Inch by Inch… Row by Row!

Photo courtesy of the Arlington Reservoir website

While all sorts of extremely important events continue to unfold around the world on a daily basis, life — blessedly — goes on here in East Arlington, MA.

Last fall I discovered — and began happily patronizing — an organic farm within biking distance of my home.

It sits on the edge of an old reservoir which currently serves as a nature preserve.

The reservoir straddles the border of my town and the next town to the west — Lexington, where our Revolutionary War kicked off two hundred and forty eight years ago with a battle against the British.

I have known about this reservoir — which is no longer used for drinking water — for the past thirty years.

Yet I have rarely visited it because I live on the east side of town, and the reservoir is located on west side of town.

Biking there takes 25 minutes, and it’s mostly up hill — following a converted rail-to-trail bike path.

However, this past fall I resumed leading Music Together classes indoors at a karate studio which is located five blocks from the reservoir.

And not long after we had begun our fall term, someone (we still don’t know who) drove into one of the karate studio’s front walls.

This meant that we had to find alternative locations for our classes while repairs were being made.

A couple of my Music Together families offered to let us hold class in their backyards — and one of those families lives a block away from the reservoir.

So one morning after class in their backyard was done, I decided to explore the reservoir on my bike.

Photo courtesy of Lexington Community Farm website

It turns out there is a lovely path all the way around it — and when I reached the far side of the reservoir, I found myself gazing onto a field full of vegetables!

And then I saw a sign welcoming people to walk through the farm and — on Fridays and Saturdays — buy fresh vegetables at their farmstand.

Because I had been part of a summer/fall farmshare of fresh produce which was driven to Arlington each week from an organic farm in New Hampshire, I did not visit their farmstand right away.

But when my farmshare ended in November, I decided to check it out.

What a thrill to enter a room full of very locally grown — and vibrantly colored — organic carrots, potatoes, lettuces, sweet potatoes, scallions, leeks, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, turnips, beets.. and the list went on and on and on!

I bought a bunch of leeks, a bunch of kale and a bunch of collard greens.

And I rode home very happily on the bike path with all of them erupting in different shades of green out of a shopping bag in the front basket of my bike.

We are now experiencing a stretch of wintery weather in Arlington after a relatively mild December, January and February (during which I have been able to continue riding my bike!)

The first crocus and snowdrops appeared in our front yard two weeks ago, but they are now buried under an icy crust of snow.

This week we are experiencing snow and sleet and rain, but I trust that spring will return before too long — with more croci and snowdrops and mini-Siberian irises and grape hyacinths poking their way out of the soil and opening their flowers to the sun.

I also trust that activity will resume in the fields and greenhouses of Lexington Community Farm.

My longing for spring is what has inspired me to share a recording of “The Garden Song” by Dave Mallett which Carole Bundy, Molly Ruggles and I included on our first eight-song CD last summer.

As you probably already know, you can play it by clicking at the very beginning of this blog post.

You can also listen to it on various streaming platforms by clicking here.

Thank you to all of the people who make the Lexington Community Farm a reality — inch by inch and row by row!

Thank you to Carole Bundy and Molly Ruggles for learning this song with me.

Thank you to Dave Mallett for writing it.

Thank you to Peter Kontrimas for recording it and to Doug Hammer for mixing/mastering it.

And thank you to Mother Nature for bringing everything back to life here in the northern hemisphere of planet earth!

You are always welcome to visit my website — where you can find many songs and learn more about my musical life here on planet earth if you are curious.

You can find me and Carole and Molly singing on various streaming platforms by clicking here.

You can also find me singing — with Doug Hammer playing his Schimmel grand piano — on SpotifyPandoraApple Music, YouTube and other streaming platforms.

Any song you “like” or “heart” or add to a playlist will improve the algorithmic activity of our music there!

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

And most of all, thank YOU for reading another one of my blog posts!


30 thoughts on “Inch by Inch… Row by Row!

  1. Oh that’s wonderful that you discovered an organic farm and store. I love farm stores. Just north of here, there is a large population of Mennonites and Amish. It’s great to drive around in the summer and buy fresh veggies from them.

    Winter has returned here in southern Ontario, too. We had a snowy blast on Tuesday and we’re expecting another one on Friday. I’m headed to Milwaukee today so I’m just hoping Friday’s snow won’t disrupt my return home. I always feel for the snowdrops and crocuses after they peek their heads above the soil and then get smothered by snow. They are remarkably resilient, though.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing your music with us Will.

    • You are very welcome, Michelle. I agree about the snowdrops and crocus and other bulbs such as daffodils who dare to poke their green shoots out of the ground and then are whomped by snow/ice… my heart goes out to them AND they usually prove to be extraordinarily resilient! May your travels go smoothly.

  2. Where could I find a print of the words to the cute song. I might need to teach my Grands this little song. My hearing isn’t very good so I can’t catch all of the song. I’m glade you have found a new garden to buy from. Very best .

    • Here are the lyrics! You can also find them online by searching (using Google) for “The Garden Song” lyrics by Dave Mallett.

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Gonna make this garden grow
      All it takes is a rake and a hoe
      And a piece of fertile ground

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Someone bless these seeds I sow
      Someone warm them from below
      ‘Till the rain comes tumblin’ down

      Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones
      Man is made of dreams and bones
      Feel the need to grow my own
      ‘Cause the time is close at hand

      Grain for grain, sun and rain
      Find my way in Nature’s chain
      Tune my body and my brain
      To the music from the land

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Gonna make this garden grow
      All it takes is a rake and a hoe
      And a piece of fertile ground

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Someone bless these seeds I sow
      Someone warm them from below
      ‘Till the rain comes tumblin’ down

      Plant your rows straight and long
      Temper them with prayer and song
      Mother Earth will make you strong
      If you give her loving care

      An old crow watching hungrily
      From his perch in yonder tree
      In my garden I’m as free
      As that feathered thief up there

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Gonna make this garden grow
      All it takes is a rake and a hoe
      And a piece of fertile ground

      Inch by inch, row by row
      Someone bless these seeds I sow
      Someone warm them from below
      ‘Till the rain comes tumblin’ down

    • Thank you, Justin. I have a few somewhat depressing blog drafts that i’ve also been working on, but decided to finish this one to buoy my — and maybe a few other people’s — spirits!

    • How cool that you have seen Mr. Mallett in live performance! I think he is still making music, bless him. Thank you for reading and listening and commenting on yet another one of my blog posts!

  3. It’s always refreshing to hear about people discovering new things in their own backyards. The organic farm you discovered sounds like a wonderful find, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve been able to enjoy their fresh produce.

    It’s also great that you’ve been able to continue biking despite the winter weather, and I share your hope that spring will arrive soon.

    Thank you for sharing “The Garden Song” by Dave Mallett – it’s a lovely reminder of the joys of gardening and growing our own food.

    • Thank you! I DO continue to attempt to burn as little fossil fuel as possible while I live my life… and my bike (and public transportation) suffice 95% of the time!

  4. I believe things happen for a reason, and when your Music Together classes had to find a new location, that led you to discovering this wonderful organic farm by the reservoir. How wonderful! There are many trails in my town that I haven’t walked or explored. Discovery is like a breath of fresh air. Best to you, Will.

  5. Oh, to live in a place where such an abundance of fresh produce is grown! We have a few farm stands around West Texas in the summer months, but a lot of the produce is imported – probably from Mexico – and is not that fresh. I enjoyed your post, Will.

    • Thank you for reading and listening and commenting! I do feel very fortunate to live near this farm. I think the land has been in cultivation (under different owners) for centuries. When the Italian-American family who owned it most recently was ready to retire, the town (I think?) bought the land and allowed a non-profit organization to take over farming it organically!

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