Thursday, January 27, 2011

bound and determined

It's true; I'm now bound to the blog for it's going on our business card. Mistake? Possibly. And business card? Bri? Yes, it seems silly, but what the heck, I can pretend to be a professional from time to time. I'm on a high after SAWG, getting our entire seed order in, keeping up with records, planning plantings, mapping the garden, making awesome connections 'round here, writing to you all, and imagining I just maybe might be able to keep up with it all. Maybe. Oddly, out of the complete lethargy of winter we dream up the most outrageous plans for spring. And then spring comes and you realize you're only human again and there's still only 24 hours in the day. Shoot its humbling eh?

Leslie had a couple friends/farmers over last night, both of whom I have much to learn from. I am so grateful for those who have been doing such great work for so many years. Too many (particularly youngins like me) become jaded and lose hope too soon in this business (of healing the world one bite at a time). My faith is renewed each time I meet someone who has done, continues to do, and forever will do IT. Lovely women. Nancy, of Shady Grove Farm, made the best baked apples ever and I'll be heading over tomorrow to exchange garden wisdom, plan our plantings and hang out with goats. Bound to be as good a time as last night. Also Shady Grove is like the best song ever, right? Linda, just as wonderful and passionate about her own operation, may be providing space for Josh & Bri's Veggies (yep that's what we're calling our little plot of goodness) to be sold at her place to some loyal folks and recruit some families interested in CSA shares.

Since Josh worries about nothing, and I worry about everything, I'm calling it some funky balance, and next to our both being crazy excited about growing, I'm faithful it's going to be a beautiful and bountiful season. Inshallah.

some ponies on our plot

Monday, January 17, 2011

New year, new beginning

"Another thing I don't do is look at screens. . . because I have a life." That's what Wendell Berry said in a talk at Williamstown last April when asked what he thought of the internet as a useful medium for the green revolution. And that's my defense for not writing in so very, very long. I have had a life. Tumultuous and beautiful. I cannot begin to sum up my experiences since April, but assure you they have been full and plentiful. So much growth; from within the soil as well as myself. The land I lived on and those I spent time with have taught me so much. Most notably Josh, my fellow apprentice turned farmer, dear friend turned lover.

There are two vital components of life, as far as I can tell; the work we choose to do, and who we decide to spend it with. Happiness can rest in either. I have the awesome fortune of both. I found farming and I found Josh. But somehow, after a beautiful year with both, we said goodbye and I returned to California for the holidays and beyond. I have wanted to want to live in California for years, but it just hasn't happened. I love my family dearly and can't explain my aversion, but I simply find no joy in California. For a good many reasons, after a month and a half on the west coast I decided to move to Kentucky.

And now I am here, at Kokovoko Breeding Farm, in dead of winter but still gorgeous Kentucky country. Josh is on a farm a couple hours away but is moving here in March and we shall garden together once again! Leslie Bebensee's (the owner and manager of this farm) support and encouragement can only be rivaled by that of my family. I am overwhelmed and thrilled to work alongside her. I won't delve into all the details here, but basically I work for her and the farm in exchange for room, board and land to garden. No stipend this time, but a very reasonable and positive working relationship, and the long term possibilities here go as far as I am willing to take them.

The big elephant in the room, of course, is how to get from here (penniless and in debt but full of passion) to there (supporting ourselves by nourishing others through the food we grow). It's a rough life and I don't deny that money, at least for now, is needed in this picture. But how do you work at something you don't love after having worked at something you do love? Waitressing at 25 is a wholly different experience than when I was 15. For now I am swallowing my pride (for I do take a great amount of pride in my work) and having a job. Waitressing at a nearby pizzeria to support my farming habit. We'll see how it goes come spring when every ounce of my body wants every second of the day to be devoted to getting those cherished seeds into the ground, and to see them through life, harvest and consumption. Got to give a little here in order to get there.

On a lighter note, I am so outrageously pumped for Thursday! I am driving all the way out to Josh's boonies, not just to see him, but to hop on a bus full of farmers to Southern SAWG in Chattanooga, Tennessee! Look it up. Leslie, what with all her awesome connections having been in the farm world her entire life, has gotten Josh and me into Southern SAWG on unbelievable scholarships. Friday and Saturday are going to leave us in a farm info coma for sure. Somehow within our wee free hours alone when we're not giddy over all the great farms we've learned about we'll have to get our seed list together and ordered for our own ambitious plan. On Sunday I'll have to bid him goodbye for another long stint and get back to ponies, sheep, pizza and my sweet new hay loft suite (details on that later) Oh and lambing. . .

I won't make any promises, but with another couple months before Josh is back here filling all my time with living, I'm going to put in some effort to post again soon. I'll leave you with a book recommendation, for anyone who gives a shit, please read Holy Shit by Gene Logsdon! He is simply a genius and particularly for anyone and everyone that doesn't believe that shit is actually a major player in food production (yea, like a circle of life or something), seriously, quit turning up your noses and instead stick them in this book and learn something. If not for yourself (which I much prefer) read it if you'd like to better understand my trade. Much love to you all. Pleasant bowels.