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.
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.
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.In 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!!
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.quickly 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.
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.
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
i spent mother’s day assisting a professional shearing team at our neighbor’s alpaca farm. i mean, when your neighbor needs help with fiber and you get the chance to watch a pro, really, the choice was obvious.
i guess i was expecting someone old. maybe even grumpy. i never, ever imagined this pair: two young men, well traveled and tender with fiber. they met in the peruvian andes of course.
they sheared 20 alpacas in a quick morning. we swapped stories. in those few hours in my neighbor’s barn, my current love of fiber and the fondest memories of my twenties spent travelling the world filled my mind and heart. tales of south america and asia flowed amidst countless facts of alpaca fiber and dyeing and shearing equipment and staple length.
if anyone is ever in need of an alpaca shearer, mr clipper’s shearing service comes with my highest praise.