tea time

a conversation between the farmwives…

Coree wonders

Years ago, before these great kids came along, I considered myself a good gardener.  I studied how food was grown, as well as grew it myself.  In these recent years however, I find myself unable to give so much time to this chosen occupation of ours. As we’ve already agreed, feeding growing children and keeping home and business afloat  in the context of the farm is a lot of work.  The gardens themselves are another tremendous piece.  Often in the field, I find I have to re-acquaint myself with what once might have been second nature. Every now and then I can crack a book to look up the habits of a pernicious weed or bug, but otherwise, the studying gets left to my Fellow Man (referring to my Husband).

As the season begins sprouting, I wonder about you two.  Do you know what I mean? How much of the garden work do you carry?  How do you strike a balance between being sharp veggie growers and field hands who can really cook?

Yours with love, Coree

Robin replies…

oh Coree,  it is so funny actually i long to be in the garden more than i am right now. until these children reach a certain age, older than dear william is right now, the gardens are not mama’s realm. wednesday in fact our toddler plucked the broccoli transplants almost as fast as i could set them. luckily papa knows how much i love setting my brassicas and swept william away so i could finish (850, woohooo), but in answer to your question, i am a field hand. paul definitely makes the decisions out there, he has the dawn and dusk solo tours to assess, contemplate and plan. back in the day we made those walks and those decisions together. as the business and family grew, we divided those tasks for the sake of efficiency. we both fell into the roles that were more logical for the other tasks we were doing simultaneously. (i.e. i did almost all of the office and greenhouse work, both jobs situated near that napping baby) early childhood is fleeting, william will grow and life will once again shift, so for now, i enjoy those moments of gardening when they arise, for i do spend time out there each day,  and i cherish my role as mama and leave farmer paul to lead the charge.IMG_2101

Cher replies…

As the kiddos get older, I am finding that the amount of time I am able to spend in the garden is increasing. Olivia is now 3 1/2, a wee bit older than both of your littlest ones. I am able to be in the garden for longer periods of time because the children are getting old enough to entertain themselves in the woods surrounding our garden while we work. And sometimes, they even want to pitch in and help! But it hasn’t always been this way, for sure! For years, I have done the majority of the seeding and greenhouse work because that work happens right by our house. It has been easy for me to step out onto the patio to make some soil blocks, and still be able to hear the stirrings of a napping little one inside. Eric has, for years, done the majority (here I mean all) of the major garden work involving decision making and machinery. I have always been a sounding board for Eric about garden and farm decisions, even if I didn’t really have any strong input, so I was still slightly in touch with what was happening up on the hill (where the gardens are). But the tides are turning. Or maybe I should say equalling out. Eric wants me to take an active part in the decision making. He’s been relatively solo for ten years and now sings the tune “you decide, just tell me what to do.” (Dream husband, right?) We’ll see what the year holds, but so far, Eric and I have been happily working side-by-side a lot more. Ladies, our unfettered time in the garden will again return, so for now, let us all enjoy these little ones (that keep us so distracted!) while they are little.

10 thoughts on “tea time

  1. For me there were a number of years where Joe and I all but gave up on gardening. As a matter of fact, in the semi-nomadic life we were living, we eventually adopted the catchphrase “Plant it and you will leave.” However since the boys are now grown up, and we’ve dedicated ourselves to this place, gardens are again a central part of our lives. As a matter of fact, while we are working out our last few months of outside work, the boys are keeping up with the early garden work so that when we start being home full time we aren’t completely behind the eight ball. Enjoy your children, don’t overly stress about the gardening (do what you can), and when the time comes you ma get lucky like me and have children who are happy to be on the farm working side by side with you!

  2. I love this post, it’s perfect timing as we head into our first season with our babe. I was pregnant throughout last year’s CSA season – Hazel arrived a week overdue, and a week after our last CSA delivery. So it was a progression of me doing less and less around the farm. Thankfully for Bret, our first apprentice for the year will be arriving soon, so he will have some much needed help. With our cold Pennsylvania winter (it was 15 degrees two nights this week), Hazel and I haven’t been too much help with outside work. I’m hoping to be out on the garden a lot this summer, but I’m not holding my breathe that I’ll be much help. I imagine harvest days will be the hardest for me to not take part in. Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences!

    • Stephanie, I don’t know you but we are neighbors! Well, a hundred miles away but still. We are in Bloomsburg southwest of Scranton/WB. I worked at Hill and Hollow in 2005. Small world. We should be friends!

      • Hi Jill! I went to BU, what a small world indeed! We should definitely be friends, our farm is on facebook (Hemlock Creek) and our email is hemlockcreekcsa(at)gmail. Have a great spring!

  3. I’ve been waiting for this post. I knew you would get around to it eventually. Thank you. I’m fumbling through our taxes (first year) while Chris is outside plowing the field, and seeding the blocks, and doing all of the exciting spring things. I get a little bummed. I love being a mama, but I want to be in the garden too. I remind myself frequently that motherhood and childhood has seasons and this one is beautiful and it will end, and when it does I can work outside more. But it can be difficult.

    I always think I should start a farming with toddlers support group.

  4. Beautiful comments everyone – i’m so glad this hit home. Parenting is a huge investment in the future of humanity and I believe it deserves every ounce of energy we can put toward it.

  5. oh dear friends, this does come close to our hearts! i love that we can share this space, and it warms my heart that you dear jill and steph are carrying little ones on your backs right now.

  6. Can’t thank you enough for this post, and really all of them thus far. I’m only dreaming of farming with our toddler and 6-yr-old, and the fact that I barely have time to “farm” our tiny 1/4 acre lot is sometimes discouraging. Here’s to keeping our dreams alive!

    • brooke
      i have thought of you often and am glad to hear from you here. hopefully you know how meaningful the work you are doing right now is, not easy, no way, but so significant.
      love you,
      we are nearing the delivery season and hope we can rendezvous!!

Leave a Reply to Esmee Mckee Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s