It’s been almost two weeks since I took another big leap. It felt almost as big as leaving the city almost six years ago to try hanging our hats on a homestead. I turned in my keys at my teaching job and decided to give this full time farmer thing a go. After almost six years of squeezing my newfound farm life into short summers and some Saturdays, I expected it to feel glorious to be here almost every day with no clock counting down to August. But, it didn’t. Instead, it was terrifying. I just kept thinking to myself…. what. have. I. done.
It didn’t matter if it was exactly what I’d been dreaming of and wanting for so long. I was simply having the realization that I’m banking on the hope that this farm and its farmers, their products and food–can pay its bills without outside employment. Starting 8 weeks from today. I’m trusting that the two of us know enough, have practiced enough, have made enough soil, sowed enough seed and have enough faith to pull off just doing what we love to do with our lives. But there I sat, finding myself having trouble holding on to the teether of the latter.
I’m still a toddler when it comes to being a farmer. I started my first seed in winter of 2010-11, so I still feel brand spanking new to this life. Being a 140 pounds lighter now than I was when I sowed that first seed doesn’t change that. Shoot, them first two summers on the rental farm was much more easy peasy river bottom backyard homestead than scrappy, steep, go off grid at the tippy top of a mountain kinda farming. To me, it really only feels like the start of my fourth summer of being anything close to a farmer. Another words, I’m four years old–when it comes to living this way, when it comes to farming on this piece of land. That just kept repeating in my head and heart for the last couple of weeks while I frantically tried to find my faith in this farm and in myself. While I tried to get my brain to catch up to this big transition and settle down some. While the two halves of my inner four year old hollered at each other over whether the squash seeds we planted on the farm would grow or not. Only getting a cumulative half an inch in 7 weeks, I watched the weather report and prayed for rain..…. I didn’t sleep much.
But, I did wear myself out, working and worrying, and finally hit that wall of tiredness where there’s nothing left to be found but faith. Faith that your feet will keep moving, fueled by your passion for farming. Faith that it will rain, that the squash will grow, that turkeys will sit on nests where you want them to and stay there, and that fat baby rabbits will be hopping around soon.
I finally hit that point this week and when I found my faith to farm, I did not want to let go. I felt my hand clamp down on my faith’s tether and I clutched on to it like never before. I took the extra slack in the rope and wrapped it around my forearm like a tattoo. I finally just told myself I was going to give this thing all I’ve got, it is going to shake out how it shakes out, and so…. I just put my head down and worked.
And then, the sky opened up… and it began to pour rain.
Two days and almost 2.5 inches of rain later, them squash seed finally popped. The turkey hen was finally convinced to stay on her nest in the barn, even if it is open. And, just yesterday, I found a surprise–a fat, week old litter of rabbit kits hidden in the hutch. Eight of them, eyes open and already scooting around. How perfectly fitting. Nothing else could have answered this farmer’s prayers better than them baby bunnies.
I’ve been up since 4:30am and in the garden, barefoot, more often than not since first light. I’m covered in clay and my back is sore in the best ways. I tasted my first leaf of raw basil of the season today. The herding pup is actually tired. We are now proud owners of some of the prettiest pea trellises I’ve ever seen, art meets farm on this 9.87 acres every day. The apprentices had plenty of greens to top with a duck egg and serve next to chocolate and date gluten free pancakes for brinner.
The faith to farm, I’m so grateful I can still find it, every year…. so I can have days just like today.
-Rain, the farmer
If there is one thing I know for sure, we will have squash and beans… They are coming up everywhere!
Kelsey made the prettiest trellis I think I’ve ever seen on this farm for some peas–so into this look!!