Farming and things, Part 1.
There have been a lot of updates on the life/work front. I haven’t written much about it because things change so much and I never really know what to report. I figured I should just write about where we *are* and not so much where we *plan to be*. I guess, as of right now, my efforts can be split into five different categories. 1) My home base, 2) Microgreens, 3) The land 4) Market garden/my old job 5) Other projects.
1. Home base. This is a very transitional space for me right now. I’m focusing on nurturing the nurturer within me and keeping it simple. A lot of what got me on this crazy track was the desire to put warm healthy food in front of my loves and share smiles around a table. That simple effort gave birth to all kinds of connection and purpose for me. It is truly the foundation of what I do- which is something that I think I’ve let slide from my consciousness in the past, especially when things got hectic. A few years ago I read the Radical Homemaker, which was really validating (read the review on the page, it sums it up nicely). I think home and my role here is really important, and I’ve had to consciously work to honor that belief and recognize that job as being integral to the rest of what I do.
One of the factors in all of this is my relationship with my kids. Asa is my little helper pretty much always. Vera goes to school part of the time, but otherwise she’s with me. This can make farming a little tricky at times, but we make it work. I like that we kind of stick together and are building a model for home/work life that includes us all. I do employ the help of childcare from time to time, but mostly I just include kids in the work. This makes it so that I don’t get as much done as I could, but I don’t mind it being this way while they are young. Soon enough they won’t be slowing me down, and I might regret time not spent with them. Of course, this means that I often deal with whining and eye rolling when I tell them we’re all going to help me work, but ultimately I think the memories are going to be valuable to them. Anyway, they are part of the package right now, and I feel really lucky to be able to build my life and my business in a slow and intentional way that includes them.
They also offer me a lot, too. I love having their eyes and thoughts and questions close at hand. They slow me down in ways that frustrate me, but also in ways that enrich the process.
Even Maya offers me this sweet perspective if I listen to her.
2. Microgreens. This is an area that continues to teach me good things and open up opportunities for me. Since we haven’t had our own house to mess with or space/money to build a greenhouse for them, we have mostly just been holding steady and growing enough to keep it all going and help make ends meet. At the end of the summer I involved my good friend Milton in the biz, and he’s since become my faithful farm hand (I’ll do a proper introduction soon). I was growing them all outside at Jeff’s dad’s house, but squirrels and chipmunks discovered them and the whole operation came to a halt. I hadn’t figured out an indoor solution for them yet, since it was only nearing the end of summer at the time. Milton graciously offered me room in his basement, and so the operation has been there since early September. It’s a good space, and even though it’s a bit snug at times, we’ve managed to rearrange and even expand everything a little to be able to go to market.
It’s been really great to return to market after a full year off. I love the energy and interaction there- it makes the work feel really relevant and good. I don’t anticipate having to take another break from it anytime soon, although while we build our house I think I’ll take it slow and maybe only do one market a week. We’ll play it by ear. It’s been great having this partnership with Milton, too, because I work so much better with people than alone, and I like sharing the return too. While Jeff is always in support of my farming shenanigans, it’s proven to be a bit much for him when he’s got so many other responsibilities and things to focus on.
I probably wouldn’t have even returned to market this year had it not been for Milton’s encouragement and interest. It likely would have been too much for Asa and I to pull off each week on our own. So we have been at this place where I *can* do all the farming and micros on my own and make us some more money, but do I even want that? The answer, for me, is decidedly no. I have to have support, collaboration, accountability, and just the general feeling that I’m on a team to feel good in my work. This was a good thing to learn about myself and embrace, especially after grieving so much last year when we split up with our old partners. Jeff and I spent some much needed time on our own, resetting and figuring out what we wanted to do and what we could handle. Now I feel back, ready to lean into new partnerships and spread the love. Anything worth doing comes with a little risk, I think. I’m okay with that.
Anyway, this has gotten a bit long, so I’ll finish up on the last 3 points in the next entry.
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