Friday, June 17, 2016

"Farm" Triage


 During the busy season, this is the view I most frequently see of my spouse. Head down, working. I miss you (even when I don't and even when you wish I too would take my grumpy self elsewhere) even though I sleep next to you.

A reflection on my personal state of affairs. It has to be done every so often. Here it is:

Farming is looked at as a majestic release from the 9 to 5 dread of punching a time clock in the face, unless you are salaried and then they never really let you go. Most people realize that farming is tough. Tough, yes, but again, a noble venture. After all you are feeding people, and that is noble, generous, and looked upon with favor.

There are exceptions and caveats, and of course it is subjective. Some might say that the family farm is noble while farming GMOs for feed is not noble. Other types of farming are not considered 'real farming'. Let's admit it, lots of folks grumble about horses..."that's not farming". Nurseries, be honest here, friends, not necessarily farms. It's ok, I don't think "farm" when I see rows of mums, so you don't need to when you see rows of Joe Pye weed.

I'll admit it, I awkwardly call our land a "farm". I awkwardly call it "our land". Farmer? Me? Not so much. Nurserywoman? Frankly, I'd rather be called a nurseryman, just to go easy on the syllables.

I don't love the word "farm". I like what it vaguely connotes, kinda and in the best sense of the concept. Actually, I'd prefer to call what I'm doing a restoration or replanting. 

And back to the majestic release from drudgery. I'll tell you what, every April, May, and June my family slightly to completely unravels. Complete disconnection from each other and the planet earth. We are so incredibly busy that life becomes like an emergency triage. What's going to get done, and what's not going to get done. We eat poorly until with great effort we reverse that.

Minor criticisms of each other are duly noted, registered, and rejected. We're cranky, we're lonely and brittle. Our kid, who supposedly we are doing this "for" so he has a better life, acts badly, too. Momma and Papa are not paying attention and are pretty unpleasant at times.

And hey, remember, I'm not even a 'farmer'. I'm a nursery(wo)man who also makes programming and land stewardship consulting part of the business plan.

We don't see our friends who farm during this time of year. We don't see our friends who work in the financial world during tax time, that's true, too. Nor, our college age family during finals... but... what am I trying to say? There's some irony in the noble venture to farm. The f*cking to do list won't go away. And just when the to do list gets really long and my head is about to explode, many of my pals might be in the same boat, and nobody's able to get together and unwind.

Ultimately, I need something more than unwinding together anyway. I'm really feeling the need to build a little village that links our separate farms, regardless of what we're farming...whether its vegetables, wildflowers, taxes, or the myriad other tasks that pay the bills.

 Home office before the plants took over Hoophouse 1

 OK, so riding this rig does put a smile on my face.

 More family time together checking out the labors. Part of this area is now paw paw, persimmon, hearts a burstin', New ENgland aster, pearly everlasting, steeplebush, etc.

 More family time together laboring. Race around picking up all the things that should not be flail mowed.

 More family time together pulling weeds.

 More family time together picking as many strawberries as possible so we have then for the winter.

 That's me. Nurserywoman, hear me question my existence.

The vegetable garden, mixed feelings. We do have adequate purslane finally.

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