The autumn equinox. Where the days equal the nights. Where I feel, on a very literal level, like I might actually survive after all.
Have I always had this relationship with summer? I mean, I’ve never been a huge fan of the season. It’s too much sun. Too much day. Too much blistering suffocating humidity.
But damn. Leave it to farming to really hone one in on the local seasons. Summer here kind of sucks. The summer garden becomes totally overgrown because I cannot bring myself to work in it. I’d rather not die of heat stroke, thanks. And that’s partly because my “physical labor spoon” is used up with farm chores. Chores that start at 5:30am. By 5:30am I am dressed and walking under the twilight morning to start my hr or two of farmy work. Suck it, losers.
If I’m honest with you, I absolutely love morning chores. It’s just that I can’t go back to bed after. I have to start my other job as soon as I get back. And THAT doesn’t end until 10pm. It’s kinda a long day.
In my head, the farm = business and the garden = personal hobby that also feeds my own family. So when the garden goes to shit, I think, oh, yes, summer. Where my personal life goes to die.
This is not totally true. But it’s how I feel.
The days are SO blasted long. The nights are never enough rest. I start to take siestas. They are necessary and enjoyed. But then my days are so…. Weird.
This is where I stop and fully admit that much of my exhaustion with my life during this season is that I also hold the full time job of homeschooling and caretaking my three kids. With very little extra help. No extended family in town. No nannies in sight. No regular baby sitters as of yet. I admit I cannot blame farming alone for the life exhaustion I feel in the summer. It’s more of the icing on the cake that weighs us down so heavily we fall over and then it all melts in the summer heat so all that’s left is a puddle of what was once sugar and butter but now is just a mess that someone (me) has to clean up.
Sorry. We just had a birthday.
So exhaustion. It’s the TAKE.
Now let’s talk about the GIVE.
We honestly stated this farm thinking, hey, let’s grow some food. That’ll be fun.
And that’s basically it. I mean, okay, yeah, there was a business plan. A market analysis. A 5 year plan.
What we didn’t factor in was community.
We’ve lived in this east TN area for 7ish years. No family here. No preexisting friends. Total transplants. And the farm has single handedly handed us our community in the last year or so. Customers have turned into partners and friends. We’ve connected with people who are also interested in wholesome local food and economy. People who are interested in building up more than just food transactions. They show up for processing days! More than once! They join in potlucks and hangouts and we take care of each other. It’s more heart-soothing than we could have ever planned.
Farm people are always talking about “building community”. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about till now. Local people are coming together around this land and around us. It’s warming and sustaining and unexpected.
When I think about how running this farm has affected our lives, I think it’s a give and take.