a cocktail’s tale

i have a friend. a good friend. she has been a member of our CSA for longer than i can remember. she and her man, heck, we knew them before they left nashville for the great open skies of the southwest. we knew them before they had twins (now in first grade),  we welcomed them when they came back to nasvhille.  these folks are shareholders in the CSA that we have seen through too many life shifts to count. obviously, when the opportunity to collaborate arose, we jumped.

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MEEL  is an amazing culinary project. full of integrity, style and hard work.  our friend marti spends countless hours each week curating boxes for her customers that include seasonal recipes, the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients to cook those recipes and heart felt inspiration to share the meals with your loved ones. our farm’s produce, along with fruits and vegetables and meat and dairy from nearly every sustainable farm serving metro nasvhille has found its way into a MEEL box. like so many mama entrepreneurs i know, marti does the work, family, home, delivery dance with grace. right now, with her local MEEL project dangling on both sides of the viability fence, marti decided it was high time to try some alternative marketing. with a celebrity coming to the music city for an event this weekend,she arranged to have a very special MEEL box waiting for her upon arrival in nashville.

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obviously a visiting celebrity is not likely to cook a family meal while in town, so her box included all locally sourced ingredients for a lovely cocktail hour. clearly, this is where we entered the story because a meyer maple cocktail was on the menu.  for this seemingly significant beverage and for the love of a friendship and collaboration we did indeed find ourselves driving through a winter storm warning to meet marti at the state line yesterday:  6 meyer lemons and 4 TBS of maple syrup were needed and there was no stopping us.

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i am quite sure that right now as you read this tale, gwyneth paltrow is sipping the finest of cocktails mixed with hill and hollow farm’s meyer lemons and maple syrup.

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same planet, different world

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out of my element, but having a fine time.

When saints speak, it’s good to listen.  Here’s one thing Mother Teresa said:

“If you judge people you have no time to love them.”

So I remembered this over and over as I moved through the airport with all the security upgrades that I haven’t been paying attention to in the past 11 years (since my last flight).

I am not a fish out of water.  I am just another person on an airplane.airplane

That was my other mantra, of sorts.  Realizing that, though life is precarious at 28,000 feet in the air, it is also perfectly mundane.

I had a catch in my throat when I saw a plane lift off the runway. But the crowds at the airport were reassuring.  We participate in this madness together.  Somehow, it works.  These things I say to myself, imagining a smooth landing in Miami.

It is immensely beautiful to see the world from nearly 6 miles up.  The tiny white crescent of sand on the coast, cast white by the sun.  The Gulf waters shiny and still, or so they look from up there.airplane 2

How remarkable, that we, the hairless, slow, defenseless specks of creatures born with so little protection, without even being able to hold our heads on straight – WE have manipulated our environment this much.  We fly without wings.  We fly from the power of our minds.

On the way to airport, I listened to NPR, tuning into the political circus taking place in the USA right now, and from 5 miles high, it really made me think about humanity and all our works.  What is it all for?

Airplanes don’t last.  Buildings don’t last.  Even great art lasts only for awhile, in geologic time.  Our lives are certainly short.  All I can think of that could possibly matter is love.airplane 1

Every candidate out there will claim to love this country, and that’s great.  Some will claim to love minorities or farmers or other segments of population characteristic of the working poor.  And they are probably telling the truth by their own standards.  But here’s what I’m observing – love begets love.  I’m not talking about romantic love here of course.  I’m talking about big LOVE, agape, or from the eastern side, bodhicitta – the up-welling of the heart with goodness toward ALL.

When that sort of LOVE is present in a person, it is reflected in their actions, and in the action of the people around them.  And LOVE isn’t always sweet and lovely.  Its forms are as variable and diverse as our fingerprints.  Parents all know this.  We scold our children and correct them, not even always gently, but our corrections are made with LOVE.  The fruit of this LOVE is recognizable as goodness, positivity, fairness and compassion.  Even in shows of great strength, there will be a basic goodness.home lulah

LOVE is an attractive force.  It’s something to watch for.

And THAT, my friends, is what this little farmwife was doing on an airplane to Miami.  I left my hearth and home, all that I have grown and cared for over the past decade, for the sake of love, and I was rewarded with the obvious – MORE love.

My dear friend of twenty years (or more) just weathered a big life transition.  As difficult as it was to observe, being there is part and parcel of true friendship, and the longer we live the more obvious that becomes.  I am grateful now to have borne witness to her process, as she has maintained such integrity, and now she is beginning to emerge in a glorious and graceful way.  And in her emergence from the thick of it, she invited a bunch of us, her friends of near and far, to be with her for a weekend in southern Florida.  How could I not go?

There were about a dozen women who carved out time for the get-away.  One of them was another close friend.  Another I had met before.  The others I had only heard about over the years.  It was such a wonderful event.  Totally worth the strangeness of the plane ride.

It was wonderful to spend such concentrated time loving our mutual friend.  We all shared a deep appreciation for her, as she is, and together, we were able to really give her that deep-woman-friend-love that is so necessary at certain turning points.  I hope you know what I mean, because it’s difficult to explain unless you have experienced it.

It was also completely astonishingly wonderful to meet so many GREAT women all in one place.  I could so easily have spent a day talking to each and every one of them.  Each so different, but each beautifully unique in intelligence and experience and that golden key – basic goodness.  It doesn’t happen every day to meet so many enjoyable people at one time, you know?  I am grateful to know these women, not just in my friend’s life, but in my own now, too.group picture

Oh, and the spa was pretty nice.  Lying by the water in a swimsuit was awesome.  Hot tubs and saunas are alright by me, too, once in awhile.  The quinoa banana avocado pineapple smoothie with pistachio nuts, dried cranberries, and coconut?  All I can say is WOW.

But the best part?  You know what I’m going to say.  You know it’s true.  LOVE.

The flight home was wretchedly bumpy.  Everyone was pale as the plane circled through the clouds and down onto the Nashville runway, but but it was good to look down and see the bare trees, the open fields.  So much space we have here.airplane tennessee

I was a tired mess by the time I got back to the house.  There were still little piles of snow along the road on the deepest parts of the hollow.  It only took a few minutes to change back into my old wool sweater, my stained and ripped camo pants.  I walked around with the goats and collected the eggs with the funny feeling that I had just stepped back home from another world.  Not a bad world, just a different one.  There is no bad world as long as there is love.home where i belong

the mill trip

it can be an annual or semi annual or bi annual or “holy smokes our barn is full of fleece” trip to our fiber mill. so many  points of interest lie in the 250 miles between our farm and ohio valley natural fibers . each trip up there has had a different flavor, none better than the other.

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the view out the back is always the same

this year we chose the urban route through louisville. our agenda was simple: good coffee and a taste of the local food scene. our delightful host was more than happy to comply and the overnight adventure was perfect.

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we have been working with ovnf since we sheared our first ewe. the original owners had jacob’s sheep and we felt a mill that was familiar with our breed of sheep was the perfect match. now, under new ownership, we remain delighted with their services to us and other members of our regional fiber community.

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mmm

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needless to say, by the time we returned to louisville we had just enough daylight left to meander over the ohio. the sun set on our great adventure and we returned home to a farm well cared for by my teenagers (OK, one actual teenager and one 24 hours shy).

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clearly the barge knew he had an audience!