we will all be there

 

it was a gloomy sunday morning, I was sort of wallowing in a bit of exhausted self pity. sundays during market season are hard, coming down from an over caffeinated, highly stimulating, definitively sleep deprived 24 hours, we all kind of wake up on sunday morning not quite knowing which way to turn. as usual, i grabbed a cup of tea hoping for clarity. none. i headed out for morning chores and was stopped in my tracks by a copperhead in the wood pile. things were not taking a turn for the better. alas, instead of begrudgingly tackling my to do list, i stopped at the computer and am i glad i did.  there was a simple yet powerful email from a new friend steering me towards the latest on the website for the 2014 North American Biodynamic Conference.

DSCN0886

i have been dabbling in biodynamics for as long as i have been farming. when it was announced that the national conference would be held in my home state, my mind whirled and thrilled at the number of old friends that would gather and at the opportunity to meet an amazing collection of folks doing this significant work so attached to my life. when i was asked to sit on the steering committee for this conference, i was honored and perplexed at what i could possibly offer. monthly calls ensued and often i sat silent as others suggested potential speakers and themes. i am not often quiet, but i have not attended many conferences of this type and had little insight. it is not that i wouldn’t love to attend, i cried in 2012 when i realized i simply could not. truth is  i farm and i have children and  the combination of these two keeps me and so many farming mamas away from these amazing events.

DSCN0888

this year, the conference is a mere 2 hours away and the farmwives and i are fully engaging in the event. we will join together, my dear friends and i, and offer to the conference goers our first professional, public appearance (i can not divulge any more until the full conference schedule comes out).  this alone is monumental and incredibly exciting, but now, let us return to this sunday morning and the aforementioned email from my new friend. in our last conference call just a few short weeks ago, a topic close to my heart was brought up: children. here i found my voice. i feel strongly that events such as these often push women and children to the margins. we speak to the beauty and the significance of the small family farms, but how can we carry this vision if there is no place at these conferences for the kiddos or the mamas nursing them? if we don’t support the whole family, offer learning opportunities to all of us, how can we possibly address the age and gender imbalances in agriculture?

DSCN0909

my friend’s email directed me to the newly added children at the conference. tears spilled from my eyes as i read the words. children’s activities and child care will be available all day, every day of this conference. families are welcome and will be cared for as we all share knowledge, experience, and insight. this most definitely changed the course of my previously gloomy sunday morning and will most hopefully alter the path for conferences and events for a long time to come. hip hip hooray for the Biodynamic Association.

so friends, why not join us?  we will be there. all three of us farmwives. with our husbands and our children. our families will be joining so many others in learning and sharing. i know it will be a place of high level education and the wonderful mingling of a large community. i should warn you though, you might not want to have a room near us at the hotel, we can get a little excited when we’re all together.

 

 

they were right

green berryI didn’t see it happen, but I saw the day go by. That morning, making the rounds, I noticed that the blackberries were all still pink and red. Looking nice, but nothing new. Later that sunny afternoon, on my way to pick some lettuce, I looked again. This time the center berry of every four bunches or so was dark, shiny black. Ripe. It happened that fast.ripe blackberry

Two days later, the same thing happened with the tomatoes.ripe tomato

That’s when I knew the old folks had been right all along. Life really does speed up. I remember as a child and young adult hearing my elders say that the years seemed to go faster as they grew older. It didn’t make a lick of sense to me then. Now it does.

And really, it’s mathematical fact, backed up, as usual, by life experience. Our children growing, playing, and stretching themselves upon the seasons set the example perfectly. One year in the life of a three year old is one third of his life. One summer in that life is a loooong time. A year in the life of an eight year old, one eighth of her life, is still a pretty good chunk. But she has enough experience to know that summer is precious and variable and well worth savoring, especially with friends. I remember that feeling, even now.fairies in a line

One-fortieth of my life is passing by this year, and that is starting to sound kind of small. Of course, hopefully, the fraction will only get smaller. The longer we stay, the quicker that trip around the sun seems. As this quickening becomes more and more real to me, I’m adjusting, learning first not to panic.  I’m also beginning to think that we should rejoice in those long moments of agony that accompany waiting, just for the nature of that slowness of time.

Of course, a summer is still a summer. There’s nothing that changes about the length of the days or months themselves. Only our perception. And that’s what the numbers can’t tell us.

I will not quantify the nearly painful burst of flavor from that first blackberry. There is no acceptable measurement for the joyful sweat that beads from the cut of the first crisp cucumber. And no accounting for the sweet purple jelly from the inside of a fresh tomato. It would be like trying to capture the silence of a newborn baby sleeping, or the exuberant laugh of a happy child.boys at play

So the old folks were right all along. They probably knew we’d catch up to their way of seeing things eventually.

I hope you’re all enjoying the fruits of the season while they last. Fast or slow, summertime is ripe now.sunny field

thankful

These days are so full lately that there is an overabundance of things to be thankful for! I’m having a hard time deciding! But I suppose what tops my list is that this year’s garlic harvest is complete. An estimated nine thousand bulbs were pulled and are now up in the loft of the barn for drying. I’m thankful that my back didn’t break, and that in the final push to get the job done, my kids and one of their buddies pitched in and gathered the garlic as Eric and I snipped the bulbs from the stalks, frantically trying to stay ahead! (A little cash bribe never hurts to inspire involvement…)IMG_7354IMG_7350{How did I do, Sasha?}IMG_7316I’m also thankful for ripe fresh fruit, seasonal treat that it is. The wild blackberries are looking good. So good, in fact, that Eric couldn’t resist picking few gallons for a batch of blackberry wine. I’ll be thankful for that in a few months!

Finally, I’m thankful for this cute little fellow, my first Shetland lamb. He was born just a few days ago, and aptly named Blackberry by Opal.IMG_7363Here’s to summer, friends, in all of it’s glory! I hope your days fill up with so many things to be thankful for…