Archive for November, 2012

Winter share offering + Ronnie and Lori’s stories

November 4, 2012

 

Extend the season

Many of you don’t want the vegetable deliveries to stop.  Thus we are offering three more deliveries: November 17, December 1 and 15.  All shares will be delivered on Saturday either to your house or to a conveniently close location.  We’ll be in touch soon about exact details, including egg share delivieries*.  The cost for these extended season deliveries is $90.

Winter share veggies: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, garlic, onion, winter squash, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beet, carrot, parsnip, salsify, rutabaga, leek, celery, celeriac, and a variety of greens.

Our baby is due December 26.  We will reassess the situation come the new year and new life and determine if more produce deliveries are possible.

*Egg shares*  The hens are not laying many eggs these days, so we’ll let you know when we’ve accumulated enough to make a delivery.   

Your turn to share

Your feedback is very helpful in the evolution of this CSA.  We understand that being a CSA member requires a commitment to weekly work: planning, preparing, cooking and creating.  What makes the work worthwhile to you?  What is the most challenging aspect of CSA eating?  What are your favorite varieties or least favorite vegetables?  How can we improve A Place on Earth CSA?  Please take a few minutes to send us your thoughts so that we can include them in our planning for the 2013 campaign.

Thanks again

Thank you for your participation.  This community makes this farm happen.  Through our expanding diversity of produce and willing, giving workers, we weather storm and drought and revel in good food and good thoughts.  We are ever grateful for the relationships that flourish alongside well-loved crops.  The earth and its infinite, interconnected inhabitants are beautiful and sacred.  It is an honor to keep striving to be a better steward of this place on earth.  We appreciate your faith in us, and our faith is perennially bolstered by your presence.

Next year will be our 9th time around the seasons.  Every year is different and brings changes, and soon we will be a family of four. 

We feel deeply blessed to belong to such a strong and supportive community, helping us each step, toddle, tumble, bumble and sweet success of the way to see that we grow to our potential. 

 

Ronnie’s reflection

I have a small story of dreams, humility, friends, love, and learning. My new wife, Lori, and I wanted to learn to grow our own food so we could move to our own homestead in the country. We planned on doing an apprenticeship on Carden and Courtney’s farm from April through October and then buying and moving onto our new land before Winter. So we sold our house, bought a farm truck and a 30′ camper, and showed up at the foot of the Willis’ ridge. A few weeks after that, they hosted the best wedding I had ever witnessed, but I was the groom so I could be biased.  That day was full of love, good spirits and more than what I could ever ask.
During the 5 months that followed I continued to receive more than I ever remember asking for. In April, I remember chatting with Carden about what farm work meant.  “When I tell people that I’m going to do a farming intership, most of them say ‘Whoa! That’s hard work.’ As if it’s drudgery. What do you tell them?” I asked. “I tell them it is definitely hard work, but it’s good work,” he said. “Yeah, but it’s not that hard is it? I’m sure there are rainy days here and there, but overall it’s good outdoor work,” I said.  His facial expression and silence let me know that I had things to learn.
In the spring, I do remember enjoying the outdoors and taking in lots of sun. I hadn’t been outdoors that much since I was little and was loving it the same as I did back then. There was some rough work, like when Carden would plow another field and find another 150lb rock that needed to be pried up. The farm work could be physically rough or repetitive and there was always more. When the work was done I felt good about it too. It was surely good work.

It was the extra work that I didn’t see coming that had the most frustrating impact on me.  There was camper maintenance, water main hydrant leaks, solar panel issues, trucks breaking down, tractor tires blowing, etc. I once thought that farming just meant planning and planting. No. It means being a carpenter, mechanic, plumber, and electrician. I kept telling myself, “This is just another learning experience,” but by the middle of Summer when things were still breaking down there was a message that broke through my wall of naivety that said, “This is the reality of hard work.”
There wasn’t too much romance between farming and me by late Summer.  I snarled at it for crushing my lofty make-beliefs of farming and melting me down to an angry realist version of myself. When things got hard for the squash, chickens, or trucks, I thought, “Come on! Give me a break!” I broke down and had to take a couple personal days during that time, but I humbly say that I bounced back each time and put my all into the work I did.
Towards the end, I became a little more okay with things breaking and dying, as it is the natural way of things. I also got to see my pet project (funded and envisioned by Carden), the pastured chicken operation, become a working and very productive addition to the farm.  I was so grateful for Lori and me to be a part of the harvest produced during this Summer’s 70 year drought, and Fall was a dream with its bounty of produce and cool weather. I met a ton of friendly folks around the area. Lori and I met a legend of a farmer, folks lending various skills to support the farm, and even got to experience nanny goat nannying. Courtney and Clark constantly added to the love and support that we received.
In the spring I was full of excitement and zest for what might lay ahead, coupled with frustration of doing new things. In the summer I was oppressed and zapped from the relentless heat and never ending days, but relished in my siestas. By the time the leaves were changing the pressure of performing tasks was as light as the fall breeze, and I regained the pep in my step. “There’s my breeze again,” I noticed. I had never been so personally connected to the natural cycle of things. And this Winter I am looking forward to the depressing dark days of restoration like I never have before.
In the end, Lori and I decided that it would be best to move back to Louisville. I missed my profession and believe I have a lot more to give and receive from working as a massage therapist. Lori had her reasons too. We’ll homestead in the city until the time is right to move out.
Lastly, I brought back with me a realistic notion of what it is to work towards a dream. Also I proceed with a more intricate understanding of an economy of fairly and cleanly raised food and how it can work to improve our lives. As far as healthy food, responsible energy usage, communal responsibility, and land stewardship, the CSA model is a very honorable way to sustain our community. Supporting it is precious in the strongest sense of the word.

Lori’s story

How did he talk to you into this crazy idea?

Well, he didn’t. He just asked what I thought, and I said, “sure, let’s do it.” We were both itching for a change to a more simplistic lifestyle, and an apprenticeship seemed like an excellent start down that path. Spring started simple enough, aside from having to piece together a wedding and figure out how to live in a camper with very minimal amenities. Between those two issues I had a few meltdowns in the beginning, but they did make farming seem like a breeze in comparison. Nothing seemed better than those first sweet ripe strawberries we picked; I wished they could have lasted all year. Eventually our wedding came and was a beautiful success and we slowly began to get electric and water. Things were on the up and up, but so was the temperature.

 

Gosh it’s Hot…

We have a huge cat, Bernie, that we brought out to the farm with us. He loves sniffing flowers and chasing grasshoppers. He even caught a few field mice (super proud of him on that one!), but when the temperature started to rise he became pretty miserable. I think we all did, but for the most part we kept on truckin. Ronnie’s main project was helping raise the chickens, which I am irrationally scared of so I had very little interaction with them. Instead I focused my attention on starting a Place on Earths’ first farmers market endeavor. After a few weeks Carden and I had a good setup and it was looking good, only problem was a lack of customers. Towards the middle of the summer swelter amid a couple other complications we decided to abandon the booth in order to have substantial yields for the CSA members. Besides, there was plenty to keep me occupied on the farm.

 

Holy Tomatoes Batman!

It seemed like they were going to last forever. During their peak, two whole days a week were spent picking tomatoes. It was monotonous. Though I did learn one very important rule about picking tomatoes: never wear a pink/red shirt. It’ll reflect in the sun making picking ripe maters quite maddening. I made that mistake more than once. While I did partake in quite a bit of arduous work it did not seem to be nearly as hard physically as what Carden and Ronnie were doing. I enjoyed spending some quality time with my tiny little lover Clark and experiencing new things like canning and prepping the boxes. I was very happy to be part of the Willis’ rare chance to escape the farm mid season, and seeing that our presence was truly helping out the farm. Through the hardship one theme seemed to persist: the good times came across as truly genuine and heartfelt. I suppose that’s the Yin and Yang of farming.

 

Urban Growth

Once we had decided that the farm life wasn’t in the cards just yet, I became invigorated with the idea of making a homestead in the city. Though this apprenticeship ended much differently than we planned it was a necessary step in finding out what we really truly wanted. We hope to find a house with a large yard and make the entire property edible and work towards other self-sustaining practices. With my new found commitment to all things uncomplicated, I am determined to make a living doing things I enjoy. I also appreciate the act of creating more, whether it be a seed I’ve planted or dainty bag I’ve woven.

 

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