a holiday give away!

woodcraft, woodworking, black walnut, oregon, spatulawoodcraft, handmade, artisan, oregon, spatulacutting board, woodcraft, made in the USA, orgeon, artisan, black walnut, serving tray, woodcraft, handmadeend grain cutting board, woodcraft, woodworking, handmade christmascutting boardsend grain cutting boardToday, just for fun and to spread some holiday cheer, we are taking a little break from the regularly scheduled heart and soul writing that makes up this space to highlight my dear husband’s wood craft business.  Woodworking started as a side project, winter work, something to fill the space left by the off season on the farm, to keep him busy and add some income to our somewhat capped farming situation.  But this year it has expanded beyond that, far beyond, and it has been a true blessing for our family and the perfect complement to our labor of love, growing food.

In honor of growing businesses and craftsmanship, and to bring some hand-crafted, micro-made love to all of you, we are offering one reader the gift of AjjA!  This was a year that also brought many of you to this space, from all the corners of the world, and that has been amazing too.  This wood work is a part of us, and this blog, and it feels right to share it with all of you, whether it is for your own holiday season, or as likely not for all you international readers.  It is the two hands of my sweet love and those of his partner and dear friend, working every day and night in the wood shop.  It is beauty we can share with the whole world.  Those veggies we grow, also a work of art, well, they stay right here in my home sweet valley home.

So, today, a giveaway!  From us!

You can read more about my husband and his partner and their wood craft journey on their website, www.ajjawood.com.  You can also order from there, and we are currently offering a discount for all online orders via my small viral outreach.  Enter coupon code LOVE20 for 20% off any orders made now through Sunday, December 15.  And by leaving a comment here, sharing something wonderful or just a hello, you will be entered to win one of of our beautiful hybrid straight/end grain 8 X 9 cutting boards, a perfect treat for you or gift for someone special.  Include your e-mail address or make sure to click to follow the comment threads to find out if you have won!  Winner will be announced Monday morning!

Thank you all for joining along with us this year, in this virtual space!

Comments closed now!

In the shop

in the shopin the shop IIin the shop IIIin the shop IVBowls of wooden love.

You can fill them up with what you will.

But before any of that,

they were filled with the devoted and patient touch of two craftsmen.

Creators.

Sharing with the tree~art.

And the beauty inside of everything.

AJJA Wood!  Back today at the Portand Saturday Market!

From the trenches of a holistic life

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There were some great big sunny days this week!  So much sun that I was able to grab handfuls of it and stuff it in my pocket to pull upon when needed, because it was needed, being squashed between rain and more rain.  Serious, heavy rain.  We’ve had so much early flooding this year, its surprising even when we know not to be surprised by the weather anymore.

On the sunniest and warmest of these days, the kids and I walked to the main field together, presumably to pick grapes to snack on because the farmer had admonished us for letting the very last of them languish up there.  We were definitely too late on that one, the grapes were completely done for.  It seemed like an odd expedition anyways, here at almost Christmastime.  But then again, some of the things we found along the way weren’t really of winter as I still think of it–the mid-western type, where surely no flowers are still blooming?

The baby was very proud of his calendula blossom.  He was fascinated by the running water.  We found exactly enough apples left on a tree out there to feed each of us–and my oh my, were they sweet and good.  I thought about how much better it would be to have more of them still, to save them for December, or late November at least, this variety is so much sweeter then.   I made a mental note for next year.

It was a glorious day, almost beyond glorious (that sun!).  But I was burdened with a little melancholy too.  As we walked through the quiet, mucky rows of spent food and tattered beet greens, I couldn’t help but think of how this weekend would be different.  No harvesting at all, not even the farmer walking the fields.  The first week without a harvest in a long, long time.

He has been day and night in the wood shop, getting ready to start a new market this weekend in the city with the woodworking business.  Our booth at the most wonderful (idyllic is the slogan), local, year round market was taken down last week.  We have been bringing our winter produce there for the last two cold seasons, spending every Saturday there for the last two and half years, and it has been so great.  But it is definitely time for us to find a better way to manage just about everything on our farm and home better, and this was part of that lofty goal.

It was an amazingly hard decision.  Taking things down last Saturday was heartbreaking.  All of the other vendors there are like our family.  Our children roam that space, interact with their community there.  We all barter and exchange goods in a way far removed from societal norms.  The whole experience enriches us beyond measure.  And all of those intangible benefits made the business decision that much harder to make.

In the field, with my sadness–because of my sadness–I found myself coming to terms with it all.  That this impacted us emotionally struck me as a great and wonderful thing.  It was like a perfect affirmation that we were, in fact, doing things the right way.

Shouldn’t all businesses be so connected to their community, to the people involved far and wide, to altruisms, expectations, intangible rewards?

Wouldn’t that trump a business model based solely on numbers?

I’ve always liked to apply the word holistic to our farming enterprise.  Much like it is used in the natural health fields, I think of our farm and the way we choose to farm and run our business as whole.  Our lives, the lives of our customers, out greater community, the world at large.  The micro-organisms in the soil, the macro-organism that is the entire farm.  It is all connected, and we like to look at it in its entirety.  Taking in every aspect of it, from the human to the bacterial, from the profit margin to the life experience, we have never been the type to be able to separate or isolate one part of it from the other. To hold any one part above the rest and focus too much on it.   Just like with our own health, if we don’t consider all of the aspects of what make a thriving person, we know we won’t ever have true well-being.

And so even though part of me was cursing the fact that we felt this way, that we have to worry about these larger ties and commitments to building something for our community besides our own farm, that we can’t just easily say that it isn’t the right thing for us at this time because we are also concerned about what the right thing is for a whole host of other people, that we are so unforgivingly idealistic…even though all of that weighs on us sometimes, I am glad for it.

There is much talk right now about what the end of the month might bring, if anything at all.  Prophecies, doomsdays, jokes, fears.  I do not get worked up about these kinds of things usually.  I let it all come and go, and I’ve always felt like as human beings we are just the same stories playing out over and over again, good and bad.

But something hit me over the head a few months ago and has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, things are changing.  It is hard for me not to imagine the coming youths living any way but holistically.  There is so much growing interconnectedness.  And seeing these threads that connect us all, and choosing to live and act with this in the forefront of our minds, maybe that will bring an evolution of sorts.

Or maybe I am, once again, being overly idealistic.  I know that for us, we aren’t very good at doing things any other way.  Even though we won’t be harvesting for market this winter, we are still moving forward.  Easing the burden a bit by harvesting by special orders each week, lessening the overhead, still getting what we do grow in the winter into the hands of someone in our community, from some wonderful local chefs to a handful of  hungry community members waiting for the bulk of our production to kick in.  It is all good.

We say this all the time, I know.  But even though things change and morph constantly, and the line we are walking on is not a straight shot like we were led to believe it would be, so far in this life, we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Woodworking on the farm

This was the table we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner on this year.  It replaced the first table the farmer built, exactly two Thanksgivings ago.  And while I loved (loved, loved, loved) that other table, my new one is really a thing of beauty.  Crafted not just by the farmer, but primarily by his new business partner and our dear, dear friend, not to mention the boys, who helped sand it and sand it so that it would be ready for our feast, it was truly a gift to be thankful for this year.

The level of craftsmanship has definitely improved here on the farm, and the love of that work, the wood working, has grown too.  So much so that these two men have officially, officially created a business.  AjjA Woodworkers.  They are making some wonderful things out in that farm shop.  We are still busy getting everything in order, but the website is up, and there will be a way to order online soon via both the site and and etsy.  For this year’s holidays, we can be contacted and will happily set something up.  Otherwise, this wood will mostly be making the local’s season bright.

luca's table

luca's table 2

And just like the oldest boy is getting interested in what I am doing and trying it out, our Luca is expanding his woodworking skills right alongside his papa.  He has always been more inclined to work with his hands and his body–in the field with his papa, or with some yarn and knitting needles, and most often, in the shop with some wood.  He made this table for me.  I knew he was working on it, and I knew he was having a hard time getting those legs figured out, and I think he may have gotten close to quitting a few times, but he did it!  And then, he was too excited to wait until Christmas to gift me with it, so he asked me if he could give it to me early.  I love it so much.  And it fits right in the space beside my bed.

I sure do love this overflowing.  The trying on of various creative means by our kids.  I know that when we do it, we stretch and grow, so I hope it helps them do the same.

As for my first table, that is where it has landed, in the sewing/painting room, ready for some holiday crafting.  Even though it stretches me sometimes, I can’t help but make at least something for everyone on my Christmas list.  I am sure that the next few weeks will be busy, but all around my home I have these handcrafted beauties to inspire  me.

my first table

my first table 2

let's get crafty