fifty

i really love to plan a party. i am also not shy about planning one to celebrate me. needless to say, i had all kinds of ideas in the months leading up to my 50th.  fabulous ways to ring in my next half century. then my barn burned down. then a friend passed away. the wind got knocked out of my party planning sails as my birthday drew nearer.

birthday

it has been many, many years since i joined in on the festivities at long hungry creek farm. in the years since that summer paul and i called red boiling springs home, attending the biodynamic conference seemed like such a difficulty:  young children, friday harvests  and long market days make an autumn’s weekend gathering pretty far fetched. this year was different. with no CSA delivery and no clear idea how to celebrate my birthday weekend, last week it became incredibly clear that the 30th annual biodynamic celebration was actually my 50th birthday party.

a virtual kiss to each of you for making me feel so celebrated and alive. i imagined there would be no better way to celebrate than to be with my best friends conversing with the most admired of our region’s farmers. i sensed i would find it amazing to be away from my farm and family for one night. i was totally confident that dining on fine farm fare that i din’t have to cook was going to be worth it all. what i didn’t know as i pulled out of the driveway alone with the rising sun, is how absolutely perfect it truly would be. friends, old and new, i love you deeply. thanks for singing to me and dancing with me. thanks for the home grown, home made, hand crafted, beauty you bestowed upon me. thank you, deeply and most importantly,  for sharing with me this wonderful life.

a fire, a dinner, a clean house and the love of a community

Some of you may already have heard that our barn burned to the ground in the wee hours of Wednesday July 13th. the building was full to the tier poles of our farm and family’s necessities, it was a sobering moment to see it aflame.fireIn the minutes and hours and days that followed we walked in circles to find direction and muster up the energy to carry on. I loathe to admit, but i really have to, when i first looked at the burnt remains of the farm truck and the shell of our main barn, my initial thought was ” I can not do this”. I am far too busy already, my resources felt pretty darn scarce just yesterday, and heck, it’s the middle of July!! truckfire

and then life keeps going, nothing stops.  there are mouths to feed and squash to pick and flowers blooming. my family and community mobilized immediately. the outpouring of love and support forced me to count my blessings, rather than my losses,right away. we are fine. there was nothing, absolutely nothing, housed in that barn that can’t be bought again. Our livestock was on the other side of the farm, no lives were lost, no irreplaceable objects burnt. truly, despite this tragedy, i am so lucky.smilequickly saturday arrived. as with every other saturday over the past 17 years, we loaded the van and headed to the metro nashville farmers market. a long and exhausting day in the best of times, this trip was epic. friends and supporters swarmed us with help and gifts of all kinds. we were enveloped with the love of a community in a way that words can’t describe. 1q

 

i came home to a house that had been scrubbed. clean, as in really clean. my three children, who offer me plenty of opportunity to gripe, showed the best of themselves on that long saturday. settling in on a couch not covered in books and toys to sip a tea made on a clean kitchen counter. i actually had nothing to complain about. then came a knock on the door. it was our neighbors with a delivery:  a three course meal fresh out of the oven. friends,  i have been waiting for 17 years of saturdays for someone to have dinner waiting for me after the 16 hour market day! i guess i’m sorry it took a barn fire to have a clean house and a home cooked meal awaiting,  but what a delight.123

i hope this post offers each of you the opportunity to see the phoenix rising from the ashes. i have created a gofundme campaign to help us recoup our losses as we try and navigate rough rebuilding terrain. i remain surrounded by hope and light despite this loss. thanks y’all. xo

not people

As I was picking blackberries this morning, I was startled by a little snake.  She was suspended in the blackberry thicket, maybe finding the air more pleasant than the wet ground, maybe hunting the frogs that inhabit the ditch below the berries.  For just a moment, I was an Eve – thinking about fruit, but temporarily captivated by the beauty of this creature, her slender muscularity, the elegance of the racing stripes down her back.  I reached out to touch her smooth scales and she slipped away.  The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has long been among us.

snake

this isn’t her, but a beauty nonetheless.

*

Outside our bathroom window there is log where the skinks and lizards sit to catch some morning light.  A young one, with a bright blue tale, creeps out to bask for a moment.  The moment is brief because an older skink, twice the size of its kin, emerges and chases away the freshie.

*

kids 2After the excitement of the birth of our first goat kids here, we were astonished to find that the mama goats want nothing to do with each other’s kids.  If anything, they appear disdainful of them.  Given the chance, they butt them or nip the little one’s tails if they come too close.  We have even witnessed the does go out of their way to jostle the other’s kid while it was nursing.

What kind of survival tactic is this, we wonder?  Surely the herd would thrive if they were kind to one another’s offspring?

It’s disappointing.

It’s also a little bit terribly poignant.

*

elder flowerThe national and international news reel of the past couple weeks has been brutal.  I feel bruised at the soul every time I turn on the radio.  This is a reminder – the concept of humanity as a unity – the concept that we are all HUMAN and more alike than not – is a relatively new concept.  And it is fragile.

I’ve never had a problem with thinking of humans as animals.  We are animals with extraordinary brains, however, and it’s obvious that we have intellectual and spiritual potential beyond many (I won’t say all) of the creatures with which we share the world.  Surely we need not be bound by the same blind territorial instincts as our relatives.  I can only hope and pray that enough of us, striving against our lower instincts, can hold a peace.

Fear and Greed, and the Anger and Violence that abet their motives, are our enemies,           not people.