summer of dirty feet

You touch the one sticking out of the sheet,
searching
for a little relief, the cool of morning.
I feel you, feeling me
finding my dirty foot
turning you on,
the work these feet have done this year.

Of course, all things want to grow.
But we are prone to stagnate,
wilt,
even falter,
to save ourselves from the labouring,
to save ourselves from this contraction, and the next, and the next.
Afraid to ride these waves, unrelenting, never-ending.
We think it is easier.

But, here I stand, so dirty, worked hard,
stronger, better,
grown.

And even though I try to wash my feet before bed,
letting the mud of the tended soil
wash
away,
to come to bed clean,
to keep the night sacred,
to touch the holy space that is you and I, together,
with feet as clean as a Daughter of God,

most nights,
this year,
I forget.

But this summer of dirty feet,
and your touch, simple, gentle,
fully upon them,
it is all just about growing, right?

We can’t do anything else and survive.
And besides, this is all I have ever known how to do.

I’ve always invited the mud..

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blackberry bramble

farming, challenges, family, summer, sunset,

Perhaps you have wondered where I have been. Not here, no. But, under the sun, every day. It has been the strangest, hardest summer around in a while, and though the thorns have dug in deep, and I find myself living ahead of myself, my mantra almost every day, “next summer, next summer, next summer,” I come back around, always, by sunset. Then I remember, the plenty of good, too. We have gone to the river practically every day, the kids transformed into the most beautiful fish (and one mermaid). And I know that this summer is this only summer, so I don’t forget to let the smell of the blackberries, overripe from all the extra heat we’ve had in our normally more moderate clime, so sticky and tasting like kool-aid, I don’t forget to let this wash over me and sink in. I don’t ever want to jump ahead, I always want to feel it all. It always come around, like me with every sunset, to have been good in its way. I am always grateful, in the end.

sunset, farming, summer, challenges, gratitude, joy

News! News! Market Credit/Shares Now Available!

InstagramcarrotsThis just in.

Local folks!  Growing Wild Farm is now offering market credit/shares.  This is a wonderful option for those of our shoppers who prefer picking and choosing what vegetables from the harvest they would like to take home each week, but who have also wanted to become more a part of our farm family.  A CSA is not for everyone, and this we can appreciate, so this year, we are offering a market share option.

Paid in $90 increments, market members will receive a $100 credit at our farmer’s market booth.  Then with ease and without worrying about how much cash to bring each week, you can just swing by and grab what catches your fancy.  We will subtract it from your credit until it is used up.  Then, you can pay again.  We, in return each week, will harvest a lovely selection of what is ripe and ready from the fields, with lots of our standard favorites~salad mix, beets, kale, chard, onions~plus loads of summertime goodies~summer squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  We will also send out our popular and helpful weekly newsletter to each of you.  Part cooking ideas, part farm philosophy, you will get a big hug of farm love to your inbox with fun, interesting, sweet, and new recipes both for your kitchen and for living.

And all of our farm family is invited out to share in the summer-loving potluck evenings we host once or twice out on the farm each season.  Consider joining us in the adventures and flavors of our 2013 farm season.  Come by the market booth and sign up today!

moving forward in a circle

into the unknownWe are one week away from the start of our summer farmer’s market season.  We have been so steadily putting one foot in front of the other this spring, getting ready for this stretch of the year, these next 20-30 weeks or so, our “main” season here on the farm, and now that it is just one week away, of course, we are feeling not steady at all but instead just rushed, rushed, rushed.  Those gooseberries I wrote about that never got weeded are nearly giving me nightmares, they have all but disappeared underneath the bindweed.  And the strawberry patches we hope to be harvesting from in the next few weeks are playing hide and seek in some knee high grass. 

Oh, the adventures of it all!

We are fairly used to this routine by now, seven years in, but that doesn’t mean we can always control our feelings of ineptitude when we encounter, even repeatedly, the sheer force of the wild world.  With a leftover sore throat caught from the children, today I feel it overtime.  Today, I dream about the many hired hands we could use if only we could afford to hire them.  I dream of a week straight of childcare so that I can get ahead.  I dream of the sleepy feel of winter. 

So silly!

Life on the farm truly is about routines and cycles, and as such is fairly predictable, at least in general, even if it is not in the particular.  Those things change every season, and are always a mystery we have to watch unfold as we go.  But the cycle remains the same. 

Every year, at least once at this time of year, we will feel overwhelmed.  Some years it is the weather, the waiting for the land to dry.  Some years, it is the planting and keeping things going in the ground on schedule.  Some years it is the money and do we have enough right now when we spend it the most. 

And this year, I swear, it is the weeds. 

I walk the farm with the babe of a boy on my hip and worry about getting some air to our perennial fruits.  And I can’t seem to catch up.  And everywhere I look I see another thistle or burdock or hemlock plant that needs to be knocked down before it blooms.  I sigh and let the one rainy day in this month, today, comfort me with rest while I make the lists that will keep us moving forward.

Then, tomorrow, I will set out again, one step at a time, moving towards this unattainable goal of getting to all those weeds.  With or without reaching it, just like every year, I know that soon the summer will fully set in and we will be back in the swing of it all.  We always “catch up” eventually.  We always move from this kind of busy to the harvesting kind of busy, all fun and full, hearts raised and beating hard, out in the sun while it lasts.

The farm is always moving, both in a forward-upward motion, as well as in a circle.  Kind of like life.  The path it takes always leads somewhere good, even though it is not always right on target or 100% predictable.  We start a farming season in all possibility, all hope.  Then, inevitably, we get a bit waylaid for a while in the weeds, until we emerge and find that once again, everything is again.  Even more than okay.  We find that just like every year, it is bursting in greatness.  We find ourselves swimming in the river on hot summer afternoons, staying up late not just working but playing by the bonfire, wishing on twinkling stars.  We find ourselves blissfully breathing easy again, while the land provides, ever abundantly.

I could almost say that it happens with or without us, and that would almost be true.  The earth provides.  It cycles, on and on, ever and always.  But we did, and do, a lot in order to receive this fecundity year after year.  This, we must always remember, no matter what kind of spring craze we are feeling. 

This, we must remember, no matter if we feel a bit like we are still at the bottom of the staircase of the year.  Because all of us, most likely, have been doing the work we need to do, moving forward on the journey, even when we are at that point when we can’t exactly see it.  Perhaps a few steps more forward, even with a blindfold on, will lead us up and into the light.

this rewarding life

tomato planting, farming, family, csa

sunset, farm, csa, farming

The smell of tomato as we began to plant this year’s crop was strong,  reminding me of that one and only singular taste of summer to come.  Salivating, taking in the sun and the beauty of this after dinner hour, it was a very easy job to get started on.  My oldest son was helping–some–but more than physical help, he was definitely good company.  It was all bliss and joy for a while.

But because it is good to be honest and because it is the truth, 300 plants in and only a third of the way done, in need of water and upset with myself for not being able to plant in a straight line without a string (which I did not bring down to the field with me), I was exasperated, despite all the lovely around me.

So, I stopped for the night and just let the sunset wash away the day as it so brilliantly does, knowing that piece by piece is how any good job gets done anyways.  We would start again tomorrow.

sunset, farm, field, farming

sunset, farm, field, farming

Which we didn’t.  That tomorrow was yesterday and early on in the day found me injured beyond simple repair.  A funky back tweak and I was laying in bed for most of the day.

Tonight, the farmer is in town at a banquet being held to recognize distinguished community members, of which, he was named outstanding young farmer.  We were named together, but really, he is the farmer and I am merely the paid help and fancy PR rep.  And even though we are both a bit cynical at times and feel neither young any more, nor all that outstanding as farmers (aside from the fact that we are still here and haven’t (and won’t) give up despite all the challenges), we were deeply thankful for such an honor.

And, I was really looking forward to a night of recognizing the many other wonderful folks in our community, growing and strengthening connections new and old and all that, in addition to receiving our own accolades.

But instead, I am home still dealing with this intense back pain/injury that I shouldn’t even have, hobbling around the house not planting the rest of the tomatoes, or attending this lovely banquet.  And two kids have sore throats, coughs, and mild fevers.  What!!

The timing kind of surprises me.  I tend to expect the best, and things tend to work out favorably for us–knock on wood–but whatever, right?

The thing about life is that we don’t get anywhere overnight.  Or in one night.  The tomato planting is a big one, the road to our farming award seven years long, and I am trying to do it all for the farmer while he keeps up with two businesses through the busy planting season for the first time ever.  Slow and steady and all that good stuff really does apply.

And, this man, who has been amazing, doing practically all the farming for most of our seven years out here, really is the one who deserves to be out tonight, getting some attention.  Because the truth is that he could really care less, in the very best possible sense of this expression.  He does little in his life for acknowledgement from the outside world, a trait I truly admire in him.  So, in my book, he doubly deserves this.

Meanwhile, the other night as my son and I sat by those trays of un-planted tomatoes and watched the sun set–and the sunsets on our farm are truly breathtaking–I didn’t think for a second I wouldn’t be out there finishing the job the next day, but that is how it ended up.  Another lesson in letting go, I suppose.  They are all around me.

But even sore to the bone and so very ready to feel better, we get to do the same thing again tonight.  Being here, witness to such beauty every night is its own reward too.  And such rewards can go a long way to keep us up and at them when we might rather crawl into bed.  My goal is to finish that planting job sometime this week.  My back should play along (with the help of some acupuncture I hope!).

And my sweet husband, who works as hard as all the other outstandingly hard working farmers out there, can work just as hard but without too much worry about not getting it all done, because we now know that if we just take each day (and setting sun) as it comes, piece by piece, it all adds up to a lifetime of accomplishment.  Learning that lesson is perhaps one of the best rewards of these last long, hard, wonderful years.

Because life will be full of rewards, some big, some small, but not always in the way we imagined.  And the most important thing to hold onto is that life itself is really the biggest one of them all.  But we have to show up every day to really get that.  And sometimes for years on end, we might need to just keep at that one thing, over and over again, showing up.  Simply paying attention and working hard and loving life for the glory of nothing at all.

Perhaps, for nothing at all, but the mere but spectacular glory of one more day to watch the sun explode in color as it nestles into the hills of the horizon.