mountain, etc… A little closer in distance but in the same direction lies another farm where we occasionally see sheep and goats meandering. A few times while filming the energy party, we even saw a few coyotes pass through, presumably enjoying the tranquility and possibly planning their next meal. The Boland’s dog, Jibby, loves to bark at intruders; he howls at the coyotes as he bolts in their direction. Whenever he sees a bird flying in the vicinity, he follows it on foot, howling with his winged object of amusement in his eyes.

Even closer to the East lies the Boland’s land that extends from their farmhouse. To the Northeast lies the plot of land where our tents bake in the sunlight during the day and marvel at the milky way by night. I have never seen the stars and the satellites like this before in the state of Colorado. It is nice to remember that even if we can’t see them with all the light pollution back in Boulder, they are all still there. If only there was less light pollution, humans would be more inclined to reflect on their place within the universe.

Southeast of the farmhouse is where Clara and Boyd have created a garden that bursts with color and life. Tomatoes, purple cabbage, spinach, strawberries, squash, and corn sway in the breeze, dancing throughout the day as butterflies, bees, and the occasional hummingbird wisp around and settle on their shelter. Ellie and I picked the spinach for our dinner salad tonight. Spinach is a zillion times more delicious when you pick them out of the rich earth yourself. There is also a wonderful herb garden. When Clara showed Ellie and I the plants, and had us taste a leaf of this and that- like lemon balm- I was living in heaven. Back in Boulder, I have experienced my first summer of having a garden that Michael and I created in our backyard. Walking around and watching the life blossom is one of the most peaceful, love-bursting experiences for me. I know that one day I will have a garden such as this and will share it with others.

This blog post cannot exist without acknowledging the existence of Dave. "Who is Dave?", you are probably thinking. Well, Dave is a lamb. Dave is the first lamb I have ever met since having my stuffed lamby as a baby (not a real lamb). Dave is an excellent host of the animal’s fenced-in area. Every time we come near the animals’ space, Dave runs up to meet us in the middle, sending cackle-like sounds from his open mouth. He is especially vocal when it comes time for his bottle feeding. Dave has two pig friends who are each 130 pounds but just three months old! It seems they have a pretty nice life. They get to chill out in the mud pool that is outside of their little pig hut. They also get to eat all of the Boland family’s compost- this is something my dog, Bobo, is likely jealous of.

I am grateful that Clara and her family were happy to have us and Bobo here for the weekend. Not only did we get to gather with people in this community, but we also had the opportunity to wake up with the sun, dip in the Boland’s snow-melt canal (which was incredibly rejuvenating), and connect with a family that holds a strong connection to a beautiful way of living.