The other day I was stir-crazy. I couldn't seem to sit with myself, but then when I tried to focus and accomplish something I couldn't find direction. The energy in the house has shifted so much that we're having to quiet ourselves and pick up on the new rhythm. It's a good rhythm, but one I'm not familiar with anymore. Thankfully Jeff and I have identified this with one another and are determined to stay open and communicative through these growing pains. We've both, in an effort to make sense of our confusing emotions, made each other a scapegoat at times. In truth, I feel more trusting of and connected to him than ever. I don't want a few stressful weeks to trick us into thinking otherwise. It doesn't help that the kids certainly feel the same shift and are needier than usual. Anyway, on this day I just couldn't figure out what to do with myself. So I burst through the doors and out into my crazy little backyard and immersed myself in the garden.
I don't know why I was so surprised, but it completely did the trick. Soon enough I was harvesting and studying and just generally feeling at peace again. At the core, that's what I'm after in all my work. I want connection. I want growth. I want nourishment and health. I want to use the gift of my body and mind for good, simple things rooted in love.
We gathered parsnip seeds this year as an experiment, and here's a carpet of baby parsnips evidencing what we missed during the seed harvest.
Something that people have been asking me is about what our plans are now, moving forward. With everything, but more specifically with the land and with farming. I suppose it's a valid question, but it was one that took me by surprise at first. In my mind, my plans have always been the same. This shift hasn't changed my values or my mission or my commitment to all sorts of things, even if the details have proven variable. However, this experience has really gotten me to reevaluate things, and I can't discount that.
Baby fennel. If I could, I'd dive right into it.
The details are that our current farm needed to split. They were willing to continue with us in some capacity, but I felt that things were too shaky for that to be a wise decision for us (Jeff and I). It is somewhat sad for me to see our current business dissolve, but I don't feel any doubt about our decision here. Jeff and I wanted them to have the option to take the microgreen business that we built together, but they declined. It's my understanding now that they are more focused on some new projects (not farming) and on nurturing themselves as a couple and family. Good things. The specifics: Jeff and I are picking back up as Polliwog Farm. It feels really right to me, like it did before. It's funny now in retrospect, but I never felt entirely comfortable letting it go. It just stuck with me, and I really couldn't make sense of why. Anyway. For the next year our plans in farming include continuing the microgreen business and growing some vegetables for the occasional market, ourselves, and our friends and family. We both still have jobs that need our focus and we'll likely be selling our house in the spring and moving to the land. It'll very much be a "throw and grow" kind of mentality. I want it very simple, and for whatever we are able to accomplish to feel satisfying without the push of some expectation.
Jerusalem artichokes aka sunchokes. Abundance.
The land is there waiting for us- we just have to sell this house and plop a trailer out on it, and then we'll slowly build our happy little house in a hill. Just a mile up the road… I can taste it. We'll be putting our house on the market in late winter, probably. We have some house projects to do and then there's really nothing stopping us. The land was purchased with some close friends that we've known for 14 years, and they are planning on building out there too. Nothing really changed in that regard when our partners left, just the plans for the house. I know some people thought that we'd purchased the land with them, but that was never the case. Our farming model will look different, and we may grow a little more slowly, but I don't mind so much. We just want to keep doing what we do, however we're supposed to.
One thing that I've identified and hope to explore more in the coming year is a need for honing my instincts. I found, looking back over all the issues we've had to deal with, that my instincts about each situation were actually really good. My weakness was in not listening fully to those instincts. Obviously it's difficult for me to say that I "should have" done anything. I needed to fall in order to learn. So in that regard, it all had to be just as it was. BUT, I had distinct feelings and thoughts about each of these things, and there are moments that I can pinpoint where I consciously acknowledged those thoughts and either pushed them to the side, chose a different route in favor of taking a chance, didn't ask all the questions I had, etc. I also had situations where I did thoroughly listen to my instincts, and while it wasn't always considered a "win", there is a distinct difference in how I feel about those situations. They feel set in stone, as though there was only one way for them to turn out.
You see, I really don't want fear to dictate my life. Sometimes it's hard for me to see not taking a risk or listening to a doubt as being something other than fear. That's kind of where I am with the business issue. I have an instinct, and while I could try to muscle through this, it doesn't feel right. I want to get to a place where I can strip away all outside influences- strip away my fear of letting others down or whatever else might be going on (whatever the true fear is)- and tap into that honest me-and-my-higher-power-place that has yet to steer me wrong. I think it's important for this to be a focus for me, especially when we're in the baby stages of growing so many things that will be a part of our life in the future.
Anyway, more garden things now:
Broccoli plants that won't mature in time for a harvest. We planted them too late… I had an instinct about it, but I figured it was worth the shot. They are happy though. I like mistakes like these because they remind me that life is not just about what we can eventually consume. Life for life's sake, yes?
Jeff and I landed this great garden table thing from the side of the road. The good ol' universe is always looking out for us!
These magical white and light pink beets that I can't remember the name of, but they are sooo delicious. I can't stand it. Vera called them "beet candy" and couldn't stop plucking them off of the roasting pan. If only I could remember what that package of seeds said!!
Swiss chard and kale.
I put a good bunch of veg out in the free basket, which we've totally neglected this year. I have a few more weeks to try to make it right again. My fall garden is happy, though, and I'm realizing how much I really love the early and late season crops. I very much appreciate the cool season abundance, and I love pulling root veggies up out of soft soil. The finer roots that you break when you free them from their bed let out a whiff of whatever it is you grew. I love the heartiness in these seasons. Soups and stews and roasting pans full. A warm hat on my head but my hands still in the soil. I love it.
All I can really say about my plans is that I'm going to keep doing this.