Contentment does not need more.

Contentment does not want more.creek 2

Contentment is at ease wherever and however it is.

Contentment cannot be bought or sold.  If we greedily grasp at it, it slips away.creek 5

Because of this, contentment will never be popularized by those who benefit from the capitalist, commercialized, materialist economy.

Because of this, contentment all the more valuable.creek 6

Contentment does not exist in stasis.  It does not get in the way of striving, of improvement, of change.  It can rest in a whole heart while the maelstrom wheels around us.  Contentment endures.

Days have been hot here.  It is a wonderful time to sit in the creek with the kids.  But I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself there as much if I hadn’t just finished hoeing the corn.  It is an inner life equation: meaningful work + good play/good rest = contentment.creek 3

Contentment is not happiness itself.  But happiness is a result of contentment.

Do not stop doing meaningful work.  Do not stop striving toward a better world.

But, please, deep inside, do be content.creek 4

did i really say that?

while driving in the van the other day,  the children and i were discussing the seasons. right then and there, with nary a thought to the horror of what was about to come out of my mouth, i said “i hate spring” ouch. what farm wife in her right mind could utter such profanities? i immediately started justifying my strong statement, certainly more to myself than to my audience (the kids think it quite amusing when i get extreme).


“it isn’t true really” i claimed,  i love the hope of the growing season to come, i can’t resist the daily delight as we enter lambing season in full swing, i adore the feel of the first sun kissed skin, i delight in the brightness of the spring green, i am thankful for the deep soul satisfying emergence from winter’s chill. so why oh why have i felt so unsettled these past days, just when the joyous season of new beginnings is on my doorstep?


i concluded i have difficulty switching gears.  the starts and stops of the emerging spring can challenge me. it can feel like a series of dashed hopes. here in kentucky, the shift from winter to spring can be a volatile one. the storms of transition can be fierce.  last week after a glorious series of sun filled days in the 60’s, a hearty wind blew the twenties back in again. harsh.

then there are the specifics of our farm. our fields nestle close to the flat rock creek that meanders her way through our acreage. the chill and moisture in any season fall to the creek. during the summer months this is undoubtedly a blessing: our fields thrive. we can sustain drought on our bottom land. in spring however, when the earth is soaked from months of rain and snow, our land is wet, so wet, unworkable wet.



so i start to feel unsettled, the calendar tells me it is time to get started, my body aches to move, to hoe, to shovel, but i can’t necessarily do all that. rain pours. puddles grow. each spring so many factors well out of my control dictate what really happens.

this winter was long and this spring is coming late, it is up to me to be patient and listen to the earth and sky.  these are the voices that i must hear right now. today it rains, the temperature slowly drops and perhaps this rain will turn to sleet or snow as night falls. i choose today to feel content  by the warmth of the wood stove, to try and finish that hat for madeline before really i have no time, to sew a summer tunic (or start one anyway), and to be happy with all that is. the tunnels and greenhouses fill excitedly and indeed there is a lot of promise in the air.


spring isn’t always yellow and bright. no shift is without it’s difficulty, not even this one! spring is a time of transition and can be enchanting or painful depending on so many factors. i wish for you all a lovely entry into the season of longer days and fresh foods. i also offer a big hug to anyone needing one if it is a dull, wet, cloudy day and you can’t quite do what you think you should be doing.  this too is a part of the season.

thanks friends for allowing me to ponder with you, maybe i don’t hate spring after all….

seed dreams

By my calculations, this may be the most consistently cold winter we’ve had in these parts for about 20 years.  I say that from the remembrance of a winter I spent home from college, about 20 years ago (yikes, really?).  I was staying at a friend’s farm, ostensibly doing independent study on modern homesteading skills, but the winter was so brutal that we spent a fair amount of time snowed in around the fire (practicing that timeless homesteading skill of tending fire and telling stories), sometimes driving out over multiple creek crossings just to catch a glimpse of humanity.  I remember driving over the icy creek crossings, and not breaking through.

And then we did break through.  And then we were stuck.

It was a memorable winter.  As is this one.

ice creek

I wouldn’t drive on it, but it’s all ice under there.

Somehow, I’m feeling more capable of appreciating this one, in a different way.  Yes, the children climb the walls on grey days, not wanting to do the necessary bundling to make themselves comfortable in the exhilarating COLD.  Yes, the winter to-do list is getting cramped abit, as certain outdoor projects just don’t get done when the high temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

But, the cold is making such a nice clean palette.clean palette

There’s talk sprinkled through Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture lectures about the crystallization processes that occur during winter.  Certain preparations that we make to help enliven our compost piles and the like are best buried underground through winter so that they receive these crystallizing forces.

Theoretically, it doesn’t have to get really cold for crystallization to happen, because people in tropical locations make these formulas with success.  But, on a winter like this, we can really see crystallization at work.

It’s 3

When I walk around the frozen garden, it feels so still.  But it also feels deeply alive.  And it feels clean.  Maybe you’ve experienced this. It’s an interesting sensation.

Back in the warm house, later, in my mind’s eye, I am sorting the garden beds, seeing the possibilities for the year to come pass before me.  What grew where last season?  Did we compost that in the Fall?  Is it mulched, cover cropped, or open?  The frozen ground is laden with 2

Like seeds.

We’re sorting seeds now.  Flipping through our favorite catalogs, falling in love with pictures of flowers, and vivid descriptions of the black tomato from Russia that we haven’t tried yet.  We squeeze and shake last year’s packets, and pick through the beans and kernels to see what looks good.  What to grow this year, and what NOT to grow?  Where will we put those flowers?  How many kinds of tomatoes will fit in those rows? What will it all be?

Our seed orders have been shrinking the past few years, but our gardens haven’t.  There are a few standby hybrids that we buy, and some special lettuces that we won’t give up, but as my Fellow Man improves his hand at the craft of seed saving, we find need for less and less from the catalogs.

This year, for the first time “officially”, we’re feeling flush enough in supply to offer some of our favorite seeds to others.  We’re not a seed warehouse.  We’re just a little family with a particular leaning toward this art.  My husband has a gift for meticulous tasks.  He selects with care, and tends to his work.  There are times in the late summer when I question how reasonable it is to have so many small containers of fermenting seed projects at once.  These processes are not all tidy, and they don’t always smell good.  But now, when we have this beautiful selection to contemplate, it’s worth it.  We’ve done this for enough years now to witness the strength of home grown seeds.  Our favorite varieties that we save grow more vigorous and well adapted as we pay them this good attention.

There may be genetic variability.  There are sometimes deep purple veins in the flat leaf white kale.  Last year, some of our cherry tomatoes exhibited a crossed trait that created an amazing tasting burgundy fruit.  We saved some, and will be stabilizing that line each season.  Variability is part of the leaf

Our for-sale seed list is posted now HERE in our market.  Until I work out the details of on-line trade, you’re welcome to mail or email us an order, the old fashioned way.  Let us supply you some sweet mid-winter seed dreams.  Support this garden-roots economy.  The gardens are beginning now, from the crystallized earth, and the beautiful creativity of our own minds.  Let winter be winter.  What a GOOD time it is.

family on ice

Taking a rare walk on the frozen pond.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to another post about our seed saving methods and philosophy.