The Fat Farmer

I was poking around in some old pictures trying to find a very particular one of some marigolds from a few years ago–and stumbled upon these pictures from the end of our first year on our land (August 2013). It was the first summer we hosted Five Farms Camp–man we love those girls and are so glad they have returned every summer since!

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It hit me like a ton of bricks, how different this farmer looked–less than three years ago. I think I weighed about 240-50 in those pictures. We’d been farming for three years at that point and I’d given every effort I knew of then to losing the sixty pounds I’d lost over the course of those three years. It was about a month before we read a ton about GMOs and changed our whole food world by going completely organic with our food and cutting back on wheat. We switched our seeds to Sow True and our animal grains went nonGMO. Which, of course, we coupled with farm work. Just thirteen months after this picture was taken, these two were in October of 2014…. of 150 pounds of shredded farm muscle. 😉 (Just kidding. well, sort of.)

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So, why am I talking about this now? Well, a new cool lady I know gave me a lot of room yesterday when she posted about the reality behind her daily run + it being a struggle sometimes to meet her goals and not beat herself up about it. How important it is that folks don’t compare their lives to what they read online. It struck something deep within me and figured–I should likely do the same.

After those pictures were taken above…. winter came and extra weight came with it. Last spring I was majorly beating myself up about that and feeling super insecure about it all the way to summer. All of 2015 it hung around and floated between being a couple of pounds over my favorite weight all the way up to fifteen over and everything in between – but big shocker, I find about eight over is average.

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(what about 158 looks like on me, I’m cool with it! June 2015)

February 1st came this year and it was time to pony up and see the damage of winter foods and short days that are too cold for much work. So, I stepped on the scale. It’s time to work next year’s wood after all – exercise is majorly in this month. 176.8–yikes, 26.8 pounds… that’s a new one. Per my usual, I panicked for a second. But then, for the first time ever–a total calm washed over me as I realized something else for the first time ever… Since fall of 2014, I’ve kept off 123.2 pounds. That’s the most weight I’ve been able to keep away for a full year in my adult life. And all of a sudden, I actually just stopped worrying about it.

Mostly because I’ve realized since that I have designed an accountable life for myself on this farm–one where you can’t gain a bunch of weight back without majorly noticing and seeing repercussions on your farm life. A life of working off winter weight by splitting next year’s firewood in February, sowing great nonGMO seed in gardens in March and April without a chemical spray can in sight, tons of tasty raw food rolling in by May, then summer farm work and long days with no school and no screens.

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(Me + my woodpile this morning, 2.14.2016–the forager sleeps, while I enjoy some 19 degree chopping.)

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Next month’s exercise plan – popping up all over the place, thanks Sow True!!

I weighed in this morning at 170 even, having lost 6.8 pounds in the last two weeks of slowing down my slip-ups with gluten, working wood and prepping for my garden in the freezing cold. Am I still slipping up? Totally–in fact just yesterday I split a croissant with the forager and had a side of bread with my gluten free lasagna at a potluck. Oy…my first gluten in two weeks. I’m sure it will happen from time to time… I just have to be willing to pay for it, since I’m the one that knows I weighed 167.8 yesterday morning. Sigh. It may be one step forward and two back, but I will tell you this… I still seem to have the determination to try and will always give it my very best. And that feels pretty darn good right now.

-the Farmer

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Here is another side note about this subject in general–the comparing yourself and your homestead or farm to some other one’s on facebook or instagram. I need folks to know this, I have no idea who reads this blog–I never have. I don’t track the stats of it in any way and have no clue who follows it…. short of what folks say to me about it in real life. Don’t worry, I did it on purpose–for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one being that I do it for me, because I enjoy it so much, not for stats on a screen. But if you are reading this and have ever looked at a homestead or farm’s page and thought theirs was so much better and well put together than your place–I promise you… they have just as much poop on their muck boots as the next guy behind the pretty pictures, and holy crow we do too!! Everyone does I suppose. I’m so grateful that I had a cool, new friend brave enough to own the less than fun parts so that it would encourage me to do the same. It feels like such a great time right now–to connect to ourselves better and each other too. To share our struggles. What better way is there than the reality of who we are?

 

Life in a small town

On my way home from work today, I got a little held up at an intersection by a woman that had gotten her SUV hung up in a huge pothole off the side of the road. There was no honking or hollering – just two fellas that hopped out of their truck all grins and a tow chain, ready to help. All the other cars just patiently waited while they got her quickly unstuck and on her way. I then headed off the the bank, needing a little cash for straw bales for tomorrow’s 8th graders to get busy on the farm with a garden project. As I pulled up I realized the Forager had taken off to Asheville with my debit card–after a quick moment of panic I remembered… no matter, they know me. So not only did I get my cash with no questions asked, I got invited to a retirement party at the bank here in a couple of weeks. Next, I ran to the post office to grab a stamp + realized I don’t think I’ve ever been there, not one single time, that I didn’t see someone I know on the way in. I went by the country store next to grab them bales + noticed for the first time…. I’ve never cut my car off when I went in to pay for or load bales. Or even shut the door I don’t think.

On the way home I started thinking about yesterday–when I went to file my taxes and found a former goat workshop student from spring 2013 on the other side of the table. It sure never stinks to hear how awesome of a time someone had + how comfortable they felt out here. (Wow, really darlin’?! In 2013? Amazing! So not everyone knew I was totally pulling my hair out at the end of year one? Excellent.) I started thinking about how much I love it that folks wave to me when I’m driving up and down the mountain. How cool it is that there are only 565 people in the town we live in and only 7,645 in the “big” town we live 20 mins outside of. I pulled up our steep, windy, deeply weathered by winter, mountain road and thought about how much i love our tiny town of ten keep to themselves sort of folks at the top of panther mountain and the sheer will we have to have to live up here…heck, to just get up here every day.

I walked in my front door this afternoon just plain ol’ swelled up with a HUGE love for life in a small town.

Life in a small town might not be for all folks, but it sure is for me. I spent the first half of my childhood in one and the latter in a big city. Undergrad in a small town, grad school in a huge one. I’ve had jobs in big cities and small–and after going on six years in this tiny one, I’ve made the choice that is right for me. Life in a small town resides squarely in the center of my heart and I simply cannot imagine anymore living anywhere else.

And really… can’t we all no matter what the population of the city we reside within? Whether it is a neighborhood that is tucked into a big city and has a small town feel or if it is a big ol’ place who’s people make it feel small. I feel like really – it’s the community that can be created that counts.  It’s a crazy time we are living in. Election years can be some of the craziest–all the tension and turmoil you can stand for almost a full year. (Please note, for the comfort of all customers and us too…. the farm is a political talk free zone this year!) Wouldn’t it be a great time to find a big love for your city or town and its people and take some action to make it feel small? Maybe it would weird your neighbor out for you to wave as you drive by in the morning–but hey, maybe they would wave back! You could pay your bank teller a compliment if the service is always good instead of just assuming they know…. you may just make their day. Smile and say hi to someone at the post office – you may just see them there again one day and it would be someone you know. Hey now, a community garden can be a great place to start making your town feel a little smaller and closer–it is such a wonderful way for real people to connect in real life over real food. Don’t leave your car running outside the store, even I probably shouldn’t be doing that. But anyway, you get the idea. I feel like a small town mindset can live in your heart–no matter where you are parked. And in times like these, I feel like we need all the small town hearts we can get–in order to get connected to each other better than we ever have been before. It sure does feel like it is time for that. 

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Ah Brevard, I love you so–we live about 20 minutes outside of what is one of the coolest little towns in the world to me.

 

looking-glass-falls

Our county of Transylvania might sound scary – but it is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been and boosts over 250 waterfalls. This is likely the most visited one, Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah Forest.

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And lastly, but certainly not least – our county’s famous white squirrels! They are pretty adorable and a lot of folks don’t even know they exist until they come around and visit a Brevardian. A big ol’ thanks to Transylvania Bounty for all the great photographs they take of our awesome county!