burn to shine

Because truly the world is burning right now, and we are all standing in the fire. I choose now to soften all the way, to bare myself, open wide, and write it all down to make sure we know it is okay. That we are okay. More than okay, we are divine. We will always rise from the ashes.

 may day, new beginnings

It is nearly summer solstice. We, our family, here on this farm, are traveling through this season without farming for an income any longer. We are traveling around the circle of the seasons and so much is the same while so much is different.The intense push, hard in all the ways, that last season gave us to finally let that business go, that one-time dream, one-time call, has settled. The egos have survived, even when they thought they might not. Letting go has usually been something I feel I do so gracefully. But this was hard. Really hard.

Mostly because we always think we have to be something. We were farmers. We were farmers for our community. It was a big part of the way we moved inside our space. It had been our life for eight years. Our plan for more like thirteen years. And I like change. I embrace change. I daydream about change. But this threw me to the wolves. I couldn’t see clearly. I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure after so long holding sure like a hostage in my tightening chest and it was frightening. I somehow thought our world was going to crumble. That things were breaking.

And yet, that isn’t all the way true. What I really knew, so very deeply, was that our world was going to expand. That breaking it was necessary to enlarge it. That we needed so desperately to move on. And, goodness, the world has grown and we keep growing and our farm is still here and we are still here. Growing food for our family, spreading compost out all over our beaten hearts and healing some of the parts of life that had, like much of our farm, been neglected and overgrown.

The story is so cliche it kills me.

Farming.

It is such good honest work. It means something know matter what. And it is also so fucking hard. The money is too thin and too bare even though you are putting your heart and soul into that dirt. The awareness of the true cost, the labor, that all food is born of, is mostly lost to really all of us, even my silly farm kids living this life. There is so much to write about this. How to make the small-scale sustainable farm sustainable, for the farmers? Nourishing and not depleting, for the farmers? So many pieces still to puzzle out in this movement. I have essays going and so much to say and so much I still want to discover about something I truly believed in and hate feeling jaded about.

But here we are in June. And after all that revolutioning, inside and out, we are basking for now in the glory. The glory of a new path. Writing about farming and gardening for my family, I can still do this. I can tell the stories that are mine to tell in the hopes that we all keep moving forward. Not just the small farm and farmer, but us, the people, connected here on earth through the clay that clings to our skin and through time and space by the crying or bubbling of the stars inside us. The threads woven by words told true and with an open heart have a power of their own. They create a net that can hold us all on this journey into a new world.

Because truly the world is burning right now, and we are all standing in the fire. I choose now to soften all the way, to bare myself, open wide, and write it all down to make sure we know it will be okay. It can be uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable. But it can be okay. We are okay. More than okay, we are divine. We will always rise from the ashes.

Burned. Grown back. It happens, and we can fight it or find our selves more truly and lovingly inside the flames.

Here’s to new beginnings.

Let’s burn to shine.

Together.

may day,new beginnings

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between the moon and the sun

full moon, field, farm, sunset, moonrise, summerA quick trip to the greenhouse to grab some tomatoes for dinner last night, but I came back with more.  A gift given~golden light and the big moon rising.  A chance to see things from a different side.  Me on fire like the grass, ablaze from the sun, but in shadow, so still.  Perfect.  I almost always watch the sun set from our home.  Last night, on the other side of the farm, it was a different view.  A new perspective.

summer, sunset, field, farmWaking on Saturday morning to find the pet snake escaped, the snake whom I was only barely convinced I could, in fact, share a home with, unseen, and my skin so uncomfortable from then on, I should have known it would be a challenging weekend.  Challenging in everyday kinds of ways. Challenging in big ways.  Bickering kids, disagreements in finding things for everyone to enjoy, struggles with finding time to get some work done too.  Heath concerns and questions.  That whole day was a wash that I couldn’t wait to be clean of.  Sunday, we mellowed.  We found the snake.  We worked together and played together and ate coconut-lime ice cream.  We swam.   And then, just to really top it off and clear the gunky residual of any tension that remained, five minutes of quiet out in our field, just me and the moon and the last kiss of the summer sunset.

moon, black and white, photography

It only becomes more clear to me, as time passes, that in this life we have to be able to hang with both of these kinds of days. The good ones and the bad.  The flow and the ebb.   And I don’t have a hard time with this in theory, at all, but I do have a hard time with this in practice, if only because I feel the pressure of the world around me, not allowing for such.  And maybe it shouldn’t.  I want to say that on our shadow days we get a free pass to get less done, slow things down, and just do whatever it takes to make it through that day.  But we have to do more than that, everyday.  I probably shouldn’t have let the tiny troubles of our Saturday make such a big impression on me.  I don’t know.

But when I let it all go last night, as I centered myself between the moon to the east and the sun to the west, I knew this for sure, that it feels a whole lot better now than it did then, thankfully.  And I knew, just as certainly, that no matter how wonderful, I could not hold onto that perfect moment forever, make it last, forever.   I could only breath it in and hope to keep it stored up inside me to call upon the next time I needed to remember so much goodness and beauty, and me, a part of it.  And that the flux, the vacillating, only helps me to feel so damn alive in such a moment, squared off with the heavens.

 

picture perfect summer’s night

It is hot this weekend.

We are sweaty and smiling, splashing in and out of the small kid’s pool in the front yard.  And spending the bulk of our late afternoons at our favorite creek, further up in the hills from the farm than the river just down our road, but better when it is really hot and the crowds are out and the colder, mountain water feels just right.  We can’t work much in the heat, so we play.  We break into the small stash of frozen raspberries and blueberries even though they were meant to be saved for winter.  We treat ourselves.  We are summering.

I love this weather.

I love the feeling of being baked, like the earth, to perfection.  I drink it in, I feel myself unfurling.  I need a good dose of it to make it through the grey Pacific Northwest winters of my adopted home.  I am, by the sun, a leo after all.

And the plants are soaking it up too.  Well watered, they love the heat just as much I do.  I feel like I can almost see them growing by the minute.

But even more than the intense middle of the day, when the temperatures peak, what I really love, and miss the most from my childhood’s Midwest summers, is the evening time during an Oregon heat wave.  Perfect summer nights, still warm, without a need for a sweater, but still cooler than the day.  If I were younger, I would just throw down some blankets on the ground and sleep outside.  If I could, I’d find some water to swim in under the moon.  Those are the kind of summer nights I love.

Last night, we walked the fields in this perfect slowing down, simmering down time of the day.  The sounds of the birds and the bugs, happy again to not be sweltering, filled the air alongside the blanket of dusk.  I had my camera back in hand after a very long two week break of lending it to the oldest boy for art camp.  I missed it, missed looking at our space through the lens, capturing this light.  I gobbled it all up and stuffed it into digital files again.  It was lovely.

This year’s growing season has been amazing.  The weather, the plantings, the success.  A true gift.  I wish we could bottle it up and pour it over ever year to come, but we know all too well that this isn’t how the game of farming works.  Nevertheless, it does feel like it was meant just for us, a balm from the universe to heal the wounds of last season, the first year that ever had us doubting our chosen profession.

Looking around last night at all the happy plants, pest free and thriving, the happy soil, the growing perennials, the beauty of our home, I almost couldn’t believe it was real.  We are truly blessed.   And we really do love what we do and all of the things that are a part of that, the good and the bad.  We are happy, despite everything that could get in the way of our happiness, and that is about the most anyone can ask for.

This place is ours.  Our vision turned reality.  The cumulation of all our choices so far.  It feels good to be able to say that we don’t regret any of it.

Last night was perfect summer’s night.  Picture perfect, yes, as captured in photos.  But more than that, it was, just like any other night in our lives, imperfectly perfect.  It was us walking our land. Food growing, and weeds too. Naked small people running around that I couldn’t take pictures of, sometimes stepping in the rows, sometimes running through the wild.  They were stitching their own sense of summer into their bare skin.  My only hope for them, and for all of you, is that there are enough golden moments in the journey to always make the whole thing seem to shine.

farm, farming, csa, field, summer, summer night

 Shining view of our lower field.  We’ve planted more space down there than ever before this year.  This golden, golden year.

farm, farm life, father, son

Down the hill with papa on a perfect summer night.

tomatoes, farming, farm, csa, organic farming

All kinds of tomatoes growing, growing, growing.   And not too many weeds, hooray!

carrots, beets, lettuces, succession planting, farm, farming

Succession plantings=success!   Carrots, beets, lettuces.   These, we keep planting every few weeks into September. 

salad mix, lettuce, farm, farming

Up close, salad mix.  And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

lettuce, field, farm, farming

Even sprouting up in the wrong place, she grows.  Lettuces are almost as beautiful to me as flowers.

cabbage, farming, farm

Red rock cabbage, even though you are behind schedule, the color of your leaves will always make me swoon.

irrigation, farming, farm

We make do, it is what we do.  Meaning, no fancy irrigation equipment here!

sprouts, succession planting, farm, farming

We were once this fragile too.

tomatillos, farm, farming

Tomatillos make me drool! 

green beans, farming, farm

Beautiful bean planting, so healthy and happy, and no pests.  Good.

love, farming, farmer, green beans, farm

I really am loving this year’s bean plantings.  And every year, more and more, I love this farmer too.

view, farm, farming, home, love

This is our home.  Sweet, sweet, home.