Volume IX, JOURNAL 10
August 18, 2014
Blue Heron Farm Journal
***FRESH CERTIFIED ORGANIC CHICKEN AVAILABLE at the FARM TODAY - $5.50 a lb***
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 10J There are many things going over the internet these days - conflicts, death, ice buckets, beaches, and stories about not letting your children become farmers. These days the work is hard and long. We wake up early, work past dark, break for meals and play and keep on keeping on. I found Delia's flip flops by the wash station today, she probably flung them off while picking wildflowers for the fundraiser we had here yesterday for Food for thought. I helped weed Sadie's little garden that she made all herself. I see the little tykes cars strewn between the farmstand and the cherry tomato hoophouse. I found a little basket of eggs collected on a tour that my girls did yesterday with some visitors. I hear the rooster crowing. We pick 70 pints of cherry tomatoes. Our steadfast volunteers pick the green beans that will be on your plates today. We ate eggs from chickens that we had as chicks and ham we had from a pig we had as a piglet. I snacked on tomatoes, split cucumbers in two in the field and ate one - their refreshing snap and crispness a nice break in the picking. I scout out the corn with Adam to hopefully to pick later in the day. Our girls had yogurt for breakfast from our sweet cows Annie and Maggie. Sadie found it to be a bit chilly this morning, and she grabbed her wool hat made with these hands made from the wool from the backs of our sheep. The coolness of mid august was welcome while picking this morning for this community we belong to. Our girls were so excited to show everyone that came yesterday the beauty and fullness of this scared place - explaining along the way why we raise that vegetable, why we raise sheep and chickens and cows , how all the animals and veggies and people need each other to grow. This is our office - this is what pays the bills. Things are not all roses on small diversified family farm. There is a lot of hard work, stress, dirt, and anxiety. But this farm is what gets us out of bed every morning. The joy that is in farming along with all the yuck - is a wonder. Sometimes you have to take a step back and see the forest for the trees.
Our girls will be themselves when they grow up - our hope is to help them build their toolbox of skills: mentally, physically and spiritually - to be who they are. Their occupation will be to be good, passionate, caring citizens - knowing they are part of a bigger community. Knowing where their food comes from and how important food, shelter and clothing are to everyone. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I learned to work hard, being caring, brave, loving and passionate. And I know I am those things today and I express those things through my daily life- that’s what I hope defines me not necessarily my occupation. I hope the same for my girls to be who they want to be and not have an occupation to define them. They will be independent. They will know how to grow, harvest and prepare their own food. They will be able to know how to read the weather, the land and drive a tractorJ Farming is more than a profession. Farming is a way of life, it is not 9 to 5, it is dynamic. Being a farmer is who you are.
I saw the following article and it spoke to me and other mama farmers I know. My girls know where their food comes from, they know the work that goes into farming and the flexibility of us going with dirty knees and all to a baseball game or dance practice. Farming is a way of life that is hard but so rewarding. I have enclosed the article for you to read. Be brave. Wear stripes and polka dots. Be home before dark to put the baby chicks in. get dirtyJ
Have a great week.
We look forward to farming with you this season.
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, and Carly
Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers
""Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers." That was the title of an op-ed piece in the New York Times circling around my Facebook feed this week. You may have read it yourself, but if not here's the gist: There is no money in farming with integrity as a small business model. It's a nearly-impossible way to make a living. Those organic veggies at your local farmers' market, the CSA share you may or may not have invested in, the truck hauls to busy city centers to deliver box club splits... It's a dog-eat-dog shit show, a constant competition between "hobby" farms (some are recreation of the wealthy for land tax breaks in the same farmer's market as commercial growers) and nonprofit farms who have boards of directors to hand out new tractors instead of resorting to begging a bank for a loan. It was a good article and as a good point was made. Farming as your sole source of income is no way to get rich and getting harder all the time, even among this recent food movement. And that was why the title was what it was, to grab your attention and point out how hard the much-applauded small farm business is. "Don't let your children grow up to be farmers" was a warning and an earnest one.
The article ends with issues farmers need to fight for, like loan forgiveness for college grads (I personally would love this one) who pursue agriculture and better wages for every part of the food-growing system. Like I said, it was a powerful article and well written, and I agree with him on all points but one:
Let your children grow up to be farmers.
Let them know what it is like to be free from fluorescent lights and laser pointer meetings. Let them challenge themselves to be forever resourceful and endlessly clever. Let them whistle and sing loud as they like without getting called into an office for "disturbing the workforce." Let them commute down a winding path with birdsong instead of a freeway's constant growl. Let them be bold. Let them be romantic. Let them grow up not having to ask another adult for permission to go to the dentist at 2 p.m. on a Thursday. Let them get dirty. Let them kill animals. Let them cry at the beauty of fallow earth they just signed the deed for. Let them bring animals into this world, and realize they don't care about placenta on their shirt because they no longer care about shirts. Let them wake up during a snowstorm and fight drifts at the barn door instead of traffic. Let them learn what real work is. Let them find happiness in the understanding that success and wealth are not the same thing. Let them skip the fancy wedding. Let them forget four years of unused college. Let them go. Let them go home.
Farming never has been, and never will be, an easy life but for many it is an easy choice. For me it was the only choice. Perhaps that is what it takes? Being a farmer means wanting to do it more than anything else. It means giving up things other people take for granted as givens, like travel and the latest fashion, new cars and 401k plans. It means making choices your peers won't understand, your family will disapprove of, and other farmers will scoff at. It means making a decision and owning it, really owning it the way few people get to own anything in their lives anymore. Let your children grow up to know this responsibility. Let them literally put food on the table, lift up their bootstraps and learn how much effort a life worth living entails.
I have been living on this farm full-time for nearly two years, and it has never been without worry. But that heavy blanket of anxiety is full of many, tiny, holes that let in brilliant beams of light, as many as there are stars! And those pieces of light I have reached have changed me so much. They are mountaintop rides on a draft horse, meals I knew as chicks and seeds, and finding a spiritual home in the everyday work and rhythms of my life. The version of me who was too scared to farm would certainly be more solvent, but she wouldn't be happy. She wouldn't know how to hunt deer, ride a horse, plant a garden or butcher a chicken. It is only in the last few decades of abnormal history that these skills were considered recreational or outdated. And perhaps that New York Times writer will find himself in a much better place financially when local food goes from being a novelty of the so-inclined to the staples his community depends on when gas prices, natural disasters, political climates or any other disruption in the cattle cars of modern civilization start to hiccup.
And that may be the best reason to let you children grow up to become farmers: they can feed themselves. They can achieve the most basic of human needs in a society clueless about how to take care of themselves without a car and a supermarket. Becoming a farmer isn't in financial fashion right now; that is sadly true, but it will be again. As long as people need to eat there will be a business in doing so, and it's up to each farmer to find his or her niche, celebrate it, unapologetically accept good money for it, and keep doing it far past the point of reason. Any son or daughter of mine that dared to be so bold would not be discouraged from facing the world with such fierceness for simplicity. Antlers on fire can set a lot more holes in a dark blanket.
Let your children grow up to become farmers. There is a surplus of mediocrity in this nation and a deficit of bravery. Let your children grow up to be farmers. Let them be brave. " -Jenna Woginrich at Cold Antler Farm.
What’s in the share this week:
This list is what is in a full share this week. Things may change between Monday and Thursday and Individual and Salad share will get differing amounts and may not get everything on the list. Onions, Lettuce, Herbs, Corn (fingers crossed), Green Beans, Cucumbers, cherry/full size heirloom tomatoes, hmmmm
Farm Fresh Raw milk for Sale
We are very lucky to have two milking cows - Annie and Maggie - both give us plenty of milk each and every day and we would like to share that with you and anyone else would like to have raw milk. We sell it $5 a half gal. We also can do a sliding scale if needed for the milk. You can buy milk at CSA pickup or anytime out of our barn fridge next to our house at 34 quaker.
Eggs for sale We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown eggs– with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen. The eggs are $5.00 a dozen. $3.00 half dozen