I’m not sure a day could be more beautiful than today was. The autumn is waning to be sure, treading on the heels of winter, but it was nearly 70 degrees today. The autumn foliage is beginning to look richer and more tarnished, sporting some of my most favorite colors. For the most part, the sky appeared cloudy, but the sun kept finding holes and breaking through the clouds with shafts of light that would shine for a moment, like a spotlight on a soloist. One minute the neighbor’s high grassy pasture, peppered with black cattle, would be brilliantly illuminated, then just as quickly fade back into it’s surroundings. The next minute, the trees deep within the forest would light up, as if in invitation, while the trees in the foreground still felt dark and heavy. It was easy to just forget one’s work and stare at the ever-changing light show. Then the wind would blow filling the sky with a swirling of leaf confetti leaving me feeling like if I jumped up just so I, too, might be able to take flight and dance through the air.As much as I love the thought of living in the moment, allowing myself to dance with the leaves and watch the picture-show taking place in these beautiful hills in which I live, I also have to heed the weather. Well, not just the weather because then I would be free to go on with my dancing and gazing, but the future weather. I plan my moves accordingly, strategizing as if in a heated chess match. If we didn’t pay close attention to what the weather holds, things could get real ugly around here. While we are not very tech-savvy here in Bugtussle, or relationship with “checking the weather” on the internet borders on obsession.Sometimes the 10-day weather forecast holds some very important information. Like despite the fact that today was perfectly gorgeous, tomorrow will be an entirely different beast. Like the fact that in a few days, the weather will likely be the coldest we have seen so far this fall. Like the fact that rain is marching this way.So this morning, we spread lime on an acre sized garden that has been in a forage crop for several years. Ira even got a quick lesson on driving the big tractor so that Eric and I could both wield shovels and hurl the lime from the bucket while Ira did the driving (mind you…very slowly, in low gear). We hustled to get it done (even though I kept getting distracted by the falling leaves) so that this afternoon, Eric could plow it for next spring’s garden. He wasn’t quite able to get the entire acre plowed before the rain set in, but nearly. This was likely our last opportunity for this kind of work until next spring, when there is already too much to do. Yesterday, we spent hours finishing up the mulching of the garlic patch that Jesse had started over the weekend. Now the garlic is tucked under it’s warm blanket for the winter. We still have to bring potatoes from the barn, shut the water off in our outdoor kitchen, and make sure the root cellar is snug. If not for a little forward thinking, lots of this work would have gone undone giving us a lot of added stress later.And somehow, simultaneously falling at precisely the same time we are due to have some seriously cold weather, we are also going to be away from our farms. You see, in just a couple of days, the three of us, Robin, Coree, and myself will be engaged in our first ever public speaking gig as a trio. I know we are all, my dear fellow farmwives and I, both nervous and terribly excited for this new twist in our work with each other. Together, we will be “speaking” at the National Biodynamic Farming Conference: Farming for Health. Eeegads. Public speaking probably ranks almost as high on my list of favorite things as stepping in fresh duck shit in bare feet. But I digress. Fortunately the three of us aren’t necessarily giving a “presentation”, but having a public conversation about the “Women’s Eye View of the Farm”. There will be no podiums or power-points. Just the three of us with hopes of sharing our experiences, maybe providing a little insight, hopefully lots of inspiration, and most definitely lots of laughter. If you are already planning to go to this event, or find yourself in Louisville on Friday afternoon, come join in our conversation. I think it will be great fun.
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.
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.
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?
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.