This is the week we’ve all been preparing for. Our farmily is complete this week and we all move to full-time work. We jumped right into teamwork to cover our last two high tunnels to prepare for pepper planting this week. Then all of the tunnels will be completely full and our outside fields are filling up fast with cool season crops. Kelsey seeded our first warm season outdoor crops today in the greenhouse and we’re off and running.
This week kicks off the rush of the season. Both Charlotte and Boone farmers markets begin this Saturday and so every week adds more and more harvest time to our busy planting and crop-tending schedule. Since Jason and I have been slowly entering the realm of whitewater kayaking, a kayak metaphor seems appropriate.
It’s as if we’ve been paddling down a placid river and have suddenly encroached upon a waterfall followed by a long series of (insert whitewater lingo here) super-fast and challenging rapids that will last until at least September. It will be chaotic and slightly terrifying, with one challenge after another with no reprieve, but we’ve paddled this route before and managed not to die, and we know more or less which lines to follow down the course. Every run is slightly different, of course, but we’ve practiced and we know how roll when we get in trouble. And there’s the promise of celebration at the end!
I’ve never considered myself an adrenaline junkie before, but market farming is not so placid—the season moves fast and furious—so maybe I’ll have to reconsider that image of myself.
We speak of "grounded" as if it's next to godliness. But I've always been grounded. I'm so grounded I'm half buried in dirt. Sometimes I yearn for some head in the clouds--some dreaminess. Some floating. Ground is stable, which has many benefits, but is also boring. It grinds the imagination down.
It's days like these that make me wonder: Did I live my most interesting life when I was young? While I'm extremely proud of what we've built here, and what we're still building here, I still get a hint of wanderlust from time to time. Just a whiff. A craving for adventure, for intrigue, for stories to tell. Being consistently content is great, but boring.
It's these moments when you're no longer a tourist in your backyard. When everything becomes "normal" and you forget to notice the astounding beauty around you. You know you're supposed to, but you're like that person trying to catch the autumn leaves at just the right time-- you're just waiting for something to happen that's out of your control, and then you'll jump into action.
What is in my control is the opening of my eyes. Or closing and re-opening them to notice the wonders all around me. To follow my curiosity. To create stories right in the here and now. And occasionally, to stick my head in the clouds and dream.
The sense of freedom washes over me and it is both terrifying and liberating. I mean, sometimes it would be nice to have a model to follow—a clear set of instructions. But it’s liberating to thing with imagination: “We could do this or be this. It doesn’t matter if no one’s ever done it that way before, we can do it.”
I can attend workshop after workshop, webinar after webinar (well, as many as my terrible internet allows me to attend), and pick up new and useful information. But I’m still applying it to our unique system and environment and culture here. And it will still likely look a bit different than the place from which I garnered the information or idea.
These are the things I ponder as I try to imagine and plan for the future Tumbling Shoals Farm. We have such a dynamic and competent team right now that I find myself working to create a succession plan in which they take over the farm. At times, I wish I had a good manual to follow, but there just isn’t one that I know of, and so I’m both free to create (and burdened with the task of creating) a plan of our very own. All while doing my best to also enjoy the current time with these dynamic and competent people.