Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cultivating Optimism

This week's harvest:
The first (but hopefully not last, F#$%* Late Blight!) taste of tomato
Summer Squash
Patty Pan Squash

Sometimes we hit this place in the summer and on a warm evening, as the sun sets, I'm outside wandering around with a purpose I can't remember and I'm overwhelmed by a sense of awe. The fields, in all their glory, every plant reaching, flowering, trying to produce a flower, to breed and then to make seed. Its all I can do to hold it in, remember what I walked outside for, milking check the CSA share room, to check the mail for the first time in a few days.

The summer farm is full of breeding. If you miss a clutch of eggs, you get 8 new chicks.

 For the first stretch of years we were farming, every morning John would tell me of some dream he had where the livestock were out of their respective pens, interbreeding, rampantly multiplying like a Dahlov Ipcar children's book using farms as a medium for counting.   Now he tells me of different dreams, more comfortable with growth and change and seasonal cycles.

Our weeks are full of harvesting and planting and weeding and talking with customers and managing our largest crew ever.... we just did a payroll for 17 people. Most of our camp weeks are fully enrolled, (there's room in the last week).

 And our weekends send us to far flung places to deliver wedding flowers and then back home to celebrate a union here at the farm. The ducks are growing.

There are an ample amount of chickens-in-training (just not sure what their training for).

 And the long barn smells like garlic heaven as our garlic crop dries.

I'm eager for a good book to read but have no time to go pick one out. Our children wonder if there is anything but cucumbers to snack on and I head to the store for cereal and chocolate and cheddar. We're fueled by chocolate milk snacks at 10AM and 4PM. The laundry stays on the line through too many thunderstorms and then lives in piles on the floors of our bedrooms. The guest room is in constant rotation with a changing cast of characters coming by to visit. But, we know this ride, we know there is balance annually, just not week to week. This summer mania comes to an end and then we miss it. We miss our friends and family visiting. We miss the enthusiastic summer campers, the CSA customers sharing their vegetable exploits in their kitchens and the happy couple embracing after they've shared the farm they've come to love with their family and friends.

 Last week, one of our wedding couples from a few years ago came by with their beautiful new baby and I knew, in that moment, that in our own small way, we're part of something big. And those sweet moments, tucked in between the loss of a tomato crop to Late Blight and an unmentionable amount of potential revenue as a result, keep us afloat. And, the knowledge that I could just run out to the grocery store for tomato sauce. Life is not dependent on our tomato crop, the farm revenue is diverse for a reason. Hopefully we can sell more flowers and distribute a few more bushels of cabbage. (Our CSA members may have noticed it's a good cabbage year). Keeping it all in perspective is a job John and I take turns with. We talk each other off the cliff each day, helping the other find the joy in the larger picture, enabling us to face those 17 employees with a smile and a sense of optimism.

 "Do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind." Scott Nearing

Blessings on the meal (but not the Late Blight)

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