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.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Bri-Thank God you are writing (for us) again!!!! It is so good to hear your words and see the pictures you create...and live through the love you have found. Have a FABULOUS time at the farming conference...Love you tons, Mom