Fiona over at the Cottage Smallholder posted a lovely reflection on her last year of healing. She's had to reorganize her life entirely, do more with less, and figure out new ways to support herself. I hope you'll visit her blog and get to know her.
I draw great strength from Fiona's journey because -- even though our circumstances are different and we live half a world apart -- our priorities and solutions are similar. I especially appreciate that she can see that she's living a deeper, more satisfying life now that everything has been pared down to essentials.
That is true for me, also. I really love getting to know my husband now that he's free of the evil empire. I'll gladly face storms of financial, geographic, and professional uncertainty to watch him settle into himself. I appreciate having a clearer idea of who our real friends are. I'm grateful that we're getting so grounded that we're literally dirty from our work on the Farm.
I've been in a funk about the farm. I work so hard out there but can't see appreciate our progress so this weekend, much like Fiona, I've been trying to acknowledge the deeper progress we've made in these last six months:
- We came up with the plan for the farm in January.
- We built the farm's website in January.
- We re-organized our entire garden into mounded, raised beds.
- We ordered seeds and planned crops differently than we ever have before.
- David designed and built the coop.
- We got the chickens and learned to care for them.
- Our garden grew.
- We dealt with the record-breaking cold and wet spring.
- I've kept up with the weeding.
- We sold a few vegetables. (thank you!)
- Pickling classes are coming up later this summer. (There's room for you, too! Contact me.)
- First eggs are due any day now, and we have customers waiting for them already.
- We're meeting a lot of wonderful neighbors.
- I'm figuring out how to license the kitchen so that I can make and sell preserves and pickles legally.
- I am making unusual pickles and preserves and learning a lot in that realm.
- We are feeding ourselves from the garden. (At the grocery store, I skip the produce section 90% of the time -- mostly just buy mushrooms or a few lemons sometimes.)
That is an awful lot in six months.
I know from my experience with this garden over this last few years that we'll see rewards two- or three-fold next year. We won't have to truck in compost anymore. The beds are organized well enough now that rotation will be easier and weeding reduced. I've learned so much about succession planting and yields this year that next year I'll have a better idea of how to market crops in advance.
I need to be patient. A year from now, we'll face different challenges, but it will feel easier (hopefully) to sell what we grow.
Not small potatoes for six months of hard work. Even I can see that.