saturday redo

i have already mentioned our new saturday routine here.  these days off have been so rich, so full, so free, so decidedly awesome, i feel compelled to write about it again!

i guess what i am trying to say is as a commercial vegetable grower there is a whole bunch of things that are completely abandoned during the growing season. you would expect knitting and reading to be on that list, but honestly, so is house cleaning. add also superfluous culinary activities. add again non urgent laundry. are you getting the picture?   in our new era, the one where farmer paul and i alternate market weeks, i am finding these tiny windows of time every other saturday to do one or more of said activities and my home and family are so much better for it.


i am an extrovert by nature and it was a challenge for me to let go of my weekly super intense social time. admittedly, once i allowed change to enter i immediately noticed every other week is enough. running the market stand solo is socially saturating and i get full blown uninterrupted micro chats since i am not also  juggling my entirely too active, over tired toddler.


these days remain unique and unphotographed. why? logistically, currently my only tool to document is the family ipad which is also our point of sales device. said technology is with my mate on these saturdays at the farmers market. i can only offer a mental glimpse of change.  if you arrived at the farm and entered our homestead you might just notice the house is a tiny bit cleaner,  the piles just a smidgen smaller, my  family slightly less stressed and me wondering why on earth it took me 16 years to figure this one out.






time in the garden

Regardless of whether we’ve ever held a trowel in our hands, we’ve all been sowing seeds, all the time.  They are the seeds of word and deed, and they’re tricky, because it’s hard to really know what you’re planting.  Often, we don’t know that we’re planting at all.  The garden of Life is a long term project.  The longer you stay alive, the more you find out exactly what you’ve sown.

Those early years of adulthood are especially fruitful, or maybe it’s more accurate to say “seedful”.  I guess that’s the time when we’re supposedly “sowing our wild oats”.  But it’s more than wild oats.  Sometimes we sow perennials.  If we sowed seeds of friendship and loving kindness, with luck we may reap generations of fruit.  Again, it takes years to find out.  I love surprises.orion me and melissa

Melissa and I met in college.  We were mutual friends through a housemate of mine in one of the rambling, experimental communal houses I lived in back then (note on communal living: it all comes down to who washes the dishes.).  We became very close.  After college, we began traveling.  We didn’t travel together, so it was easy to drop in and out of contact.  I never felt our mutual affection falter.  This past decade, we’ve both been busy sowing more seeds, carving out our lives, watching from afar in Facebook land.

Something stirred this season in the garden patch of our friendship.  Melissa’s thirteen year old son, Orion, developed a strong interest in food and gardens.  Being the engaged and capable parent that she is, Melissa has done what she could to help him explore his interest.  She took him WWOOFing in Mexico.  She has gotten involved with community gardens.  And then she dropped us a line.orion melissa homestead

We hosted Orion for two weeks, on his own. He arrived (his mother and friend brought him over and we enjoyed a sweet, brief visit) with a ukelele and small duffel bag in the thick of the weediest, sweatiest, busiest time of year.  We had no idea what to expect.  Neither myself nor my Fellow Man have spent much concentrated time with thirteen year old kids since we were thirteen years old.

The timing was good. Lulah went to Florida with some of my folks for a week, departing just as Orion arrived.  Orion softened the blow of losing her.  Without him to distract us, we would have been much more bereft.  By the time she came home, we were all getting adapted to each other.lulah florida 1

And I think we all did good.  Orion gave his best efforts.  We let him sleep (almost) as much as late as he might have otherwise.  He generally came along for the ride, pitching in every time we asked, and hanging around to ask questions.  He appreciated our food, and we found it amusing the way he held the hair out of his face to eat.  Orion became my right hand tomato-picker, an enthusiastic lawn mower, and adept at rough housing with Levon in the hammock.orion 1

orion 2orion 3I loved this moment: It was on a big harvest day, when we had packed the car full of veggies and I was hustling to get a shower and go teach yoga before making my delivery rounds.  Orion had weighed potatoes and sorted tomatoes and lugged baskets to the car, and caught  me as I headed back to the house, asking “Do you need me to do anything now?”.

“Not at the moment.” I said.

“Shucks.” was his reply.  Gotta love that.

We learned a little bit about communication while he was around.  Each family unit makes its own language over time.  It’s a reality check, of sorts, to add a new person and see if they understand the language.  A few times I was able to catch us.  My Fellow Man and I had done subtle communication about the day without laying it out in complete sentences in Orion’s presence.  I didn’t catch it a few times, too, and I’m sure he spent some time scratching his head and wondering how we get anything done.  We’re used to it.

He slept in a tent in the yard, then moved into the storage shed and slept on the massage table, which seemed like a major upgrade to him.  He tuned my guitar and sang old Grateful Dead and Beatles tunes.  He wanted to talk about rock and roll history (of which I was woefully ignorant), politics, philosophy, food, and simple living.  He was not attached to an electronic umbilical cord.  He prefers the present moment.  He is deeply devoted to his mother.  He is not your average American thirteen year old boy.  But I’m not surprised.

In Orion, I see the fruit of my friend Melissa.  I see her life, her choices playing out into another generation.  She has always been an artist, and the garden of her life is a beautiful place.  It is a delight to me to feel that our roots of our friendship still tangle enough, to this day, for her to share her boy, one of the fruits of her existence, with us.  He tested himself on our soil.  He learned a little about work, about himself, and about us.  He didn’t like the okra.  Cantaloupes are more his style.

My only regret was that we didn’t take him traveling.  This summer has proved a challenging one for that.  It would have been nice for him to see more of our local farmscapes, and meet more of our local farmers, and friends.  Hopefully, he’ll be back.  We would love to see how he grows.

It feels good to see the seeds of friendship grow into another generation.  With luck, the seeds we planted with Orion, seeds of information, and also of friendship, will grow into something altogether new in the fertile ground of his curious young mind and heart.  It will take years to see what he will plant, and grow.  Isn’t that wonderful?with orion



it is the throes of our busiest time. each minute it seems is occupied with absolute must dos, the mental space to write anything is almost nonexistent.  i am compelled to write though, as i love this opportunity to put words to the thoughts brewing in my mind as i pick, process, and plant my way though these august days.


raising your children is hard work. i have traveled the globe and tended the earth, been through life and death more times than i can recount, but the soul searching, day in day out of raising my kids is definitely my most challenging journey: fear and doubt can weigh so heavily.  it is with great jubilation that i share a glimpse of the home educated, home raised, first born babe of mine as a teenager.

he turned 16 this year and with it came the right to drive. yikes. i am impressed that  my child is the one who bought his own first truck with his own hard earned, well saved, cash. heck, he even has money left to fill the tank. makes a mama proud, right?


then there is the duck coop. we are in the midst of a mild, manageable, familial obsession with ducks. our flock is still quite small, but homeless nevertheless. when our feathered friends outgrew their brooder, my boy had to take charge.


sometimes i take my son’s drive for granted, i have lived with it each day for over 16 years. the workmanship, care, design, and effort that went into this coop is beyond my description. it is by all definition a solo project, he asked for help only when he needed a ride to the wood shop up at the farm stay. the execution of this project is a true testament to this fella








he is growing up. he’s taking responsibility for himself. he treats others with respect and kindness.  there are days when i wished he was kinder to his younger sister. there are days when i beg him to be a bit more respectful to me, his mama. we are in adolescence after all. now, for just right now, i can catch a glimpse of the adult he is becoming: capable and trustworthy, kind and honest. i sail the smooth waters. for now.