Wow. Somehow I missed the fact that Super Bowl and Ground Hog day were in the same week, and I did not do anything to promote products for either of them. Ugh. That is my challenge wearing all of the hats. Half the time, I don’t even know what day it is.
Just so you know, I am shamelessly copying the idea of the farm note from Kristen Kimball. The farm she and her husband Mark started in New York State is the beacon I cling to when stuff gets hard. Mostly because they don’t sugarcoat it and turn the experience into a Disney wonderland.
I was already headed down the farming road when Kristen’s book, The Dirty Life was published. Kristen’s story was kind of parallel to my own, down to the sticky and feisty bumps in her relationship with her now-husband Mark as they settled into a working rhythm.
Farming is not for everyone.
It is restrictive, uncomfortable, you fail a lot in very public ways, sometimes you do everything right and something unforeseen still makes you fail. And sometimes, in spite of your best screw-ups, things thrive. Go figure.
But the thing that kills most people is the relentlessness. Every. Single. Day. No matter how much OT you put in yesterday, today shows up with exactly the same demands. Day, after day, after day.
There is no coasting, resting, vacationing without a price to be paid later. No special event will be placed on a social calendar that does not become a bulls-eye for a birth, a death, an escape, or pending disaster requiring extra manual labor.
You can count on it.
For me, though I often do not enjoy it, that relentlessness is a life lesson I embrace. I consider it to be devotional, a type of prayer, like monastic life. To me, there is a beauty in it. For most modern people, it is something to be resented and chafed against.
The Kimballs have managed to marry the Devotional aspect, with the modern life aspect, and that is why I admire them so.
They have been true to themselves and their talents, and as a result, they have built not just a business, but a community. There is hospitality, and inclusiveness, and they are working as a team with their customers to build something together. They are, don’t laugh, “sparking joy.”
I have seen lot of chuckling recently about Marie Kondo and “sparking joy,” and I admit that when her book came out, I tried to read it, but was seriously distracted by my own thoughts about what an odd child she was, and somehow I drifted off in the middle.
But when you are evaluating your life’s work within the context of Marie’s tidying up ideas, the results are pretty paradigm shifting. This was a good article, by the way.
It was a great reminder to me to focus on the joy, and to fold joyful actions into the daily priorities. Things like celebrating cross-quarter day, honoring the signs of coming spring, nurturing, incubating, ripening those ideas, because as happens, suddenly you will find yourself in the middle of spring chaos, and you will already be behind.
Talk about chafing, and the opposite of “sparking joy,” this week was the week of the Polar Vortex.
Very, very sudden change in temps and snow, followed by an equally sudden warmup. You will hear no complaints from me, it is January after all. We were very fortunate, and only suffered a few days of extreme cold. And our extreme cold was not even close to what farmers in the midwest suffered, so… we are fine.
Some pigs were brought inside and bedded up with extra hay and straw, the cow feeding situation had to be switched up a bit, and my poor tractor Blue had to chug extra hard through deep snow. She is running, but still not quite right, and of course I am utterly dependent upon her which is always a little terrifying.
The snow brought a couple of days with lots of shoveling and digging out, then a chilly equilibrium was established. Ironically, the expectation is that, whew! Crises endured, Yay! But the reality is that now the real work begins – cleaning up the mess and getting pigs sorted and put back outside.
When the weather was wicked cold, the pigs were hunkered down, snuggling like sausages. But now, cabin fever is brewing, and pigs with energy to burn in a space not really designed to be pig-tough is a high priority situation.
The ridiculously inefficient watering situation was even more ridiculous with the ice, and adding my new winter time-suck, delivering hay, I am not pulling ahead in efficiency. At. All. But again, here I go with the same old, same old; water, blah, blah, tractor, blah, blah, pigs, blah, blah, and on and on. I will spare you.
We are taking orders for our spring beef boxes, our lowest price of the year for 100% grass-fed/finished dry aged Devon beef. Click here for details.
We are also booking Whole Hog Parties for those of you who would like to cook with me and learn more about buying direct from farmers, making good use of what you have purchased, and keeping a local pantry. If you are an old pro at all of that, you might appreciate the opportunity to purchase one of our whole or half hogs at a special flat price, all fees included. More information here.
And, this sounds a little crazy, but Easter hams take weeks of planning for me. If you think you would like an Auburn Meadow Farm Easter ham, I will need to make arrangements soon. I know. Crazy.