Archive for August, 2015

Surviving the Cyclops

August 30, 2015

The last potluck of the year

Join us September 19 at 3 PM for our fall equinox potluck.  This farm exists because of you, so you ought to see it if you haven’t already.  Bring a dish and we’ll enjoy fine farm dining.  Bring an instrument and we’ll make some fine farm music.  We treasure these gatherings and hope you’ll be able to join us.

Bidding summer goodbye

Farming is rarely anywhere near easy.  You’re never merely playing with fire but always playing with fire and air, water and earth, all of which may bite you.  It’s not exactly swimming with piranhas, but when they are all biting you at the same time, you are suffering in perhaps a similar fashion.

This has not been the easiest growing season ever.  Yes, harvests have been bountiful thus far, but the path has been paved in perils, and then, when the mighty rain has rushed, the path has been torn through, rutted and bare.

While at times the glass may seem far from half-empty, the tempests do pass.  Thankfully there is only one August in a year.  Each season is a venture as valid as Odysseus’s, a voyage into the heart of nature (sometimes darkness).  Inseparable from my singing of the song, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” is an enchantment with the beauty of life.  Seasons, good and bad, pass and become years revealing the potential in the pursuit.  Next season, next year can be much better, every year.  It’s an epic journey and would not be so without the Cyclops.

Perhaps spoiled by the last two years that were as favorable as we have ever experienced, the weather this year has been utterly exhausting.  It rained for about 6 weeks straight, including unprecedented July flooding, which was plenty to give preference to weeds, to make numerous plantings impossible, to send fungal diseases into high gear, to ensure that getting caught up would be a dream indefinitely deferred.  Now we long for a fulfilling and frustration-free fall and attempt to not get sucked into a well-earned cynicism.

As always, we’re unsunk because of our diversity.  If we only grew onions, we would certainly despair that they largely rotted in the ground.  The list of casualties is long and rather heartbreaking.  Perhaps your favorite crop has gone missing.  But despite the slings and arrows, we soldier on and survive by the grace of a wide variety of possibilities and CSA.  Your support is invaluable; it keeps us going, whatever the challenges, year in and year out.  We feel great gratitude for all the generous contributions in all their varied forms.

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The egg shortage

It’s quite difficult to have the right number of hens and make them lay the right number of eggs.  There have been times when we’ve been inundated and eat eggs like they’re going out of style.  Other times, the supply is scarce and our family only eats cracked or oddly shaped eggs that won’t fit in the cartons we’re scrambling to fill for your egg shares.  I wish we weren’t all subject to the scarcity, but perhaps next year (barring another unplannable massacre) we’ll be back in abundance.  Until then, we’re trying to keep as many people satisfied as we can.

Words, words, words

Years ago, I did a lot of writing.  Not so much for the purpose of communicating as for processing, introspecting, making some internal sense out of a mad, seemingly senseless world.  Becoming a farmer and a parent has naturally made me less verbose.  If I’m not responding to crises or hunger or other demands, I might be simply appreciating the relative calm or dreaming of sleep, sweet sleep.  Another reason for my reticence is that the world appears to be more and more engulfed in words.  We all have blogs, twitters, facebooks, texts, etc.  Words come at us at all times, from all directions.  I’d almost sooner subtract from this logorrhea and replace it with contemplative silence than join the fray.  Don’t get me wrong: I still love to read and hold in highest esteem those who share insights into the human condition in a beautiful, well-thought-out way.

I write this as a sort of apology for neglecting this communication.  Part of my job is to keep you informed of the goings-on here.  I normally work in solitude—and I love this aspect of this life—but I do realize I am failing at my job if I’m not bringing you to the farm (virtually, of course) through these newsletters.  As much as I loathe the notion of sending out another email that just has to be deleted, I know that many of you are sincerely interested in what’s happening, what’s coming, what’s inspiring, what’s debilitating.  I lean towards “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” and thus sometimes fall into the trap of not sharing stories that don’t convey a rosy picture of harmony and happiness.  But at the same time I, like everyone else, need the strength that comes from commiseration and therefore need to get over my reluctance.

I’m already sure I’ve gone on too long with this discussion of inner turmoil and conclude with a vow to try harder to push more words, words, words into the world, no matter how tired or defeated I feel in that moment.

Thanks for keeping this farm family farming

If only you could see Clark and his amazing work ethic.  Still but 4 years old, he’s a marvel of determination and learning.  He knows the process as well as any of us.  He anticipates what needs to be done next and leaps at the opportunity to help.  He takes great pride in his abilities and strength.  He works with a hum and a smile.  Lately when he disappears, I find that he has made his way to the barn and is peeling garlic—because the job is not yet done!  Campbell, 2, has a great role model to emulate and has begun to wade into the work for certain small intervals.  Clark forcefully reminds Campbell the job is not done if he wanders away.

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It’s these daily uplifting moments and these farm-raised phenomena that you are preserving.  High tide or low, it’s a life well worth living.  Thanks.

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