whole farm thinking
Hello Folks! Thank you so much for reading, it really lifts my spirits, even though my spirits are pretty darn high right now due to this wonderful wonderful program. This week we started with our intensive course, Whole Farm Thinking--which is a course to get us ready for farm planning. We're learning the vocabulary, we're learning the mindset, the resources of how to create a business plan. And right now, that means asking ourselves a LOT of questions.
One of the main questions we are asking ourselves is about quality of life. What do we want to get out of farming? What do we want to give to the community by farming? I am looking for a good family life, a good learning and teaching community of people who like to have discourse--good conversation. Henry County seems like the perfect place to start. Good people, good community, good land. Home.
Today we had a visit with Dalton Brown, the man who The Berry Center bought our school farm from. He's 94 and bought the farm in '64, and has been farming his whole life. We had questions for him, but surprisingly, he also had questions for us! Dalton asked us why we came to the WBFP and what we want to do farmingwise. In my life, when I started reading Wendell Berry, it was like I was awakened. Wendell Berry is, in what I have seen, an awakener. He awakens within people a sense of care, a realization of the self and others. Nowadays, as we begin talking about high technology becoming self-aware, we are losing our own self-awareness, our awareness of others, and that of the earth and the Earth. I wanted to have a life of purpose. You see, when one grows up used and abused--for me, I felt like I had no purpose, no choice, no way of escape. But here, I really do have a purpose. Here, I have the ability--the opportunity to look within myself and to know what I want to get out of life, what I want to give to others. When I talked to that man at the UGA Agriculture Department after reading Home Economics, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I saw a pathway to freedom. When I heard about the WBFP and their mission to teach farmers to farm well and affordably, I practically jumped for joy. I remember that evening with my mother, just reading about Sterling College from the internet and thinking, 'Why haven't I heard about this before? Why isn't every college like this?' Well, the truth is, there really are a lot of people still asleep. There are so so so many people that have been awakened, young and old. Even in the time of the word "woke" sometimes the "woke" people really are still asleep to the world and to themselves and to Purpose.
We've been talking a lot about limits lately. Working within limits and Not breaking them. I feel like a lot of people--well, no, most people see the purpose of life as breaking free from limitations. However, there is something freeing about working within human limitations; that is the caveat, human. You see, when we work outside of the human limitations, we press ourselves, we change the things that make us human, the things that make us of this Earth. To be continued...
First Day Back!
Well, Folks, it's official! I'm in my second semester of Junior year! Today was retreat day, tomorrow is our first day of classes. This semester I'm taking Whole Farm Thinking, Agroecology, Agroforestry, Literature of the Rural Experience, and Draft Animal Power Systems 2. If you don't know what draft is, that actually entails using horses, mules, and oxen to work on your farm. It's extremely fun! Plus it costs less than gasoline powered farm equipment, plus its better for the earth, and on and on and on. If you're just tuning in to the program, I go to the WBFP, the Wendell Berry Farming Program of Sterling College, Look us up! We're really cool!
So for tomorrow's big dessert, I made a huge pot of chocolate mousse and vanilla whipped cream! We have not only the regular gang, but also four Vermonters, and the Amish Kline family. The Klines are visiting to talk to us about whole farm thinking, and I am very excited. I've been thinking really hard about how I want to run Emerald Garden Farmstead/Homestead lately. Watched some educational (University of Youtube) videos about making hay and corn harvesting --with draft power, of course! Then, two more big steps I made today towards having my business is buying and reading a book on spinning and dying yarn, and watched some videos on how to do it with a drop spindle and with a spinning wheel. Tomorrow is the long awaited day that I am bringing my loom for weaving home! Fiber artists unite! I have just so many ideas for things to create! First day and all my accessible homework is done, extracurricular learning is done! A bangarang day!
Back to school!
Well, folks, it's almost time to go back to school after this long winter's nap! We have finally put all the Christmas decorations away. Persie and Nimmie are finally playing together and are enjoying their new cat tree. And as for me, well, I joined the YMCA and am thoroughly enjoying working out. I've also been doing quite a bit of reading. It makes me feel good, reading does. It gives one a magical feeling of being connected to a story. Very few stories grip me nowadays, but I've found two that are really wonderful right now. One is The Round of a Country Year, by David Kline. That one is for school, for our whole farm planning class. (Now, book reviews are coming, so I'm not going to go into what they are about just yet.) The second is Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. That one really makes me think (y'all will soon get to hear my thoughts on it!) Reading hes been one of those off and on things for me since I got my smart phone. Smartphones tend to ruin things in my opinion. The old way of life was filled with reading, writing, talking to your family--but just last night even, I looked up from my phone at my mom who was looking at her phone. It made me miss our music appreciation nights where we would put on music, turn down the lights, and dance. But thank god for reading. Reading makes me remember the old days. There's nothing better than reading in a nice warm bath, filled with lavender.
Now is as good a time as any to write. The snow is still falling, the wind is still, and I am at peace. I finished (a little while ago) an essay by WB. those of you who know me know I’m talking about Wendell Berry, the man, the myth, the legend. I tell you, this is the man who will lead nations--no, no. This is a humble man, and an ordinary man. He lives a life just like we do. The only difference is that he thinks really long and hard, and with those thoughts, he scrawls magic on the paper. I can imagine him saying, no no, It’s not magic. Once he asked, why should we even care for his writing? It is because his work is important. His thoughts lay a bedrock in a greater society, one where people care and are cared for, where the earth comes first, and is a teacher to us all. Lead by nature’s example, that seems to be one of his messages. And all of his messages of care and kindly nature of community revolve around one thing, agriculture. He lays it out, the good, the bad, the ugly, and explains why things are the way they are. It is almost biblical, his style, yet he always puts his own spin on it. I believe that Berry is America’s greatest living writer, and he has been called that alongside Kentucky Prophet. To follow in the footsteps of a living prophet--every day in the program (the WBFP) we work to learn about and carry out his work. To work to become good stewards and good neighbors. It fills me up with goodness, as if I am on a pilgrimage to see all land as holy once more. My Dean, Dr. Bayens, always quotes him, “there are no sacred and profane places, there are only sacred and desecrated places”. I aim to do my work, and work to see all land as holy again. I know, in my lifetime, it will not all be sacred again. I know probably never will it be. But I must continue to do my work for others, treat others as you’d be treated.
With this mindset, I read the prophet, “Think Little” this time. Agriculture can be done basically two ways, and within those two ways, a billion ways--or seven billion, one for each person on the Earth. “intensive, organic agriculture kept the farms of the orient thriving for thousands of years where as extensive which is to say exploitive or extractive agriculture has critically reduced the fertility of American farmlands in a few centuries or even a few decades” (Berry, 25-26). We practice intensively, holistically. Another quote which stood out to me was this, “But to be fearful of the disease and yet unwilling to pay for the cure is not just hypocritical; it is to be doomed. If you talk a good line without being changed by what you say, then you are not just hypocritical and doomed you have become an agent of the disease” (Berry, 22-23). I aim to be an agent of change, not the disease, the disease of greed, the disease of the Objective. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like to get things done, just in the right way--the way that’s right for me, my work, and the earth and the Earth. I always say that, the earth and the Earth, because there’s a difference, and I don’t think a lot of people see it anymore. The earth is the soil, the living breathing part of the planet-- and the Earth is the planet and everyone on it including the soil. Why do I talk like the soil is a being? Well, technically speaking, it is billions of beings, a whole microcosm. Perhaps even trillions of beings, I think to myself and to you, dear reader.
Persie is running around being a sweet little derelict. I think she’d make a good mouser, that is, if she ever saw a mouse. Persie is my pet, not my partner. I mean, sure, she could be my partner in crime, but not in farming, ha ha ha! Sweet little miss is a real princess diva, not the kind to work on the farm. But when I get my farm, she’ll definitely come with. She just won’t do work. Persie is like my therapy cat. She comes, she sits on me, then she plays. Not much more. Real mousers are kind of wild. But I digress.
When I move to the farm, all will not be perfect. It will be be with hard work and love that I make the farm a home and a living breathing partner for myself. Stay tuned though, this journey will go on and I’ll try to stay with y’all along the way!
Experiment 1 2020
Good Morning, folks! It's nice to see you here this morning, all my love to you on this beautiful day! So, I am continuing my journey with a little experiment during the next three weeks. Little known fact about me, I love experiments. They help me to gather my thoughts and put my mind to work. I'll post my experiment template, but first, let me tell you what this experiment is about. This experiment is about productivity. Not really about making myself do things, but inviting myself to do things that will be good for me. Think, what is good for my heart, mind, body, and soul? These are the things that I am trying to bring into a daily practice. Things that will encourage me to love myself more--we all need a little love now and again, don't we? I believe love should be an around the clock practice. Love of yourself, your family, your neighbors, and especially of people you don't know. When I was in High School, I made a point to sit with someone I didn't know once a month at lunch, but loving people you don't know can be as simple as smiling at people as you walk through your day. I'll post what makes me feel good, but I'd love to know what makes you feel good too! Send it out into the universe, the universe is listening. You may just get a response!
happy new year!
Happy new year, y'all, 2020! Last night we got in the spirit with our sparkling wine and magazines, cutting out and selecting items for our vision boards for the new decade. Mine was utterly covered with flowers and chickens, (anyone hear what I'm conjuring? Haha). Momma's was covered with words--sleep better, wake up happy--so on and so forth. We stayed up (With a nap for me and Persephone, who laid on my chest) until 1 AM, watching the New Year's Rockin' Eve, which is a tradition. Today, I got up early to start on my goals--yoga and exercises, caring for the geckos and plants, drinking water before I do anything. Tonight I'll continue with the water and a tonic of apple cider vinegar. It's a time to be healthy, a time to be renewed. Every seven years, your body replaces every single cell you have and in two months--less than two months--I'll be getting my third body. In less than two months, I'll be 21, and with that I'll be transformed, so they say. I'm excited, excited for this new start. My family has had a lot of fresh starts over the past year, but this one is perhaps the most important. We no longer have freedom from, but a freedom to. So we're conjuring all the good stuff! Blessings all, and have a peace filled new year!
Disco Chicken of Love
sTate fair ready!
seed starting 2019
ky state fair quilt
A sustainability major at U of L, beginning farmer, crafter, and writer.